There are two important things that happen during childbirth: the much celebrated birth of a baby as well as one that's rarely talked about - the birth of a mother.
No parent will ever forget the day they first laid eyes on their baby. The world around you melts away, leaving the both of you to focus on the only thing that matters: this precious little new life in your arms.
All eyes are on your child from the moment they’re born – yours, your partner’s and your family members’. Everyone is eager to shower this new family member with gifts to celebrate their birth.
But there was another birth that happened on the same day at time as your little one. In fact, that birth happened during the exact moment your baby came into this world. Yet strangely, not everyone talks about it – your birth as a mother.
From maiden to mother
Childbirth is a life-changing event: a woman experiences so many different changes, especially a change in her identity – from maiden to mother – and is no longer the woman she was before. The birth of a mother is equally as important as the birth of a baby. No matter how many babies she has had, she deserves to be nurtured and taken care of.
The transition into motherhood can come with many emotions. Often we expect the birth of our baby to be a joyous occasion. However, there are instances where it can be filled with fear and detachment as some women may need more time to embrace their maternal role.
A whole new world awaits – this shift into motherhood is a big change and impacts a new mother in so many ways. Physically, her body is recovering from delivery as she battles sleep deprivation to care for her baby, getting the hang of breastfeeding, while learning to accept and love her new body. Mentally, she has a thousand unanswered questions, trying to get to know her baby and understanding her responsibilities as a mother. At the same time, she has to quickly learn to play the role of a mother that society expects her to be.
Acknowledging the birth of a mother
Everyone takes time to adjust to changes, and what’s more abrupt and momentous than the transition into motherhood? Overnight, she is thrown into the abyss of a new role, navigating through unknown territory and trying her best to find her way.
Often, the attention from those around her shift almost immediately to this little baby and a mother takes the back seat. Growing life and birthing a baby is such a significant rite of passage for a woman and she needs that extra attention and care, just as much as her baby does.
The lack of support and understanding can lead to burnout, meltdowns and even postpartum depression. It can leave a mother feeling stranded and alone. In some cases, bonding is affected as mothers withdraw from their babies. It’s really important that partners and family members (and hopeful our society) understand the challenges a woman faces and show their support by acknowledging her efforts and helping her ease into her new identity.
Believing that all mothers deserve to be celebrated and honoured, doula Chantel Kismet of Blooming Births offers a comprehensive list of postpartum services to encourage and aid women in their postpartum journey.
The journey to postpartum recovery is an emotional one, as much as it is a physical one
The concept of postpartum recovery isn’t just a medical one. Many cultures around the world have their own practices when it comes to helping a mother recover from childbirth. While we may be familiar with some of the practices that focus on physical recovery (eg. the Chinese confinement diet and the Malay sengkak womb massage), there are also symbolic ones that help with emotional recovery.
Blooming Births offer postpartum services that honour the birthing body, focusing on both physical and emotional aspects of recovery. Doula Chantel works with physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and personal trainers to help a woman rehabilitate her body and physical strength. She provides emotional wellness support through ceremonies and holistic modalities such as breath work, meditation, sound therapy, and massage therapy amongst many other techniques.
One of the ceremonies she offers that helps with emotional wellness is the “Closing the Bones” ceremony – a traditional postpartum ritual that supports the physical, emotional, energetic and even spiritual healing of a mother. This ancient South American ritual combines rebozo massage, womb massage, and ceremonies to mark the end of a cycle in a woman’s life. A woman’s body goes through so much during pregnancy and birth. As such, this ritual honours her body and offers closure to this remarkable journey. It also provides an opportunity to nurture a mother and to hold space, allowing her to release any emotions stored within. The gentle rocking and traction from the rebozo massage helps healing through joint articulation, providing movement to the muscles, tissues and fluid.
This healing ritual can be offered to women who have experienced loss such as abortions, miscarriages, and still births as well. It provides a space for them to be held, acknowledged, and brings closure to such a difficult time.
Support through education
To further empower mothers, Blooming Births provides breastfeeding support, advice on holistic sleep strategies, sibling integration, and tips for nurturing a couple’s relationship as part of their postpartum care support. Doula Chantel also provides coaching to support a new mother’s shift in identity and helping her find her way.
More than just the sharing of knowledge, Blooming Births provide a support system for couples to connect with themselves, their partners and their new baby. The postpartum support can last all the way to the baby’s first birthday, depending on the spectrum of services engaged (you can check out Blooming Births’ packages here).
Mothers matter just as much as babies
It takes a whole lot of courage and strength to carry and bring forth new life into this world. As we celebrate the birth of a baby, let’s not forget to celebrate and honour the birth of a mother. So here’s to you, mama. Happy birthday!
This post is in partnership with Blooming Births