By Jen Dugard
Life is suddenly very different when you become a mama, and every journey is different. There is no right or wrong way of doing things and it’s important to allow yourself to find your own way.
Here are 5 tips to staying health and happy as a mum.
1. Get to know your new body
Returning to exercise when you feel ready is an important part of staying active as a mum. But, it’s also important to know that your body has now changed. Being ‘normal’ postnatally is not the same normal as it was pre-pregnancy. You may have abdominal separation, your pelvic floor may be weaker and you may have other weaknesses that are hard to pick up alone. A visit to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist will make sure you know exactly where you are starting from and ensure you re-build properly from the inside out.
2. Find your tribe
As a mum you may find yourself moving in different circles to the friends you may have had previously. You may meet your mothers’ group and find you either love them or have nothing in common. If you have a desire to stay active, navigate your way toward groups of likeminded mums. Finding a mums and bubs exercise group is a really great place to start.
3. Take time out just for you
In years gone by our children were cared for within a community, but for many of us now we are isolated away from close family and have a limited network of people to ask for help. But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Make it a priority to work out the best way for you and your family to allow some ‘mum time out’ – whether this is to exercise, sleep, take a relaxing bath, read a magazine or whatever you choose to do to re-energise yourself. It’s true that you can’t be the best mum you can be if you are running on empty. A happy mama = a happy baby, and mama isn’t happy if she’s complexly exhausted.
4. Listen to your body
Slow down and listen to your body. Becoming a mother is a really great opportunity to learn to love, respect and appreciate what your body has done and can do. Many of us fall into the trap of pushing through niggles or signs because we are focused on a goal which can lead to further injury and weakness down the track. Don’t be afraid of pausing for a moment to really listen to your body and adapt your workouts and training accordingly or with the help of an experienced trainer.
5. Try to let go
Many of us have expectations of how life should be, especially when we have children. Lots of us previously lead lives where we were able to control the majority of things around us and so when things don’t go to ‘plan’ with our baby, it can create a huge amount of stress. Having unrealistic expectations and holding yourself to the ‘picture perfect’ birth or mothering experience can contribute toward PND. Babies and children are unpredictable and by releasing the pressure of how we think things should be and accepting instead how they ARE, we allow ourselves more room to remain happy and healthy emotionally.