We all know broadly what self-care is – it’s doing various things to look after yourself and your health, whether that be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, blah blah. It seems easy, but it isn’t always. There’s a bunch of problems that regularly seem to come up when self-care is the topic of discussion.
I remember my first birth like it was yesterday. Well, I do and I don’t. I have clear memories of it, but they are flashes of clarity in a sea of murkiness, in the way that memories from your childhood tend to be. I was probably around the age of 7 or 8, so I’m sure this can be forgiven.
I have come to realise that that evening was a rather important experience for me as a person. It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and that evening was, I think, my first step.
It’s a bright and crisp Tuesday afternoon. I’ve found my seat and stashed my suitcase. I’ve committed the rookie mistakes of forgetting both a nail file for the snick in my thumb nail and my yarn scissors (how?!), and while I’ve managed to fix both of those things thanks to other passengers who have clearly got their shit together more than I have, crocheting is no longer holding any appeal.
Even eating my lunch and browsing Facebook and Instagram only takes twenty minutes and I still have over two hours of train journey left to fill.
I pull out one of the four (!!) books I brought with me. This one has been on my To Read list since I bought it eighteen months ago when a client asked if I had it on my shelf.
When I began doulaing, I remember looking at more experienced doulas - those who had 25, 40, 75 births under their belts - and feeling like they'd achieved so much, and it might be impossible to catch up with them. The idea of having done so many births seemed unimaginable to me.
I paid attention to the moments when I passed my tenth birth, and then my fifteenth, but then I somehow managed to make it up to the high twenties without really realising. All of a sudden I was booking my thirtieth birth and it felt like A Big Deal.
It happened last week.
My youngest daughter was standing in the hallway in front of the mirror, brushing her hair.
“Would you like me to help you put your hair up?” I asked her.