Women are not very good at self care. Mothers are horrible at self care. Doulas, and others in the compassion and service fields, are even worse at self care. Why? Why is that? Why do we tell people all the time to take care of themselves, take a break, go to bed earlier, eat a better diet, exercise, run, drink a Starbucks or have a date…..but we don’t do it ourselves? I am a woman. I am a mother of 3 small kids. I am a doula. I am 3/3 in the “bad at self care” department. I never really gave it much stock, for myself. I was strong enough. I had enough support. I ate enough not to pass out. What was the big deal?
Then it happened. My body said, enough. What will you do when you can’t eat? What will you do when you cannot stand? What will you do when you cannot see? Who will care for your family when you die? Is holding your stress inside to monumental proportions to preserve your image worth more than admitting you cannot do it all and taking a step back? The answer should be NO. But is it?
When you truly look at yourself, are you willing to say that you are important? That your health matters? That without self care you cannot go on? I wasn’t so I pushed more! That’s what we do….we push through it. For our kids. For our business. For our spouse. For our social image. We push. What does all of that pushing get you? Buried. You smile though you feel dead. You stand when every cell is screaming to sleep. You cannot go on. You have to stop. You have to rest.
How do you rest? What does that even look like? Let me tell you, it is not one 2 hour afternoon on the beach. That may help for a moment but not long term. That doesn’t heal your worn-down body. It is time. Time to eat. Time to learn how to eat. Time to connect. Time to talk. Time to go to an exercise class. Time to go walk. Time to sleep. Time to read. Time to cry. Time to grieve. Time to have the medical tests done. Time to cuddle your kids. It takes time. You cannot rush it. You cannot fake it. You cannot will it! It just takes time and the strength to say that you need the time.
This morning I went to my first exercise class. Last week I was told that my body was so worn out and my stress levels so high that if I didn’t do something my body would shut down. In fact, it already had started. I was now going to have to work harder to regain some of my functions and any hope of healing. I did not want to go. In fact I tried to wiggle out of it multiple times. But I went. You know what, it was everything I needed. Now, it didn’t fix me. I won’t be fixed for years. But it started the process. It showed me that I could and the world wouldn’t crumble. It showed me that I am worth showing up for.
Do you know that you are worth showing up for? Who needs you to show up? Yeah yeah….your kids, family, work, school, the grocery store, etc….but the most important one is YOU. Take a step today and show up. We are in this together. You’re not alone.
Kelly Losey is an experienced and professional birth and postpartum doula in the South Bay. She recently relocated here from Northern California with her husband and 3 young children. She was raised in Redondo Beach and is glad to be back. She is currently continuing her training to become a bereavement doula. Through it all, Kelly has a heart for women, especially those who are mothers or desire to be mothers and young families. Learn more here.