Take a sneak peak into the content….
Intro In the intro I share why I feel that nurturing is a required component of the health and well-being of new families-not a luxury. Through my first birth experience I discovered that the modern practice of midwifery has changed- thus creating a void. While modern midwives continue to offer a much more humanistic approach to childbirth, the days of the community midwife – the one who knows you and your family in an intimate way, has become somewhat of a cultural rarity with the recent professionalization of midwifery. Pregnant women however continue to have an inherent need for the inclusion of a wise women or a circle of experienced women, to guide or mentor them through the mysteries of both pregnancy and birth. This role can be filled by experienced women in our own community or facilitated by holistically minded and experienced doulas.
Chapter 1 My First Postpartum Story In this chapter I share the trials and tribulations of my first post partum experience and how it led me to the path of serving as a Doula. It seems that collectively as a culture we have forgotten what new moms and newborn babies need-and how to provide for them as community. Along with allowing the medical profession to displace our loved ones in the birthing experience, we also unknowingly let community slip through our fingers thereby losing the family centered birth experience. I propose that it is now time to reclaim community supported childbirth and cultivate a village to raise our children. We can begin doing that by contributing to pregnant women and new families.
Chapter 2 The Heart of Embracing Family Life As much as each individual woman can cultivate great self-responsibility and self-care, pregnant women also have an inherent need to be honoured, celebrated and nurtured through pregnancy and birth as a rite of passage. During this profound time she offers her body, mind, soul and heart to the community as a vessel of pro-creation, thus ensuring the continuance of humanity. In addition, the nature of the child she raises has far reaching impacts on what the future will look like for all of us. One thing that we can be sure of is that this child will effect and make a contribution to this world. Whether that contribution is positive or negative, rests on the child’s life experience. By working together as a community to allay any external stresses in the lives of pregnant women, we can help to create a contented child who feels at home and safe in his/her world.
Chapter 3 Community Coming together to Nurture the New Family In this chapter I share many concrete and specific ways that the community can contribute to pregnant women and uphold the new family during the postpartum experience with love and reverence.
Chapter 4 Motherhood as a Bodhisattvic Path In this chapter we exploring the path of motherhood as a spiritual practice. While it doesn’t look or feel anywhere near as idyllic or romantic as the ashram, the moment we conceive a child, the bodhisattva is born within us as mothers. The process of being aware as we conceive, gestate and open our wombs to the creative force- the all that is, becomes our attunement as woman healer- giving rise to the higher functioning we need to mentor our children into their vast potential and greatness. As we choose to offer ourselves up to mother in awareness, we consciously raise the consciousness of our children, and ultimately we generate the enlightenment of humanity as a whole.
Chapter 5 Sacred Acts of Self Care for the Pregnant Woman Many women find themselves ill prepared for the demands of the experience of mothering. In this chapter we explore the importance of adopting rhythms around self care, along with 32 ways to nurture one’s self during pregnancy. At some point or another, we all hit a place of futility where we find ourselves drained and feeling uninspired as mothers. We discover the mantra “It is not up to me to meet all my child’s needs, but it is up to me to see that all my children’s needs are met” and explore the possibility that we don’t need to compromise. Instead we can seek higher solutions and find consensus in the seemingly endless conflicting desires that we have as mothers to serve our children and yet remain true to ourselves.
Chapter 6 Prenatal Yoga- A Practice in Self Care in Preparation for Giving Birth In this chapter I share 6 reasons why I believe that yoga is hands down the best self care and preparation for childbirth.
Chapter 7 Nurturing Mama- Expanding the Masculine Heart Pregnancy is both time for a man to deepen into his masculinity, and for a woman to deepen into her femininity. A father’s role in conception, pregnancy, and birth are very often underestimated in our culture, yet Father’s play an integral role in conception, birth, and parenting. In this chapter I share ways that parents can deepen in their relationship as preparation for parenting and how masculine strength can assist a woman to ground and open more fully into her feminine essence in preparation for childbirth and motherhood.
Chapter 8 Holistic Doulas- Nurturing Pregnancy and Birth In this chapter I share the benefits of hiring a Doula to assist with the birthing experience and highlight the importance of choosing one that is holistically minded so that pregnant women can get not only the education they need to navigate the politics of childbirth- but to be fully nurtured throughout pregnancy and the postpartum. Nurturing can go a long way to providing pregnant women with a positive embarkation into motherhood, regardless of their birth outcome.
