Looking Back to Move Forward
Sometimes the best motivation is found looking back from where you came.
We went skiing a few weeks ago and found ourselves on a trail that was quite a bit more challenging than my daughter would have liked. I thought she could do it. Her confidence said otherwise. Halfway down the trail, with her in tears and full of frustration, we paused. We took some deep breaths. Then some more and looked back at the steep part that we just made it down. The simple act of looking at what she just conquered buoyed her spirits. She dried her tears and tackled the rest of the slope with determination. It was still really hard, her muscles were fatigued, but she did it. And was so proud of herself!
Being a postpartum parent can feel like you are stuck on a ski slope. There is no going back and the road ahead looks long and exhausting. This is when I encourage parents to reflect back on where they were last week, last month, on the day their baby came home. Think about the difficulties overcome, how much has been learned. Were you having trouble with latching and can now sleep-feed like a champion? Did you only pump 20 mL during week one and now are pumping 20 oz a day? Remember the discomfort of trying to navigate the stairs or learning how to buckle the car seat or fear of giving a sponge bath? And now look at you!!
Self reflection is an important part of growth as a parent and generally in life. It gives a sense of pride and provides motivation for the next steps. I find that the smallest of moments reveal opportunities to see and appreciate where we have been - a FaceBook memory, a way too small sweatshirt that landed in the wash, lending a knee brace to a friend because we don’t need it anymore (yay!).
And take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments. A chocolate waffle works nicely.