Originally published 6/4/19
As Ayurvedic Postpartum Caregivers, we are passionate about helping all moms, babies, and families experience healthy and enjoyable postpartum transitions, particularly during the first six weeks after birth.
There are very practical reasons for taking the time and attention to properly care for yourself and to receive high quality care at this time.
According to Ayurveda, all seven of your body’s tissues take about six weeks to regenerate. This process of the body rebuilding itself begins with rasa (plasma), travels through rakta (red blood cells), mamsa (muscle), meda (fat), asthi (bones and cartilage), majja (marrow, nerve tissue, connective tissue), and ends in shukra and artava (male and female reproductive tissues, respectively).
Of course, labor and birth require a lot of energy from the mother and the baby, and the body needs time to repair from these processes. Mama is also recovering from 9 to 10 months of pregnancy; which, on its own, puts the body, mind, and emotions into a different universe.
Let’s look for a moment at the mystical aspects of pregnancy and birth.
In pregnancy, Mama has two hearts, and her consciousness intertwines with her baby’s. As Vasant Lad expresses beautifully, “There is subtle communication between the mother’s heart and the baby’s heart. The baby expresses its feelings and emotions through the mother’s emotions.” As a woman is not one but two (or more) during pregnancy, she experiences a reality that varies from her usual existence.
In birth, a woman is literally a gateway between worlds, bridging the unknown and the known. The baby’s soul or spirit is coming into this body for the first time. The hormones of birth and the power of it send a woman and her companions through a journey of altered consciousness as she travels to the greatest depths to bring her baby earthside. Birth understandably is also an incredibly cosmic experience.
But what about after the baby is here?
Well, where did this soul or spirit come from? Different folks and traditions have their own beliefs about it, but this being certainly came from somewhere. Ayurvedic wisdom shares that babies come with gifts for their mothers. These gifts are subtle, and creating the Sacred Window is a pathway that allows Mama to receive the gifts her baby brings to her.
Let’s pause here…
The first six weeks after birth are a tremendous time for physiological rejuvenation for mothers. In Ayurvedic postpartum care, as well as many other traditions and cultures around the world, caregivers offer gentle nurturing and nourishment to help Mother Nature do the divine work of healing mamas in this time.
But surrounding the mama, baby, and family in sattvic (pure and peaceful) conditions also serves a higher purpose of creating the space for Mama to receive the gifts her baby/babies bring to her.
This is the gem at the heart of our postpartum care. Care that centers on:
- Oil massage for Mama and Baby
- Special foods to rebuild Mama’s digestion and maintain purity and clarity in her internal environment
- Keeping the energy in the home peaceful, whether that’s through simple cleaning or helping manage guests so Mama and Baby are not overwhelmed
This is a mystical concept and so it leads us into the unknown and is perhaps hard to explain or even comprehend. You cannot truly “put your finger on it” because, who knows what our babies are to bring us? It is a sacred unfolding.
If this concept intrigues you, consider these suggestions to prepare yourself and your family to experience and absorb the mystical side of postpartum:
Commit to yourself
Perhaps the first step in preparing yourself to receive Baby’s gifts to you is simply committing to being open to the experience. Commit to yourself and your baby that you will do your best to see yourself as a woman in her Sacred Window. You will love and honor yourself through whatever you experience, and know that you are ready to receive what Baby is bringing to you. Setting your intention is powerful and will nourish the path you travel.
Share your thoughts and feelings with your support team
Share ahead of time with whomever will be supporting you postpartum – be they family, friends, neighbors, community members, and/or professionals – that you are intentionally making space in your life and in yourself to experience the mystical side of postpartum. It does not have to be “woo woo.”
Here is part of what I shared with my current postpartum support team:
“I am honoring this person’s transition from union with universal consciousness, oneness, and bliss into individual consciousness, into their BODY – their sacred vessel for this life. I may not want to be much of a part of ordinary reality for some time. I may want to soak in this cosmic space and transition with the sweet being who has chosen me to mother them here and now.”
Honor your journey with a postpartum ceremony
Choose a time around six to eight weeks postpartum to enjoy a postpartum ceremony. Knowing that you will have this ceremony at some point can allow your consciousness and heart to open to the fullness of your Sacred Window journey.
Think of it as a symbolic closing of your Sacred Window, and also as a mirror to a Birth Blessing or birth preparation ceremony. Let it be personal and feel good to you. Ask for suggestions as you see fit from loved ones and postpartum caregivers. Invite your support team and anyone else whom your heart wants you to invite. Allow yourself to be seen in the wholeness of your journey: you have carried this baby in your womb for three quarters of a year, birthed her or him onto the earth, and nurtured this baby with your body and love through these first special weeks together.
Here you are.
Allow yourself to integrate the miraculous journey of motherhood.
Writing compliments of
CSWS Team Member, Doula, Yoga Teacher
Nena is a full-spectrum holistic doula, a yoga devotee & teacher, and a mother of 3. She supports women and partners in connecting deeply with their inner wisdom, each other, & Spirit as they move through the childbearing cycle (and beyond) in love and awareness. Nena also serves mothers, parents, and practicing + student doulas at the Center for Sacred Window Studies.