Postnatal Support Network Update – Q2-3/2020
Fall Equinox at the Postnatal Support Network
The Fall Equinox is here – on September 22, 2020, the Sun stands still, the day is equal to the night. It is time to bow in gratitude for what we have, time to rejoice at the abundance of our lives, to share the fruits of our efforts and to gently select the best of seeds and prepare to plant them. We feel a strong need for balance and harmony between our female and male essence, between our inner and outer worlds, between us and the other.
2020 has been a challenging year yet also one that has been showing us the importance of community, the power of love, our strengths and our weaknesses. We at PSN are deeply grateful for the community of post-partumdoulas we have been creating, for the families who sought and received help, and for the growing network of supporters worldwide. The quarantine inspired us to think of new ways to offer our services – stay tuned for a big announcement coming soon! Three in-person trainings are planned for the rest of the year – in Copenhagen, Oslo and Montpellier (see dates and details below).
We invite you to read more about latest happenings and shared practices in our Network in this newsletter, and to keep being an active and committed member of our Postnatal Support Network.
Stay healthy, generous, creative, bright and safe.
We count on your support and we thank you!
Should you need assistance, please contact our webmaster at email@example.com
POSTPARTUM DOULA in a COVID WORLD
Testimony by new mother Joana Salvador 15/07/2020:
Even when everything is going well… and me and my baby are happy and healthy, a visceral feeling of tiredness and frustration comes up.
I’m 40 years old and in April 2020 I started my second journey as a mother. The feelings of joy, fulfilment, pride, superpower of “I’m here for you and I can everything” are overwhelming! Yet, there are days when, in one second, “overwhelm” easily switches to the opposite, and I feel highly sensitive and emotional. It’s scary the feeling of “am I enough?”. I feel my body trembling, tension, weakness, irritation, a longing for relaxation, maybe similar to withdrawal symptoms, when you leave an addiction.
Meditating on this second round of post-partum experience, I feel more confident, more resilient, less vulnerable but I know that the potential to explode is there, somewhere inside of me. I consciously try to transform it and use it as positive energy to help me when I feel that I am giving up, when I feel that I am falling down to sleep, sleep, sleep, when I want to scream “Don’t suckle anymore because I don’t have more milk”, or “what are you feeling because you don’t stop crying and I’m doing my best”.
Sometimes I feel something similar to the fire of pre-menstrual tension… Even without losing blood, the cycles continue and when that coincides with a bad day I need to activate a protective mode and act as auto-pilot.
It has been a great help to have a post-partum doula with me, specially with this new Covid social conjuncture – the environment at home is more heavy, being outside is full of restrictions. Having someone to talk to, someone that really hears me and is there only for me, someone to cook, to give me postnatal yoga lessons, do the rebozo, massages, someone that is present for whatever I need, so I don’t feel alone and tired. It’s amazing to feel that someone is taking care of me!
I feel honored and blessed for receiving, for the second time, this big responsibility and challenge – being a mom.
The following 2 thoughts always give me strength and inspiration when I feel down:
1. “If I’m here is because my mum did a great job. I want to do it too. God only knows the kind of challenges each one of us is able to handle.”
2. “Believe in woman’s natural power. Mothers exercised it for thousands of years. I can too.”
Artwork by Gérémia Doula
IDEAS FOR SELF-CARE
ABHYANGA SELF-MASSAGE with WARM OIL
Abhyanga is a traditional Ayurvedic massage. Abhi means “directed towards” and anga means “movement”.
Abhyanga is a massage with a generous amount of oil. It synchronizes with and follows the movements of the blood circulation. It is pleasant and beneficial to receive a massage from two hands (yourself or another person) or four hands (two synchronized massage therapists). Regular massage, daily if possible, or 3 times a week, is an essential element for health and wellness.
