I will never forget my very first Mother’s Day. My daughter, Penelope, was six-days-old and I was exhausted. The tired you feel after you have a baby is unlike any other tired in the world. Every single mother out there understands what I’m talking about. My family came over to celebrate with us and I feel asleep at the table over our Mother’s Day ham. I looked awful. I felt awful. I was exhausted and I had pushed myself to the limit. I immediately started crying in my ham. I don’t know if it was hormones or exhaustion, but I had this overwhelming feeling of – how am I going to be able to do all of this?
Five weeks later, I went to my first follow-up doctor visit and my OBGYN asked me how things were going. Cue the tears. I told her honestly, I was doing OK, but I was so happy to be away from the baby. Our baby had developed colic and acid reflux. She wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t sleeping. Dad had gone back to work and I was all alone caring for a little baby during the day. I felt guilty that I wanted to be away from her. New moms are not supposed to feel this way, are they? My doctor gave me a huge hug and told me it was OK. It’s a natural thing for moms to feel overwhelmed and to want to be away from their baby sometimes. We talked for several minutes about life balance. I left feeling much better and knew I could figure out this whole motherhood thing.
Fast forward a year and our sweet Penelope is one. It’s true when people say, there is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for being a parent. We have had so many ups and downs, I think they should name a roller coaster in our honor. Being a mom is the most wonderful thing I have ever done in my life, but I still struggle with balance and trying to figure out how to do things for me and not feel guilty about doing them. I had a conversation with one our Q102 listeners recently and she told me that you have to do stuff for yourself. She said to me, “There’s a reason why when you’re on an air plane, they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.” I took a moment, thought about that, and she was right. I had this massive realization, in order to be the best Mom I could be, I had to take care of myself also. For Mother’s Day this year, I told my partner that I wanted a day to myself. I wanted to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day by celebrating the awesome job that I am doing as a mom. Reward myself with a little me time. I’ve learned so many things over the past year as a new mom but the most important thing I’ve learned is that it’s OK to do things for yourself.
The Christ Hospital Health Network has an online series that helps me find ways to make sure I am taking care of myself. It’s called, “Let’s Talk
.” It’s a place where women can have honest and open conversations about issues that matter to us. I can talk with other women and healthcare professionals about issues that matter to me. Take time for yourself and join the conversation.