The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.
This is an incredibly important period for both the mother and the baby. Much of the focus is on the baby, both prior to, and after, the baby's birth. It is absolutely essential that the mother is cared for in this period.
People spend months even years planning for their weddings. It is not uncommon to make a huge investment in weddings and preparing the baby's nursery. How many couples spend time devising a postpartum plan?
In India, it is said that:
the first 40 days of life will impact the next 40 days of life for the mother.
Let that sink in. It is a profound statement.
The mother experiences a dramatic change in hormones once the baby is born, undergoes physical and emotional healing from the birth (however gentle, or otherwise, the birth was), the need to establish breastfeeding and the return of the uterus to its pre-pregnancy size. Not to mention the lack of sleep.
There is even a word for this transformation - Matrescence
Matrescence - a term coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael in the mid-’70s.The term deliberately evokes the passage into adulthood — adolescence — though the two aren’t exactly on equal footing in our collective consciousness.
With the right support and planning, this period can be a precious window for bonding, offering the new baby and new mother a gentle window into the world. But it can also leave you feeling tired and overwhelmed.
We can be so focused on caring for our new baby and traversing this unknown territory that we neglect our own mind and body. Believe me, I have been there. We end up doing ourselves and our baby a major disservice.
You are not alone. I am here to support you.
Part of your to-do list is to make a plan that allows you time to rest, heal and connect with your new baby. All usual duties should be outsourced - no entertaining (including making guests cups of tea), no cooking, no laundry or “bouncing back.” Recruit a helper, and let them take care of you, too.
I encourage a modern approach which acknowledges the realities and expectations of a modern mother.
We can work together to create a postpartum plan to honour this sacred time. To facilitate deep healing on a physical and emotional level and to support a deep bond with your newborn.
I know you may be thinking ‘how hard can it be’?
But by not preparing for postpartum, we (in the broadest sense) are making it so much harder than it needs to be.
I was a typical Type A personality. Spreadsheets… they were even mentioned in our wedding speeches - were my thing. I loved accomplishing things. Crossing things off. The definition of success back then was measurable and quantifiable. - I was squarely operating from the masculine.
Did I prepare for the arrival of the baby? Not really. All my attention was on the birth itself.
I read ALL the books on preparing for the birth.
We took all the classes to prepare for the birth.
We hired a wonderful independent midwife for the birth.
I had my birth plan all set and rehearsed with copies in polly pocket wallets
Then, the baby arrived. I hadn’t even thought about preparing for MY recovery, my healing, my motherhood transformation.
I didn’t have any wise elder to guide me. I was left on my own in an area we had only moved a year before with no family or close friends around. It was hard.
Moving into the feminine required a softening and a deep transformation which I was not prepared for - I believe we can prepare for this in pregnancy to support this mindset shift.