BabyMoon up close and personal = Happiness
I just returned from a 4 week baby wellness check and home visit with one of our moms. I was thrilled to see how rested, happy and bonded with the baby she was. It was a treasure too watching Dad holding and communicating with his son, all the while, the baby making eyes and baby sounds for him. They were all so in tune! Baby was completely comfortable in his body and parents were obviously adept at “reading” his cues, for nursing, for changing and so many other little things. Hardly a drop of stress in the house! They wanted to share so much of what they were learning – As if they themselves had been birthed into a whole new life.
Last week I witnessed a similar thing at a 4 week postpartum visit: mom was tucked away upstairs enjoying nap time with her baby. Dad and younger sibling were downstairs making food and generally bouncing gently around the way younger kids need to do. Both of these moms felt really comfortable in their bodies, had energy and felt “recovered” from the birth and both were dedicated to spending as much time as possible focusing on baby time, nursing, resting, enjoying. The babies were totally thriving! I was told they hardly ever cried. Parents could tell what the babies needed before crying ever happened.
The most prevalent energy in these homes was JOY!
But It can be DIFFICULT
I remember a much different picture with my own first baby. My husband went back to work the day after the birth. I rested as much as I could, but there was still food to cook, dishes and clothes to wash and all the various household chores while I was caring for a newborn, learning how to breastfeed and recovering from the birth. Labor and birth were a true vision quest for me, unimaginably transformative, and then suddenly, boom! that’s all over, now get back to normal life. I understand now that I really needed time to rest and integrate what I had just gone through. It was certainly the biggest experience I had ever had. My other challenges included outrageous fatigue, screaming muscles, basic overwhelm with everything being so new (I had never done this before!) and no one to share it with. I felt so alone but didn’t even know how to talk about that. Was I supposed to be enjoying this? My saving grace was the love I saw in my son’s gaze and my overwhelming desire to mother him.
I had intended to stay home exclusively for 21 days to give my baby time to “totally come into his body” and feel 100% secure, safe and thriving. I couldn’t do it. By two weeks I was getting “cabin fever” and went out into the world with him on some mundane errand. It was obviously a big mistake. He cried. I cried. My errand didn’t get accomplished. We both needed the slow calm attention and flexibility available at home in our nest. The simple act of driving and trying to “get something done” were moving us in the wrong direction.
During those early postpartum days, I talked to my mother on the phone (we were more than 3000 miles apart) and told her how sore, aching and tired I felt and she responded “Oh yes, I remember that’s how it is.” And that was it. This was just “the way it was.”
No one had told me how to create a BabyMoon time for myself and my newborn. I didn’t even know I would need it! I didn’t know that I would really really need this thing I had never even heard of. The new mom needs TIME. Time for recovery, rest, healing, bonding, adjusting, integrating – These are very real needs in the days and weeks after birth. There are physical and emotional costs when these needs are unmet.
For my second, third and fourth babies, I was more prepared. I had helped many other women plan their postpartum “lying-in” time experience. I did my best to create a BabyMoon experience for myself and I got better at it with each baby.
I was so happy to see Veege Ruediger’s great blog post at Moonstone Midwifery about this earlier in January. She succinctly outlines why postpartum matters and gives 10 tips for how to honor your “recovery.” Veege is a mother and a midwife too, so I know she has walked her talk. If you are expecting a baby, you will want to check this out.
How to get started ~ Find out more about creating your own BabyMoon ~
We are creating a BabyMoon Project that you can benefit from right now. We want to spread the word until BabyMoon is a cultural tradition. As a community we can help each other. When you sign up for the BabyMoon project, you can receive newsletters with information and resources about how you can create your own BabyMoon. We are gathering a circle of women who can mentor and support other women to create and sustain their BabyMoon time.