While pregnant, I was a self-care master. Regular reiki and acupuncture appointments, morning yoga classes, nourishing foods for myself and my growing baby – you can totally roll your eyes at me. I roll my eyes at that blissfully unaware mama-to-be too! I was certain life would always be like this – surely I would prioritize supporting and nourishing myself in order to be fully present for my baby girl. HA!
You know how the story goes from here – newborn arrives, life as you know it is turned upside down. Add in a (very) unplanned c-section and a baby (very) prone to spitting up, and before you know it that zen-master preggo has become a mombie with unwashed hair who is unsure of when her last meal was.
Thankfully, the newborn days are behind me, but around the time my daughter turned one, I realized that I had begun to put myself on the back burner. Truthfully, I got a weird sense of pride from that. My daughter and my family comes first! Aren’t I such an amazing mother because I have neglected my alone time? In a word – NO.
It’s a natural progression back to self when you become a mother. In the beginning, they need you 24/7, and every cry and whimper feels like an emergency. Now, it’s kind of life I am rewiring my nervous system. When my newborn cried because she was hungry, yeah I needed to feed her right away. When my 13 month old whines because she wants more Cheerios – okay, that can wait for a minute.
I am proud to say that I have begun to prioritize my self-care again. Taking found moments to support my wellbeing is the complete opposite of selfish. While I may not be going off for a Real Housewives-style spa retreat anytime soon, I have returned to a more regular yoga routine and rekindled my meditation practice. I have even carved out time for reiki and my beloved acupuncture treatments. I return to my daughter as a better version of myself, and I know she can sense it (or maybe she just smells the funky essential oils I am doused in).
Any woman who is struggling with sense of self after baby – you are so not alone. I encourage you to find small moments for yourself throughout your day. A cup of tea before baby wakes up, an Epsom salt bath after bedtime, a breathing exercise during naptime. I promise you the small moments add up. I have a team of mom friends who lift me up when I need it most (and I hope I do the same for them). I am happy to share this good karma with the Little Hoboken family!
Jessica Crystal is an RN, BSN with a degree from the University of Delaware, a holistic health coach certified from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a mom to a busy toddler, Emma. She enjoys yoga, reading, and shopping and eating on Washington Street. She has lived in Hoboken for over six years with her husband Adam. To learn more, visit her blog www.jessicacrystal.com