You’ve just enjoyed 40+ weeks of pregnancy, holding your little one safely inside, just below your heart. Your delivery was (quite possibly) one of the most intense and mind-blowing experiences of your life. At least, it was for me.
After 35 hours of contractions, and A LOT of dilation promoting yoga poses, our daughter Lou was born. Although I had skipped two nights of sleep and it was without a doubt extraordinarily ‘next level’ I would and will never call it hard or difficult. I would gladly do it all over.
I think this is due to the fact that I was looking forward to labour. Yes, you heard that correctly. I was looking forward. I felt blessed to be pregnant, have Lou grow inside me for 40 weeks and get to experience this raw, powerful & ancient practice called giving birth.
So many women had done it before me, with great success, and I was full of confidence (and curiosity!) of my own body’s wisdom and capability to ‘get the most magical job on earth done’. The reason why Lou’s delivery was so great was greatly influenced by my ability to simply surrender. Pain is the result of struggle, if you surrender and stop struggling there’s (little or) no pain. Your body starts to do what it does best when the mind is switched off, or channeled. It starts working optimally, from primordial instinct instead of rational reasoning.
After Lou was born, during childbed, I continued surrendering. I enjoyed being taken care of (by my husband, family & our maternity nurse) and doing only what was ‘needed’ right at that moment: nursing, sleeping, eating, drinking and cuddling. I didn’t force getting back on my feet, start work or exercise. I simply took it easy. And it paid off. My body healed rapidly. Labour will sprinkle its magic on your face and blow your mind, yes, but frankly it will bruise you a bit too. Stuff needs to heal.
So when I was asked to share my tips to help heal after giving birth I wrote down SLEEP first. Breastfeeding meditation came second and chocolate & bread came last, but definitely not least. Why I specifically chose these three? I’ll shortly explain. And feel free to share your positively charged holistic healing childbed tips with other amazing moms (to-be) in the comments below. Love!
'Rest, and bread with chocolate, are my healers.'
TIPS & INFO
Kyra’s tips after giving birth:
3.Chocolate & bread, or bread with chocolate
SLEEP | is seriously the most underestimated healing method of modern times. But there’s a solution to that degradation! Just wait until your little one arrives, then watch your growing appreciation of it. You will embrace sleep in ways you have never ever embraced it before, even those who view sleep (or rest) as boring. Just watch and, without effort, see your desire and admiration for it grow!
It is during deep sleep that your body starts to secrete growth hormones that will repair damaged cells including your childbirth-bruised (muscle) tissue. It is during sleep that your mind gets the opportunity to process the eventful trip you’ve just went on. And sleep will give you flexibility, stamina and vitality to continue that trip in a healthy ad happy manner. Hence my advise to take…your…time…
Sleep, and rest, establish a strong base for your own physical and mental health, as well as a flexible attitude to the slightly changed relationship you have with your partner and, of course, yourself and your bundle of joy.
BREASTFEEDING MEDITATION | was helpful and healing in so many ways. I started doing it without planning. It came naturally. I noticed when I closed my eyes, started following my natural breath and focused on breastfeeding alone my let down reflex worked wonders. Milk flowed, Lou was content and I gained faith in my breastfeeding abilities. During breastfeeding I consciously send out my love, confidence, happy thoughts and my milks nutritious goodness to Lou. I sometimes repeated a mantra, a few words that came up intuitively and were positively charged. I repeated those words a couple of times, as long as it felt right. Yoga and meditation had been a part of my everyday life for over ten years and now that my body needed healing I found myself finding ways to incorporate my practice in ways that were serving my situation. Not being able to do dancer pose or upward facing dog does not mean you can’t do yoga. My dear friend Tara says: “If you can breath you can practice”. So I just went with my reality. I surrendered and customized. I was breastfeeding up to 10 times a day, 20 minutes per feed, which added up to over 3 hours of breastfeeding meditation per day.
