Imagine sitting up in your bed nursing your babe at 3 am. Quietly looking out the window, while your partner sleeps blissfully next to you. Your baby coos and finally drifts off to sleep. You gently place your sweet little baby in the bassinet next to the bed, simultaneously saying a prayer for a successful transfer. It worked! Now your eyes close. Dreams enter. And then, not five minutes later, baby cries and you do it all over again. Sound familiar?
How about this one? Home alone with your darling baby. You offer a bottle. Baby, with a full belly, spits up between your breasts all the way down to your elastic waistband and you realize that you are desperate for the shower that feels so far away.
I could create a million of these scenarios with a million variables. Older siblings, twins, single parents, visiting family, social pressures, public places, you name it.
As a parent, doula, educator and lactation support person, I hear and see new parents regularly with their shoulders hovering somewhere around ear height. If not fully at the end of their rope, they are darn close to it. And why? My guess is because we are constantly hammered with the idea that babies are more precious than their parents are. It’s simple really. We will suffer so our children don’t have to. Makes sense, right? They are just babies after all.
But by setting ourselves up in this way, we all suffer, babies too. In the short term and the long. And, you know what, we know this. We know that if we are going to take care of others we have to take care of ourselves as well. We know this because on airplanes, every single time the flight attendant tells us we have to put our own mask on first. It’s hard though, right? I mean, how can we put our mask on when we can’t even find it?
(Click link at top to read the rest of this guest post from the amazing Samantha Huggins, Carriage House Birth co-owner and certified intuitive birth doula.)