When I became a doula, it was important to me to support women in the…
These days a ‘typical’ postpartum protocol involves a 6-week check up postpartum that lasts about 6 minutes. You get the all-clear to return to normal pre-pregnancy activities and make an appointment for the following year.
Such a quick appointment doesn’t fully address the fact that birthing a tiny human includes a million physical and physiological changes over a long span of time. That your hormones and emotions are all over the place. Or that your whole being needs to be taken into consideration to ensure a full recovery.
It is a BIG DEAL! And it deserves more thorough guidance and support on how to nourish yourself, how to move, and how to manage your energy. And I’m here to help with that!
I love a big crunchy kale salad as much as the next mama, but remember raw foods, like fibrous greens, are harder for your body to digest and require more energy to break down. Your body needs that energy for recovery!
Your gut in general has been through a lot during your pregnancy and it can take time for your organs and bowels to realign. Your gut requires warmth to promote healing so flavorful soups and stews, oatmeal, nutrient dense smoothies and shakes, bone broths, healthy fats, and protein packed muffins to snack on during midnight feedings are great options to nourish you, fill you up, and support healing.
Having a plan and a support network is crucial. I encourage clients to set up ‘hydration and snack stations’ around their homes. In the nursery, living room, next to the bed wherever you find yourself feeding and hanging out the most. This can include a water bottle, nuts and dried fruits. Whatever you like!
Movement & Breath Awareness
This might sound a bit unconventional, but depending on the type of delivery you had, you CAN & SHOULD start to check in with your breath, alignment, pelvic floor and core within days of birthing your baby. I do not say this lightly and I highly recommend working with a prenatal & postpartum exercise specialist during this period.
Why is this important?… Because, there are all types of movements that will be required of your recovering body to get through day to day life taking care of your newborn. This can include: sit-ups (getting in and out of bed or up off the couch), twisting (reaching for baby, snacks, or water), long sustained holds (bending over), squats (getting up and down off the chair or the floor) and sitting/ hunching (for hours and hours while feeding and staring at your little one). These actions repeated over time can create tense and overworked muscles in your neck, shoulders, lower back and hips. Finding alignment in your body so that all of your bits are stacked up can do wonders.
Activity time! Start by sitting up nice and tall so you feel both SITS bones rooting down below you. Bring one hand to your lower ribs and one hand behind you to place the back of your hand on your back ribs. Smile at the corners of your mouth and begin to breathe in and out. Imagine a 360 degree breath activating your diaphragm. P.S. This is THE most important muscle to activate post birth.
- How are you breathing?
- Where are you feeling sensation?
- Where are you holding tension in your body?
- Can you soften in those tense places with your breath?
Use your breath to do a scan of your body for 1 minute or maybe longer if you have time.
Postpartum, your body is experiencing many physiological, physical, and hormonal shifts. Life as a mom, whether for the 1st or the 4th time, requires a lot of energy. The ability to manage your energy is directly connected to your ability to manage your capacity and your overall well-being. I like to break this down into three categories ~ Body ~ Focus ~ Dialogue. What I do with my body, what I choose to focus on, and how I speak to myself.
- Body ~ Check in with your posture. How are you breathing? Are you smiling and moving your body in gentle ways that feel good?
- Focus ~ What you focus on, you feel. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, practice the feeling of joy, presence and confidence. What does it feel like for both to coexist?
- Dialogue ~ How are you speaking to yourself? What do you need to hear right now? I am giving you (and you can give you) full permission to cover yourself with positive affirmations. Celebrate the wins however small and simple.
The journey through motherhood is winding and intense and beautiful because it is unique to YOU. Give yourself so much grace to be whatever you need to be at this moment. Use the tools you have. Check in with yourself often through your Body ~ Focus ~ Dialogue. Ask for help and take your time. You 100% have this and we are all here for you!