I have recently been doing a lot of research about postpartum care and how it relates to women getting postpartum depression. It is fascinating to me to find that cultures from all around the world, throughout the history of the world and seemingly independent of each other all advocate some kind of 30-40 day resting period after birth.
Most of them include the following:
- warm foods
- foods and herbs to build immunity, heal body, encourage milk production
- avoiding all cold things- windy weather, etc.
- hot baths, but no showering
- intense resting
- focus on breastfeeding
- total quarantine
- belly binding
- wonderful pampering including massages
- HELP FROM FAMILY MEMBERS AND OTHER WOMEN
It is the help from family members and other women that enable this time period. Without extra help, it makes it much more difficult, especially when it is not the first child of the woman. The point is- this whole practice is about women loving and supporting other women at a time when they need it most, AND women being humble enough to acknowledge that they do need it. Americans, for the most part, simply have no exposure to this practice and we like to consider ourselves super women when we can bounce back 2 days after having a baby. I know that I have certainly felt that way in the past…..but to be honest I am convinced that it dramatically increased my recovery time. I have talked to 3 women just in the last month who had significant prolapse problems after their births, and 2 other women who had bleeding for 7 weeks plus after birth. It has been my observation that these were caused in all cases by women not resting enough- not taking care of themselves, not accepting help. These things, in my opinion can much more easily be avoided if we will just stop trying to disprove our insecurities by showing the world how strong we are, and instead do our best to taking care of ourselves. This study has totally changed my perspective on the postpartum period. I know after my next baby I will be doing something very similar to this, and I will be much more aware of other women’s needs after a birth.
Here are some links to learn more about it:
I LOVE this one… I have to include a quote:
“I hear many mothers say, “Oh, I don’t need to lay around. I’m fine to bounce back into my regular routine.” You know, we are fine to do lots of things that may not be the most healthy for us. We are fine avoiding exercise, we are fine drinking Coke, we are fine not taking supplements. But what if staying in bed for an extended period of time after giving birth is beneficial? Even if you don’t need to, it may be better for you in the long run. Just hear me out here.”