The first year of a child’s life can be an isolating time for mothers. Most of your time (if not all) is devoted to nurturing. It can be extremely challenging to take care of even basic needs such as brushing teeth, showering, or even just using the bathroom. Thinking about doing something like leaving the house, which likely was a simple, everyday occurrence prior to having a baby, can seem completely overwhelming.
The energy that it takes to leave the house can seem like an impossible barrier. However, always listening to thoughts such as “it’s just easier to stay home” or “I’m too tired to leave the house” may only feed into the isolation many new mothers experience. So what can one do?
Approach the situation by starting small. Instead of staying at home, ask your partner, mother, or friend to go for a walk around the block. Either have them help you get ready to come with you on your walk or ask them to stay home with baby while you go. It can help to first aim for a short walk, for just 5 minutes. Any degree of exercising will also help you improve the sleep that you do manage to get. Or pair a “for pleasure outing” when you already have an obligation like a doctor’s appointment. When you have to leave the house anyways, that takes away the largest barrier. The park, mall, library or the local community centre can be good places to go with a small baby. Notice how different you feel after allowing yourself to breathe fresh air and socialize. Although it may seem small, these small things can be really helpful. Be kind to yourself and give yourself credit for your success, no matter how small. It’s easy to forget that part of being a successful nurturer is making time to be nurtured as well.
Finally, if something gets in your way, as it so often does, be kind to yourself. Criticizing yourself may worsen your mood and give way to more isolation. Take a deep breath, tell yourself “it’s ok”, and make a new attainable plan.