Mindfulness in Postpartum
It’s been over 11 years now, since I began my personal journey into healing from perinatal anxiety and depression. And I can say today, this experience (the suffering and the healing) changed my entire life. The first of a multitude of landmarks on my life’s map that stand out as being influential on the way I move through the world – and even more so, transformative in nature. So much so that there isn’t a pebble upon my path that has gone unaffected by said journey and space.Jennifer Magnano, Director of Postpartum Care, Ayurvedic Postpartum Specialist, Mental Health Advocate
The transition from maiden to mother or savvy and single to semi-traditional caregiver is often the biggest transition women and birthing people will experience beyond menarche. Your first moon cycle? It will teach you to care for you – if you let it. And your first (and subsequent babes), they will teach you the same… except with the need for unending patience with the process, yourself, and your precious baby or babies.
Which is why we want to bring the art and science of mindfulness to the tea table in this post. In present culture, few humans are empowered with the tools they’ll need – from community and community care to mental and emotional wellness practices – until they’re in a bit of a hole or dark place. But this needn’t be the case. Living in alignment with life and this sacred space of mothering and/or parenting a new soul isn’t all that hard. But like all this art and science, it will require hands-on experimenting, experiencing, and practice.
Let’s talk about how to get to a place and space of greater ease, calm, presence, and peace!
Pillar Three: Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, with both acknowledgement and acceptance of one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Simple mindfulness practices for your postpartum include saying a prayer before meals, turning off all distractions while eating prepared meals and while feeding babe, diffusing lavender or bergamot oils, and utilizing self-massage (abhyanga) practices at home.
It can also look like “just” tuning in.
Breathing in your baby.
Kissing fingertips or toes… or both.
In Ayurvedic Postpartum Care, mindfulness is foundational to mother, birthing person, and family thriving. Not only for the first six weeks, but for years and years to come.
Mindfulness Practices We Love
Over the years of bringing mindfulness practices to families, we’ve encountered many we love. Here are a few:
- gratitude/victory journaling
- mindfulness meditations
- EFT (aka emotional freedom technique or tapping)
- yoga nidra
- daily walks (after your first two weeks postpartum)
- baroque period music (clinically proven to reduce postpartum depression and anxiety)
- time in solitude and prayer
- walking barefoot outside, and
- using affirmations and mantras
Some mothers and birthing people may want to have these affirmations or mantras already taped up or hung in their room prior to giving birth – whether you’re birthing at home or not. It’s a lovely opportunity to begin to really be in your surroundings. Which will make a difference in your postpartum.
Going from Knowing to Doing
Many of the families that we work with already know several mindfulness practice. What we have found over the years is that it can be especially hard to pull these practices from your toolbox when life isn’t as quiet as it once was. Because of this, your Cherry Blossom postpartum doulas have come up with some questions you can respond to.
Take a moment to review the list of practices above.
- Do any of these activities sound like they will honor your journey?
- What practices are your go-to for emotional caretaking?
- Who is your go-to for unbiased judgement and support?
Take a moment to consider three ideas or tools you will use to stay present in your postpartum. Partners can also partake in this activity, as there is no soul within the household of a new babe that goes untouched!
We are with you,
Your Cherry Blossom Doulas
Note: Many of those we work with choose to see a mental health professional for their postpartum. If you are presently seeing a provider, check for recommendations on how soon they would like to see you post-birth. As a bonus, you can often ask them to support you with the mindfulness practices that resonate most (see above) throughout your sessions together!
Hi! I’m Alyssa Leon. I lead Cherry Blossom Doula Services, LLC – an inclusive birth + postpartum doula team in Arizona; and mentor doulas in Arizona and beyond.