No, this post isn’t about diapers, though you might take the title of it to mean that.
I am currently working on the story of your birth, which I hope to publish here soon, but it’s taking longer than I thought. I’ve already spent two evenings downstairs at the cafe, sitting outside after you’ve gone to bed, but I’m still not finished. I hope to finish soon, as you are already two months old and memories are starting to fade.
Even if I haven’t finished writing your birth story yet, I find myself sometimes wanting to discuss little bits of it. Like today, I want to talk about how important I have found it, these past few months, to take care of myself so I can take care of you. That whole put-your-oxygen-mask-on-first theory.
By taking care of myself, I’m of course talking about getting enough sleep and eating well, but it goes beyond that. Small touches, I have found, just make a big difference in my overall well-being. A few months ago, I received this book, The Yummy Mummy Manifesto, which is not as silly a read as the title may suggest. In her book and on her blog, Anna Johnson emphasizes the importance of small indulgences in the postnatal period. In her section on what to gift for baby showers, she suggests things for the mother like a posh eye cream and organic floral water sprays like rose and lavender, a cashmere wrap for the hospital, enough frozen entrees for a month, a postnatal yoga DVD and yoga mat, a stack of new towels tied with a ribbon, etc etc. She also suggests for new moms to surround themselves with small indulgences, her examples are a tin of new tea, comfy slippers, one or two baths or showers by candlelight per day, this month’s Italian Vogue by the nursing station, something delicious but healthy in the fridge like creme fraîche and wild honey or organic dark chocolate, a bottle of cold French champagne, fresh mint for tea, etc.
I love this idea, and I have found that such small things have made a big difference in my mental health over the past few weeks. (I was searching for the right words there. Mental health makes it sound like the last few weeks have been horribly difficult. They haven’t. I just mean during the exhausting days and when I can’t take any time for myself). In the hospital, I set up one of the sterile rolling tables with these sort of items. My books about birth, the New Mother’s Survival guide, photo of dog, herbal teas, a lavender face spray, Earth Mama Angel Baby stretch oil and massage oil and lip balm, Burts Bees Mama Bee foot cream, lavender silk eye pillow, a tin of Nivea, prenatal vitamins, etc. In the midst of exhaustion and stressful situations, I found this to be a calming, nurturing place. I think that’s why I took a picture of this table.
Every morning now, even if I’m not leaving the house and will be wearing yoga pants all day and slippers all day, before I drink my morning tea I put on some perfume. Every evening before we go to bed, after I’ve put you in the bassinet, I spend ten minutes in Viparita Karani, just like I’ve always done. I take a lot of pleasure in taking just a few minutes for myself, even if it doesn’t take much time at all. As Anna Johnson says in her book, “A dirty diaper isn’t the end of the world. Make that cup of tea first if you really need it”.
The next time I come across a pregnant mother wondering what to bring to the hospital, this is what I would tell her. And also to take the advice of taking care of yourself a step further, to really treat yourself well. This is a tiring time as it is, it’s not the time to feel guilty about thinking about yourself.
But all that said, I have to say that sometimes the biggest indulgence feels like the afternoons when you are napping in your swing and I am playing some random music foryou, John Lennon, or Riders on the Storm, or the Flaming Lips, and I just watch you. That is the best balm of all.