M for Mothering the mother
The SMART Mother model1, by Julie Larsen, talks about “M for Mothering the mother.” What does this mean? How do I incorporate this for myself as a mother or as a postpartum doula?
According to ayurvedic tenets, cold is the mother’s enemy after labor and birth. Ensuring that a postpartum mother stays warm from the moment after delivery throughout the first weeks of her postpartum phase will help ensure a speedy recovery.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, women’s Qi( or energy stores) are greatly depleted after birth.Their Yin/Yang energy and blood volume is also depleted during childbirth. This leaves women’s bodies in a ‘Yin’/ cold state. In order to bring balance to the body it is recommended that mothers eat warm, easy to digest foods such as bone broths, meaty stews and soups that will promote postpartum recovery.
A warm hot herbal bath can help ease the postpartum symptoms and provide comfort and promote healing.
What are some good herbs for an herbal bath?
Herbal baths are not recommended for mothers who have had a cesarean birth, but a mother can substitute a full bath for foot soaks instead.
Some of the benefits of an herbal bath are general relaxation, help healing the perineum and heal hemorrhoids.2
How to make an herbal bath? Imagine making a “ giant pot of tea”3 with all the ingredients. The tea can also be used in a peri bottle or compress if so desired.
Here is one recipe from Avia Romm’s website below4:
Herbal Bath I: Postpartum Delight
A blend of beautiful and fragrant blossoms that is uplifting, soothing, healing,
Mix and store these herbs:
- 1 ounce dried comfrey leaf*
- 1 ounce calendula flowers
- 1 ounce lavender flowers
- 1/2 ounce dried uva ursi leaves
- 1/2 ounce witch hazel blossoms (if you can find them)
- 1/2 ounce dried sage leaf
- 1/2 cup sea salt
Directions: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Turn off heat, and place 1 ounce (approximately 1 large handful) of the above mixed herbs (not the salt) into the pot. Steep, covered, for 30 minutes.
Strain the liquid well with a fine mesh strainer and discard the herb material. Add 2 quarts of liquid to the tub, along with the 1/2 cup of epsom salt.
Another important step in keeping the mother warm is ensuring that she is eating warm foods and soups. Postpartum mothers need to primarily eat softer foods that are warm and cooked well to make digestion as easy as possible. By providing simple, warm foods, a mothers energy can be focused on healing and not digestion. This will help prevent constipation which is something to be avoided during immediate postpartum time.
An excellent resource for recipes appropriate for the postpartum period is the book “The First Forty Days” by Heng Ou. Heng also explains in detail the reasoning behind why warmth is so important for postpartum mothers.
Hiring a postpartum doula can be an essential tool in helping you navigate the months following birth. A postpartum doula is there to “mother the mother” and ensure that she is receiving the education and care that will help her face the challenges of this period of time in the most beneficial way . As part of a postpartum doula duties, she can provide you with many nutritious recipes and even prepare them for you !
Here at Tampa Bay Postpartum Doula Svs, I am committed to ensuring that you, the new mother, has all the tools you need to meet this transitional time with as much grace as possible.