Chapter 9 Cultured at Birth Babies acquire their inner ecosystem as they descend through the birth canal. Mother passes on her own gut flora (for better or for worse) to her baby. The state of mom’s flora has the potential to either promote healthy digestion, immunity and mental capacity or it can compromise her baby’s health from birth (causing a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering for both). In this chapter, a checklist is provided to highlight symptoms that may indicate an imbalance of microflora in the mother or father. Additionally, I outline 8 steps that parents can take to restore their microbial balance in preparation for the birth.
Chapter 10 The 42 Day Sacred Window In Ayurveda, it is believed that postpartum women are to be nurtured and cared for by extended family with proper post partum food, daily massage, and nothing to do but care for and bond with their baby after the birth for 42 days. It is believed that, women who are cared for in this way will become rejuvenated, increasingly energized, more beautiful and healthier than they were before giving birth! On the other hand, they have also observed that if new mothers are not cared for and are expected by their community to just get on with the daily tasks of life; that they will in fact age faster and experience a loss in vitality in the postpartum. In this chapter we explore how postpartum is facilitated in other cultures and how we can best incorporate these traditional ways for mothers and babies in today`s world.
Chapter 10 The Babymoon The Babymoon in a way corresponds to the 42 day Sacred Window. It refers to the special care we take as parents to bask in the afterglow of the birthing vibes and the beauty of bonding with our baby. Just as we have a honeymoon after getting married by secluding ourselves and taking out special time to bond with our partner, we can also intentionally create a babymoon with our new baby. In this chapter we explore how we can create sacred space in our homes, our lives and our community to welcome the new baby.
Chapter 12 Nourishing the Postpartum Woman with Food In this chapter we explore the best type of foods to meet the needs of new mothers and how to best prepare them for her – foods that are warming, moist, sweet, oily, mineral rich and easy to digest. We end the chapter with instructions on how to prevent digestive troubles in the infant and how to support colicky babies to heal.
Chapter 13 Fathering in the Postpartum This time can be especially delicate for parents and conflict can often arise. While in the postpartum, mothers continue to desire a protective masculine presence, they do not want fathers to take the lead in the decision making around what is best for the baby. This chapter is an appeal to fathers hold the space for moms to rise up and to acknowledge that she is intrinsically equipped to know instinctively what will best serve her own and the baby`s well being. It also sks mothers to be patient as fathers also rise up to the challenge of becoming a strong unwavering and solid presence- able to weather the storms of her emotion without needing to “fix her“, solve her problems or offer advice.
Chapter 14 Preparing your Post Partum Sanctuary In North American culture, women are expected, to not only to recover physically and emotionally from childbirth in a short period of time, but they are also expected, to simultaneously and solely care for their baby without breaks, support and community life. At no other time in history, have women been expected to do so much, with so little help. In this chapter, I provide a checklist of 18 preparations and practises that make for an easeful transition during the postpartum, plus creative ways to get help.
Chapter 15 The Un-Nurtured Woman In my observation and experience, if women do not receive some kind of postpartum nurturing, a complication will eventually present itself in the postpartum, thus enabling the mother to receive the help and attention that she truly needs and desires in the first place. These complications are an unconscious way of getting her needs met. In this chapter I share my own personal experience with this phenomenon and explore 7 reasons postpartum women are deserving of special treatment. We look at creative ways that any woman can re enact this time in her life to heal from past abandonment during this most sacred time in her life. We finish this chapter by looking at another benefit of great postpartum rejuvenation for papas- a juicy vibrant mama! We take a peak into how to keep the passion alive in parenthood.
Chapter 16 Co-creating and Cultivating Community It seems to me that we have become far too fragmented from one another and that a return to some degree of responsibility in one another’s lives on a daily basis is called for, now more than ever. While we all cannot or choose not to move into an intentional community, coop or eco village, in this chapter we explore ways to cultivate more community in our every days lives and contemplate how we can create a more child friendly world. We end this chapter with a full circle look at the potential and benefits of re creating multigenerational communities.
Chapter 17 My Second Postpartum Story In this final chapter I tell the story of my second postpartum experience showing the contrast between having a typical North American postpartum vs. a holistic one filled with love and community. I share how together with my circle of woman friends, we have created a community and culture of nurturing birth and how anyone can do the same in their circle, one mother-baby at a time.