Pregnancy is simply the beginning.
And then the rest of your real life happens.
From that moment of conception, everything inside you changes. Your heart, body, voice, mind, and spirit will be shaped into that of a mother.
Literally, every cell in your body becomes influenced by your child, shifting your hormones, behavior, physicality, and even changing your brain chemistry.
And although pregnancy and birth are the forefront of our thoughts as this transition ensues, postpartum is where we as mothers encounter the greatest amount of change. And this change and the way we experience postpartum, shapes a mother (and baby) for life.
So it becomes surprising then, how little REAL information is available to women to support them in their transition to motherhood; physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In many cultures around the world, the postpartum period is considered a sacred time of healing and rejuvenation. Many believe that women possess the Godly power of healing her whole self after the birth of a baby. A new mother spends a minimum of 40 days being waited on, given certain meals, ample rest, daily massage, and the utmost gentleness and care as she rests and bonds with her baby.
But the modern definition and practice of postpartum wellness falls short and completely lacks the sacredness of other cultures around the world.
In fact, postpartum has become a clinical medical term that states “The puerperium is the period of a few weeks that starts immediately after delivery and is completed when the reproductive tract has returned anatomically to the normal nonpregnant condition. Although the changes occurring during this period are physiologic, in few, if any, other circumstances are there such marked and rapid metabolic events in the absence of disease.” (Pritchard and MacDonald, 1976)
In over 40 years, the definition of postpartum has barely changed. And neither has our approach to caring for a new mother.
The Postpartum Body in Layers
So what is missing in today’s modern approach to postpartum care?
When a woman gives birth to her baby, no matter if vaginally or by cesarean, her body has just shed layers upon layers of her being.
Spending 9 months growing a human with all of your being, then pushing it out of your body (or have it taken from your body), it’s easy to see how pieces of you go along with.
Not only do you have to heal from all the work you have done to make a child, you have to relearn who you are as a woman, as a mother, as a new person.
Your body changed (even at a cellular level). Even your definitions of love, life, loss, and everything in between shift.
Layers of who you are have become shed. You are at the core of your being.
For many, this place is unrecognizable.
There is nothing more scary than living in a period of unknown without the right tools and support…
Not only has your newly postpartum body shed layers of your being, it remains open; a Goliath wound right in your very center. Your body, its layers gone, its center wide open, makes this the most raw and sacred of occasions.
There is nothing to hide you. There is nothing to show but your truth. And all of that is new, because motherhood has changed everything.
And this doesn’t last for 6 weeks.
Unlike the modern definition of postpartum, this sacred transition lasts YEARS. You are postpartum for as long as it takes you to heal your body physically, mentally, and emotionally from pregnancy, childbirth, and the transition of becoming a mother (no matter how many times you’ve become one).
The first 6 weeks postpartum is a critical period of healing. However, a more accurate representation of your long term health and well-being is your healing and support within the first 6 years (not the first 6 weeks).
It is in the first 6 years where your entire health and well-being lie after childbirth. This is the very place that defines your life forever, including that of your baby’s.
In the first 6 years that your postpartum body is like a sponge, soaking up everything it comes in contact with.
Everything near you becomes a part of you. And everything effects you at a much deeper and profound level, because there is nothing there filling that space within you.
So everything you eat and drink goes deeper. Everything you wear (lotions, products, clothing) becomes a part of you. Even the energy being carried into your room has the ability to shift your entire being.
The thoughts you think, the challenges you face, and the experiences you give yourself and that happen to you all play a major role in how you heal over time.
Everything you do and encounter during this time impacts you deeply. So much so, that it influences your future menopause.
And we all see it time and time again. Women who don’t get to fully rest during this time bleed longer and take a longer time for her joints and ligaments to return to their pre-pregnancy positions.
Big movement in the first 3 months lengthens the need for healing time, and even can cause uterine infections, prolapse, incontinence, and diastasis recti, which can become lifelong problems.
Women who experience negativity, trauma, and stress become exhausted faster, have higher rates of postpartum mood disorders and hormonal imbalances, and shape their new brain changes long term to reflect a state of constant fight/flight/freeze response.
Women who doesn’t eat the proper foods experience gassiness, bloating, stomach and digestive issues, and usually see autoimmune problems get worse or develop around this time. Autoimmune disease in postpartum is a rising epidemic and is associated with high rates of cancer.
And your baby is greatly affected by all this as well. Your hormones play a role in breastfeeding. Your moods and feelings help or hinder bonding.
And bonding triggers certain genes within your baby’s body to work or lay dormant. The relationship your baby builds with you in the first years of life influence baby for their entire existence. It’s called epigenetics; one of the most fascinating topics ever (next to postpartum, of course).
What happens if you don’t feel you’ve healed in the years after the birth of your baby?
What happens if you are one of the many women suffering from postpartum depression, anxiety, autoimmune symptoms, major hair loss, constant fatigue, menstrual cycle pain, and more?
It means you have to go back.
You have to dig through the new layers of your body that were added to you that don’t serve you.
You have to start at the beginning, stripping away the beliefs, the deficiencies, the imbalances, the emotional wounds.
This is exactly what I help women do.
Those yucky layers begin to shed again years after the birth of your baby.
And in a new rawness (which feels gentle as you are fully supported now), new layers begin to grow back.
Like springtime petals on a blooming rose, each new layer envelopes you in its softness and protection.
You become anything you choose, and all of those battle wounds, scrapes and scratches of life, become replaced by a new layer of hope, healing, and rejuvenation.
I have witnessed disease disappear, old emotional wounds come to a close, and a woman’s true being and fullest potential come to light.
If this all sounds weird to you, you may live in a culture that’s forgotten how to support a new mother. A culture that views pregnancy and birth as a “condition” rather than a state of being.
Remember, it isn’t the rawness or the uncertainty that’s uncomfortable. It’s the lack of tools and support as you navigate the transition of becoming a mother.
It is fully possible to heal your body in the years after the birth of your baby.