How To Not Lose Yourself When Your Baby Arrives

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We were thrilled to contribute this piece to the PROnatal Fitness blog on 10/17/2015. We hope this helps all the expecting and new mamas navigate the mixture of emotions that arise when the baby arrives. Body silk seamless yoga nursing bra by Bravado Designs pictured above! 

When we discover we are pregnant (providing it was in the plan), we are guaranteed a flood of emotions. While that certainly includes joy and elation, what’s almost always just behind those feelings is the “uh-oh” moment when suddenly it hits us….everything is about to change. Here are four ways to stay connected to yourself even when life completely changes!

1) Recognize that there is no way to avoid the changes. Take a deep breath on that one. Having a child changes the rhythm of everything. With it comes adjusting to a new normal and, like any change, it’s not always pretty. We will experience disillusionment, probably fight with our partner, and feel a combination of overwhelming elation and disappointment as we figure out what it means to be a mom. Though we will sometimes inwardly tantrum, we must recognize that change is naturally uncomfortable and we will get through it. In many ways you need to be your own reality check. If you feel off, sit yourself down (or chat with yourself in the shower) and talk to yourself as you would your best friend. “Girl, this is a phase. I know you’re strong and I know you can do this. You rock.” Be your own bestie as you navigate what you must. I promise you, the beginning is temporary.

 2) No matter what, find time for YOU. The minute your baby is born, this baby is your entire world (naturally), which immediately puts you last. Our culture has validated this as acceptable, but it’s my discovery that this version of things backfires. It might take a month, or two, or three, but it will inevitably, backfire. You must take care of you, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and you need those closest to you to help make that happen. In the early days, it’s as simple as a shower and a meal. But over time, it’s a manicure and a lunch date with your best friend. Not long after, it’s your workouts and yes, your work – if that’s part of your current identity. I’ve learned that no one will give me that time if I don’t express my need for it. So I enlist my husband, babysitter, and family to help out so I have time to be me. And trust me on this one: if you give time for you, not only are you teaching your child what it looks like to give self-care (a valuable lesson) but you will be a more present and happy mom. And I know that’s who you actually want to be.

 3) Even if you can’t act on your dreams, figure out how to keep them alive!  One of the more common complaints I hear from the moms I speak with is that they aren’t sure what happened to their ideas, and now they wonder if their dreams are at all alive. While I very much advocate taking some down-time after your baby is born (it is such a fleeting, precious period of time), I also suggest keeping a little idea journal near your bed or near your nursing spot. Many women I know have had revolutionary business ideas during their early postpartum months, and are now running thriving companies. So, have a way to capture little inspirations and impressions that may float to the surface. Your ideas matter and may amount to something down the road, so collect them and honor them…even if acting on them has to wait a little while.

4) Remember that pregnancy and the postpartum period is such a special and delicate time. While it can come with immense worry and unknown, if you can figure out small ways to give yourself support and self-love, you will be able to embrace the “new normal” (when having a little one is no longer scary!) and find your way back to the woman you know you are — outside of and inclusive of motherhood.  I promise you will arrive there!