Building your village
Supporting you as a new mum
In the days and weeks following the birth of your baby, your body is still adjusting, recovering. Some cultures have a tradition of sitting or laying for a month post birth - a period of confinement. This was possible with the support of family, friends and neighbours - the village - taking care of the day to day running of the house, and being there to advise the new mother as she finds her way.
While in western society we don’t often get the opportunity for a period of confinement, it’s important to set up a support network, our own village, to take its place for as long as possible. Our body needs time to rest, to mend and recover from the process of growing, delivering, and now feeding and caring for a new baby.
Setting up your village can help not just for the first days and weeks, but months and years. Here are some places to look:
- Your family and friends - be confident to ask for help, for someone to come and hang out/fold/put away the washing, sweep/mop/vacuum the floor and ask for meals instead of gifts for the baby (especially if this is not your first). Some (very organised!) people have a roster so each family member or friend does something every 1-2 weeks for the first few months but the new parent is cared for every day.
- New Parents Groups – your maternal child health nurse (MCHN) might invite you to attend a 6 week new parents group. Go. You might not make a best friend, but then again you might! Keep in touch with those you want to, but don’t feel you have to keep up with everyone.
- Online Groups – facebook has a group for everything, but they might not all align with your own ideas as a parent. Be selective and remove yourself from any group that makes you feel uncomfortable. That said, I have a couple of parenting groups that I belong to and find them to be immensely supportive.
- Australian Breastfeeding Association – your local ABA will have meetings somewhere that’s convenient for you. Even if you’re not breastfeeding you are welcome to come and have a cup of tea and a chat. They will often meet in community centres or library meeting rooms so contact the ABA directly or talk to your MCHN to find out where your local group meets.
- Postnatal Doula – I (and many others) offer a postnatal doula service. This is where I come to your home weekly, or more often, to provide support in whatever way works best on that day. As a naturopath I can support you with guidance on diet and lifestyle measures, help with health related issues or just sit back and listen. I can hang out a load of washing, help prepare a menu and shopping list for your partner to pick up, the list goes on. Services vary but generally I would spend about 1 hour a week with you, for around 6 weeks. And it is all on your agenda.
To find out more about my postnatal doula service, or other ways I can support you in your parenting journey please contact me.