Meditating this way will aid your ability to breastfeed (which is a hidden talent you have to get ‘into’) and nourish your little bub. It also increases the amount of prana (vital life energy) in your body. Prana is the basis of health and wellbeing. Increasing the amount of prana in both body and mind makes you feel energized, happy, content and confident, plus it speeds up healing! Three hours of meditation a day is powerful medicine and will help your body recover and make ‘smoothify’ the transition from youhood to mommyhood.
CHOCOLATE & BREAD | were my friends during childbed. I’d send my fiancée and mother out just to get these two daily essentials. Bread has incredible healing powers. Actually, wheat (you know, the word that shan’t be mentioned lately) is, due to it’s heavy nature, one of the most power promoting grains. It therefore helps to speed up recovery for those who have been ill, have had surgery or otherwise need to regain strength. Its heaviness helps with growth and development and is great to add after dis-ease, for growing children or newborn breastfeeding mommahs in need of some serious vital force and grounding energy. I, of course, chose the best bread around: traditional slow-fermented levain sourdough bread made from organic whole spelt. Spelt is a variety of wheat that has not been as overproduced as general wheat has, hence its nutritional superiority. When spelt dough is left to ferment long and slow with the use of a mother (sourdough starter) it becomes gluten-free and easier to digest. Plus the fermentation helps to get rid of the nutrient robbing phytic acid all grains, beans and nuts contain. You will therefore be able to absorb all of the health promoting nutrients your slice contains. Traditional baked bread (so not the refined fast-food yeasty bread-like stuff that’s available in supermarkets today) is medicinal to those who know when to apply it! And childbed (+ breastfeeding) is the perfect time so get your daily dose of self-strengthening sourdough.
When choosing bread* make sure it is:
Left to ferment for a long time (days)
Made from a few pure ingredients: flour, the natural sourdough, water and unrefined salt.
*For all you Dutchies: I buy my bread from Bakery De Veldkeuken.
Chocolate was another daily grocery list addition. Cacao, the bean chocolate is made from, is the highest antioxidant food in the world.
These specific antioxidants protect and restore collagen in the skin, bones, tendons and joints. In case you had a tear, down below: chocolate will help you heal quickly. Stinging nettle and oats, two foods that contain silica, will help heal skin and muscle tissue too. That makes overnight oats or oat porridge (with chocolate?) perfect food for post delivery healing.
To aid vaginal healing I also chose to make some healing sanitary pads during the last weeks of my pregnancy. They are sheer luxury and necessity after giving birth as they calm, cool and heal the bruised, torn, cut or stitched skin around your vagina. You can find my simple and easy DIY recipe for cooling & healing childbed pads here.
Cacao is chockfull of iron, manganese and chromium: minerals important for blood building. And since giving birth will make you loose a bit of blood it is important for your sense of strength and vitality to promote the production of red blood cells. Chocolate will help you do that. Greens, beets, dried apricots and lentils help you build blood too!
Another great benefit of chocolate is its happiness enhancing effect. Pregnancy, giving birth and breastfeeding might cause your hormones to bounce from the glorious skies to the core of the earth and back. Safe to say it could be a bit of a rollercoaster. I naturally craved chocolate during childbed which, in hindsight, might have added to my crystal clear mind and balanced (happy, grateful, trust-filled) emotions. This feeling continued, also after the (adrenalin) buzzzzzz of birth had gone.
When you stock up on chocolate or cacao make sure it is:
4.made from pure simple ingredients: cacao butter, cacao powder and a natural low GI sweetener.
**During childbed I chose fermented organic raw chocolate. Raw chocolate still contains ‘happy chemicals’, that’s lost when cacao is heated. Do not use raw unfermented cacao products. Unfermented cacao is super high in phytates, compounds that rob the body from minerals resulting in tooth decay, nutrient deficiencies and bone loss. ***The chocolate I chose was by Lovechock. It is sweetened with coconut blossom nectar and has a little hormone balancing maca powder added to it.