The Postpartum Period,
the important “phase two” of the sacred birthing experience.
By: Courtney Jay Higgins
Women are blessed with the incredible ability to give life. Women are also blessed with experiencing transformation within our bodies and the innate strength to take on the challenge of these changes. We believe that there needs to be as much emphasis on the healing process of postpartum as there is during pregnancy. These beginning weeks of being with your creation are vitally necessary and being ready for what this second part of the birthing experience holds will prepare for a smooth transition into the role of being a mother.
1. Use essential oils and herbs
Essential oils and herbs can be a huge natural way to not only sooth your mind post-baby, but also offer long-lasting comfort to the changes that are happening in the body. Healing In Our Homes has a comprehensive guide of homemade essential oil recipes for postpartum soothing.
One in particular is the “Peri” spray; made from Lavender, Geranium, Helichrysum, this helps with swelling and soothing the uterus. She suggests “spraying after each time you use the bathroom after rinsing. Can also use mixture on a pad and freeze for a comforting cold pack. (This will be your best friend after a vaginal birth!)”
She also has one for milk production made from Clary Sage (starts production) and Fennel or Basil (increases production). There are also a plethora of herbal tonics and teas that can be made from plants that help internally the same way that the oils are assisting externally.
2. Eat what you want, but focus on nutrients specific for healing
You had your indulgences and ate for both you and your growing baby during pregnancy. But now, post pregnancy, it is time for your body to receive different kinds of nutrients to help in healing from giving birth and in rebalancing. The hormones are going through major changes, you are creating milk and your mind is needing overall wellbeing. Focusing on nutrition as part of getting used to your new life with baby can greatly impact the postpartum healing process.
Consider writing a list of all of the things you would want to eat throughout the day (snacks and meals) and have your partner or friend do the shopping for the first couple of weeks. Make sure the house is stocked with easy and accessible healthy foods, so that you can focus on your body, baby and resting.
Think about eating clean—lots of fruits, veggies, and soups. Avoid greasy foods and be mindful with your animal product consumption—avoid dairy (your body is producing its own milk and doesn’t need the the added hormones). For meat and eggs, stick to organic and free range. Consult your doctor and maybe look into working with a nutritionist to help with eating the best things for your body and always listen to what your body is needing.
3. Be open with your partner and friends/family about what you’re experiencing
There may be times during this postpartum period that the changes happening to your body are going to feel overwhelming. It may make you feel isolated but be mindful that it’s okay to be really open with the people who are closest to you (even if it feels “gross” or strange, it is natural!) Try not to be shy, especially with your partner. This is their experience too and it will be bring you both closer in the long run if they understand what you are going through during this healing time.
4. Embrace the changes and be practical about the changes
You just gave birth to a human! Your body may never be the same and that’s OKAY! Embrace the journey of healing, just like you had to embrace the journey of being pregnant. Have fun researching ways to heal the body. Take the time you need to heal. Do not rush yourself into feeling 100%. Doctors advise that it will take 6+ weeks to really feel healed—that is almost as much time as the pregnancy took to develop! Know that you are now in phase two of this process and though you may be ready to feel like your old self again, it is going to take time. Be patient with yourself and cherish nesting, slowly and sweetly with your new creation.
5. Take time to be in nature
Giving birth is so incredibly pure and natural. It is important to connect to this natural feeling and remind yourself of how nature breaths life, just like you just did! During the first couple weeks, it may feel better to stay inside and curl up with your new creation. Though this is extremely important, it is just as important to receive natural Vitamin D, smell fresh air and hear the birds outside. Make taking walks with baby your new ritual for healing and as a reminder that we are part of the same cycle that the earth is experiencing.
6. Bath soaks everyday
A great holistic way to heal your sensitive lady parts after birth is to take shallow baths in lukewarm water throughout the the initial weeks of postpartum. This will help to soothe and clear out tissue and blood. Another implementation is something called “Yoni Steaming”, the method of using the right herbs to actually help steam the uterus. Work with an herbalist to create a steam tonic that is right for your body’s needs.
7. Stock up on comfortable panties & clothes that make you feel good and honor your body
Just like when you were pregnant and had to adjust the clothes you were used to wearing, now the postpartum stage will offer a whole different set of wardrobe changes. One interesting thing to consider is continued wear of ultra-comfortable underwear. There will be blood, discharge and all sorts of other discomforts that will come with postpartum healing. With the right underwear, it can be a less grueling process.
We highly recommend investing in period undies for this time, so that you can trust that the underwear will be able to handle the changes. Also stock up on pads for days of heavy bleeding and discharge.
For clothing, if you feel sexy and ready to get back to your old clothes, by all means go for it! But if you’re feeling the need for continued comfort in your wardrobe, consider investing in postpartum clothes that will make you feel your best.