There are a lot of emotions that come with having a baby. It does not matter if this is your first baby or your fifth. You go through so many changes. Along the way, I know that some of us, mothers, tend to lose ourselves in being just that: mothers. How to feel like yourself again after having a baby is no easy feat, but there are ways to get you back to feeling like more than just a mother. I am going to tell you four ways that helped me get back to feeling like Jada instead of Dito’s mama.
Journal & Reflect
I love to write, hence the creation of this blog. I struggled with what to write when it came to journaling though. When I decided that I was tired of not feeling like myself, I decided to ask myself a couple of questions to get me started. What did you like before you had baby? Do these things still interest you? What brings you joy now? What’s something that you want to try?
For me, I had always loved recreational reading, especially when I had time to before I had Dito. I made it a point to include it on my bucket list. I am currently working towards reading 12 books this year. It doesn’t have to be reading for you though. Maybe you liked going bowling on the 5th of every month with your friends. You may even have enjoyed spending summer nights outside sketching to improve your art skills. Whatever it was that you enjoyed, ask yourself if it is still a passion and how you can get back to that. After mapping this out, really reflect on how you can achieve the goal of doing what interests you.
Soak Up the Sun
The sun is so important, especially for our mental health. The sun supplies us with much-needed vitamin D. For me, I know that my mood worsens in the winter and I entirely blame this on the lack of sunshine. If I am stuck inside for several days, I get cabin fever but after taking a walk outside in the sunshine, I feel rejuvenated and ready to do whatever needs taking care of. After I gave birth, I stayed inside for the entire first week. After that, I would take Dito for walks so that he could get the fresh air, and I could soak up the sun. He slept better and I mentally and physically felt better. I would call it our “sun time.”
If you are not in a position to get outside as much, try to make it a priority. Use your lunch break to take a walk, turn it into a date night, or as a last resort, order a sun lamp. Obviously, do not sit in extreme heat temperatures for too long, and ALWAYS make sure to apply sunscreen every single morning and as needed. (I felt like it was super important to add that)
Schedule Time For Yourself
I have yet to take myself on a “date” but when Mando takes Dito out of the house and I am alone with our dog, I am able to take a step back and think of what I want to do. I have the chance to blast my music, binge-watch the newest season of Ozark, or even just nap. Having that alone time is so important because you cannot and should not be constantly available at all times for others, even your kids. I know that sounds harsh but you are allowed to have a couple of hours, an afternoon, or even a day to yourself.
Couple dates, if you’re dating or married, also set the tone for doing things you enjoy without the baby. On New Year’s Eve, Mando and I were able to go to dinner and not worry about whether or not Dito would eat or get fussy since he was with his PopPop. We were able to fully relax and enjoy the meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love outings with my son but I don’t need to do everything with him, and it’s the same for you and your kid(s). Make time for you.
I know what you’re thinking: I am not trying to lose weight or gain muscle or whatever. Exercising does so much more than change your physical appearance. Exercise affects your mood, your energy, and your motivation. I think that I can speak for most people in saying that I have never felt upset about working out after I’ve worked out. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins and that is why you feel so good after working out, even if you are so. Exercise is good for your health, even if it means just taking a 30-minute walk. After I work out, I feel motivated to get things done and find the next thing that will make me happy. The road back to you-ville is a long one with lots of hills. You will not just wake up one day and say, “Okay, I feel like myself now; I’m fine!” This is a process and consistency is key. If you put in the effort to find yourself and your passions, you will see results in your energy, your mental health, and your relationship with your kid(s). Now go put on a face mask, kick your feet up, and remember: you are more than just a mother.