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Sometimes a word, phrase, idea or understanding arrives so clear and certain.  

It’s a ‘Hello’ like a fully finished and framed art piece and I just need to decide where to display it.  

I don’t remember when I began referring to Ayurvedic Postpartum Care as Conscious Postpartum Care, but it resonates inside me like a singing bowl.  

 

Postpartum itself did not mean anything personal to me before having my babies.  It meant a depressed condition that someone found themselves in sometimes after having a baby.  I know a lot of people think of it that way.  I wonder what messaging we’ve been given that has created that misinformed definition…  

It was not until studying Ayurveda that I realized it was all about consciousness.  On each level of the human experience, being able to recognize patterns and meaning. And most importantly, knowing how to get back on track when we started down a wrong path.

breastfeeding

I realized after coming out of that first year (still successfully breastfeeding!), that it was a big problem that I had been so unaware and unprepared for the first weeks. 

Looking back on my own first weeks as a brand new mother….

Never had I felt so disempowered than when I showed up at the free breastfeeding clinic crying because I felt I didn’t have enough milk for my son.  I was cracked, bleeding, and he wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME.  I was in pain, didn’t know how to continue like this, and had no clue how to address the situation.  He would only nurse on one side for the last couple of days, which had felt like an eternity. 

The grandmotherly lactation consultant looked me in the eyes and said “you can absolutely make enough milk on one side, twin moms do that”.  

Oh.  

She was an angel to me that day, and I left with hope, tools and the knowledge that there were helpers out there if I needed them.

I realized after coming out of that first year (still successfully breastfeeding!), that it was a big problem that I had been so unaware and unprepared for the first weeks. 

I loved planning for his birth, and I found so much empowering information, support, classes, you name it.  But aside from some basic arrangements of having my mom come for a  week and freezing some casseroles, I honestly expected it would be intuitive and straightforward.

cooking couple
expecting mama

What we really need during the sacred window

The truth is that historically, the postpartum period of time was one where cultures set aside time for specific care, foods, traditions, routines and structures.  On every continent we see synchronistic traditions around bringing strength and healing to a woman who has just given birth.  

We live in a modern, independent culture that does not place emphasis on the postpartum window.  We live in the shadow of a super mom identity that even if we know is not realistic, we carry high expectations for our capabilities.  

But bodies, emotions, hormones and spirits have not changed over the generations.  What we intrinsically need during the sacred postpartum window is care.  Conscious care.

mom dad baby

We set aside sacred time to honor the body’s incredible journey.

Conscious postpartum care is…

Understanding the postpartum window based on the natural processes someone has gone through during birth. Understanding on a physical level, a mental level, an emotional level and a spiritual level.

It is about recognizing the far reaching benefits of full healing and support during the vulnerable weeks post birth. When we say 42 days for 42 years, we are recognizing that what we do during the weeks postpartum will have a direct impact on our vitality and health long into the future.

As a caregiver, it is about getting connected with a new mother’s intrinsic needs. Using our intuition and ancient, time tested knowledge of caring for a postpartum person.

Conscious care means looking at food as medicine, and herbal support foods as part of a daily routine for facilitating the return of strength.  We look at the qualities in the food and how it can support the body’s natural processes.

We emphasize communication and listening as a way to integrate the monumental shift of self and process the heroic act of growing a baby inside the body and birthing that baby into the world.  We set aside sacred time to honor the body’s incredible journey.

mama massage
spices

Most importantly, we understand that care given by our partners, our family, our friends, our communities and our culture at large is integral to postpartum wellness. 

In a society that does not have structure around sacred postpartum care, we must be intentional in getting our support.  This means asking and arranging for help (I know it’s hard!), and releasing inner expectations around capability and productivity ahead of time.

Ayurveda teaches us how to both offer and embody conscious care during the sacred postpartum window.  It is a set of teachings that cannot help but be personal, experiential and nothing short of life changing.  

By recognizing the value of conscious care tools for the weeks postpartum, we can deepen our caregiving abilities, help our clients experience a profoundly meaningful transition into parenting, AND discover new levels of personal sustainability and wellbeing. 

For a person getting ready to become a parent, knowing how to consciously approach the sacred postpartum window is a priceless experience that will be treasured FOREVER. 

 

I remember my immediate post birth with my second baby, and my midwife asking me what I’d like to eat or drink.  I will never forget the beauty of my certainty when I asked her for a hot milk tonic…


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