When we talk about of pregnancy and motherhood, we primarily discuss the first three trimesters. However, there is a phase of the mamahood process that rarely gets enough attention: the postpartum stage. We've spent some time discussing Ayurveda pregnancy. Today, I'd like to give all you mamas to be and people supporting moms some guidance around Ayurveda after pregnancy.
I know that once the baby is born, mamas want to devote all of their time and energy to their child. Of course you do! However, the techniques I want to discuss bring some of the focus back on mama. We all know the crucial step during an emergency on an airplane: We have to put our oxygen masks on first in order to help those around us. You need to embrace a similar philosophy during postpartum. In order to support your child, you have to make sure you are feeling well and healthy.
Ayurveda After Pregnancy: Tips to Help New Mamas
In past posts, we've discussed Ayurveda pregnancy and the way the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) interact with each trimester. Now that we're unpacking postpartum, the fourth trimester in a sense, let's examine the way the doshas interact with this stage of motherhood.
Of the three doshas, Vata rules the postpartum stage. The primary qualities of Vata are space, air and movement. When the baby arrives, the newborn leaves space and air behind in your belly. According to Ayurveda, this excess room can create feelings of instability that manifest in anxiety, depression, insomnia and restlessness. Additionally, I've heard of new mamas experiencing shoulder pain as Vata rises in the body and misdirects the excess pressure. All these symptoms are Vata at its most imbalanced state.
The key to a nourishing postpartum is to stay grounded. Here are a list of useful tips to calm the elusive Vata:
1. Stay Grounded in Your First 42 Days of Postpartum
When the baby is born your understandable impulse is to share your new child with your family and friends. Perhaps you want to travel with the baby or take them to restaurants or events. However, those first 42 days are crucial to the health of both you and your baby. This is the time to build your nest and create that deep connection between you and your baby.
In the first 7 days of postpartum, you should be resting in bed. It is important to remain reclined and horizontal in order for your body to heal after childbirth. In the next 7 days, you can begin to move around the house a little bit more but you should continue to prioritize rest
Lastly, your impulse may be to devote all of your time to your baby even at the expense of your health. However, if you run yourself ragged, you endanger your health and your ability to give your child the support they will need in the future. Remember, you've just undergone a massive change; it's perfectly reasonable for you to feel overwhelmed sometimes.
2. Establish Steady Routines
As we know, new parents rarely get enough sleep. For the first year or so of parenthood, your sleep schedule will not be steady. It is important to find other places in your life where you can maintain a sense of stability. This can look like trying to regularly eat breakfast at the same time each day or engaging in self-massage at a certain time before bed.
I know that it can be difficult to maintain steadiness with a newborn. However, if you can give yourself that sense of routine, then you will approach your new role as a parent from a more grounded place. Can you eat your meals around the same time each day? It can be as simple asking your partner to look after the baby for those 15 minutes when you eat breakfast each morning. Small acts like that make all the difference.
3. Wear a Belly Wrap
Vata is localized in your belly after you give birth. In order to close this emptiness and help your organs re-
find their proper position in your body, I recommend wearing a belly wrap. Bind the belly with a wrap or even a scarf to help your body recover to its natural state.
4. Engage in Daily Self-Massage (Abhyanga)
Abhyanga is one of my favorite tools for anyone to ground yourself. When you are in the midst of the postpartum stage and experiencing the effects of Vata, a loving self-massage each morning or evening will help you stay healthy and grounded. Start by warming oil (olive, sesame seed, mustard seed or coconut, depending on the season) and gently massage your body. This massage will moisturize your skin and help you engage in self-love.
5. Ask For Help
In order for you to be mama, you cannot be everything else! Where you can, delegate tasks like cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. If you have a supportive partner or friend, ask them to help you with chores or look after the baby if you're breastfeeding or need a nap. Know that you do not have to embark on this motherhood journey alone.
And if you're giving to a new mom, don't forget about small gestures like a Uber Eats or Seamless gift card to help on the days that our new mama can't even fathom making food!
Caring for Yourself Means Caring for Your Baby
When you step into this new role as a mother, you will grow both spiritually and emotionally. It is a beautiful process. However, you will also confront many challenges. You need to make sure that you are gentle with yourself, especially during postpartum. Give yourself time to heal after childbirth and remember that when you take care of yourself, you will better support your baby.
If you are looking for some helpful reading as you prepare for motherhood, I recommend Ayurveda Mama by Dhyana Masla. And if you are interested in more guidance on your journey from woman to mama, I am here to help you.
If you are interested in learning more about these techniques and want to book your first Ayurvedic Health Consultation session, use the code NEWYOUDECEMBER between now and December 30th, 2020 for $30 off. Now is the time to make positive, exciting life changes! And if you're curious to learn more about how Ayurveda can improve your health, schedule your free breakthrough session and we can create a personalized plan for wellness together.