The importance of self-care for moms
Written by Sara Dooly Bryant.
First, let me say that my focus for this post revolves around my knowledge and learning about self-care following the loss of my first child and the experience of my pregnancies after that loss. I am an avid advocate of pregnancy and infant child loss education. Self-care after child loss is imperative. Self-care during pregnancy after child loss is also extremely important.
Self-Care – My Story: After Pregnancy/Infant Child Loss
In April of 2014, my life changed forever. My husband and I were expecting our first baby, a girl named Faith Melody. We found out around 20 weeks that my cervix was shorter than normal and dilated. I had to have an emergency cerclage in an attempt to keep it shut so I could continue to carry her.
After the cerclage procedure, I still had some dilation, causing my water to break prematurely and then a full placental abruption, causing us to lose our precious daughter at 24 weeks and 2 days. We were devastated, to say the very least. Even though our families came to our sides for support, and I have a wonderful, loving, caring husband, I still felt alone. I did not want to go on living. My baby girl was gone and I just wanted her here with me.
Beginning My Grief Journey & Self-Care
After Faith died, I just wanted to do the same. It was all I could do some days to get out of bed and take a shower. I simply felt like I lost my reason for living. My husband an
d the rest of our families were so loving and kind during this time. My husband kept encouraging me to at least get up, shower, fix my hair and make-up, and look presentable.
After a while, this got “normal” for me again. I won’t lie though, at first, I just did not care about any of that stuff. I had to realize that even though my daughter died, I did not. I still had a wonderful husband and others who loved me who needed me to move forward (not move on).
My Self-Care Continued
After some more time had passed, I began to get back into regular life. When you go through something as dramatic as losing a child, I say you will learn to live with your “new normal”. You will not ever be the same as you were before. You will move forward, love, smile, laugh, and live, but you will not be the same person you were before. Self-care is an imperative part of this moving forward in life.
You may start a new hobby to occupy some of your time. I started a blog and started making jewellery. Both things gave me a creative outlet where I could “go” to get away from feeling down. I wanted to share Faith’s story and my story with others in an effort to begin my healing and to help others as well.
Self-Care During Pregnancy After Loss
A little over seven months after Faith died, we found out that I was pregnant. Let me just say that this pregnancy was a lot of different things for me. It was scary, especially at first. I did get stressed and was afraid of losing another baby. However, with some time, a LOT of doctor and specialist visits, and self-care, the stress became less and I could truly enjoy the pregnancy for the miracle that it was. Joy is now our amazing, bright-eyed, smiling, laughing 2-year-old daughter. She is a true blessing.
During my pregnancy with Joy, I did have some restrictions but was able to take nice soothing showers, go shopping, enjoy foods that I liked, listen to relaxing music (and play it on my belly), pray, and read my Bible. These are all things that were self-care for me during this time. I focused on the positive things going on and enjoyed my frequent ultra-sounds to see her growing inside me. Some people may find this stressful, but I had to CHOOSE to live positively and enjoy my pregnancy for each day as I went along. God blessed me and I wanted to be thankful.
I am now a little over 28 weeks pregnant with our second baby after loss, another girl, Hope Noelle. This pregnancy has been even less stressful than the last and has been going very well. I try to focus on relaxing things that I enjoy. Even if that just means taking time to bake or laying down to rest. I also do enjoy reading my Bible, listening to relaxing music, warm showers, etc… I have really been enjoying the doctor visits to see Hope on the ultra-sounds as well. Joy is so cute when she goes along, as she points up to the screen and says “Baby Hope”. It is precious and heartwarming to see. This is part of my self-care as well.
I am currently writing a package for women and families that are going through pregnancy after loss. The package focuses on how to go through pregnancy after loss joyfully, as God intended for pregnancy to be. The package will be available at the beginning of 2018.
My hope is to help as many women and families as possible, as going through pregnancy after loss can be very stressful. It is very important to focus on self-care as a pregnant mother and as a family during this time. Subscribe to my blog, Polkadots & Plaid to receive updates and release information!