Becoming a parent is an exciting time full of new emotions and responsibilities. Children are able to bring about a special kind of love and compassion in caregivers’ lives. While babies give rise to endless amounts of joy and laughter, they also require what feels like all of the parent’s time and energy. While some parents and caregivers seem to have the balance of self-care and caring for children figured out, some struggle with saving time for themselves. It is hard to take care of one’s own basic needs while also taking care of another little human’s needs. For some, caring for a baby takes every ounce of energy leaving little if any extra, but it is important to take breaks, reflect on self needs, relationships, interests, and identity.
But how do we do this? The following is a Permissions List to remind those in postpartum and the first year of parenting, how to allow yourself those often little moments.
Say to yourself…
● “It is okay to take time for myself.”
● “I am a good parent that deserves as much care as I give to my child/children.”
● “I am doing my best and I am proud of myself!”
● “I am valuable, needed, and loved and am providing valuable, needed love to my child and self.”
It is also ok to say…
● “I am not doing my best, but the baby is safe and fed, I am safe and fed and that’s as much as I can manage
● “I am not feeling ok. It’s really hard some days. I need more support.”
● “I don’t know how to support or care for my partner right now. All I have the energy to do is care for the baby
and myself. I need more support.”
● “I feel like a different person in a different body and worry that other people think differently about me too.”
For the following "Permissions List", print this page and fill in responses or click here for a 1-page printer-friendly pdf.
Build a support network. Friends and family that are available to help.
List of the people close to you that are available to help out or watch your baby while you are taking a nap, eating a meal by yourself, taking a shower, or going out for a bit.
By building a group of supportive people who also have experience with parenting, the stress of becoming a parent, classes, and outside resources (such as breastfeeding support, doulas, childcare), one can create a support system to fall back on when the stressors of being a caregiver get overwhelming. Write a list of the first people that came to mind. Below are a few CCCN members who offer support (see Directory for more!)
● Labor. Love. Latch.
● Boonbani Birth Doula Services
● SLO Birth & Doula Collective
● Jennifer Stover Moving Toward Ease
Food is fuel, so make sure to eat and even treat yourself!
Staying nourished and hydrated is extremely important during this time. Proper nutrition will help one’s body to heal as well as restore the energy that we all know it takes to be a parent. Preparing and sharing meals can also be a cultural and social element that others might want to do to support you in this time. Share this with some who ask what they can do to help you or make time to prepare your own favorites that bring you comfort, joy, and nutrition.
List some meals that you love to prepare
List some of your favorite yummy treats
What are some meals or treats, or grocery staples you give permission for someone to be able to prepare or leave for you?