I’m Important Too
Posted By: Sarah Strapp
I am eager, anxious, nervous, and exciting to get this baby to my breast.
As a new mom everyone tells you to take care of yourself first. They say that if you’re not feeling 100% your child will know it. Well, Sammy is almost four months old now and last week’s birthday present from my husband – a spa day -- helped me to realize that I was really letting myself go. I would go days without showering, I had neglected doctors appointments and I was – and still am -- in desperate need of a podiatric appointment for a toe that’s giving me trouble. The past seven days have really been enlightening for me. Since taking the day off and indulging in the spa I have let myself calm down and relax as a parent and as a woman.
Having a moment to breath and realign myself was such a treat. When I was headed home from the spa I was so excited to see Sammy and play with him. I felt so refreshed and centered, so much more excited to be a parent that I figured I should do something for myself everyday. Now, in a perfect world I would be going to the spa for four hours everyday, but this was a very special birthday treat from my husband. Doing something for myself could mean doing an exercise video in my living room while Sammy naps, or taking an extra long shower when my husband comes home from work. With these moments to myself I am able to breath deep and center myself. I’m able to tune into the world outside of my own.
The dust that was kicked up when Sammy first arrived is just now starting to settle. The learning curve over the past few months has been, and continues to be, steep. The lesson that I learned this past week is perhaps the most important lesson of all – being a good parent is just as much about taking care of yourself as it is taking care of your child. One of the common complaints of nursing mothers is that your body, and thereby, your life, are not your own. It becomes hard to maintain your own identity when your breast needs to be emptied every three hours. That’s why it is of the utmost importance to treat yourself with respect.
There are so many questions when you're a new parent and there are very few, if any, answers. It is so much easier to be filled with doubt and dismay. It is easy to say, “I should’ve put him down,” or, “I should’ve picked him up.” It is just now, as Sammy approaches four months of age, that I am taking the challenge of engaging my confidence as well as my sense of humor. I need to stop worrying about everything that I’m doing wrong and focus on how much I’m doing right. My Sammy is a big, strong and happy baby. He smiles at me and loves to play. He sleeps fairly well and he eats with the appetite of a giant.
With all of the questions there is one area that I am sure of myself, nursing. I love knowing that I am doing something so vastly important and beneficial for Sammy. When I hear him taking a nice big swallow I'm relieved to know that I am getting something right. As I meet more moms I realize that not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Plenty of mothers have supply issues or latch problems, but Sammy and I are lucky enough to be able enjoy this part of our relationship. Yes, at times it can be a burden, and in the beginning i'ts an especially challenging one, but when you’re able to step back and realize what you’re doing – it’s worth every moment.
I think its something that any first time mom's do - forget that they are people beyond being a primary cargiver and that they sometimes need a break too. Sometimes I feel like a glorified feedbag, and its hard to even fathom that getting my nails done (which I used to do regularly) should still be a priority, but ultimately - if I don't take care of myself once in a while, how can I best take care of someone else all the time?
Thanks for letting me inside your life and thoughts.