Postpartum Recovery - Permission to Rest
What about the mother?
We spend too much time preparing mother's for birth: supplements, what to eat, how to exercise, how to breathe for birth, what to pack for the hospital. We prepare for parenthood: studying baby books, building the best nursery, buying the best things. Of course when the beautiful baby arrives, many of our best laid plans fall to the wayside. But still we wonder, what about the mother? After expending such great energy in carrying and birthing a baby, why is the mother left without proper support for the postpartum recovery and repair of her body - her sense of self?
Sacred healing time
The endless cautionary tales of birth don't help us either. Yes, it's estimated that 95% of first-time mothers will experience some form of tearing. Yes, there's discomfort as the uterus contracts back to its original size over the first 6 weeks. Birth is trauma for the body, but must it be traumatic? Our bodies know how to birth the same way they know how to breathe - it's an automatic process within our biology. So what if we were more aware of and prepared for recovery post birth instead? Is it possible for more mothers to enter birth confident that things will be OK, and come home capable of caring for their bodies during what should be a sacred healing time?
There will always be an inherent element of fear to the new and unknown, but with education and support, creating a confident community of motherhood - those fears might be faced with confidence and calm.
Postpartum protocols and rituals
We know that it is tradition in many ancient cultures to follow strict postpartum protocols. African women receive care for 40 days from their community. Chinese medicine sets rituals to follow and foods to consume. The South Americans and Greeks follow protocols to protect the mother and child from the stressors of the external world. These rituals ensure the mother has the opportunity to properly heal, and bond with her baby in a safe, nurturing, oxytocin-rich environment
So how have we, in this modernised Western world drifted so far from these nourishing practices? And how do we get some of the space back?
Perhaps a starting place is to give ourselves permission to rest and restore. And to give permission to other mothers to take what they need, so they can better nurture and nourish themselves. As we normalise the need for rest, we make it more accessible for the next mother.
What if we started bragging about the things we said no to doing so that we could take care of ourselves. What if we started being honest about declining to attend events because we prefer rest?
How about we start a #doless movement and give each other permission to be happier slower and calmer?