Is it normal for me to want time alone in the first weeks after birth?
After the amazing high following the birth of your baby, you've probably come back down to earth again fairly quickly. Don't worry - this is perfectly normal for new mums. It's partly due to the drop in levels of pregnancy hormones, affecting your mood, and partly because being a new mum can be, well, pretty challenging in the early days.
Trying to establish a feeding routine, learning to understand your baby’s cries and coming to terms with your responsibilities as a parent – all on reduced sleep – are no mean feats, so give yourself a big pat on the back for everything you’ve achieved so far.
Wonderful as your new little bundle is, it’s perfectly understandable if you want a spot of time to yourself at this stage, so you certainly shouldn’t feel guilty.
Good for all of you
In fact, making sure you get a little me-time is good for the whole family. If you feel rested, you’ll be more energetic and better able to enjoy looking after your baby, allowing both of you to get the most from this special time when you’re getting to know each other.
Reconnecting with yourself away from your baby is important for your emotional health and self-esteem – and if you’re feeling happy and in control, your baby is likely to feel happy, too. It may also allow your child the opportunity to begin building relationships with other close family members.
How to find me-time
Agree regular times when your partner can be alone with your baby – for instance, it could be for a couple of hours after he comes in from work or at the weekends. This will help them get to know each other, making childcare easier for you in the long run and strengthening that family bond.
Begin by allotting short periods every day, when you can put your feet up, read a magazine or book, listen to music or watch an episode of your favorite soap – whatever appeals.
At first you’ll probably feel better staying close by, perhaps at home but in a different room. Then, as you and your baby get used to this, you can make the breaks a little longer on some days if you like – for instance if you want to meet a friend or go for a walk or afternoon shopping.
Plan ahead so you can have things to look forward to, such as a regular yoga class or a weekly trip to the cinema. Also, if you have close family nearby, ask if they can help out – most grandparents, aunties and uncles will be delighted to get involved.
But above all, don’t fall into the trap of using your ‘me-time’ to catch up on the laundry or chores. It should be your treat. After all, you deserve it!
Check out more ideas to help you find me-time.
* We can only give general advice, but as each pregnancy can vary individually, please contact your gynecologist in case of questions or doubts.