The advice I received most during pregnancy and the first few months of motherhood was to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” I rarely slept when Henry did. Most mums I know didn’t sleep then either. There’s washing, cleaning and cooking that needs to be done. We feel like we need to do it all because we’re the ones that are home all day.
Like every new mum, I put so much pressure on myself in those first few months. I didn’t know what to do with a newborn, yet I was expecting myself to do it perfectly. I’d end up in tears just because I was so tired and couldn’t think rationally. When people asked how our family was doing, I always felt like I had to give a positive response.
Before motherhood, I was a social worker working with children in foster care. At work, the term ‘self care’ was thrown about all the time.
‘Self care’ is about identifying and doing things that you need to do to look after yourself physically, emotionally and psychologically.
I kept coming back to this concept while on maternity leave and
1. Self-care assumes that you have time to yourself
2. Engaging in self-care causes ‘mum guilt’
3. When you’re most in need of self-care, it’s also when you’re least likely to
When you become a mum, you have no choice but to put your own needs last. Your baby comes first because they’re completely dependent on you for everything – food, sleep
Many new mums aren’t in a position to
‘Other care’ is a much more appropriate concept. It’s about doing things for others that will help them to be physically, emotionally and psychologically well. It’s not just about responding to the needs of your loved one; it’s about anticipating them. That’s what prevents little
I’m not saying that a mother doesn’t have a responsibility to look after herself. She does. I’m saying that ‘other care’ is important too.
A lot of it comes down to effort and reward. There are so many things that a partner can do for a mother that