New Moms Hardwired for Self-Sacrifice?:
Part 2 by Victoria
When I shared with my friends and family the good news that I was
pregnant with twins, they all said two words to me, "Get help."
That was the best advice I received. Now, you might be saying, "But
I can't afford help," or "I could never leave my baby
with anyone else!" I said that too. Learning to trust a stranger
with the most precious thing in your life is scary. Also, hiring
a full-time, or even an occasional babysitter, can be costly. However,
there are several alternatives to taking out a second mortgage on
your home in order to get a breather.
1. Postpartum Doulas. Some hospitals now offer, free of charge,
the services of a part-time postpartum doula for the first few weeks
after giving birth. Ask your hospital, and if it's offered, take
it. The first few weeks can be particularly difficult and having
someone around who's trained to work with babies and postpartum
moms is enormously helpful. Let her take over for an hour or more
so you can rest - the most important self-care activity in the beginning.
To find out more about doula care check Doulas of North America.
Their website is www.dona.org.
2. Mother's Helper. Investigate the availability of teenagers in
your neighborhood who might want to earn a few bucks helping out
with grocery shopping, laundry or washing dishes. This will buy
you some time so you can rest, exercise, or play in your garden
while baby is napping. Notice I'm not suggesting you allow the teen
to baby-sit. Trusting someone so young with a newborn is risky.
But, she can help out with those daily tasks which always need to
be done, but not necessarily by you. For detailed tips on how to
find a babysitter you can trust, visit my website at www.newmommygifts.com/articles.
3. Baby-sitting Swaps. Is there another new mother in your neighborhood?
If she's someone you've gotten to know and trust, suggest a babysitting
swap. For example, one morning or evening you watch her little one,
and on alternate days she watches yours.
4. Daddy. Like my friend, if you're married or are co-parenting
with the baby's father, work around his schedule. Don't get caught
in the mental trap that as a mommy you are the only qualified parent
to care for baby. Give him a chance at being a father. Chances are
he'll get better at it with every opportunity.
5. Network. Check with other mothers and within mothers' groups
for referrals to child caregivers. Working outside the agencies
allows you to keep the costs down. If you chose this route, you'll
need to check all references thoroughly, and spend the first several
days or weeks monitoring your babysitter's interaction with your
child. For other important tips on hiring the right caregiver, you
can visit my website at www.newmommygifts.com.
6. Support. Speaking of mothers groupsÉfind one that's right for
you, join it and take advantage of the support available. Denise
Theberge, Ph.D. mother of two and clinical psychologist in private
practice in Santa Clarita, California says, "Isolation can
lead to negative feelings about oneself. Emotional contact with
others of similar experience is healing." You may want to visit
www.mommyandme.com to see if there's a Mommy & Me playgroup in your
area. If you're a stay-at-home mom, www.familyandhome.org is a good
resource. You can also do a "Google Search" for "mom's
support groups" to find a variety of special interest support
groups in your area. If you do happen to have multiples, look into
the Mothers of Twins Club (www.nomotc.org.) There's a chapter in
just about every city. If you can't find an appropriate mother's
support club in your town, start one. Chances are other parents
are looking to join one too.
7. Combo Time. Find ways to bring baby along while you engage in
self-nurturing activities. A good example of this is the mom who
continues to run her same route as before the baby was bornÉthis
time with a jogging stroller. Also investigate child care at your
gym, yoga studio or salon. There is the sweetest young girl who
cares for my twins in a colorful room at the salon while I'm having
my hair done. A friend of mine who is a new mom enjoys the driving
to Santa Barbara where her mother lives. This trip combines visiting
relatives, cool ocean breezes and a loving parent to baby-sit while
she and her husband enjoy an evening out.
8. Relax into the Moment. When it's not logistically possible to
take a personal break, a shift in perspective can be valuable. Tracy
Rosberg, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and mother of "Irish
triplets" (that's twins plus one a year younger) says, "Many
new mothers find themselves thinking about how many things they
need to do, and worry about how they'll get a chance to do them.
It's anxiety provoking. Therefore, it's helpful, and so much more
freeing to make a conscious effort to be in the moment as often
as you can. Consciously relax into the task at hand. A good way
to do that is to simply breathe and ask your self, 'What am I doing
right now?' Maybe the time you're rocking your baby to sleep can
be a nurturing moment for you as well."
Finding ways to balance your life and stay centered is not only
important for you, but for your baby as well. Your newborn deserves
a mother who can be fully present with him or her. Theberge warns
new moms "not to look to her baby for happiness. That's too
much responsibility for an infant." Instead she encourages
moms to "find happiness within themselves, then bring that
to your baby."
After I began to take little bits of time each day to nurture myself,
I became more relaxed and confident as a mother. I would say out
loud, "I can do this!" and really mean it. I felt more
balanced as a woman. And, perhaps the greatest benefit, was that
I was able to form a stronger and more loving bond with my baby
girls that continues to this day.
Victoria Loveland-Coen is an author, speaker and entrepreneur. She
is the author of The Baby Bonding Book and co-creator of The Baby
Bonding Book on CD. Her newest creation is The New Mommy Coupon
Book, Or 28 Ways to Help Her Get Through the Day. Visit her website:
www.newmommygifts.com for more parenting articles and fun gifts
that nurture the nurturer.
Article Source: www.ladypens.com