Daily use of “sneha” (cold-pressed vegetable oil, or clarified butter / ghee) in regular massage is an ancestral Ayurvedic practice that brings overall well-being: physical, emotional and spiritual (detoxification, energy boost, inner peace, awakening of consciousness, centering). The Abhyanga massage stimulates the elimination of toxins (clusters) and negative emotions. It strengthens the circulation of blood, lymph, the nervous system and the immune system. Abhyanga calms the mind and brings relaxation, while also increasing pranic energy. Improves sleep quality, concentration, and memory. It nourishes and protects the skin, which is the 3rd (and largest) organ of elimination after the kidneys and the liver.
Pregnant and postnatal women will benefit greatly from receiving a massage or self-massaging daily, or 3 to 4 times per week. The recommended oils are the ones that are edible. The skin should not be coated with a substance that is not consumable (therefore all classic cosmetic products should be avoided). Traditionally, the oil that is used is cold pressed sesame oil, not roasted. It is an oil that warms and soothes. Coconut oil is a good oil for massage during the heat season, it has the quality to cool down the heat. For people who have a tendency to feel hot, coconut oil is a good option. Ghee, olive or sunflower oil are also good for massage. High quality sweet almond oil is excellent for newborns, babies, infants, and children.
Abhyanga self-massage pre & postnatal
Practical advice for pregnant women: The massage is ideally done in the morning before shower but can be done in the evening also.
- Heat your bottle of massage oil in a container of hot water or in a baby bottle heater. The oil should be warm or hot. Install a bath mat that does not slip on the floor.
- Place a chair on it with a towel over it, or self-massage while standing.
- Be careful not to slip with oiled feet in the shower !!!
- Sit down and start massaging yourself in this order, with plenty of oil:
- from the top of the head, the face, the ears, the neck;
- the feet with back and forth movements along the sole of the foot, then the toes (please wipe your feet so you don’t slip).
- then the hands and fingers, arms, elbows, shoulders (upward and downward movements on the limbs, circular movements on the joints).
- the legs: from the ankles upwards including the glutes, the knees (circular movements)
- the lower back by applying circular movements at the level of the kidneys.
- the chest and belly with circles (gently, circular movements in a clockwise direction.
The massage would last about 15 minutes, but, if you are in a hurry, 5-7 minutes will be enough.
Ideally, a period of relaxation after the massage is desirable before the shower. It your time schedule does not allow it, enjoy your shower immediately.
Finish by taking a hot shower or bath.
DATES and ALMOND SMOOTHIE
● 6 medjool dates
● 20 almonds
● 1 cup of soaking water for the dates
● 1 cup of soaking water for the almonds. Soak them overnight, remove the skin in the morning and throw water.
● Pinches of cardamom, cinnamon and / or
● 2 cups of warm whole milk (or rice milk or water)
Mix the soaked and peeled almonds with all the ingredients. Enjoy!
ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR THE NEWBORN MOTHER
We checked with a few newborn mothers to compile a list of essential items for the new mother. Of course, this list will be very personal and depend on each unique situation, but we share with you some basics that would make your postpartum time more peaceful and fluid. The most essential “item” remains rest – prepare in a way that you will be able to take all the time you need to rest, rest, rest next to your baby, in a warm, calm and soothing environment.
- Nursing pads (reusable from pure cotton or disposable);
- Silver nursing cups or breastfeeding shells;
- Fresh ginger (PSN Vice Secretary Gita Saraswati shared her hands-on recipe in case of a blocked milk ducts: she places a towel soaked in grated ginger and warm water to alleviate swelling and encourage flow);
- Green clay (to alleviate swollen breasts, make a pad with liquid clay and place on breast avoiding nipple area and never putting the clay directly on the skin);
- Breastfeeding pillow / Bolster;
- Towels (from small to medium size);
- Elastic disposal panties;
- Large maternity pads;
- Home-made pads to deal with swollen perineum: Before birth, soak large menstrual pads in an infusion of calendula/thyme/rosemary/sage and freeze them. If allergic or hesitant about herbs, pads can be frozen after dipping in water alone. To keep it hygienic in the freezer, wrap each pad in clean plastic.;
- Teas to stay hydrated, stimulate milk production and strengthen digestion: fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, caraway and shatavari;
- Herbs and plants for bath (calendula, camomile, rosemary, thyme);
- Rebozo / Postnatal belt / long cloth tissue to bind belly and hips;
- Sesame / sweet almond oil for self-massage;
- Mother tincture of calendula (to disinfect).
