Your description of mothers “being lonely but never alone” is so perfect. What can mums do to reconnect to themselves, the person they were before children and how can we nurture friendships?
Such an important thing to highlight. We’ve all felt that disconnect with who we were before….the freedoms we had, the playfulness, the lack of eyebags… I find that writing a list of things that you love, noticing the things that make you happy. Make a point of filling your day with as many things that make you feel like you: music, podcasts, a 5-minute yoga snack, connecting even in a tiny whatsapp message/voicenotes with friends. Really small but crucially regular check ins with what makes you feel like you.
There’s an activity in The Supermum Myth which is writing a letter to your pre-mum self. Kind of catching up and connecting with her. Saying hello and meeting her where she is now. That’s such a valuable thing to do – and we also need to be able to grieve without guilt if there are elements of ourselves which we feel we have said goodbye to. It’s an important thing to do to be allowed to say goodbye, and feel that loss without feeling like it makes you a “bad mum” or someone who isn’t hugely grateful for what you have. Motherhood is such a complex space, and we need to be kind to ourselves for feeling mixed emotions within it.
It is not only our identity we feel we lose when we have children it is our bodies too! How can we recover our postnatal body?
Well, this is a huge question which merits more than a small answer (I’ve written an entire book about it…) but the main thing I want to say is that the “bounce back” culture is hugely toxic. Meet yourself where you are NOW. Honor the changes you’ve been through – instead of looking at the aesthetic, work on your inner strength. Go to a women’s health physio for a full pelvic floor and abdominal separation check. Work on your self-compassion skills to accept the permanence of things that you can’t change: scars and stretch marks are simply your gateways into motherhood.
Abdominal massage will help to moisturise and tone your skin and deep abdominals is essential post cesarean for helping to prevent scar tissue build-up, to enhance your pelvic floor function, and deepen your connection to your body. Pilates and pelvic floor work will transform your inner foundations and make you feel stronger and more in control of your emotional space: babies only get bigger so the physicality of motherhood gets more demanding not less over time, and we need to be physically strong.
Who cares about being back in your pre-pregnancy jeans if you’re still wetting yourself – focus on that first, and the aesthetic as a side-effect of that, and you’re on a stronger footing for an emotionally healthy recovery. My Postnatal Pilates book comes out in March 2020 and there is a whole load of tips and exercises and advice in there. But in the meantime, download @squeezyapp and go to your GP to be referred to physio. I think we’re not honest with mums about the mojo reboot taking years, for some women, it’s more about looking really closely at our relationship to our bodies rather than being angry with our bodies for not conforming to society’s aesthetic ideals.
Optimise your nutrition: bone broths are the most powerful healing tool for our cells that are working their socks off to heal on very deep levels for us. Move every day: breathe, stretch, move. Speak your body’s language: drink enough water, move enough, breathe enough. Listen to your body and don’t put up with pain or pelvic floor dysfunction such as incontinence, as you’re basically telling your body it doesn’t matter and isn’t worthy of healing. It is. You are. Those are the most basic and most important elements for a full recovery, in mind, body and spirit.
You can follow Anya on Instagram and follow her blog at www.wellnesstoolkit.co.uk Buy The Supermum Myth HERE
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