First time Mums – When You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
On the 25th August, 1971 (wow, that seems like such a looong time ago!) at 7.41pm, I was born!
My mum had not long turned 20 years old.
My parents eloped from far North Queensland to Brisbane when she was around 10 weeks pregnant with me.
Back then, it was common practice to be told to lay on your back with feet in stirrups to birth. As a result, I was born with forceps.
A few days later, my mum went home, going from maiden to mother overnight, and no freaking idea what to do.
No family or friends (apart from the neighbour) to help her.
The midwives advised – sternly – to feed me every 4 hours. On the dot. Even if I was fast asleep. And, from memory, I think my mum said I was to be given water in a bottle if I was wanting to feed before the 4 hours.
Oh how I feel so sad with that unhelpful, old-fashioned, harmful advice.
Mum lasted 3 months with breastfeeding before putting me on formula. She was told she didn’t have enough milk.
Many many mothers were, and still are, given bad advice and told old myths – and, well, frankly, it’s time we took a stand.
First of all, mama, listen to your intuition. Our intuition really kicks in when we’re pregnant – it’s our innate way of tuning into the little Being growing inside of us, and learning about our body too. Trust yourself, even if you have to take it step by step.
Second, find people who will support your beliefs, values and desires. Luckily, these days, there are more women (and some men) jumping on board, empowering other women to take sovereignty with their body, and sharing tools to support and nurture natural births – in home or in the hospital.
Third, learn as much as you can. Learn about your body, the physiological changes, the emotional changes, the mental changes and even the spiritual. (Make sure you follow me on Instagram to learn this and more).
Learn what foods you will need to nourish your postpartum body that supports your recovery, your breastmilk supply and your hormones.
Discover what is best avoided for those early weeks, and what is essential to have.
Be open to knowing what traditional cultures have known for centuries and how they have cared for, and honoured, the new mother.
Understand that your sole (or soul) role is to recover from 9 months of growing a human (no small feat!) and giving birth (never to be downplayed!), to bond with and nurture your tiny new Being, and to rest. Have other people available to help you.
But, honestly, how many of us are really prepared? Like my mum, she thought she could do it all – I mean, how much work can a small baby be?
And then the reality hits. Like a belly flop into the water. Shock, pain, overwhelm, and moments of “What the f*** has happened to me?”
The enormity of changes, in our body, relationships and home is downplayed, I feel, by our culture. Yes, everyone warns of the lack of sleep, leaky breasts and all the nappies you need to change…. but that’s just the surface stuff.
What you actually need to know is:
- how to prepare people to help and ask for help
- how your digestive system and nervous system changes immediately after birth (no matter what kind of birth experience)
- what to eat for maximum recovery
- how to prepare meals/snacks and have them ready to eat
- who to go to if you’re having challenges with breastfeeding, or pelvic pain
And, if you’re a couple of years or more beyond the early postpartum days, you’re not excluded.
The amount of women who experience postpartum depression, anxiety, reflux, digestive issues, autoimmune including thyroid challenges, painful menstruation and more is increasing rapidly.
Do you relate to any of these?
We don’t know who to turn to or where to start with getting to the root cause.
The good news is, there are amazing people out there who are filling in these gaps in education and healthcare and it’s time to definitely switch your notifications on!
This is why I learned from some of the best! Learning about postpartum care and nutrition, breastfeeding and how to support mothers is such an honour.
Luckily, my mama started to learn more about natural birth, breastfeeding and diet. By the time she had her 3rd and 4th babies my mum had empowering friends who were also on the same page – this is very important. We were having Brewers yeast in OJ for our B-Vitamin boost (I can tell you… I do NOT miss that!), Miso instead of vegemite and Carob instead of chocolate. I kid you not. And I’m actually really grateful.
(My kids are now the ones grumbling about this hahah. Well, not the Brewers Yeast one).
When I fell pregnant with my first, 3 months off turning 20, and living over 1000km away from my family, my mum sent me my very first birth book. “New Active Birth” by Janet Balaskas. It was my bible. It sent me on a path of empowering myself and learning about natural birth and parenting.
So, you see, it might only take 1 book, 1 person, 1 conversation to have a light bulb moment and help you learn something you really needed to learn.
Trust yourself, and your guidance.
Reach out to and gather with like-minded, conscious women and create a supportive network.
Never stop learning about your amazing body and what it does when given the right nourishment and support. (And even when your body hasn’t, how amazing it can come back to health and wellbeing with the right nourishment and support).
If you’ve got any questions, I’m here for ya! Even if it is my birthday today!
You might want to learn more about the postpartum nutrition plan, or just chat about something that is challenging you at the moment. Reach out and contact me here, and let’s get you back on track, Mama.