You are a new mother.
You have not slept in days.
You have not showered.
You cannot even gather enough strength to eat.
You thought working after a night of partying was tough, but nothing quite compares to the fatigue you are currently experiencing.
As a pre and postnatal movement specialist and Osteopathic manual practitioner specialized in women’s health, I have seen and heard it all. I am also conveniently at an age where all of my best friends are having babies, which means that I have witnessed it all. The birthing of a mother is a process. One can never be totally prepared for it, regardless of how many books one reads or prenatal classes they attend. It often exhausting, frustrating and the most challenging responsibility one has ever chosen for themselves. After the delivery of the baby, the focus becomes solely on maintaining a healthy and happy baby that the mother often gets “forgotten” along the way.
So, below, are five things I wish every new mama could hear, especially during those difficult minutes, hours or weeks.
1 – “GO SLOWLY”
You just carried a little being for 9 to 10 months, and you essentially ran a 24 hour marathon (depending on how long you laboured for), you have had significant tearing or a major surgery. You need to take the time to nourish yourself and heal! Rest when you can, and take your time resuming tasks or exercises that you used to do before baby. If you ruptured your ACL in your knee, you would NOT assume you could play in your soccer game the next day, let along walk, run, jump the same as you did prior to your ACL rupture. Go slow, give yourself time to rest, recover and build up the strength to return back to activities safely.
2 – “BE TENDER WITH YOURSELF”
One of my favourite yoga instructors said this to me, and it has never left me. Be tender and be kind with yourself as you navigate this new role. Have you played an instrument, sport, danced, or acquired a new crazy skill before? Were you a professional from the start? Probably not. Motherhood is a skill, it does not come as naturally as we all may think. Changing diapers, interpreting cries, soothing the baby is not a reflection of your self-worth or your capabilities of mothering. It takes time, it takes patience, just like everything else in life.
3 – “ASK FOR HELP”
Women are incredible and when women support other women anything is possible. There are plenty of resources available and communities on Facebook and IG which connect like-minded mamas. Do not be afraid to reach out to other moms or friends, chances are whatever you are experiencing another woman has also muddled through it. You are not alone, even if you might feel like it at times, trust me there are other women wondering the same thing. Small suggestions, use your friends and family to hold the baby while you shower or eat. You are worthy of it and baby cuddles are the best gift anyone could receive.
4- “DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF”
Comparison, is the thief of all joy. Easier said than done at times, trust me, I know. Especially when most of our lives are spent on social media nowadays. Motherhood during this social media era is even more challenging. It is hard for anyone not to compare themselves on Instagram or Facebook on a daily basis. The new culture of mom influencers can often perpetuate anxiety as well as watching celebrities miraculously “bounce back” post baby. There is a lot we are unconsciously soaking in and assuming to be reality. I know you already know this, but it is NOT! It is a collection of tiny squares that reflect the pretty and the good. Do not compare your experience to another’s, you are on your own trajectory. Maybe consider taking an IG detox!
5- “YOU ARE DOING AN INCREDIBLE JOB”
Everyone, wherever they are, are doing the best that they can at that given moment. Talk to yourself as you would talk to your child and pat yourself on your back.
Florence was first introduced to alternative therapeutic modalities in her teens, as a dancer and competitive athlete. After high school, Florence furthered her dance training and obtained her Honors Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from McMaster University. Teaming up with the artistic director of the McMaster University contemporary dance company, she developed introductory dance classes for children and teens across Hamilton. Inspired to further her teaching skill-set, she obtained her yoga teacher certification in Hatha yoga. Florence teaches across the city and combines her knowledge of human kinetics, dance, strength and conditioning, and yoga. Teaching movement to pre and postnatal women, and coaching as a birth doula, she gained a unique perspective into the supportive systems available to new and expecting mothers. Florence has an affinity for the holistic approach to women’s care. She is passionate about the assimilation of progressive knowledge to educate and empower women at any stage of life including: pre-conception, pregnancy and recovery after birth. Most recently, Florence completed her five years of study at the Canadian College of Osteopathy in Toronto. As a manual therapist, she believes in having her patients actively participate in their healing. She currently is working to complete her thesis which will examine how osteopathic treatment effects diastasis-recti abdominus in postnatal women.
Florence is currently accepting a limited number of new clients on Thursday afternoons and evenings.