It takes a village to raise a child... but it also takes a village to raise a mother.
Updated: Mar 1, 2021
I’m here to support you in your Postnatal Journey
Motherhood has changed dramatically in the last few decades. The big rise in female equality has meant that woman are now used to being in charge, we're used to being independent and being able to do things on our own and we've got this mentality now that we can do anything, and, we can, but... we're so used to being capable, we don't know how to ask for help.
Research shows that cultures who had a low percentage of postpartum mood disorders all had rituals that provided support and care for new mothers. These cultures, although quite different from each other, all shared:
A distinct postpartum period. In these other cultures, the postpartum period is recognised as a time that is distinct from normal life. It is a time when the mother is supposed to recuperate. Her activities are limited and her female relatives take care of her. This type of care was also common in colonial America, when postpartum was referred to as the “lying-in” period. This period functioned as a time of “apprenticeship,” when more experienced mothers mentored the new mother.
Protective measures reflecting the new mother’s vulnerability. During the postpartum period, new mothers are recognised as being especially vulnerable. Ritual bathing, washing of hair, massage, binding of the abdomen, and other types of personal care are prominent in the postpartum rituals of rural Guatemala, Mayan women in the Yucatan, Latina women both in the United States and Mexico. These rituals also mark the postpartum period as distinct from other times in women’s lives.
Social seclusion and mandated rest. Postpartum is a time for the mother to rest, regain strength, and care for the baby. Seclusion is said to promote breastfeeding and it limits a woman’s normal activities. In contrast, here in the Uk mothers are expected to entertain others—even during their hospital stay. Once they get home, this practice continues as they are often expected to entertain family and friends who come to see the baby.
Functional assistance. In order for seclusion and mandated rest to occur, mothers must be relieved of their normal workload. In these cultures, women are provided with someone to take care of older children and perform their household duties.
Social recognition of her new role and status. In the various cultures researched, there was a great deal of personal attention given to the mother. In China and Nepal, very little attention is paid to the pregnancy; much more attention is focused on the mother after the baby is born. This has been described as “mothering the mother.” The mother is often recognised through social rituals and gifts. In Punjabi culture, there is the “stepping-out ceremony,” which includes ritual bathing and hair washing performed by the midwife, and a ceremonial meal prepared by a Brahmin. When the mother returns to her husband’s family, she returns with many gifts she has been given for herself and the baby.
Is ours not a strange culture that focuses so much attention on childbirth—virtually all of it based on anxiety and fear—and so little on the crucial time after birth, when patterns are established that will affect the individual and the family for decades?
Just like a birth plan a postnatal plan is a list of things you can and will do to help yourself. It’s also a list of things those supporting and caring for you can and should do. Like with labour and birth there are certain challenges to being a new parent and these challenges can be managed in several different ways.
It's not about filling you with dread, it’s about opening the doors for a conversation with your partner and village . These conversations may be with yourself about how to handle your postpartum body, or with your partner to talk about sharing responsibilities, or with your in-laws to limit how long they will be staying in your home, chores and food.
It’s also about knowing what you think is important and what you might like your postnatal period to look like.
Things will come up that you were not prepared for and by planning and discussing in advance will make it easier than just “going with the flow”.
Topics covered in my Postpartum Planning class
🌸General Newborn Care
🌸Your Postpartum Body
🌸Mental Health Care
Private Postnatal Planning Class
During this private meeting, we will meet with you and anyone else you would like to be present to discuss in detail each aspect of your postpartum plan and you build a completely individualised plan.
Group Postnatal Planning Class
This small group class, we will go over in detail each section and as a group talk about any excitement, concerns, fears, and other feelings that may arise while thinking about your postpartum plan.
Each class will end with a complimentary parent relaxation session.