So now that you are thinking of taking on this amazing journey MashAllah, my first dua for you is that may Allah (SWT) make it easy for you every step of the way InshAllah. Secondly, let's start talking about how to take care of the new......YOU =) Yes, YOU my beautiful friend. It may have come as a surprise because (been there heard that) everybody wants to only give you advice on how to best care for the little human being. However, the MOST important thing is that you start by practicing how to care for and love your own self.
Before, during and after I had my baby, I noticed that everyone wants to make sure you know what to do, but guess what? Allah (SWT) has blessed us all with this intrinsic knowledge that guides you as a parent each and every moment. If you feel worried, there is no need because just when you look at Allah (SWT)'s other creations you realize that He (SWT) is the first one that will always protect your little one and help him or her to grow. Sometimes, when you're driving, you may have seen ducks crossing the road with ducklings, or seen kittens being loved by mommy cats. None of those creations get parenting manuals or long sets of advice, they simply pay attention to their natural instincts that become super strong as soon as the baby is born =)
So, these simple habits will help you to nourish your own self.
*Deep Belly Breathing
Research has shown that focusing on one's breathing can help to calm and reconnect our mind and body. Deep breathing sends a signal to our mind so it can relax and let go of any worry or overwhelming emotions. You can lie down, put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. As you slowly inhale and exhale, only your belly should rise and fall, the hand on the chest should stay still. You can do this a few times a day.
Practice making dua for EVERYTHING and with full faith that Allah (SWT) is listening to every word that you are saying and every emotion that you are feeling. Whatever may be worrying you, hand it all over to Him. He (SWT) is always there waiting for us call upon Him so make Him the first one you go to for help.
I started writing journals a year after I had my baby and I wished I had done it sooner. Journaling is a great way to process your thoughts instead of letting your poor brain handle everything. Journals will help you so much along the way as you gain your new identity as a mother and have to balance it with others such as being a Muslim woman, a wife, a daughter and more. The love of children can make it difficult for us to want to focus on ourselves, but sooner or later your mind and body will begin to miss the old you. You will want to change up your routine and set some goals for yourself.
After you give birth, your muscles and bones will thank you if you develop a good habit of stretching. I find yoga very relaxing as it incorporates deep breathing. There are many YouTube videos that guide stretches, so do check them out.
Dressing up every day can have such an uplifting effect on your overall health. After we become mommies, staying in our PJs seems like the most comfortable thing, but over time you start to feel down. So, once your baby routine settles, you can go back to caring for your skin, wearing nice clothes, and putting on light make up. Looking and smelling good to yourself will make you feel brightened up on the inside =)
*Social Media Cleansing
Yes, mamas and mamas-to-be, this is so important. When Zee was a year old, I started feeling so overloaded with information. My mind could not handle it. I just felt this subconscious pressure that I had all these things to do to achieve that "great mommy" status. So, I deleted my instagram and facebook to slow life down and focus on the little moments. Trust me, I did not miss it at all. I felt so liberated. I had to relearn to trust my own instincts when it comes to parenting and this break (which lasted a year) was much needed for that to happen.
*Connect with Nature
Alhamdulilah, nature is a powerful tool. The trees, the sky, fresh air, the birds chirping, the rain are all great at bringing you back in the moment. Once in a while, gently slow down your thoughts, take a deep breath and focus on the beauties that surround us. Becoming mindful and reflecting on how Allah (SWT) is making everything happen in the best way will make you feel relieved. Continuously remind yourself that He (SWT) is in control of everything.