By Jennifer Sheridan Westdal
Taking care of a baby is hard work, it is important to remember you are not alone.
At the Coping with Change sessions currently running at the Birth Centre Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:30pm, we talk about some of the changes that happen once a baby enters your life. These sessions are ongoing and you can start up at any time. In the N.U.R.S.E. session we talk about importance of self care.
N.U.R.S.E. is broken down in the following points:
N is for Nourishment –
- Eat regular meals. If you don’t feel hungry, set regular times for snacks and light meals.
- Make it healthy and easy. Stock up on nutritious, east to prepare foods and snacks. The most important thing to do is eat, not cook. Avoid refined sugars as they can contribute to mood swings.
- Avoid dieting. Society puts pressure on all women to be thin, no matter what our natural body type and size. Try to eat from all food groups to get all the nutrients and energy your body needs. Allow your body to find its natural size.
U is Understanding – Our moods naturally go up and down because of hormones. When we understand that feelings are always changing, it helps us be gentle with ourselves when we’re are struggling with intense and difficult feelings. We might be surrounded by images of mothers who are always happy and content in their role, this is not how it really is for most mothers. Being unhappy or angry at times doesn’t mean that we don’t love our children or we don’t want to care for them.
- Listen to your body. Our bodies give us signs about how we are doing. When we ignore our signals, our bodies can find other ways – like physical illness – to get us to pay attention.
- Acknowledge your feelings. They will pass and it’s ok to have days that our moods are low. Everyone feels sad and disconnected from others sometimes.
- Accept your feelings. All emotions are okay. Try to accept your feelings without judging them or pushing them away.
- Change how we think and act. Think and do things that make you feel positive. Dwelling on the negative will make you feel worse, not better.
R is Rest and Relaxation –
- Make time to rest or relax each day. When you lack sleep, you don’t function as well as when you are rested.
- Reduce what you expect to get done in a day. Acknowledge that if you are able to take care of yourself and your child in a day, then you have done well.
- If you can’t sleep when your baby sleeps, taking a few minutes for yourself to relax can improve your day.
S is Self –
- Do things that you enjoy and make you feel good about yourself. We don’t always have the time to do all of the things that we did before we had children. We all need time for ourselves to restore our energy and enthusiasm.
- Explore new ideas or activities.
- Have hope. Know that you aren’t alone in feeling this way and that our lives are continually changing can make us feel better when times are difficult.
- Accept change. Having a baby changes everything about our lives. Give yourself time to adjust to all of the changes.
E is Energy –
- Physical activity can improve your mood, reduce stress and build energy.
If you would like more information about the Coping with Change postnatal education workshops, please call us at 204-947-2422 ext 113.
*Materials used adapted by Jody Thomson, WHC*