After giving birth, it’s easy to be focused on bubs and their wellbeing, but what about you? There’s a lot going on and unfortunately many of us tend to put ourselves last once baby comes along. Isabella Van Zuylen shares what she wishes she had known as a new mum.
It’s quite some time ago now, as my first child is almost 18 but after speaking with a new mum this morning after our mumfit class, I was reminded what it was like to be figuring it all out when she was a baby.
It’s easy to be focused on the new bubs and their wellbeing, but what about you? There’s a lot going on and unfortunately many of us tend to put ourselves last once baby comes along. You’ll find that you haven’t filled your cup and will be running on empty if you aren’t careful.
Thinking back (hindsight is great, right?!), there are some things I wish I had known when I became a mum. I thought I would share them with you so you can reflect on what is going on and see how you can be a better mum to your baby:
1. Listen to your body
This is the most important piece of advice I can give you: listen to your body when it needs to rest or if there is any pain or something is not right. When baby sleeps, don’t start tidying up – rest! Your body is constantly giving you signals, telling you what it needs. For some, there has been a big disconnect between body and mind and we try to push through until we eventually crash. Try to listen to those cues that signal you need rest or seek help from a professional if there is pain.
2. It’s OK to ask for help
ASK your partner to step in or if someone has offered assistance, take them up on it! Even if it is something small like a run to the shops to grab some bread or to be with the baby while you shower. Often we try to be super-mum but I can tell you from experience, take off the (supermum) cape and call in those that have offered support.
3. Don’t compare yourself with other mums
I recall feeling pretty crap when other mums would tell me their little one slept through or they appeared to have it all together. This is not a helpful way of thinking and will have you feeling doubt about your ability as a mum. When you feel that you are starting to think this way, a great way to pick yourself up is to give yourself a little pep talk. Remind yourself that you are a great mum and yes, it’s hard as you figure it all out but everything is going to be OK.
4. Take the pressure off!
I remember trying to nail everything, from routine to laundry, a clean house and healthy meals cooked every day. I wanted to show that I could do it all but very quickly I became frazzled and overwhelmed when things didn’t go to plan. Curled up in a ball on the floor with post-natal depression was not a sign that I could do it all. Take the pressure off, enjoy time with bubs and let the dishes pile up until you have the energy to tackle it (or call in for help!).
5. Be gentle with yourself
There is no rush to ‘get your pre-baby body back’. You’ve just made a beautiful human being – be OK with enjoying this time and slowly rebuilding your body from the inside out. Understanding what you have just been through is a good start and realising that it takes time to regain fitness and strength.
Our MumSafe™ trainers are qualified to support mothers with their exercise and make sure you are doing so safely and effectively. We ask all the right questions to ensure you are well looked after when coming back to exercise.
Isabella runs I Want Fitness in Wantirna, Victoria. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.
You can also find her on Instagram.