40 day principles
It takes nine months for the body to become fully pregnant, and it takes around nine months to fully recover from the pregnancy, even longer, if you breastfeed long-term. This recovery starts by observing six weeks of maximum rest. Allow yourself that time for recovery. It will impact your body and emotional state in the long run.
Some women feel the need to get back in touch with their old selves, to get their non-pregnant bodies back. Be patient with yourself! Not respecting the necessary recovery time will weaken the nervous and immune system. Fatigue, physical and emotional imbalance may affect the long-term healing process. What really matters is that you have been initiated into motherhood. Allow yourself to be mothered, nurtured and cared for. You will recuperate faster and be more available to build a better relationship with your child.
The basic guidelines for the 40-day postnatal period:
- Be cosy at home. Stay close to your baby.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Be conscious of healthy food and drinks. (More about food).
- Start with pelvic floor exercises.
- Practice long and deep breathing with abdominal breath (bringing the pelvic floor muscle up).
- Avoid abdominal over-stretching.
- Do not strain nor lift anything heavier than your baby.
- For the first few days, lie on your stomach (with a little pillow underneath the belly) to help compress the uterus.
- Stimulate the circulation of the blood in the legs by lying on your back with your legs straight and pulling the toes towards you.
In the Lap of the Mother
The mother is the only one who can teach her child tenderness and compassion. It is this exposure to gentleness in the lap of the mother for the first seven years of life that teaches a man to be just, tolerant and compassionate in his dealings with others…. The entire nervous system, and consequently the entire capacity of a person for self-control, is determined by the touch of a mother. All human character, which has that gentleness for which humanity is proud, comes from the gentle touch of a woman. Our entire value of acceptance of others, hospitality, compassion, pain for others, thinking of others, sacrificing, welcoming, –all this is learned in the lap of the mother. There is a saying in the scriptures: “Whatever goodness a man has, it is learned in the lap of the mother”. That is how important the institution of a woman as a mother is in our society.
– Yogi Bhajan
The Postnatal Support Network (PSN) addresses the importance of a well-prepared and relaxing 40 day postnatal period. It is an international organisation with a non-medical and social network, informing families and especially mothers about this special and delicate time after birth.