Can You Give Yourself Four Percent?

An hour a day for self-care.

As women we are natural caretakers.

We take care of our children. We take care of our partners. We take care of our friends. Heck, most of the time we take care of the house, the pets, the shopping, the chores…everything.

What we don’t do as well is take care of ourselves. It seems like we are always putting ourselves last. Like, below ‘recycle-the-empty-toilet-paper-roll’ last. But during pregnancy and postpartum, self-care is essential.

We Need It

Whether going through pregnancy or postpartum, we are constantly in motion – externally and internally. Even when asleep our bodies are hard at work to create and sustain life. This makes it easy to become overwhelmed, exhausted, and emotionally drained. Because of this, self-care should be our first priority, not our last.

But I don’t have time, you say…

Making it Happen

Can you give yourself four percent?  Because that’s all I’m suggesting. Four percent of your day, dedicated to something that puts you first — gives you something back. One hour of your day is not a major dedication when you look at it that way. Surely you are worth four percent.

Most people think self-care involves exercise and diet, but it is so much more. Sure, every pregnant woman should get regular exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet, but don’t overthink this. Self-care can be anything that does YOUR body and soul good.

It’s a nap. It’s a long bath. It’s slow-walking through Target by yourself, as one of my patients does. It can be journaling or listening to Pandora. It can be reading a fluffy novel or watching your favorite Netflix show. It can be yoga or meditation, or a walk on the Blackwater Creek paths. It can be going to bed instead of surfing Facebook for that extra hour so your body can recuperate.

Postpartum Self-Care

Erin, that all sounds great and all, but what about after I have the baby?

After baby comes it can be as simple as letting your partner or a supportive family member take your sweet little one while you take the world’s longest shower and actually put on some clean clothes! Or it’s utilizing that precious sleepy time during the day to nap while your baby naps. Maybe it’s putting a new fun app on your phone for those 3 a.m. marathon feedings.

Why It Matters

More than what you do, it is important to acknowledge WHY you are doing it.

“I am going to take a bath to take care of myself.”  

“This episode of The Walking Dead is my four percent.”

And when it is done take a deep breath, thank yourself, and move on with the 96 percent of your day you have to be a mom, wife, friend, coworker, and superwoman. Because you are worth it, and a little mommy-first time goes a long way toward a healthy pregnancy, postpartum, and life.  


Erin Baird, MS, CNM

Graduated from Georgetown University in 2005 with her Nurse-Midwifery degree and has worked in Lynchburg and the CMG Women's Center, formerly Forest Women's Center since 2009.  She lives in Lynchburg with her extremely understanding and supportive stay-at-home husband Joe and her completely out-of-control children ages 9, 8, 5 and 4.  In the spare time she wishes she actually had she likes to read, exercise and crochet, but mostly sleep.