Planning for postpartum care should not be seen as a luxury, in fact, it is a physiologic need of all postpartum women. In the western world there is so much emphasis put on “bouncing back” after giving birth and doing it all. Having postpartum help is sometimes even seen as a weakness. We have some of the highest rates of postpartum mood disorders in the world which is mostly a symptom of the lack of support in the postpartum time.
For thousands of years woman were supported emotionally and physically, by the members of their communities who helped with daily tasks that came along with raising children. In the immediate postpartum, this support also included warming meals, massages, ritual, ceremony, (to celebrate the rite of passage into motherhood) healing therapies and more.
In todays modern reality things are different, women are often left alone with their newborns and the village is no longer present. This absence can bring feelings of isolation, depression, anxiousness and feeling depleted.
There are many cultures from around the world that still practice the ancient postpartum traditions that help families thrive in the postpartum and not just survive. These traditions share many similarities in the way women are cared for and nurtured after they have given birth because they are based in our physiologic design as humans. In many Ancient Postpartum Cultures, it is understood that the postpartum time is a golden opportunity for a woman to strengthen her health and heal lifelong illnesses, with proper postpartum care. Making her more vibrant than ever before and even healing and clearing past illnesses. This period of time has many different names:
In China it is called "Zuo Yue Zi" in Mexico it is referred as "La Cuarentena" in India they call it "The Sacred Window" and the list goes on.
These postpartum traditions all point to the importance of an extended resting period after giving birth, warmth, postpartum specific foods, bodywork and community after birth.
Many of these traditions also teach that how a mother is cared for during the postpartum time will be greatly reflected in her health through menopause and beyond. When a woman is supported, the baby thrives, the family thrives, communities thrive and our planet thrives.