Grace. Grace. Grace. And more grace. I was recently talking to a therapist friend, both of us in private practice, both primary care takers for our babies. We were sharing with each other how we were struggling with feeling like we weren’t doing “enough.” We weren’t working enough, making enough money, etc. That’s when I had a Holy Spirit response. I say that, because in the flesh I wouldn’t have come up with this on my own: “Let’s just try to tell ourselves that we’re doing enough and anything else we do is bonus.”
I wish I could say it is this easy. But it is NOT. Anyone who has had a baby struggles with the fact that they have WAY less time than they had before, even if they aren’t working and they can’t seem to accomplish what they once did. It can leave you feeling insecure, inadequate and, if you try to fight it, you will end up getting burnt out. The following three areas are just some areas where I’ve extended grace for myself in this new season of life. I hope that as you read them you will too!
Besides an occasional stroll here and there, I have not been motivated for any type of structured activity, since having my daughter almost 8 months ago. But that is consistent with what we know about our bodies. Activity isn’t meant to be done when you’re tired! I haven’t slept through the night since my daughter was born, and I wasn’t sleeping well before that either (hello third-trimester). I am just trying to get enough sleep; so how can I except to WANT to do something that is just going to make me more tired? Of course, it has the potential to give me energy but only when I am getting a healthy amount of sleep.
I have never eaten as much take out or prepared food, as I have in the last eight months. I honestly don’t really know what I ate the first few months postpartum. It’s all a tired, blurry, mess. Thank goodness for the meal train my small group set up for me. Only now am I able to prepare food for my family a few days a week, which was largely inspired by my baby starting solids. I will have to write about my experience with that another time!
I love to cook, but I found no joy in it and it only brought on more anxiety as a new mom. It seemed like a lot to come up with an idea, shop for the ingredients, cook it and then clean it up. I felt guilty for spending the extra money in our restaurant budget. I did my best to combat that with, statements like, “It won’t be this way forever” or “I am choosing to give myself grace in this area.” Luckily my husband isn’t one to complain about extra spending on take-out and door dash. What a blessing to even have flexibility in our budget and our eating style to do so.
I don’t fit into my pre-pregnancy pants. My belly and thighs are softer than they were before. This was an easier one for me to accept because I haven’t had any major struggles with body image (thank you Jesus) but I can totally relate to why and how this would be difficult for others. To me, it just seems SO unrealistic to expect our bodies to go back to the way they were before having a baby. It’s like expecting my body to look how it looked in high school - I was in a totally different chapter of life then! Please hear this loud and clear: women who bounce back to their pre-pregnancy bodies is COMPLETELY genetic. If that’s not you, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. You just keep on taking care of yourself and your baby the best way you know how to.
You’re doing a great job, Mama. Weather you’re a working Mom, a work from home Mom or a stay-at-home Mom – you’re amazing! We are already expected to do way more than is realistic. When thoughts of “I’m not doing enough, I’m not good enough” creep in, remind yourself that you are already doing the impossible – everything else is bonus.
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Nicole resides in the East Bay Area where she works in private practice as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She is a new Mom and serves alongside her beloved husband in their local church. She completed both her bachelors degree and her dietetic internship at California State University, Chico, where she was also a NCAA cross country and track athlete. Through those experiences, God prompted her to help people of all shapes and sizes discover body peace and acceptance through the unconditional love of Jesus. Nicole most enjoys spending time around a table and cooking for the people she loves.