Healing Mamma with the Sacred Window
According to Ayurvedic teachings, the sacred window is the following 42 days after childbirth, which impact the following 42 years of the life of the Mama. This sacred window is a time to re-balance the energy of the alchemy transformation that has occurred. A time for a Mamma to rebuild the earth water and fire elements of her energy, to heal any imbalances that might arise, a time to rest and bond with baby.
It would seem that within our Western culture, not every Mother is receiving the care and support they need during the postpartum time. Sometimes these needs are subtle and unknown until symptoms arise. Are they feeling depleted or nervous about the rest of their life? Are they vulnerable to imbalance, or trying to jump back into a life that was with a new baby? With mention of the word postpartum, it is interesting how often we assume association with negative statistics. It does not have to be this way.
'The postpartum period marks a stage in a woman’s life when she is most vulnerable; in this place, she has the opportunity to completely restructure and change her patterns and set new ones, rejuvenating herself for the next 4o years, or, if she does not honor this time, the seeds of disease and disharmony can be planted that will affect her for the next 40 years' Dr Claudia Welch
Ayurvedic teachings value this sacred window as a time for Mamma to imprint ‘restoration and healing’. This imprint then programs her mind and body to be optimised in health and ready to support her for the next 42 years.
Some of the things a Mother may need to do during this time:
-Establish a rhythm and a pattern with her baby and feeding -whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding - Rejuvenation of tissues, abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, and adjustment of organs - Re-balance her emotional body - Reset digestive functions - Re-balance metabolic function and weight - Sleep and rest - Adjust the activities, expectations and dynamics within other areas of life that existed prior to becoming a mother
These all take energy. This isn't necessarily going to be the time a Mum can easily stay on top of the washing, or finally write that book or dive straight into working from home... and this isn't a bad thing. It isn't good or bad, it just is.
A Mother gives so much energy to growing a baby, birthing and nurturing her baby in the postpartum time. Women are the wisdom carriers, when they are loved, nourished and nurtured they will keep giving and nurturing within their families and our communities. Mothering the mother, nourishing and supporting a mother during the sacred window, supports her mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being, and the generations to come.
Sobonfu Some, a keeper of rituals within the West African Dagara people of Burkina Faso, shares that it is part of their cultural practice to have a ceremony to welcome the birthing Mother into her new identity, as Mother and baby together prior to giving birth. Similarly in the West African country of Ghana, as I stayed several months with my baby, I was no longer called by first name, I was now known as what was translated to 'Mother of daughter'. These cultural practices honour a new way of being, and create a welcome and acceptance of identity and sense of self within community. Perhaps our Western culture could deepen the holding space to support Mothers within the postpartum time.
If you feel like you missed your sacred window after birth, no matter whether once, twice or more, we can always heal where we are at... you can still re-balance and restore yourself by looking at your lifestyle, seeing and feeling what is in your present moment, and beginning here.
Credit and reference of Ayurvedic Postpartum Care- Chrisandra Fox Walker, Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr Claudia Welch, Dr Robert Svoboda, Book- The First Forty Days: The Art of Nourishing the New Mother, authored by Heng Ou with Amel Greevan, and Marisa Belger