Postpartum commonly referred to as the first 40 days post birth (but the first year and beyond) is one of the most important and sacred moments in time as a mother. Not only have we birthed our child, we have also been reborn ourselves. Just as the newborn needs nurturing, so does the mother. We have had double our blood volume flowing within us plus all the warmth and energy of growing a child for 9 months to then this empty cold space in our womb once our child (or children) are born. This time is imperative for the new mother to heal and nourish her child for years to come. I once read that it is believed in China that the first 40 days set up the next 40 years.
Still in many cultures around the world, the mother does not leave the home for 40 days and spends most of her time in bed or moving very minimally around the house to use the bathroom and shower, whilst her tribe of surrounding women (mother, aunts, sisters) support the household. They cook, clean and look after the older children so the mother can heal and bond with her newborn and replenish the warmth in her body. These days spent in "confinement" are to simply to rest, recover and nurture the newborn. The ability to slow down and just focus on the present moment without the demands of life mean that women can truly listen to their bodies and that of their newborns to ensure optimal recovery.
The centuries old practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda offer a holistic guide to caring for new mothers as well as restoring the delicate balance of energies within the body of a mumma postpartum.
Whilst I was in my postpartum period with my first born I was introduced to the wonderful world of Ayurveda. Based on the Ayurvedic principles, the body is made up of three energies or doshas: Vata which consists of air and (space), Pitta which consists of fire (and water) and Kapha which consists of water (and earth). When a child is born, this creates an imbalance in the vata energy of the female body. Postpartum is such a delicate time and this imbalance can present itself as anxiety, dryness, gas, constipation, bloating and interrupted sleep. As with TCM, Ayurvedic postpartum care is created to restore balance to the new mother's vata. Not to mention, the newborn, if the mothers body is out of balance, chances are so is the newborns body causing digestive upsets, wind and restlessness, Mumma's milk is liquid gold and providing so much amazing nourishment for your babes for years to come, but whilst our newborns are re adjusting to life outside the womb, I believe if we can make it that little bit easier for them, why not!?
Along with my introduction to Ayurveda, I was gifted this beautiful guide of foods to eat and avoid during my postpartum which I followed very intently and I'd love to pay it forward and share with you - I recently learned this guide is from an amazing book, The Down to Earth Birth Book by Jenny Blyth. I still have my list on the fridge! ♡