By: Michelle Goitia
I stood in the bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror thinking, “I look the same, how can I now be someone’s mother?” These are the words I said to myself in the first few days after my daughter was born (20 years ago). As I got used to this new role, I seemed to reflect on my old self as Michelle, Marketing Associate, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
The new Michelle - “Mom” - now had to take into consideration and be responsible for someone other than myself.
What I have learned over the years, and based on something that my mom said to me, is: “You have to take care of yourself first so that you can be the best mom to your child.” This is a hard lesson to learn, and to do this without losing myself was even harder.
Reminding myself that self-care is not “selfish” was the first step in my process. Secondly, not drowning in the “mom guilt” was even more important. You will learn about your new role daily, taking in many experiences that will stay with you. Those experiences are moments that you can share with other mom’s or even your kids.
Here are some tips that I have learned over the years:
Take care of yourself FIRST
Whether it’s getting up a little earlier to have that one cup of hot coffee or a 5-minute meditation practice, start with YOU first and then begin your day. Ask yourself, “What have I done for myself today or this week?” Make this a priority.
Schedule YOU Time
You have fond memories about deciding to go to a yoga class or meeting with friends on a whim. Now you have to schedule these events ahead of time. Create a calendar that includes appointments for healthcare and fun.
Work with Mom Guilt
Its safe to say that your baby will love you no matter what. They won’t remember that you let them “stir” in their bouncy seat that you placed next to your shower while you rinsed the shampoo out of your hair or that you let their “conversation/cooing” escalate while you finished making lunch. They will look at you with those pure eyes and love that you are there NOW.
Create your Support Circle
You have some friends that you have had for many years but they may not be in the same stage of life as you are right now. Meeting new friends in prenatal yoga can carry into your first days as a new mom when you see them again in a new moms' group or postnatal yoga class. Some of these “mom” friends can also become your new friends for life.
You WILL get back to some of the things you did before. Embracing the NEW you while honoring your original self will take some time. It is ok to mourn your old self.