Postpartum Recovery

Unfortunately, the culture of postpartum recovery has been largely lost in our country. Meanwhile, the period after childbirth is an extremely important time for every woman, and the well-being of the family and even society depends on it.

Today, alas, more and more often you can come across a sad picture: a few days after giving birth, a young mother is already torn between a baby and everyday life, trying to embrace the immensity. Relatives and closest people, if they pay attention, then most likely the child, and not her. There is absolutely no time for yourself, even for the most elementary. Plus, stress and confusion due to the burden of responsibility, which also lies mainly on the mother, physiological imbalance – after all, the body that has given birth is very different from the pregnant one, and even more so the nulliparous one. And so for many, many months. It’s very hard.

We decided to collect the basic rules that, with the support of loved ones, will provide a woman with a quick and easy recovery, speedy adaptation to a new role and protect against stress that can overshadow the joy of motherhood.

«40 untouchable days. In Rus’, a woman after childbirth was called a “customer”. She spent about 40 days in bed. She was completely freed from household chores. The midwife came to her about 9 times and “ruled” the woman and the baby in the bath. By the way, the very word “midwife” comes from the word – to twist, i.e. wrap the host in a cloth in a certain way to help recovery. This emphasizes the traditional view that childbirth is the work of the woman herself and often the midwife at childbirth had, rather, the role of an observer. But after giving birth, the most important work began for her, which the woman herself could no longer perform. Of course, women who lived in large families could afford complete peace, and fortunately, there were a majority of them then. The one who did not have support, did not have the opportunity to call a midwife, the one who “gave birth in the field” and went on to work, often had, unfortunately, very deplorable consequences.

Modern women must heed this tradition. In addition to the fact that bed rest in the first weeks after childbirth will help you recover, avoid negative consequences and health complications, this time will also become a reliable basis for your relationship with your baby and the foundation of his happiness.

“Maximum Naturalness”. Breastfeeding, co-sleeping, body-to-body contact are not just fashionable baby care styles today. In fact, this is a completely natural state of affairs. This is how all living beings on the planet behave, this is how people behaved until the 20th century. And the closer you get to this natural scenario, the faster both of you will adapt and recover. A baby has no whims and no unnecessary needs. If he wants to handle, then this is what he really needs, and not just a whim. He follows his instincts, and we should not break them – they are the guarantee of his health and development. And the most interesting thing is that although we do not always feel it, it turns out that mom also needs everything that the baby asks for. It can be tiring, it can be unnerving and debilitating, but if we follow the natural needs of the child, it makes us stronger ourselves, triggering instinctive processes of adaptation. And, on the contrary, by making our own adjustments, we risk breaking something in the natural order of things.

So, in my practice, there are mothers who, after giving birth, were in a hurry to return to social life and felt better and more cheerful than those who chose the natural path, but five years later they had depression or some kind of female illness. Of course, in order to follow this path, again, strong and constant support is needed. In addition to the banal lack of time and effort, sometimes you will have to face a powerful misunderstanding of the people around you, and it is important, at least within your family, not to feel like a “black sheep” and not to fight with anyone.

Separately, I want to say about breastfeeding. Now they talk a lot about its benefits, but at the same time they often do not talk about how difficult its formation is. And that a woman needs a lot of support to endure all the trials. 

“It takes a whole village to raise one child.” Never in history has a woman been left alone with a child for long. There was always someone nearby, more often – a lot of people. This loneliness, coupled with the burden of responsibility for the life of the baby, is an unbearable burden. You need to try to surround the young mother with attention and not leave her alone for a long time. The exception is women who feel better in a narrow family circle and even alone with a baby. But even they need to constantly gently communicate their readiness to help at any time, because her condition can change. Just leave food at your doorstep, send an unanswered message, give a spa treatment or manicure with an open date, and more. Responsibility for the life of the baby, his well-being and the condition of the young mother should be shared by all close people.

“Caring for your mother comes first.” Before giving birth, a woman lived on her own resource and, to be honest, she often lacked it herself. And now her resource needs to be divided into two, and the child requires much more than an adult, because. he is not yet able to satisfy his own needs. And it turns out that the resource is lacking, and after all, a woman after childbirth is also exhausted physically and psychologically. I always give an example, what if a person, after 9 months of illness and then a major operation, were forced not to sleep, would not be allowed to eat normally, left without pity and moral support, and would be made responsible for the life of another in this difficult time? This seems like sacrilege. But, it is in this state that a young mother has to arrive. And although our body is naturally designed for these loads, it is strictly forbidden to create additional stress. Therefore, the woman herself and her relatives must constantly be in search of what will replenish the maternal resource. What will nourish a woman, calm and relax. From the banal – to eat and be alone with yourself for at least 5 minutes, chat with a friend, to the more global – go on a trip or move in with your mother for a couple of months. No matter how strange and incomprehensible the desires of a woman at this time may seem to us, we must strive to bring them to life, because. her happiness is vital to us all.

The whole family should be close-knit around the woman while she takes care of the child. Sometimes it happens that postpartum blues or even depression deprives a woman of connection with her own desires, and she simply does not know what she needs. It is important to know that for any mom you need to create an atmosphere of love in the house, patiently accept changes in her mood, free her from any household duties other than caring for children, and constantly offer help and support.

I know a story when a woman got out of a protracted postpartum depression after a friend prepared for her a huge bag of delicious food from permitted products (the baby was allergic and the mother followed an exhausting diet). The role of support and the most banal care cannot be overestimated.

