Motherhood starts here when it is real, when you’re on the other side of birth and baby is in your arms, and you’re trying to figure out everything that you need to do in real time. No matter how much preparation you do during your pregnancy or even before conception, it’s not really real until baby is here, and you feel how huge it is to encompass being a mother and all the aspects of it.
Having done this not at all with my first daughter, and then having truly practice the first 40 days with my second daughter, I am my own guinea pig and it is a testament to how honoring this tradition really can help you heal swiftly and fully and can heal parts of yourself that maybe you didn’t even know needed healing.
When I started this work 6.5 years ago, after the birth of my first daughter, I became a postpartum doula because I felt like there was a huge need and there was a lack of help on the other side, after you birth.
There’s so much preparation, and money spent, and classes taken, which is all wonderful during pregnancy, but then you have the baby and then people are like, “See you in six weeks. Good luck.” To me, that was just horrendous. It was not the way that we should be doing it and it’s not the way it’s been done for thousands of years. We’ve always had the village and now we have to learn how to create our own village.
Motherhood is an ongoing journey. I have an almost 8-year-old and almost 2-year-old, and every day there are new wins and challenges, and new things and twists and turns that you never saw coming, and it truly is course correction always. You think you’re doing one thing and you’re committed to one thing, and then a new issue arises and you just have to course correct and keep staying true to yourself and to your family and educating yourself.
But, it really comes down to trusting yourself as a woman, trusting yourself as the mother, who is also the head of the household now, it’s a massive responsibility, and we don’t know it until we’re in it, and then we figure it out. Again, no matter how much we have thought we’ve prepared for it, nothing truly prepares you for this massive transition.
I just believe that women need as much support, as much care, as much love, and time, and generosity of spirit amongst the people around her, to let her learn what she needs to do for herself and for her baby, because we don’t truly know what we need to know until we’re living it.
Actually, I find with my clients that tried to plan everything to a tee, they actually set themselves up for greater anxiety because as life happens, and true life with children, there’s always something else that pops up that you’re not expecting. So, really, my work with women throughout their pregnancy and into the postpartum is connecting to their true self, their higher self, learning to trust their intuition.
If you’re a woman that has been very removed from her intuition, it’s a beautiful practice to start working on during your pregnancy or really getting to know yourself, who are you, what kind of mom do you want to be, what parts of your own matriarchal lineage needs healing, what stories have you been holding on to that really aren’t yours?
Maybe it’s your great grandmother’s, your grandmother’s or your own mothers, and where can you allow that to be someone else’s journey so that you have this space to really open up into yours, and knowing that you and your child have your own journey together. It’s a lifelong journey, it’s not just six weeks or three months and six months and then you have it. It’s a lifelong journey. It’s a marathon.
So, I’m a huge proponent of practicing the first 40 days, which if you don’t know what that is, it’s this tradition and different traditions around the world and cultures around the world have different aspects, but the overall gist is that mom stays home or near home. It can be as strict or as open as feels authentic to you, but the whole focus is helping mom heal, whatever that is for her.
So, it’s warm nourishing foods, warm soups, stews, cooked veggies, oat meals, a lot of herbal teas and nut milks, the warm abhyanga oil massage, staying warm, staying covered up, not going outside in a tank top and bare feet, really keeping warmth in and around the body at all times and with baby.
It’s also focusing on you and baby bonding, that skin to skin, is magic and that is what’s going to help women with your breastfeeding, get that bonding going, releasing that oxytocin which is just magical when you lie in bed and breastfeed and cuddle and eye gaze with your baby for hours on end. All of that is helping your hormones, helping you regulate as you come down from the whirlwind of pregnancy and birth and our natural chemicals.
It’s going to help protect you from the postpartum blues, and postpartum anxiety, and postpartum depression, to have this notion that we’re supposed to get back into our pre-pregnancy bodies, much less pre-pregnancy lives, is completely insane, and it is a myth that needs to be debunked. We are now as mothers changed and we are better for it, and we need to honor and respect this change from the inside out, and teach those in our community to also share that and hold that.
It can feel, for a lot of us who may have a past of people pleasing, of being more in our feminine and giving, giving, giving this is a time to really become your own mother as well and to make those boundaries, and to safeguard what is best for your mental health.
So, every day, I always tell my clients, “Whatever comes at you, meetings, or visitors, or food choices, you always want to ask, “What will fill me up? What will nourish me?” If that visitors going to take energy from me, instead of bring it, they can’t come visit.” Put them off. Put them off until you’re out of your 40 days.
It’s the little choices all through the day, the micro choices, that add up to your full day, you must sleep, you must stay in bed, you must stay horizontal and eat those nourishing foods, and make yourself the priority because as the mother, you are now this center, the touch point, the lighthouse of your family. It’s a huge responsibility and some days you may not want to have that responsibility but the fact is that’s what you signed up for.
So, you need to protect yourself, you need to refill your cup, you need to safeguard your nervous system, and I, along with all of these other amazing healers, and body workers, and experts in the field of birth and around birth, are here to help you. So, I really encourage you to find out more about the first 40 days and how you can bring it into your own life and make it personal to you because only you know what is best for you and your baby.
Your baby has chosen you for a reason, and this is supposed to be enjoyable, this is supposed to be wonderful. You’ve had babies to enrich your life and to expand into a family, and it is meant to be enjoyed and full of love. So, my prayer for all new mothers is to have the support to figure out what that support looks like for you specifically and get the help that you need. So, sending much love out to all of you and it is my highest honor to do this work.