After the Birth…

Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 in Writings

After the Birth…

“Your feet must not touch the ground for 40 days…”

I remember my grandmother’s voice crackling over the phone the day after giving birth to my first baby.

“And no visitors, unless they are coming to help.”

Words of wisdom which carried me through four babies and which I treasure still and pass on to new mothers.

I have Greek and Indian family and both these cultures, amongst others around the world, afford this time of healing, protection and bonding time to new mother and baby.

While my grandmother did not mean that my feet were literally not allowed to touch the floor, she was giving me permission to take my time in finding my way as a new mother. She was reminding me that I was a new mother.

A new mother with a new baby, finding a new way.

And that I was allowed protection.

Because I was wide open. My heart, my body, my mind and my soul had been opened in ways I had not known were possible. And I had been given the honour of cradling a perfect, innocent being in my arms.

Outside influence may or may not be beneficial but in the same way that pregnancy and birth need calm and sense of safety, so do mother and baby need this after birth.

Dr Silvana Montanaro, who wrote Maria Montessori’s conception to age 3 programme and who is the author of Understanding the Human Being, eloquently stated that the first six weeks outside the womb should mimic those within.

The arms of the mother should be as the womb and the breasts like the umbilical cord.

It is a sleepy, dreamy, other-worldly time.

It think it helped that I lived rurally when I first gave birth, this helped to keep visitors at bay.

But more than anything, it gave me the time and space to find my way as a new mother. And despite sore nipples, aching breasts, and bruised body, I found my way…

We found our way.

This confidence carried me into me being able to trust myself as a mother, and to understand the needs of my babies. It also helped me to know, that that time with my babies was too precious to give away to visitors. It is such a special time and gone so quickly.

Watch this video of Jacqui Roche sharing her thoughts on the woman’s needs after the birth. I was honoured to be at her birth for her second baby. I think she summarises those needs very well here.

And then, as I finish writing this, I read this article by midwife Mary Cronk “The First Time the Iron Entered My Soul,” and it resonates so strongly.

Protect mothers so they can be strong mothers.