Congratulations, you're pregnant and will be giving birth soon! You may be feeling a host of mixed feelings about this fantastically huge life event that is just around the corner. Let me help you get prepared for birth and be a guide as you journey into the wonderful vast world of motherhood.
By planning ahead of time and gathering the support you need, you will have a smoother and more enjoyable pregnancy and postpartum experience. Notice though, that when I’m saying support, I’m not only talking about how another person can help you. I want to show you how other supportive measures, like meditation and herbs, can comfort your pregnancy and guide you as you journey into motherhood.
Something as simple as daily check-ins with yourself and your baby deepen your body wisdom. Motherhood requires mother/body wisdom. Doesn't it seem like moms just know what to do? Well that knowing is intuition, which is a cultivated skill that requires intentional and habitual connection to your body wisdom.
Your body is truly an expert at giving you signs and signals about your pregnancy. Being fully engaged and connected in your body and allowing your body to lead you can be so simple, yet so challenging. Being body-led does not mean being inattentive, satisfying every craving or desire. It means getting real, eating well, moving your body, resting, processing emotions, and striving for health.
Here is a simple meditation called Your Pregnancy Heart Word. In this meditation, I guide you to connect with your heart, and to ask your heart how you can have a heart centered, body wise journey through motherhood. Once you connect and "hear" or "perceive" the messages that your heart/body have for you, take a pause and integrate this wisdom.
The heart and body speak in symbols and sensations that are not always recognized by our rational thinking mind, and these whispers are your "pregnancy heart word."
At first, this wisdom might not seem very wise at all. It might seem silly or confusing. Or, you might not perceive anything at all. All of this is ok and perfectly normal. With time and creativity, you will start to understand what is being communicated to you. Please know that this is a process, not a destination.
Just as pregnancy, birth, and motherhood are not always clean, and perfectly packaged, the process of heart/body connection might be a little messy and raw. But it is real, and it is important.
Taking time to connect with your body during your pregnancy, you quickly realize that optimal nourishment is essential. Herbal teas are an excellent way to nourish your rapidly changing body.
Nourishing herbs are high in very absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals. Teas made with red raspberry leaf, nettle, and oat straw are high in iron, calcium, and magnesium, three of the most most important nutrients for a vibrant pregnancy.
After Giving Birth
After giving birth, you go through tremendous changes physically, emotionally, and hormonally. Your body may feel sore. You used muscles you didn’t even know you had. Your uterus has to cramp back down to it’s pre-pregnant size, which is essential but can be pretty uncomfortable. Plus, your body starts to produce milk, and you are learning to nurse your baby every 2 hours. Probably the biggest change, though, is that you are now responsible for this new person that needs you 24/7.
- Immediately postpartum, your sore body wants you to take postpartum herb baths. Herb baths pull out that sore bruised feeling from your muscles, and your incredible expanding perineum. Postpartum herb baths are a vital component to your swift recovery. Bathing with your baby in a bath filled with healing herbs is a remarkable experience that is meaningful and restorative for the both of you. These antiseptic herbs soothe sore perineal muscles, relieve hemorrhoids, slow bleeding, minimize swelling, reduce susceptibility to infection, and dry the infant's umbilical cord.
- To recover more quickly and smoothly, you are going to need lots of nourishment and support. You'll need healthy meals and herbal teas prepared for you by friends and family. You will need encouragement and practical tips as you learn how to breastfeed. As your milk is coming in, and you are establishing your nursing relationship, you may want rely on your trusted herbal teas and tinctures to help boost and maintain your milk supply.
- Now more than ever, you’ll need support and understanding when you cry, and are not sure why. Herbal tinctures made from cramp bark, red raspberry leaf, mother wort, and lemon balm are comforting for new moms. They help comfort you by softening those hard after-birth contractions, while still maintaining good uterine tone. These comforting herbs embrace you, soothing the strong emotions, and the tears that may flow.One of the most emotionally-supportive herbs I know is motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca),“the lion hearted.” I absolutely love this name, especially as a midwife, whose job it is to protect women and children. I see this name reflected in new mothers, as they turn into mama lions; they are tender but fierce when it comes to their new baby.
As your journey through motherhood continues remember to come back here and for more inspiring ways to live and have a happy fit pregnancy and life.