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When Mama Is Happy

I am thrilled to be a surprise addition to The Brilliant Mama Blog Tour organized by Jenni at Mamahhh! There is a very special giveaway at the end of this blog post.

Did you read Kate Cropp’s post yesterday? Her expertise with breastfeeding is renowned in Nashville! Check out her blog at Nashville Birth & Babies.

Even though the blog tour is winding down, you can still sign up: Brilliant Mama Blog Tour… there will be an after-the-tour bonus going out to the mamas who’ve signed up. Don’t miss out!

When Jenni at Mamahhh first invited me to write for The Brilliant Mama Blog Tour, I thought, “that sounds cool”. However, I was overwhelmed with taking care of two sick boys, bogged down with work, and trying to prepare for our vacation that I just left it behind me as a fleeting thought on our way to Virginia. After we were settled back at home and my boys were feeling better, I gave Jenni a call to say I was sorry for dropping the ball on the blog tour and some of my other duties. She was very gentle with me and understood, AND she offered me the opportunity to complete a Baker’s Dozen and be a bonus blogger if I was up for it. So, here it is…

I’ve been reading what the other Mamas had to say, and it’s a complete joy to be reassured and validated as a mother. The bloggers have been honest and raw. I appreciate and value when moms get real. One of the common threads is the idea of self-love and care. I don’t think it is repetitive at all. I think we’re on to something!

I’ve always struggled with the concept of self-care and self-love. I was taught to put other’s needs before your own. Even though I cherish the things I was taught as a child, I believe our culture tends to swing the pendulum in one direction or the other. We can go to the extreme in either case; we’re either too ego-centric or too selfless. There’s a balance in there, and it’s not the same for everyone. But I think when we find that place for us personally, we thrive.

The act of mothering is selfless. So for us to balance the pendulum swinging we have to actively and consciously take care of ourselves. Have you ever heard that phrase: If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy? I’m originally from Georgia, so I grew up on that saying. I’d like to spin it and say, “When Mama is happy, everyone can be happy.” We, as mothers, HAVE to do things for ourselves just for the hell of it…because we’re worth it. Whether it be taking a walk by ourselves, having a Girl’s Night, or whatever it is that makes us feel cared for. I’m going to talk about massage and healing touch because that’s my background. It’s what I do.

Everyone knows that massage helps you unwind and relax! It doesn’t stop there. A massage allows your muscles to unclench, your blood pressure to lower, your heart rate to slow down, and the stress hormones to drop. It reduces pain, elevates your mood, treats the common discomforts of pregnancy and postpartum, and prepares a woman physically, emotionally, and mentally for labor and motherhood.

Why is it then that some women don’t take advantage of such sheer GOODNESS? Here are three things that I hear most and creative ways to overcome our challenges for loving ourselves.

1 – TIME 

“I don’t have time to get a massage. Our schedules are too crazy.” I encourage moms to set realistic goals. Some women can find the time twice a month, once a month, or once a season.  A mom has to figure out for herself what her realistic goal can be, but planning it out will ensure that it actually happens. Most moms can carve out a couple of hours for themselves with a little bit of planning and rearranging.

2 – MONEY

When you have a sweet addition to the family or preparing for your baby, a lot of people have a shift in their finances. Life costs more, you’re trying to save, or one of you might not be working as much. I believe that women are creative beings, and they can find the money somewhere. It may be that you save some on your groceries or somewhere else on your budget and can allocate it to self-care. There are holidays and celebrations like baby showers, birthdays, the Holidays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day. We can always find something to celebrate. Ask for a massage gift certificate or package instead of another kitchen appliance. If you do have extra money, put it into your self-care budget.

3 – CHILDCARE

I know it can be hard to find someone to take care of your new baby or even trust someone to watch after him/her. Trust me. As a doula, I know the struggles of childcare, but because of what I do, I’ve learned to trust and let go of control. When I’m gone for work or doing something for myself, I know that they may not be going to bed the way they would normally, or their food selection might not be to my standards. But everyone has always survived. One of my pet peeves is when a partner is ready and willing to take care of their baby, but mom won’t stop instructing or breathing down their necks. No, it may not unfold as you would want, but let your partner have a chance. Let them have the chance to figure out on their own how to put their son or daughter down or how to cope or manage a parenting situation. When you get back, everyone will be there. And they’ll be fine. It will build his confidence and more than likely give him even more respect for what you do. There are grandparents and plenty of friends that are more than willing to hold your baby while you take care of you. You just have to ask and let them. I’ve had grandparents, dads, and friends come to a massage and play with baby at a nearby park, run errands, or even sit in the waiting area. I’ve had babies come to the massage and either sleep or cuddle with mom.

I do want you all to know that although I write all of this, I struggle with it too. It’s finding the right balance in taking care of our families and ourselves. I can say these things because they are lessons I’m ALWAYS learning too. Letting go of control, getting creative, and feeling so happy after I’ve done something for myself. Sometimes I forget how good it feels to take care of me, but it’s a feeling we need to harbor and nurture! When I’m happy and nurtured, I can give myself more readily to my children.

I asked some moms how prenatal and postpartum massage was helpful and WORTH IT. Here’s what they had to say.

“Taking the time for a prenatal massage was not only a wonderful gift to myself for the work my body was doing, but also a gift to my unborn baby who benefited from the reduced stress and cortisol levels like I did!”

“After the birth of my daughter I felt great…except for my lower back. My postpartum massage released the tension that was preventing me from being comfortable nursing and caring for my new baby.”

“Prenatal massage helped me tap into a meditative state I would later utilize during the intense physical task of labor and childbirth. It was definitely worth it to tune into my body under professional hands.”

“I was able to treat myself, reward for my body. Relaxed and cleared my thoughts…touch who doesn’t enjoy that.”

“Pregnancy massage is a relaxing, rejuvenating, realigning time for a tired and changing body to prepare for the life giving opening that is necessary. Postpartum massage is grounding, healing, and reconnecting with one’s own self. And restful.”

“Prenatal massage helps me feel reconnected to my body and to my baby, grounds me, relaxes me and reduces my pain and discomfort. It makes me feel like a human again.”

As a very special thanks for visiting the Brilliant Mama Blog Tour, I’m giving away a free 60-minute massage! (Redeemable only in Nashville!) Check out the details below on how you can enjoy balance & better self-care!

Click on the link below to leave a comment about how you create balance through self-care to have your name entered into the giveaway.

Gaia Birth and Bodywork Giveaway