Postpartum Traditions: Motherhood Worldwide
Image by Ken Tackett
In the true form of Sisterhood, women around the world have been sharing and passing down practices from generations before, to ensure that Postpartum Recovery is an essential rite of passage for Mother’s.
If you think about your own postpartum traditions, is there a particular process or tradition that you have inherited from your Grandma or Mother? We spoke to some of our fellow MBH Mamas to learn a thing or two about Recovery…
“My Aunties told me to sit in a very shallow bath of salt and they came every other day to give me a hot steam and warm compress on my stomach. The bleeding reduced significantly after two days with the salt. The steam press, helped my uterus return to it’s normal size. It was amazing, I don’t know why it is isn’t a service provided!
I also used raw shea butter on my bump from Nigeria! At first my belly was really dark, and after a while my belly returned to it’s normal colour and I had no stretch marks left on my stomach!
Chinese Traditions: Zuo yue zi
"During the first month there are so many things that we aren't supposed to do such as opening the windows, washing our hair, taking a shower (although we also say it is ok to wash hair and bathe as [long as] you put ginger in the water!). No housework should be done, and you should only be drinking warm water etc."
“There are also special recipes that we eat for the first month. For that, I followed some but not all. I had eggs everyday and also had congee (rice and millet as they are supposed to be good for lactation) every morning.”
“Chinese have a very strict traditions we have to follow, according to the confinement period of 40 days. Ginger, ginger, ginger, everything has to have ginger and rice wine, including your bath!”
Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean Traditions
“I had to get my womb back into place and this was done by literally rubbing it and [she] wrapped me in brown cotton to reduce my postpartum belly. I had to drink saffron to get rid off the excess blood clots because it’s a cleanser. I also sat over hot salt water to help the vagina heal faster - the heat helped with bringing down the excess blood following childbirth.
My doula gave me castor oil to drink it’s also a cleanser and it causes bowel movements, I had to do this once but the rubbing was over a period of 9-12 days.”
Mexican Tradition: La Cuarentena
My mother in law came to care for Me for 40 days so that I could heal and recover. Her mother did the same for her and her four daughters.
In Mexico, the tradition is to care for the Mother for 40 days - La cuarentena. The new Mum doesn’t leave the house and women from her family or the community pitch in to look after her, giving her baths, cooking, cleaning and looking after the children. This gives Mum time to heal and this is passed on from generation to generation.”
This sounds like the most amazing postpartum spa retreat. It seems that in most countries, the main focus is on ensuring that Mother and baby are kept warm, nourished and supported by the community - no matter how big or small.
What practices will you bring into your postpartum recovery plan?