I am an acupuncturist and a mother of a beautiful little boy. He is 9 months old and we are JUST starting to get back into the groove of things. Having a baby is no small feat and what is even more of a challenge is balancing caring for your little one as well as yourself! I have a great deal of compassion for new moms and do my best to set my patients up for success after the baby arrives. Here are the 5 essentials for after the babe arrives:
1. Stay in bed. My number one tip is to take the first month and be horizontal. I am super serious about this. You are going to feel fine and even great at times and you will want to resume normal life, moving around, walking, and household chores; don't. Stay horizontal. Rest. Your organs literally have to regain their blood supply and organize themselves back to a normal physiological state. The more you move around, the more the blood moves away from the center where it needs to be. I recall wanting desperately just to do the dishes!
2. Therapy for your vagina! That’s right! Your vagina needs some support. Pelvic Floor therapy is a total essential regardless of how you brought your babe into this world. The weight of carrying your baby and the stress that was put on the pelvic floor during pregnancy demands that some physical therapy be had. No sooner than 8 weeks postpartum is when I recommend starting Pelvic Floor Therapy. I often recommend this to patients prebirth as well and see much less tearing or problems after birth. Try Miracle P.T.
3. Have some support lined up. As you are adjusting to being a mom and recovering from the birth, you will need some support. A postpartum doula is a person that is trained to support families once the baby is born. I learned so much about being a mom just by watching my postpartum doula. She is literally part of our family now and my son lights up when she walks in the room. Doulas can be found through Natural Resources in the mission. Other support can include hiring someone to clean the house, having family and friends drop off prepared meals for the month following birth. A great way to organize that is through MealBaby. If you are in the Bay Area there are many amazing places to order premade meals. I often recommend Three Stone Hearth. We order from them weekly and they literally prepare the highest quality food on the planet.
4. Work with somebody. Have an established relationship with a practitioner that can really be there to support you. It is really true that if Mom is not doing well, the ENTIRE family is not doing well. This truth continues through motherhood. It’s so important to put your health first. So many issues can come up physically, emotionally, and spiritually in the time period after bearing a child. These things can not be predicted and they are different for everyone. Working with a trusted practitioner can create the space for you to heal in whatever way is needed for YOU. After all you have just created another life using your body and energy as the vehicle. I would be lost without my team of support!
5. Take in the joy. Having a baby can be so overwhelming and as new moms we are incredibly tuned in and focused on our baby that at times we can forget to take it all in. Enjoy these early days and months with the new love of your life. This time is so precious and it truly goes by fast. Allow for the moments where you connect to your partner and honor each other for being an incredible parent. Take in the connection you feel to your own parents and the depth to which you understand them now being a parent yourself. Becoming a mom or a dad is one of the most tangible transformations you will experience as a human on this planet. Take it in.
With the truest and warmest sense of compassion for all mothers,
Carissa Kelly LAc.