The postpartum period is a magical yet challenging time, full of changes, new adjustments and sleep deprivation. What a woman needs most is to be listened to, respected, given the time to focus on her new baby, lots of nutritious food, excellent hydration, tons of rest and real support.
In some western countries, such as the U.S., women are barely given 6 weeks before they are expected to be back at work and back to their old selves. This is simply unrealistic, does not take account of even the basic physical healing time, and creates huge physical toll and stress on women.
In many Asian cultures the convalescent period is taken seriously and can last months. Baby’s grandparents and other friends and family members may chip-in to cook, clean and dote on mama and baby. There are traditions of cooking specific foods that help to heal, nourish and gently move the blood (under the perspective of Traditional Oriental Medicine). It is tradition for mama to refrain from having to take care of the home or other children, wash her hair, catch a chill (such as sitting in front of a fan or an open window) or travel. It is important for a new mama to keep warm, wear socks and most especially cover her lower back. This area houses the kidney and the ming men - “life gate”. Moxa (mugwort) is an herb that is pressed into a stick. It is lit and then held over the lower back to create a lovely, warming sensation. This not only warms, but nourishes and tonifies the ming men. See our description of how to provide a moxa treatment. Many cultures around the world also practice “binding”. This is a custom that keeps the lower back supported and warm and also encourages the uterus to return to its original size. These traditions, passed on through countless generations, support and deeply nourish the mother and baby after pregnancy and childbirth.
Herbs can be immensely helpful postpartum for issues like pain, perineal healing (for example an herbal sitz bath), depression, as well as overall healing and wellness. Always talk to a herbalist before self prescribing herbal medicine (book a consultation with Serendipitea herbalist Patricia.).