Traditional Postpartum Care in the Modern World
Living in Malaysia and working with expectant families opened my eyes to some very different cultural and traditional practices that we don’t tend to see in the UK. At first I regarded them with scorn - how could people still follow such outdated concepts such as confinement? But as I grew to learn more about them, and get to know the reasoning and history behind these traditions, I became more respectful and appreciative of them. I also believe that the Western world could learn a lot from our Asian counterparts.
For example, confinement is not a fixed thing. Many cultures practise it, but in slightly different ways. For some the confinement period is 28 days, for others it is 40. Some women have their confinement in their own homes, others go to their mother or mother in law, and others book into confinement centres. For some, washing your hair is a no-no, for others it is imperative to be clean at all times. Staying warm is a key theme across most cultures, as is eating nourishing food and getting lots of rest. Looking back on my own postpartum period, I can see now that following a modified confinement period might have been particularly useful - after an emergency Caesarean I needed to spend time resting and being looked after, not feeling like I needed to prove I was ok.
As I gained more knowledge and felt more connection with the women and families I was working with, I came to find out about the Newborn Mothers Collective, which is a holistic postpartum training led by Julia Jones in Australia. Julia has put together an amazing course that explores postpartum traditions around the world, combines them with science and evidence from recent research, and lays out a framework for supporting new mothers as they make the transition into parenthood in our modern society. I desperately wanted to take this training, as it appealed to my more scientific mind whilst also complementing the new information I was learning in Malaysia, but at the time the cost of the course put it out of my price range.
Still, I joined the Newborn Mothers Collective facebook page, and joined in with some free training that Julia held online. During the course of that free training Julia revealed that she would be awarding a full scholarship to the paid course, to someone who actively participated in the free course. Well, wouldn’t you know it, but she picked me!! I think I may have squealed a little when I found out….
Despite spending all the spare time I had on the course, it has taken me nearly twice as long to finish as my colleagues who started at the same time, due to our huge adventure of moving back to the UK right as I got going…. But I am very pleased to share that I have indeed finished the course and passed the exam, and can now proudly call myself a Postpartum Professional!
But how does me doing this training benefit you, my clients? Well, here’s a taste of what I learnt:
Baby Brain - all about how our brains change when we become mothers, and how to embrace these changes.
Communication - the role of oxytocin, how newborn mothers communicate, and getting in touch with intuition.
Traditional Postpartum Care - common themes in postpartum traditions around the world, learning from our elders, and cultural appropriation.
Ayurveda - understanding the Ayurvedic view of pregnancy and postpartum, and how to meet the needs of newborn mothers.
Cooking - the traditions of providing food for postpartum women, how to create beneficial recipes, and using Ayurvedic concepts in cooking.
Bodywork - the role of belly binding and massage in postpartum recovery.
With the new knowledge and skills I gained from this training I hope to gently guide you towards becoming a calm and confident parent who trusts their intuition, whilst also helping to meet your emotional and physical needs as you navigate this transitional time of your life.
If you’re interested in finding out more about postpartum support, I offer free consultations where together we can explore what you feel you will need for a successful fourth trimester. I also offer postpartum planning sessions both in person or online, should you not wish to book a full doula package.