1. Resting MORE.
With my first daughter, Aleena, I really did not understand how important rest was to my body post-birth. I wanted to be the same person I was before birth, do the same things, keep the house in order, etc etc. I rarely napped during the day and overdosed on coffee to get me through the day. I think part of the reason I had a hard time resting as well was the fact that I did have some PP anxiety. When I look back, I stressed out about everything and remember feeling so overwhelmed by my “losing” my freedom. I didn’t express these feelings but now that I look back on the experience, I wish I could tell myself that the days are long but the years are short, that the sleep deprivation doesn’t last forever, and to enjoy the moment because it will pass by so quickly.
What I’m doing to rest more this time around:
- I am trying to sleep at least once a day (sometimes it ain’t always easy, especially with a toddler ;)).
- I am accepting any and ALL help with cooking, cleaning, and everything in between–I planned ahead of time to have help around for the first 6 weeks
- I am saying NO to things (not my strong suit) for the sake of my health
- I am taking epsom salt baths whenever I get the chance
- Sitting on the couch with the babes and actually ENJOYING watching TV instead of stressing out about how I “should” be doing something (Shark Tank and Everybody Loves Raymond are my faves right now)
2. Enjoying MORE.
Asiya is already almost a MONTH old! Time is flying by and before I know it she will be 6 months old. When I gave birth to Aleena and she was placed on my chest, I just remember this little purple blob looking up at me, and feeling so uncertain about what was to come. I thought the crying from 2-5am, the sleep deprivation, and the nursing 24/7 would last forever. The struggles that I went through postpartum and the anxiety I experienced definitely clouded my vision and I wasn’t able to really enjoy the process until Aleena was about 6 months old.
When Asiya was born, and she was placed on my chest, I instantly fell in love and was SO excited to have another newborn. Not that I wasn’t as in love with Aleena–it was just a whole different experience because hello–first time mom struggles. I missed the baby cuddles and all the love and blessings they bring into your family. I was so excited to have another girl to share our life with, and to now have a family of 4 alhamdulillah. And because I know that the sleep deprivation, and all the struggles we go through as moms in the first few months usually do NOT last forever, I am really just enjoying the little things I missed with Aleena because I know time will move by too fast.
3. Having Zero Expectations.
After I had Aleena, my close friend told me to expect my goals to take 5-7 years longer than I had planned because #momlife. I thought that was crazy, but it’s true–without childcare, my goals absolutely take longer to accomplish.
I used to wake up at 5 am to get a few hours of work done before Aleena woke up. Then once she took her 2-3 hour nap, I’d do at least another hour of work and maybe get a workout in and clean a bit. Then once she went to bed at night I might do another hour of work.
Now with 2 babies, I know my goals are not impossible to accomplish, but some things have to be put on hold and other things are going to take much longer than would be “ideal.” But that’s all ok, because that’s the life of a mother–sometimes we have to put things off because we have a 2 month old nursing 24/7. And that doesn’t mean I will never attend a seminar I want to go to, or take a course I want to take, or train clients in person again. This is just the phase of life I’m in right now, and I’m making things work for me and my family, and doing little things that add value to myself and my business that will benefit me in the long haul.
4. Prioritizing My Health.
The first 4 months postpartum with Aleena I got sick back to back. I got mastitis in the first 2 weeks, had recurring eye infections that would not go away for 3 months, and then finally had a handful of panic attacks and anxiety. Obviously, something was off with my body. My gut health and immune health really suffered. I wanted to do my part to try and have a thriving postpartum experience with Asiya. I wanted to really feel good (well–as good as I can feel minus the no sleep) and healthy enough to feel like I can take care of 2 babies.
I went to see a naturopath and got tested during my pregnancy with Asiya to see if I was deficient in any vitamins and minerals, and if I had any food sensitivities. Turns out I was extremely deficient in iron (lots of pregnant women are), vitamin D, and I was borderline deficient in all my B-vitamins (hello anxiety). I also had a list of food sensitivities (and I was eating all these foods almost daily): eggs (so sad!), dairy products, coconut (ok, this one is the biggest bummer!), almost ALL types of nuts, corn, carrot, honeydew, cinnamon, black pepper, yeast, and a few gluten-free flours (buckwheat, amaranth, teff, sorghum).
I started supplementing with vitamin D, B-vitamins, and iron during my last trimester, while also continuing to take my prenatal vitamins. I prefer to get my nutrients from food, but it was not realistic with my small appetite during pregnancy. I am still continuing to supplement postpartum and I’ve also added two adaptogens (both safe during breastfeeding) to my regime to help with stress and adrenal health: ashwagandha and eleuthero root. Ashwagandha helps with improving sleep, immune health, improving energy levels, stamina, and overall well-being. Eleuthero is beneficial for “Type A people who work long hours, don’t get adequate sleep or nutrition, and have a motto of ‘work hard, play harder, and hardly sleep.‘” (Source: Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief, Mommypotamus). Let’s just say that describes my personality perfectly (facepalm). I have a very hard time relaxing. If I could work on my business 24 hours a day, I would!
In addition to avoiding food sensitivities and taking my supplements, I am continuing to see my chiropractor every couple weeks to get adjusted. I LOVE going to my chiro–it feels like I’m putting energy back into my tank when I take the time to go. That’s my type of self-care.
Let me know what you do to take care of yourself postpartum! How do you keep yourself sane? Is there anything special you do to take care of your health? Let me know in the comments below!