It’s hard to even think about taking care of yourself when you’re hurting over the loss of a child. But it’s important to take time for yourself. To find something, anything that can help you feel good, even if only for a short time.
I started to really think about this question this week as I participated as a guest moderator in a special closed group for moms to talk about intimacy and Valentine’s Day. I was asked to talk about self-care in general as a mother.
My personal story includes the loss of a 2 day old infant. Her twin sister was barely surviving in the NICU. I had no time to think about myself. I had a NICU baby, a 2 year old, and a 4 year old. And somewhere in there I had to heal, physically and emotionally, and pretend like I had any kind of intimate interest at all in my husband. Which, at the time, I assure you I did not.
One of the women asked me how I found time for self-care or what I did when I was grieving. I had to think hard. I remember lots of fatigue and not caring about my appearance or pretty much anything. I remember feeding the kids cereal and chicken nuggets because I couldn’t bring myself to cook. But I couldn’t think of anything that I did for myself as far as self-care.
But then I realized I had done something. I started blogging. I started writing. I started connecting with other grieving parents and interacting with others who really understood me.
That is when my healing truly began. And from there, I was able to start doing other things to heal.
Another way I found some comfort was through service to others. Making diapers for Teeny Tears was an act of self-care for me. It was undivided focus on a project to support other grieving mothers, and that made me feel better.
I’m not a therapist or a counselor, but I know from my own personal experience that, until I started making time for myself and allowing myself to put ME first from time to time, I was a mess. And my marriage suffered from it.
So, I made a few changes. I made time for me. I have continued making that time for me. I notice that when I get away from taking time for me, my world begins to crumble.
My self-care routine varies. I strive for some quiet time in the morning, I exercise more frequently, I joined a service organization, I go out on Mom’s Night Outs… and I don’t feel bad about it. These things are important to me and help me relax and help me be a better wife and mother.
Are you making time for you?