To live and to practice Shamanism, Yoga and Ayurveda doesn’t mean that I follow set out rules for my life; these traditions, philosophies and sciences are not religions created by human. The essence of my practice is really only one thing: that I follow my heart. Always.
Ancient traditions and wisdoms give me guidelines and tools on my path. These tools are for me to remember to follow my heart’s guidance, follow Love and to never take anything for granted. I am profoundly grateful for my traditions- both for the joy and focus they bring to my life and for the guidance I am able to give myself through their guiding. Especially beautiful, powerful and important has it been (and still is) in my journey to heal the Woman and Sacred Feminine within me. The presence of ancient wisdom, rituals, medicines and the woman tribe worldwide empower me on my path through life’s and Woman’s cycles; menstruation, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, the sacred mamahood and beyond.
For instance, Ayurveda and Curanderismo remind us that the journey does not end by the birth of the baby. Rather, this is where it all begins. The transformation in to Sacred Motherhood is honored the first three months (the 4t th trimester), after baby’s arrival. These ancient traditions and sciences allow us to remember to honor Woman; the female body, the Mother and her great work here on planet earth- to guide the new beings.
In Western (“modern” ?) culture, the Mother is forgotten as soon as baby has arrived. Suddenly she is unimportant, how she feels is no longer interesting and the amazing journey her body just did becomes silenced and placed in the taboo corner. JUST AS everything else around Women’s sexuality; the sacred blood, the pregnant body, birth, postpartum body, menopause…… everything except for the baby. When it comes to the baby, suddenly the woman is expected to give away her sexuality and she is expected to show her inside, her creation, everywhere as soon as possible for all who wish to see the new being and lap from its innocent power. This is apparent in the attitude from “health care” where the mother (in Sweden) all through pregnancy go to the maternity clinic for regular check-ups and “talks” and then is left all alone through the big transformation and the physical transit is silenced. When the baby arrives, the Swedish health care system focuses on examining the child and continuous check-ups at the child welfare center (nowadays owned by big companies, yet ruled by the government…hmmm). This is the blunt truth. I know there have been videos going around social media about “Sweden’s amazing postpartum care”. This is a complete lie. Postpartum care does not exist in Sweden. Within 14 days after birth, a NURSE (notice: NOT a midwife!) comes to your house to CHECK THE BABY. And most importantly, to check on you as a parent while giving you heaps of products from their sponsors and trying their best to imprint atrocity propaganda of various sorts. A physical check-up for the new mother is offered first 8 weeks later (!). Me, I was never even offered one since we had a homebirth and, thus, the system chooses to ignore us.
Traditional medicine, on the other hand, gives both mama and baby love and care through its holistic treatment and acknowledging of the unity (oneness) of the duo and the importance of the new mother’s wellbeing for the sake of the baby’s wellbeing- both through pregnancy and after. For instance, Ayurveda is talking about how the baby’s digestive process is reflecting what the mama eats and that, therefore, she needs to eat carefully, most likely small portions that are easily digestible since her digestion also is weak. To eat Vata food (such as cabbage, broccoli, onion) creates air and dryness and gives the baby gas while hot and spicy food such as chili and garlic may cause colic. This is all really common sense and an innate understanding when mama is listening to her body and her baby (which is rare today in a society where we are led to give away our voices to maternity care, child welfare centers, overall health authorities and the national food administration).
Other categories are more specific and mention herbs to strengthen and aid the uterus back to its size and place, such as raspberry leaves, yarrow and lady’s mantle. One crucial aspect of the treatment from traditional healing arts is the ACKNOWLEDING of postpartum and the fourth trimester when mama and baby need a lot of rest and stillness in a quiet, non-stimulating environment. This is essential for mother’s recovery, to avoid depression, to integrate the new life situation (regardless of how many kids you already have) and to the entire family to create safety, get to know each other and for mother and baby to unite in their new ways of communicating. Through rest we honor the female body, the Sacred Motherhood and the Sacred Family.
The guidelines are clear: stay at home the first 42 days, keep house chores to a minimum and rather delegate them to family members, let parents and elders take care of you by bringing food, and let a midwife/doula support your healing process with yoni steams, herbal teas and so on.
And maybe most importantly: limit visits!!
This seems to be extremely controversial and something very few accept and understand. It seems like most people want to come running to visit the new family just a couple hours after the birth. Yet, completely disinterested in the birthing journey and with no respect for Woman and the Mother.
I feel like yelling: What do you think just happened here? How is it that the baby now, suddenly it seems, is OUTSIDE the belly, where it’s been for the last nine months?!
The body’s journey through expansion, pain, love, vulnerability, openness. Sexuality. To open and give away yourself to the Power, the Divine Sexual Power. The strength, focus, presence and trust that need to be one with the woman. Everything is silenced. The entire body has been rearranged and adapted to this magical transformation and passage. After, the body needs to retreat, contract, heal and grieve. Rest and stillness is needed to heal well and to ground this amazing, natural yet surreal occurrence.
In my journey, Universe asks me to acknowledge this, to honor Woman by honoring, worshiping and listening to my body. This is something that constantly seem to upset people; “listening to the body!? that is NOT how the norm is schooling us!”
“Most of all I’d have wanted to spend the first 2 months in the sofa”, a friend answers the question about when you feel ready to receive visitors after birth. Personally, I’d liked giving the first 21 days solely for me and my family but at the same time it is an important part of my practice to let people in, into the most intimate, to share and talk and receive help that is offered. We asked for the first three days alone and after that started to receive women visitors of our family, at the most two a day. This was completely reasonable considering my energy level. Each and everyone can and must listen to oneself in this situation and it is important to express your wish and standpoint. Now, universe is instantly opening a space for you to express your voice and your family values- something that can become a big test further on if friends and family are trying to “run over” you with their ways of doing things.
Personally, I also have a responsibility towards my earthly calling; to reclaim and recreate ancient wisdom in everyday life through honoring the Divine Feminine and strengthening woman’s voice. It all starts with me, inside me. To invite only women to the post-birthing space was for me not a choice but something self-evident and natural. When we are gathering in this intimate moment conversations are allowed to be shaped, questions are asked and stories are exchanged. We talk about the female body, the experience, the journey, and sexuality. We talk about what is happening during the birth process and the portal into Sacred Motherhood. This is where we need to start, where all has to start. Where I have to start. (Because patriarchy doesn’t like us talking, sharing and feeling things- remember?) We are not excluding the men, au contraire. Every woman brings the conversation onwards, to the men around her and to those in her home. This is true for me, for my calling and my journey.
How do you like to spend post partum? What is important for YOU?
Regardless of what and how our request looks like it is important to verbalize it to the ones around us. It might be met with annoyance and incomprehension but remember that You deserve respect! The transformation- the birth- into Motherhood is MY journey together with my body, my baby and my partner. I want to be in that journey. I want to enjoy it. I want to FEEL. I want to experience the journey to its fullest. We share in whatever pace we are ready for and we are not being silent. All we demand is to be treated with respect.
Magdalena (Etzalitzin) Chandrakaí