We've all heard this a million times. Some of you have probably flown so much that this is the time you throw on your headphones, open up that book you've been meaning to finish, and zone out. But do you ever really think about why they ask you to help yourself first before helping others? It's very simple, if you run out of oxygen you pass out, you're then unable to help anyone else.
The same concept needs to be applied to everyday life, especially for women. If you don't take care of yourself first, who is going to take care of everyone else in your life? We live in a culture where women are expected to do it all, work, take care of the kids, our partners, our homes. Who the hell is taking care of us? Our culture makes things especially hard for new mothers. As a doula I see this all too often, mothers completely exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling as if they're failing. Struggling to do everything, riding a hormonal rollercoaster, trying to be an expert at things they've never even done before, all while putting on a smile.
After you gave birth would you have liked to have a month where you didn't have to lift a finger? All of your meals brought to you? Your other children cared for? Another women to be there to talk to and comfort you? All while you rest, recover and bond with your new baby? Sounds like a fairytale, right? In the United States yes it is, but in many other cultures this is the norm.
We're not all lucky enough to have friends, family members, or a community to help take care of us before, during, and after we give birth. To quote A MotherWomen Principle, "Mothers cannot give from a depleted source. Every mother needs emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual validation, nourishment, and support. When a mother is cared for, she, and her whole family will benefit."
So, when it comes time to plan for your birth remember that mothers need mothering too. Self care is not selfish. Please put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others. Hire a doula.