Having a baby changes you on a deep level. This is why I wanted to be well prepared before having a baby. I wanted to make sure that I had the maturity and stability in order to take care of another life with Gabriel. It has been a beautiful experience, but not one without challenges. During pregnancy I was researching, reading, taking courses and watching videos to prepare me for labor, giving birth, and child care, but I couldn’t have prepared for the lessons I needed to learn as a person to be the best mom I could be.
One of the biggest lessons I have had to relearn after having a baby is just how important balance is in life! When we swing one way - too far to the left or to the right and engage in any extreme for too long, we will lose our balance, fall, and burn ourselves out!
Since the beginning of this year, I’ve really had to focus on assessing and being honest with my energy levels. I’ve had to make changes to my plans when necessary in order to honor my body and mind when they needed rest! My life has looked like balance in self-care, in my business, in keeping our space clean, in taking care of my baby and my family, and in giving myself time to do the things I love to do, but it didn’t look like that in the beginning. When Rheya was first born, I was met with the tough reality that my life as I knew it was changed forever, and that I was going to have to adapt in order to keep our ship afloat! Here are some of the lessons that I have learned. I hope that these lessons I am passing onto you will help you as well!
It is so important to prioritize your physical and mental health postpartum because of how much our hormones plummet after having a baby! During pregnancy, our estrogen and progesterone levels increase to the equivalence of taking 100 birth control pills a day! After we give birth, it's like we are completely coming off of these pills cold turkey! You bet you can feel really emotional, fatigued, and unstable in your mind and body during this postpartum time. This is why it is so important to listen to your needs and get support where you can. This will help you to recover and heal after having your baby, and maintain your health moving forward while you are raising your baby. Remember, your baby needs you!
Make Your Needs A Priority
Just until recently, I had been spending every single waking moment of my time on Rheya and getting completely wrapped up in only taking care of her and not myself too! I was beginning to lose myself, having absolutely no energy left, and was feeling anxiety and waves of depression. The truth is, transitioning to becoming a mom is tough no matter what - even when it seems like you have it all together to the outside world! You’re never really fully ready to become a mom, but you can prepare for it with knowledge, love, patience, and stability. Motherhood really tests you in all aspects - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually!
On nights when Rheya just wouldn’t stop crying or wouldn’t go to sleep for hours on end, after having tried everything I could muster to calm her down - I would admit defeat and just sit down and cry with her. That’s all I could do after being strong for so long that I felt like I was going to crack. I just didn’t have the mental or emotional energy to be with her at this point - to hold her from a place of peace and awareness because I was so exhausted, hungry, worried, feeling guilty, feeling resentment, and all of my other suppressed emotions that I was bottling up. The demands of taking care of a newborn baby are real and they are present even when you are not feeling your best! Thankfully, nature is perfect in that a baby will cry until it’s needs are met for survival (and thank goodness for that!) A baby’s cry however, is something that can send you over the edge if you haven’t mastered patience - or if you have been hearing your baby cry without break for too long. In those times where I have almost been sent over the edge, I whip out my noise cancelling earphones and proceed to change her diaper or rock her to sleep. Although it's not ideal, its a tool that I have had to utilize when there is no one else that can take her at the moment.
Although I had a dark period of anxiety and depression a little after I had become a new mom, I am grateful to say that I didn’t spend my entire time in that head space and I was recently able to snap out of this cycle of burnout and depression!
I have my husband Gabriel to thank for that. One day he saw how much I was struggling and recognized the pattern that was sending me into a depression. He pointed out that I couldn’t give my 1000% on everything! That it was impossible to do this and to continue to do so because it would mean neglecting other important areas of my life all together such as taking care of myself and doing the things that bring me joy! I had really ignored these areas of my life altogether, for days, and even weeks on end, but I hadn’t realized I was doing so! It can be an easy pattern to fall into when you are always thinking about your baby, taking care of your baby, doing research for your baby to be the best parent possible! After talking with him, we decided that it was okay and necessary for me to balance out the percentages in between all the areas of my life. Oh how I needed someone to just pull me aside and tell me that I was doing such a good job, and that it was okay to be selfish, to make sure I was still taking care of myself. Thankfully Gabriel was able to remind me of this.
Truly, my perfectionist mindset and driven personality were not going to realistically work day to day in taking care of Rheya because I absolutely needed to take care of me in order to take care of her! Before, my perfectionist tendencies were very useful to me in that I was able to learn so much about the human body, detoxification, and helping people heal, but for this area of my life, it wasn’t going to work!
So, although it was really difficult, I dropped my perfectionist ego and I listened. I identified what was really important to me in order to take care of the health of my body, of my mind, of my business, of my relationships, etc. I asked myself - what would create a happy Ailin that would be present and the best mom for Rheya, the best partner to Gabriel, the best detox specialist to my clients?
