By Ciara Clark
So by the way . . . How are you feeling?
At 10 weeks postpartum, I'm feeling great. It's an interesting time, as my mind and body have made some dramatic shifts, but there's nothing like that feeling of becoming a new mother.
What were some things you didn’t expect would happen after the baby was born?
Well, for one, I wasn't expecting my boobs to get so big! I was warned, but I didn't believe it. Joke's on me I guess. Also, I wasn't expecting breastfeeding to be so hard. It was a pretty mixed bag between hearing from women who have credited breastfeeding to be the hardest part of their postpartum journey, and then you have those women who didn't have any challenges at all. I tried to prepare myself for the worst case scenario, but what I found to help the most was practice, patience and time, for both me and baby.
There is so much learning to be accomplished between the mother and baby, during this precious time. I'll also add that I wasn't prepared for how hard the post-delivery process would be. The pain and all of the physical challenges that come with that was a complete nightmare. I had a hard time, but I did it.
How do you balance work and baby?
Honestly, I haven't figured that out yet. This will be my next challenge, as my maternity leave is about to come to an end. I will say that it was virtually impossible to get anything done during those first few weeks after birth. It has definitely become easier to manage this new lifestyle, but it still has its challenges. I will say that my family will always come first.
What's the Easiest thing
about being a mom and working for yourself?
Loving my little boy; that's the easiest part.
I still have a traditional 9-5, but with my yoga and coaching business, it's nice to have that flexibility of managing my own schedule.
What's the Hardest thing about
being a mom and working for yourself?
Whether you're working for yourself or not, I think the hardest part is finding the time to get anything done. Sometimes I'll go most of the day without eating, not because I want to, but because I have another little human to take care of. He's either crying, eating, or wanting to be coddled, none of which involves putting him down. As soon as I finish making something to eat, he's waking up. I actually tried eating while holding him and spilled a bowl of lentil soup on my couch, so yeah .. never again. I'm slowly beginning to gain little pockets of time to get some work done, which is mostly in the evening when baby is sleeping.
What are 3 things you wish you would have known
that you’ve learned along the way?
For one, I had no idea how challenging breastfeeding was going to be. I was so unprepared. I think I would've sought out some help to have access to had I known how hard it was going to be. Also, I wish I had prepared some frozen meals to eat when I got home from the hospital. Those first few weeks were easily the unhealthiest that I've ever eaten in a very long time. Basically, I ate whatever was handed to me and easily accessible. My husband and I were definitely in survival mode.
It's so hard to think of a third, because there were a lot of different things that I had to learn through my own personal experience. There was a point during my pregnancy where I learned to just accept this journey as it is. I had a lot of surprises along the way, but I can't really say that I wish I had known about any of them, because that little bit of knowledge would not have affected the outcome. You just get through it and then you move on.
What are some things that you thought,
while pregnant, that you can’t wait to do?
I couldn't wait to start sleeping on my back again. I am not a side sleeper, so when the bump started to grow, sleep became that much more difficult for me. Also, I had a lot of restrictions concerning exercise, due to a shortened cervix, so I'm looking forward to working out again. I didn't have a lot of dietary restrictions, but I am looking forward to going back to my herbal supplement regime. I got sick a few times while pregnant and was limited in terms of what I could take. Once I'm done with breastfeeding, I'm looking forward to doing a good detox to get my body back into balance again.
Any tips you can give?
Motherhood is such a beautiful and challenging time. Allow yourself some grace and just know that every parent is trying to do their best. Sometimes you have to let go of the "rules" and do what works best for you and your family. Also, limit the noise from outsiders.
Everyone has an opinion, but it doesn't mean that you have to take it.
Ciara Clark is a certified yoga instructor and holistic health coach based in Boston, MA.
She specializes in combining the healing wisdoms from both yoga and plant-based nutrition to set women on the path towards optimal health. As a Scientist by training, her specialized academic and industry knowledge has given her a unique westernized and holistic perspective that aims to create customized wellness approaches empowering clients to find strength in healing their own bodies.
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