When I was pregnant (around 6 months) I treated myself to a residential retreat run by the most caring, calm and compassionate Eliza Guerrini. Aside from doing a hypnobirthing course, it was the single best decision I made at the time (not what colour to paint the nursery, or exactly how many babygros was the perfect number!). It was relaxing, nurturing, mothering, with gorgeous food, yoga, massages, aromatherapy baths run for you with scented candles…. I did not want to leave!
Eliza (@retreat_yourself) has kindly written this lovely and helpful post especially for Happy Births with advice on how mamas and mamas-to-be can be afraid to ask for help – so don’t wait for them to ask – follow any of these suggestions to help your friend/sister/colleague get some rest and relaxation….
Some easy tips on how to look after a tired Mum or Mum-to-be
It is not uncommon for us to receive emails from Mums and Mums-to-be who are exhausted, emotionally drained and wondering how they can begin to grasp and strengthen themselves before the arrival of their baby or for their children who are running around at their feet. At Retreat Yourself we give mothers a chance to be looked after, relax, restore and enjoy themselves.
Once you start on the journey to motherhood your life is never quite the same again. This is largely because you are no longer at the center of your life choices, someone else, namely your child, is always more important. Therefore it is easy to understand why it’s important that mothers are able to maintain a healthy and positive outlook on themselves and the world around them. The parenting pressure can sometimes feel very intense and Mums need the opportunity to escape stresses and be themselves when they can. Our retreats provide an easy and quick fix that has powerful and memorable effect on our visitors.
We are not conjuring some crazy magic or stirring up a secret remedies for energy boosts and a happy. Not at all, we have one simple ethos and this ‘be kind’. It is a simple. What mothers need is to be mothered.
We have noticed that in this day and age in the UK mothers often live very isolated lives, often not knowing their neighbours or being large distances from their own family and support networks. The people they see day to day may have no idea how they actually are doing, how they are feeling.
Here are some signs to look for in struggling mothers and it is important to remember that quiet mothers need to be heard too.
No smiles – this may be obvious but so often people forget to notice the obvious signs or think that they have done something wrong when in fact it is quite the opposite. If a Mama’s head is dropped and they are avoiding eye then it is almost certain something is amiss and it needs gently investigating.
They are smiling! Sounds funny but if someone is clearly trying to communicate with you it maybe that they just need to be heard. Often Mums don’t have many adults to talk to so the moment they see someone near their own age they look at them desperately for some kind of adult feedback.
Notice the loner. Confidence is a big thing when you get pregnant or become a Mum. You can feel thrown in to a world of unknown and feel lonely not knowing where to look for support. Socially you may not feel you have anything to say but a bit of friendly chit chat can change someone’s whole day.
Are you getting a hunch that someone you know is finding it tough? Don’t put those feelings to the back of your mind, go and investigate.
Feeling low during pregnancy and motherhood is quite normal. Most commonly it can be caused by weeks of morning sickness, sleep deprivation, or simply that one can’t remember who they are anymore. Here are some simple we have tips that can easily brighten up a Mum’s day:
The morning cuppa
Something as simple as this means the world to anyone who is tired. It means you have been thought about first thing. Someone wants you to have a good day!
On the weekend suggest she goes back to bed AFTER breakfast
Mums and Mums-to-be often need to get up for breakfast. If you are a Mum-to-be you are hungry, if you’re a Mum you need to make sure that your children have been well fed before you can relax. Once all is done then you can switch off and the tiredness will again begin to set in. This is the moment you can suggest they can go back to bed for a little rest. They may sleep, listen to the radio or a podcast, or read a favourite book for an hour. To them it will feel like the ultimate luxury.
Hang out the washing
Yes, if you are a friend of someone who is preggie or a Mum and you pop in for a cuppa, don’t ask! Just say, ‘Oh, I see the washing machine is full I’m just going to hang it on the line for you’. Honestly, their face will drop and you will be in their heart forever!
Run an errand
“Can I pick you up anything from the shops?” My neighbour used to call me from the Gloucester Road in Bristol and ask this, it was amazing because inevitably there was something I needed but couldn’t fathom how I was going to get it. It would feel like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
Don’t get offended
Mums are busy. They barely have time to wash their hair let alone get back to text messages, meet you for a coffee etc. Times have changed and will change again but be patient and give the Mum a break.
Some Mums feel that their issues aren’t that interesting or important which of course is nonsense, but when you are caught up in the daily chores it is hard to feel relevant in the big old world. Ask a question and then wait, don’t be satisfied with ‘I’m fine’ because remember this tends to stand for ‘Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional’. Hear their stories – struggles and successes.
Book them a MOTHERS AND MUM TO BE RETREAT DAY!