I knew I had to make adjustments. I had fallen into the pattern of bad habits - of eating less than ideal food, getting little sleep, and all my previous hobbies had been completely replaced with spending time searching the web for all the topics of baby care - for hours and hours without balance. Things needed to change - so I started making time for eating healthy raw vegan meals again, making time for rest and sleeping, making time for my hygiene and feeling good in my body, making time for creativity and writing, making time for my business, making time for Gabriel and me to nurture our relationship, making time to connect with family and friends, and making time to further my healing knowledge to keep my passion for natural healing burning and alive! Of course I don't always have time to work on every area every single day, but I make sure to make progress, even if its a little bit of progress in the direction that I want to go towards - towards the person that I want to be. A book that I highly recommend reading to kick bad habits to the curb and establish good habits again is Atomic Habits by James Clear. Reading this book and applying its teachings has been so helpful in reconnecting with myself again - the Ailin before becoming pregnant, before becoming a mommy to Rheya - and I'm starting to see her again!
Get in Some Good Regular Sleep
Another lesson I really had to learn was accepting help when I needed it. I had the mindset that I had to do it all myself to be a good mother and partner to Gabriel. For example, I thought that letting Gabriel sleep for 8 hours straight no matter what each night was me being considerate to him, but this was a dangerous thought I had to zap out of my mind. I realized that I also needed time to sleep uninterrupted for longer periods of time too (well, as long as a breast feeding mom can get!) ;)
When he watches her, I can get up to 2-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep since he can take care of the diapers in between in her feedings. Before, I couldn’t get more than 30 min. of sleep at a time because I definitely feel like Rheya feels my presence when I cosleep with her and she just doesn’t want to sleep! Recently, we have given her a bottle with my breast milk about once a week so that I can catch up on sleep and get a full 7-8 hours at a time if I am feeling really tired and on edge. I did wait a while to introduce the bottle to her since I wanted to make sure that breastfeeding was well established. I realized that I definitely needed this in order to function as a detox specialist and healer throughout the week and to be in the best state of mind when taking care of Rheya. Not getting enough sleep meant things like: brain fog, trouble focusing, forgetting words, an agitated nervous system, feeling bouts of sadness and anger, poor elimination, anxiety, and more. Things that were getting in the way of the life that I truly wanted to live - a life of balance, happiness, and health in which we were all thriving and growing together as a family!
I realized that as much as I love and adore my baby girl Rheya, we both needed some time away from each other throughout the day and night in order for me to rest to be there for her. She also needed to spend more time with her daddy that wants to take care of her so they could continue to grow in their daddy-daughter relationship together!
Although I don’t have family that lives nearby that can help us watch the baby on a regular basis, at least I have Gabriel on his days off and most nights so he can help out too. So, whatever help you have if you are a new mama, ask for it, accept it, and realize that you aren’t a bad mom - you haven’t failed by asking for or accepting help. You are accepting help so you can be the best mom to your baby because you love them so much! And that is a sign of a mom that is winning! Don’t let mom guilt take over your brain and influence your decisions!
Learn to be Present and Calm with Constant Change
Last lesson: things aren’t always going to go as you perfectly planned. You really have to be open to constant changes and live on your baby’s schedule. This may mean that you can’t get to your tasks right now at this minute, hour or even the same day or week. It can look like half finished laundry, dirty dishes, projects that haven’t been started, texts that haven’t been answered, and it’s all okay! I’ve learned to prioritize a few things each day. I ask myself - what is the most important thing to get done each day, and do my best to get them done and then give myself grace if I didn’t get to it because I had to take care of Rheya or myself first. Your baby’s demands will change each day as they grow, as does your levels of energy change each day. Some days will be smooth, and other days will be more chaotic! On some days you will have help and support and on other days you won't have help and support from others. Many times I have to multi-task while breast feeding to attend to work priorities that cannot wait, even though I wish I could be 100% present with Rheya at every breastfeeding, it just isn't possible right now, and I give myself grace with where I am right now in my life. Trust me when I say that you will have all the time to get to all your things, just breathe and prioritize and then use your time wisely with your baby!
All in all - Although life is very different now with a baby, it doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself, who you are as a person. You can make room for this new little one, and make adjustments to grow and evolve with your baby without ignoring your needs and wants completely! You are deserving of love and space and presence and time too. Give this to yourself! You got this mama!
If you want to work with me in the healing of your health issues, go to: www.spiritrawpicalhealing.com/services to book an appointment!
Until next time,
Ailin Duran - Detox Specialist + Iridologist