5 Needs

One book I will forever recommend to pregnant women (as well as this one) is Kimberley Johnson's The Fourth Trimester. Encouraging us to think past the big event of birth and put plans in place for postnatal support, its message is slowly trickling into women's consciousness in pregnancy. I read it when my daughter was about 3 and I still found it useful (#postnatalforever) so even if you have a bigger baby or toddler, its message may still be relevant for you.

She outlines 5 postpartum needs for women in this period:

  1. An extended rest period

  2. Nourishing food

  3. Loving touch

  4. The presence of wise women and spiritual companionship

  5. Contact with nature

If you've had a baby or been around women in this early period, it'll be clear why the above are so vital for the body, mind and spirit to recover and get used to life as a mother now the baby is out, not in. But these are also human needs, ways to nourish ourselves continuously, however old our children get, or even whether we are or are not mothers in the traditional sense.

Rest. Soul food. Someone to hold your hand. Strong female relationships. Nature. Taking care to enrich ourselves, to keep extending this care to ourselves, not just when we burn out, not just when we reach crisis point.

These things are small things that are big things, that signal that we value ourselves, are skilled in caring for ourselves and brave enough to ask for help. Often we need to put the things we think we need to do to one side and just pick one thing today that will nourish us. That ten minutes of fresh air. Asking a visitor, please could you bring food. Asking a loved one, can I have a hug.

How will you look after yourself today?