“During pregnancy a woman is like fire, but after giving birth she is like ice.” Heat leaves the body of a woman who has given birth. Therefore, it is very important to stay warm both inside and out: do not get cold (at first it is better not to go outside at all, only in summer), eat everything warm and liquid, wear warm and soft clothes. Equally important is warmth. The postpartum body is controlled by hormones. For example, oxytocin (the hormone of love) contributes to the speedy recovery, lactation, etc. Cortisone and adrenaline, on the contrary, interfere with adaptation, they suppress the production of oxytocin. And they begin to develop if a woman hears a sharp and unpleasant speech, experiences stress, chronic dissatisfaction with her needs. Speech, look, touching a young mother should be filled with warmth and tenderness.

It is also important to prevent the skin from drying out. You need to drink enough water, do oily massages, eat oily foods.

“Closure of childbirth.” During childbirth, not only the pelvic bones open, even the bones of the face move apart under the influence of hormones. Roughly the same thing happens with the psyche. And after some time, the woman begins to feel discomfort, vulnerability, insecurity and emptiness. This condition is exacerbated if there is disappointment about how the birth went. Therefore, childbirth must be “closed”. At the level of body and mind. Ideally, if you have the opportunity to find a good swaddler (that is, the same midwife) and she will steam you, swaddle you, listen and help you survive, mourn and let go of childbirth. But find at least an osteopath, let him correct you (and the baby at the same time) and separately a psychologist. In order to psychologically free yourself from the burden of disappointment and pain, you need to repeatedly tell someone about childbirth. A person who will accept and sympathize. Forums are also suitable, even anonymous ones, only with adequate, kind people. You can and should mourn your childbirth – tears will cleanse both the body and the Soul.

Light cleansing procedures are also useful – at least a regular shower. They will help flush out toxins and stress hormones.

“Return the organs to their place.” One important osteopathic technique can be applied by every woman and thereby significantly speed up her recovery and even remove the postpartum tummy. This is a postpartum tummy tuck. Now there are a lot of instructions on this topic on the Internet. Please do not confuse with postpartum bandage as it can do more harm than help.

“Give the body the right load.” When to return to physical exercises – every woman should feel for herself. Our recommendation: do not do this earlier than after three months. And exercises such as rocking the press, it may be better not to practice at all. To replace them, you can use a cycle of exercises from diastasis. Yogic udiyana bandha – lying down, can be done immediately after childbirth. Pelvic floor strengthening exercises are also very helpful.

“Make a nest”. It is very important that the space in the house be prepared not only for the needs of the baby, but also for the needs of the young mother. As practice shows, the unsuitability of the environment takes a lot of nerves and strength. Of course, city rooms for mothers and babies, changing tables, ramps are just beginning to appear in our country and we cannot speed up this process, but at home we can make life much easier. The most important thing we can do is prepare a nest for mother and baby. Let it be a bed or, for example, an ottoman, on which you can both lie and sit. I need my mom to be able to sleep on it. It would be nice to put a few pillows there, you can buy a special pillow for feeding. It is very important that there is a table nearby that is easy to reach. And on it to have everything you need. A computer, a notebook, a pen, books, a thermos, a carafe of water, fruits and some food, diapers, diapers, napkins, a mirror, creams and necessary care products. Near the bed you need to put a trash can and a container for dirty linen. Relatives should take on the responsibility of replenishing supplies on time and making sure that the woman in the nest has everything she needs.

It is very important to prepare a large supply of easy-to-prepare food even before the birth: freeze ready-to-cook foods, cook seams, stock food for snacks (dried fruits, nuts, etc.) As we have already said, the obligation to cook and buy food for the first few months is necessary try to pass it on to someone else.

“Nature to help mom.” There are special restorative products and herbal preparations. Every culture has its own recipes. We have preserved from our ancestors a recipe for such tea, which should be drunk in the first few days. For 1 liter of boiling water: 1 tbsp. stinging nettle, 1 tbsp. yarrow, 1st.l. shepherd’s bag. You can add lemon and honey to taste.

“Dilute Groundhog Day”. Over time, caring for the baby begins to become very boring. As we said, it’s more environmentally friendly for mom and baby to be together. Therefore, there may not be much social activity at first. And yet it is important to look for your own ways: groups of mothers, events, travel, even some business, a hobby for yourself and others. This is where social networks and the ability to blog often come to the rescue. This type of communication, when a woman is in plain sight, shares something useful or just keeps a diary, is very therapeutic and brings a lot of pleasant bonuses to a young mother.

And yet, in the first year, most do not get to be too active. And it is better to treat this period as the time of mastering a new role. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from society. Believe me, you will definitely return there, it’s just important to do it smoothly, listening to yourself and the child. You will be surprised, but often people around you will not even notice your absence – this year will pass so quickly for them, and so slowly for you. When the baby grows up a little, the social energy accumulated by the mother very often results in some cool projects that are even more suitable for her than prenatal activities. There are studies saying that the birth of a child has a positive effect on career growth. Partly due to the accumulation of social energy, partly because now there is someone else to try for.

Usually, at the age of two, babies can already occupy themselves and the mother has time and energy for self-development. Fortunately, today there are many online courses, lectures and opportunities to engage in self-improvement. So the decree can become a very happy time and an excellent foundation for the future of a woman who has become even wiser, blossomed in her femininity, returned to Nature.

Be happy, dear mothers, may motherhood be your joy!


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