04 Nov How to slow down in a busy world postpartum
When I had my first baby I had no idea what was about to hit me. Yes I prepared for birth and studied some about what would come after that, but I blindly assumed breastfeeding would just come naturally and postpartum recovery the same. I was wrong. While, I do think there is no way we can truly prepare for everything in life it does help to put some thought and learning into it ahead of time. This way things we’ve read or learned may get lost in the shuffle of birth prep but when we face them our brain can hopefully be triggered, “Oh hey I remember reading about this issue, or I remember learning from so and so they did this.” Exposure does help.
If any of you know me, you know that I struggle to just be. I always have to feel like I’m accomplishing a goal and doing something that stimulates my mind. My first baby came one month after I graduated nursing school, I suddenly went from a busy schedule with school and a job to sitting, crying in a sofa with an adorable little human. It was a transition that took me at least two years to fully understand. Slowing down was the most foreign thing to me. I will say even after my fourth baby and having learned all the traditional postpartum healing ways I still found it difficult to take in the time, slow down, and connect.
When I found the gaps missing in our modern healthcare model and what was missing from my postpartum experince, I wanted to share it with the world. In Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine modality very similar to Ancient Chinese Medicine) there were some very specific ways they supported postpartum women in their communities; warm healing meals, massage, and connection. This similar model was followed in many other cultures and communities. Somewhere in our modern society, particularly in the American fast paced society we have forgotten about the village and how to honor postpartum. My postpartum doula services offer a 1on1 for my clients to dive into what would make them feel peace postpartum and how to facilitate that. We go over meal planning and creating your village so you can focus on loving your baby and honoring your time; the great transition to motherhood.
So how do we honor this time? How do we slow down? Why do we need to slow down? For some of us we want and know we need to slow down, but we don’t know how we can. In a lot of ways just simply having a new baby in the house forces us slow down physically, but are we slowing down mentally too? I love the quote of Ysha Oakes, “There is a sacred window of time. A time for complete rejuvenation of a woman’s physical, mental and spiritual health, a time for deep, extended bonding with her newborn. The first 40 days after birth set the stage for her next 40 years.” So in other words what we don’t make time for now we’ll end up having to make time for later, if we get that chance.
1.) The biggest in our country is probably figuring out the financial piece to take the time needed. Create a Motherhood Shower, this is where friends and family celebrate and put in funds for your postpartum time (for more ideas click here. skip the baby items, there’s very few we actually need, more minimalist baby list here).
2.) Find a Postpartum Doula in your area, or I offer on a limited basis, 1-1 virtual postpartum guidance.
3.) Journal and/or sit in nature for 10 min a day. Meditate, take time without any distractions. Take time to process your birth with supportive friends or family, or your doula.
4.) Create your village: find the things that are bothering you now and know that those will likely bother you more postpartum. Do you need a clean house to feel calm? Maybe a house cleaner is a good idea for you or maybe a friend would be willing to clean as their gift to you. Who can make meals? Wo will watch older siblings? How can you make it so you aren’t alone for at least the first week postpartum? Who can check in on you for longer periods of time each day? Don’t be afraid to ask for help (this goes for myself too), hardest thing to do sometimes.
5.) With traditionally’ lying in” it’s to be done for 6 weeks so I wouldn’t leave the house unless its needful. Find doctors or midwives that will do in home visits and find lactation consultants who will home to your home as well ( I do this!). I would wait as long as you can before leaving your house and when you do, make it meaningful; find support groups or get together with mom friends.
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