But who mothers the mother? Sometimes we need to ask for help

 Health, Postpartum, Yoga  Comments Off on But who mothers the mother? Sometimes we need to ask for help
Jan 212017
 

IMG_4140I was laying in bed, off work and feeling very unwell. I’m not used to doing nothing. I texted a friend to say I was sick and he asked where my caregiver was. I had no idea who he was talking about.

My mom lives in BC… I am my own caregiver.

Turns out he meant my husband. But my husband wasn’t home taking care of me, he was at work making up for the money I was losing as I rested and recuperated. He was at work after being up in the morning and single-handedly getting them up and ready, fed, and driven to two separate schools 45 minutes from home. The night before he worked til 2am. He left just after bathing and feeding the kids and getting them in bed. So I didn’t even expect him to take care of me.

DSC_0261But who, then? I’d spent the week with the kids in my arms. Helping them blow their noses. Dosing elderberry syrup and raw honey. I prayed that their illness would leave and I would gladly take their place. My prayers were answered.

This illness came at such an interesting time. This week my yoga classes had been themed around the first chakra. What is support and basic needs. One’s connection to family and tribe. In my post and prenatal yoga classes, this brought up discussions of support. Who is your support? Your tribe? I heard many stories from women who in the postpartum period, had relatives close by to help. None of them seemed to take this for granted.

It’s a subject that is so important to me, especially in my work as a postpartum doula and postnatal yoga teacher. Too many new moms, myself included, wind up utterly exhausted and even on medication because they just can no longer cope with what it is to be alone. Lacking support. Not enough community. No village. But more and more, it seems, the women I’m speaking to are finding support. They have a mother in law move in, or they learn the value of hiring a postpartum doula or mother’s helper.

When I found myself, feeling comatose after a week of these sort of questions, I felt a bit of despair. My kids were finally well enough to go to school and I was alone and in pain in a dark, empty house. I don’t have any family in Montreal. I felt like I had no one to take care of me. I’m a big, girl but sometimes I want someone to rub my back and make me some tea.

Paleo Rolls, Veggie soupSo I reached out. I did the thing that many of the women in my classes also say is hard for them. It’s so hard for me. But I asked for help. I texted two friends. Two angels I am blessed to call my friends. They have their own families and very busy lives, but they each brought me delicious soup. I felt a lot less alone, and I felt the love they put into making the soup.

When my husband got home, he was of course busy with the kids. I felt well enough to sit at the table with them. Then we watched a movie. We lay in bed together as he read the Big Friendly Giant until they fell asleep. And then again, I did something I don’t ever really do. I asked my husband to take care of me. He was still running around the house trying to deal with the chaos of me being out of commission. But when I asked, he came to me. Put socks on my feet, brought me warm water to drink, and talked to me until I fell asleep, too.

Oct 052015
 

indiaHere’s a funny story about me and India…

About six years ago, I moved to Montreal for lack of a better idea. I’d been living out of a tent and backpack for years. I was recently single and looking for an adventure. So I moved to Montreal, subletting my friend Paola’s place while she went off to explore her homeland of Mexico. I was keen to find a waitressing job, make some money and head off to India.

On the second night in Montreal, Paola introduced me to the guy I affectionately call “my husband. And most of the rest of the story you know, if you’ve been reading this since I first found out I was pregnant.

So I never made it to India, and somehow ended up teaching yoga anyways. These days, I’m also learning a bit about Ayurveda, Yoga’s 5,000 year old sister science. It’s not within the scope of this newsletter, but what I actually wanted to talk about is  very much related– how the postpartum period is handled in some parts of India.

It’s so incredibly different than what we do here in North America. In India, the new mother is mothered for the first month after she gives birth. She is nurtured. She is tended to and nourished.

She is not expected to:

  • clean her house
  • stay on top of laundry
  • act as a hostess for random family and friends
  • go back to work
  • go out on date nights with her husband

It’s no wonder why so many of us in North America, myself included, wind up with a Postpartum Depression diagnosis. We. Push. Too. Hard. There are too many expectations of us as new moms. Stuff imposed by family, friends, society, and ourselves.

What should we be doing in the first six weeks postpartum? Lying in bed or sitting on the couch, feeding baby. Eating better than we have in our lives because nursing takes a lot of energy and we are recuperating from a living being coming out of our body! We should be receiving food, water, love and massages!

Another striking difference of how the first few weeks and months goes in India and many other places around the world, is the sense of community they have that is certainly rare here. I don’t know about you, but my mom didn’t move in after the birth of my kids. When my son was born, I was living in Montreal and she was living in BC! I felt very alone. Most of us don’t have the village we are supposed to have. We don’t parent in communities like we used to. We are detached. Disconnected.

We were smart enough to hire a postpartum doula in the weeks after our son’s birth. Millie helped with dishes, laundry and took my oldest out to the park so I could rest. She brought us food and upon my request, a pint of Guinness! She listened to me cry.

My experience with Millie was invaluable and I have found myself wanting to do similar work. So here It is. Along with the therapeutic yoga I am already doing with new and expectant moms, I’m offering my services as a Postpartum Doula. I also just finished a training in Indian Massage for infants and kids (Shantala) and I’m eager to share this knowledge with parents who want a beautiful way to connect with their babies either in private or in a group setting.

Being there for clients in this important time may not be the exact same as it would’ve if I was family– but I hope it can be pretty close. I hope it can help others the way it helped me.

 

For more information on the packages I’m offering, you can visit www.bonadeayoga.com or call 514.318.4566