Updated: Nov 19, 2018
Women are notorious for giving everything of themselves—to their kids, their partners, their jobs, their homes, their businesses…we give our time, our energy, our mental power, until we’re bone dry. For a while, you can get by like this. You can push through on a few hours of sleep, nodding off as you wipe the last bit of spaghetti off your husband’s dinner plate. You can groan, straining to bend over your pregnant belly to pick up your groceries bags while balancing your toddler on your hip. You can push your workout to yet another day to accommodate your boss’ scheduling needs. But you can only compromise for so long.
When you are on a plane and the flight attendant is going through the emergency protocol, she or he will always tell you, “if the cabin loses pressure, put the mask on yourself first before helping others put on their mask.” Up to this point, I have always been amazed that you would not put an oxygen mask on your child before putting one on yourself! But, if you don’t put your mask on first, you may not be able to help your child. After a few minutes without oxygen, you start to lose the ability to think and see. If you don’t put on your oxygen mask first, you and your child would be in danger.
It may seem like a stretch, but not taking care of yourself first can have similar effects. The ill effects just take longer to notice. One of the big reasons I chose to specialize in pregnancy and postpartum is the pain, leaking, discomfort, and lack of ability to move that I saw in women I was treating in their 50’s and 60’s. Over the years, they had slowly stopped taking care of themselves. And the turning point for most of them? Pregnancy and postpartum. Most of these women had never recovered the coordination of their core muscles, which led to back pain, knee pain, ankle pain, falls, you name it. For me, revolutionizing the treatment during and after pregnancy is the ultimate form of prevention.
“You cannot pour from an empty cup.”
Take care of yourself first, mama.