When we think of early motherhood, we typically envision a joyous, albeit tiring, time of helping a baby to navigate a brand new world. While newborns are adorable and motherhood is a beautiful gift, we often forget to acknowledge how difficult this time of transition can be.
New moms navigate monumental physical, emotional and spiritual changes, and while caring for a newborn. They may come up against exhaustion, anxiety and postpartum depression. While postpartum blues is common for all mamas, that doesn't mean it's easy. Fortunately, Ayurveda is an incredibly helpful tool for supporting new moms. I want to share some helpful techniques as well as tools to promote mindfulness during this exciting yet overwhelming life change.
Postpartum Ayurveda: Tools For Health and Mindfulness
According to Ayurveda, postpartum signifies a Vata disturbance as the belly grew a new life that has now left it. That open space can leave new moms feeling empty, anxious, sad, uncertain and/or unstable. If you're unfamiliar with the Ayurvedic doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), just know that Vata represents air and space. When disrupted, it can create feelings of restlessness and heightened stressed.
Here are a few ideas to help you address this imbalance and better care for yourself:
Skip the housework: Let's get this one out of the way because it really doesn't matter what your house looks like right now. You can and should ask loving, able and willing family members and friends to help you clean when they come visit.
Wrap your belly: The idea of wrapping your belly is to prevent excess air and movement from happening. For a few weeks after birth, you may want to purchase a belly wrap, or even use a long scarf to gently compress the body to allow the organs to move back into place.
Oil massage (Abhyanga): You may be thinking, "I don't have time to sleep let alone massage myself." However, if you can make time to give yourself a simple 5-minute massage or to oil your skin after you've showered, I bet you'll find that you feel more grounded. A small act of self-love promotes emotional stability.
Drink warm liquids 24-7: Invite teas, golden milks and nourishing soups into your daily routine. If possible, keep sipping warm liquids throughout the day. If warm foods don't appeal to you, strive for room temperature. Cold water and foods can aggravate Vata and create additional feelings of instability and insecurity. (As a bonus, this can also support low milk supply!)
Ease back into exercise: Daily walks, stretching and other slow, gentle movements can help clear your mind and boost your sense of well-being.
Practice mindfulness meditation: If you're looking for some deep relaxation and don't have enough time to nap, try taking a yoga nidra class. Yoga nidra is practiced lying down and in stillness, so it's very peaceful. Yogi Charu is a great teacher and pretty well known in the yoga world. Use this link to access his donation-based yoga nidra classes, and click "Nidra".
Don’t skimp on sleep: It's hard, I know. Sleep when you can, and if your mind keeps racing, try yoga nidra (above). Even if you don't have time for a class, try taking 15 deep breaths when you're feeling waves of overwhelming emotion.
Get out in the sunshine: Vitamin D on the skin is one of the greatest medicines to boost health and happiness. 15-20 minutes of sunlight per day can make a huge difference for our well-being.
Set aside quality time for yourself and/or your partner: The small stuff counts (drinking a hot tea in peace, foot rubs, etc)! If you can find simple ways to spend quality time with your partner, you'll continue to nurture your relationship. Order in a special takeout meal. Ask a loved one to babysit. One night for yourself or your relationship will be incredibly rejuvenating.
Fight the Postpartum Blues by Caring for Yourself
When you become a new mom your whole world revolves around your baby. And as it should! A life change that monumental is understandably consuming. However, you have to try to remember to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others, so to speak. If you're not taking care of yourself, you won't be able to care for your family to the best of your ability.
Are you a new mom looking for holistic methods of support? Are you interested in incorporating Ayurveda into your parenting philosophy? Schedule your free breakthrough session and we can create a personalized plan to help you thrive in motherhood and in the key areas of your life.
Photo credit: MGH Center for Women's Mental Health