Birth is more than just the labor. It is more than the first day of a mother’s relationship with her child. It is the beginning of a much larger process: motherhood is not something that a woman gives to just her child; it is a capacity that opens within her to serve the whole world.
The weeks (and months) of physical and emotional adjustment after the gross birth experience, however, is helpful to stabilizing this capacity. A protected, supported postnatal period is essential to having a relaxed and healthy mama and baby. A new mom is a very, very, busy person, but she may be busy in a different way than she was before she was a mom. Instead of running around with a big to-do list or killing it at her career, you’ll see her with her mind and heart tirelessly occupied with her child’s needs. It may look like she is quietly sitting for long stretches with baby, puttering about the house for a few minutes here, resting there. Still, she is ever alert to her new child and building intimacy with him. The sleep deprivation is intense and what looks very “chill” may not feel that way to her.
The most important thing for the family and community to remember around a new mom is that she has very little opportunity to do anything for herself. She is there for baby alone. She only has the opportunity to adjust her reaction to what is happening around her as she cannot control her environment herself or go get what she needs. This puts it on the family around her to create a safe and sacred space for her in which she can thrive.
Herbs help. Proper foods help. Relieving her of anything you can so she can do something for herself really helps.
The “Ayurvedic Guidelines for Postpartum Health” document below is meant to help the family plan the right orientation around the birth and postnatal period. It is meant to help the family understand how they can contribute to an environment that will protect the mother from external stresses and allow her to heal from labor and delivery. If the new mom knows her Ayurvedic constitution and understands the season in relation to it, it will help tremendously. The more smooth and relaxed the environment, the better mother and baby will be able to adjust and the best bond will be created between mother and child.
Consider posting the following “Ayurvedic Guidelines for Postpartum Health” document on the fridge. Share it with family and friends who will be an integral part of the first stage of baby’s life.