Hearts full of joy, we introduce a new rubric to our newsletter and blog: postpARTum! Here the Postnatal Support Network invites artists to share their art inspired by the idea of Mothering the Newborn Mother and the universe of postpartum experiences.
Today we feature Hirdai Nām Kaur and her beautiful Mandala.
Hirdai Nām Kaur shared with us:
“Above all, I wanted to support in my own way all the work done by the PNS. I am deeply convinced that the world today needs more than ever to take care of mothers and to honour the feminine.
It is a long work and path of consciousness to be developed and transmitted. This mandala is an invitation to this and also a way of giving thanks for all that has already been accomplished. My intention was to honor the divine feminine energy, that cares, nourishes, prays and support and the nutritive one, the grace beyond all grace, the strength through softness and delicacy.
This mandala is figurative indeed, but I wanted something also evocative and symbolic. The hands in mudra around can evoke for example all the work that need to be done to support a mother during the post natal period. In the middle – a lotus flower. One of the multiple symbols of it is, above all, the archetypal vulva, a pledge for the perpetuation of births and rebirths. It is the woman’s body that opens this door between the earthly and the spiritual. Through her, everything become possible.”
If postpARTum inspires you, please connect with us and share your ART. We look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org .
NEWS FROM OUR NETWORK
We are very grateful to Simona Giancola who worked as Director of PSN since the beginning of the year and through insecurity and world crisis, and we wish her the very best in her journey into motherhood. We are excited to announce that a few weeks ago Beant Devi has started as our new Director. We wish a warm welcome to Solène Bourgeois, our new Coordinator for North France. Do you also want a more active role at PSN? Apply!
Meet Beant Devi – new PSN Director
Beant Devi a.k.a. Ekaterina Cupelin is a doctor in Anthropology and a Kundalini Yoga teacher who came to birth-work after the birth of her two children. She has been working as a postnatal doula and training as a birth doula for the past few years. “I believe strongly that carrying and birthing our babies peacefully and in our full power, and that being supported and allowed to live the explosion of love and emotion that starts with birth but continues for months and years after, can make our world a better place,” shares Beant. Originally Bulgarian, for the past 20 years, she has lived – for study, work or research – in the US, Spain, China, the Netherlands, India, Switzerland, and currently, France.
Beant Devi has management experience in the corporate sector and has worked and volunteered in the non-profit world as a consultant, fundraiser, and event organizer for over 15 years.
“It is an honour and great joy to have started working as a as Managing Director at the Postnatal Support Network in the beginning of September, and to have joined such a powerful team and network of committed and inspiring people. PSN’s mission to promote postnatal health and support for the newborn mother aligns with and strengthens my personal life mission to serve newborn families, and I commit to serve the Network to the best of my abilities.”
Meet Solène Bourgeois – PSN Coordinator North France
Yoga teacher, prenatal and postnatal yoga, doula, massage therapist, coach and women circles facilitator. Solène trained at the yoga-doula.eu, as well as PSN. She cares for the flourishing of empowered mothers and conscious couples by informing and co-creating better experiences during pregnancy, delivery and post-natal period. Her love of singing Mantras brings some nice melodies to the ears of future babies! You can reach her at email@example.com
Postnatal Support Training Courses 2020
To share ancient and more contemporary knowledge and insights on the 40 days postpartum recovery time, our network is organizing trainings all over Europe.
The trainings are accessible to all people who are interested in supporting mothers and families after birth. Men and women are both invited to take part in our training courses.
The scheduled face-to-face courses for the reminder of this year are:
24-26 September 2020, Copenhagen – Denmark
30 October – 2 November 2020, Oslo – Norway
13-15 November 2020, Montpellier – France
Are you interested in organizing and/or participating in one of our training courses in your country or somewhere else?
Please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org