“In the unlikely event that the cabin loses pressure, apply the oxygen mask to yourself before helping your child and those around you”
— your friendly flight attendant
Why? Why not panic and throw yourself at your child to make sure that he immediately gets the oxygen mask?
What if you have two children? Three? Four?
What if your child doesn’t understand what is going on and fights you and pulls the mask off for 30 seconds?
Too late. You just passed out from lack of oxygen. Now you are useless.
You must take care of yourself if you want to be of any use at all to others.
For Mama, On Caring For Yourself
Hey Mama –
This letter is to you from me, Katie Madden. I hope I have your attention, because what I am going to say is incredibly important.
You are responsible FOR yourself.
- Feed yourself. Ask others for prepare food and remind you to eat it, as you will have difficulty getting yourself fed.
- Drink plenty. Ask others to bring your water and fill your water bottle for you. You may even need to ask someone to hold straw up to your mouth so you can drink while breastfeeding if you don’t have a free hand. If you are struggling to drink water, drink anything that’s hydrating – gatorade, sparkling water, coconut water, herbal tea. If you’re drinking caffeine, remember to chase that with a hydrating beverage.
- Clean yourself. Brush your teeth, wash your face, do peri-care, shower.
- Pee often and leave extra space and time to poop. Close the bathroom door and tell your partner to do the best to keep the baby quiet.
- Ask for what you need. Don’t wait for someone to offer, ask.
- Follow your body and move in a way that feels good. If your body doesn’t like certain movements, reach out to an amazing postpartum
- Give opportunities to rest your body and let sleep come. Rather than telling you to nap when the baby naps, which many new mothers have trouble with, I am telling you to give yourself permission to rest your body and quiet your mind whenever you can. Turn down the lights, close the blinds, lay in bed. Close your eyes. Breathe. Listen to music or a meditation. Remind yourself that you are ok and the baby is ok.
- Expect and don’t apologize for the emotional and hormonal intensity of new motherhood. If you are ever having thoughts that scare you or worry you, reach out for help.
You are responsible TO your baby
- Care for your baby. But, remember that your baby is not you and if he is uncomfortable it is not your fault. The empathy and vulnerability of motherhood can be intense. Remind yourself that you can be with your baby while he is struggling without feeling like you are responsible for his experience.
Please take care of you, Mama.