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The Sacred Window

by Jenna Rae Mueller 7 months ago in parents
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{The First 40 days Postpartum}

The Sacred Window
Photo by Hollie Santos on Unsplash

The Sacred Window: The First 40 Days Postpartum

We speak so much of the joy and excitement that comes with adding a new baby to our families. We share ultrasounds, daydream of who baby will be, often celebrating the baby before he or she is even born.

However, we often fail to acknowledge that with each and every birth is a rebirth of the mother, spiritually speaking. Physically, she's exhausted! She just birthed an entire human being ---- AND a placenta!

After ten months of carrying a baby, her womb feels empty. Her body may feel alien to her. Her hormones are shifting again. She has a new role, she's got to deal with lochia and possibly tears, and getting into a rhythm with her sweet baby.

In America, we have this pressure to just know how to do all the things, to know how to latch and have the perfect supply, to leave our children with people, and just go back to work to earn a living.

Mothers often return to work before their 6 week maternity leave is up if they were lucky to get maternity leave.

However, traditionally, the first forty days are used to care for the mother, to provide her a period of recovery.

Traditions vary a bit by culture, but many times women will be gifted nourishing foods to help revitalize her. In some cultures this may include a nice, warm, bone broth full of collagen, calcium, and protein.

New mothers may use various herbs such as aloe, witch hazel, yarrow, calendula, and even seaweed to help heal perineal tears.

Bengkung, Rebozo, or other belly binding may be done. Bengkung uses a long strip of cloth to wrap around around the abdomen from the hips to the ribcage. The purpose being to bring the bones together and hasten the healing process.

I believe that as a society we need to normalize that new mothers have needs to and one of those needs, is a village. She needs to be able to have a village of support. This village may look different for everyone but, having support is essential for a good postpartum experience. She needs her baby to be cherished but she needs to feel just as loved as her newborn.

I believe women should have a midwife or postpartum doula and women friends who check in on them postpartum, who will sit with her, ask her how she is, and hold space for her that allows her to answer honestly. I believe women need to be respected before, during, and after pregnancy.

In our current "normal" model of care, there is one check up postpartum at 6 weeks which is seen as the check up that okays whether or not a woman can engage in sexual activity again and to recommend birth control to her.

We need an approach that is more feminine in energy, more nurturing to the new mother. Her voice deserves to be heard.

I believe that a part of why women have a hard time discussing things like postpartum depression are because we are so disconnected from our village, from nurturing both the mother and the baby. Our society tells mothers to go against instincts, instead of smelling our newborns heads and bonding that way -- we put caps on them. Instead of feeding on demand we are told we need to feed hourly and in a hospital birth setting we are woken up and harassed to do so. The postpartum period is the fourth trimester, it is the sacred window and it's time to reclaim it as our sacred window to rest,recover, and bond as a family.

(Disclaimer: I know there is a book about The Sacred Window and I know there is a book called The First 40 days, I admittedly have not read either. What is written here is a cultivation of having experienced giving birth three times and studying to become a certified birthkeeper through a certified program.)

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Jenna Rae Mueller

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