POSTPARTUM: Month Four
Birth. Whoa. Whoa. Birth.
Intensely magical, and magically intense. Once the first few months of oxytocin rushes died down, I felt unexpectedly vacant. I had spent night after night breastfeeding my little one, in and out of sleep… but mostly out.
A few weeks ago at four months postpartum, it all came to a head. I found myself riddled with stress and worry, in a sleep deprived delirium.
My body was no longer my own. It had experienced a great opening, but had no closing ceremony. Instead, it continued to open. It became the fuel for new life, producing sustenance for our beautiful baby, but was burning away at the space that my spirit calls “home.”
I had to reclaim my body, for the sake of my family, my work, and most importantly, mySELF. This reclamation was a conscious choice that forced me into action. We transitioned from co-sleeping to crib sleeping. I prioritized refilling my water bottle before every feed. So that I no longer stood paralyzed and hungry in the kitchen, my husband and I found faster ways to prepare nourishing meals. I added vitamin D supplements to my morning vitamin regimen. I committed to yoga once per week. And I REIGNITED MY REGULAR PRACTICE OF VAGINAL STEAMING.
A deeply relaxing exercise in grounding, vaginal steaming warms up the core of the body and unites it with fragrant, gentle herbs. I understood the physical benefits of steaming the weeks after giving birth, but I hadn’t realized how much it would comfort me four months postpartum and beyond. Creating a regular weekly ritual for myself helped to balance my emotions and restore my vitality. Quite literally, it helped reconnect me to my core, my center of power, my identity.
It is a simple way to love and honor myself amidst the chaos. As a first time mom, I didn’t know just how crucial (and just how challenging) making quality time for myself would be. Right before showering, I pass the baby to my husband. Just me in my wool socks, nestled atop my LEIAMOON steam seat in the center of the bathroom, I turn off the lights and light a candle. I spend about twenty minutes breathing slowly, taking in the aromatic steam, meditating and/or repeating mantras of self love, of gratitude, of letting go.
Twenty minutes. They go by slow. They go by fast. However they go, I know they are worth committing to. Caring for myself in this way has done wonders, slowly planting my feet back on the ground after the most transformative experience of my life to date: becoming a mother.