Post partum bliss bubbles are exquisite and delicate. The immediate hours and weeks after giving birth offer a once in a lifetime opportunity for a freshly made or enlarged family to absorb the new Being who has arrived. Creating a calm peaceful atmosphere allows the newborn to explore their infinitely expanded universe and the accompanying sensory explosion, at a slow, gentle pace.
Babies arrive wide open to receive love. Their senses are more heightened than they will ever be again, with neurological and psychological habits of perception, understanding and response being set at an incredible rate. Optimally the feelings of being loved, accepted, adored, completely safe and connected to everyone around them will be imprinted. This ‘limbic imprint’, created in conception, gestation, birth and the early years stays with us throughout our lives, creating a subconscious emotional comfort zone and ‘settings’ for our nervous systems.
In order to honour the newborn and the birthing family, and create optimal health and wellbeing in this period there many things one can do. It might take some consideration and time and you may need the help of others. Maybe you need to stretch your comfort zones around receiving and asserting yourself. Both are necessary skills for Motherhood, so it’s all part of the divine design!
In my first pregnancy I was blessed to be supported by three wise women. They gently showed me the path to Motherhood, giving me the information and tools needed to make wise decisions about our family’s post partum period.
When baby Taal was born at home, these wise women were amazing. They emptied our birth pool, stoked the fire, whisked away the washing, fed and tucked us into bed. No neo-cortical stimulation, minimal dialogue other than de-briefing the birth and taking care of our needs. Having Birth attendants that recognise the subtleties and importance of this deeply bonding time is invaluable. I recommend that all Mama’s outline what they are hoping for from their support people, as part of their birth plan.
A roster was organised for us, where for two weeks friends and kind community members delivered food each day. Delicious, thoughtful meals, fully supporting my chosen breastfeeding diet of low stimulation, fart free foods. The single visits per day that this orchestrated was perfect – spacing out contact with all our well-wishing friends and family, maintaining our birth bubble, whilst still providing an opportunity to share the delight and wonder of our first born child. Those visits were very special times, and are fondly remembered.
This level of support is not always possible from friends and family. So perhaps look into enlisting the services of a post partum doula, so that this period can be as easeful as possible. It’s worth it!
The bliss bubble we shared was beyond words beautiful. Without encouragement from my wise women, I would not have asked well intentioned guests to wait. I didn’t know or understand the excitement and magnetism of birth energy. Yet not having enough personal space is often the main cause of Mama’s being overwhelmed post birth, when they just need to rest, establish breastfeeding and deal with all the hormonal fluctuations. Planning this period in pregnancy, so that any discussions around it are over and done with, and understanding reached, before Baby arrives, is very helpful to creating the post partum period that is best for you and your baby.
My partner and I were blessed. We sang from our hearts, mesmerised by this bundle of wonder we had created. The most perfect baby boy. Ever. Divinely beautiful. Prolactin, beta endorphine and oxytocin were pulsing steadily, for all three of us. Taal’s neurological pathways, the imprints being created were of being safe, held, loved. Low lights, calm energy. No unnecessary stimulation, no hindrances to bonding and breastfeeding. Unbelievable Love.
My partner Avi was incredible, being attentive, encouraging and protective of the post birth bubble. Our midwife’s husband prepared him for this, pointing him to the path of Fatherhood. Creating opportunities for partners to share and learn is so valuable as preparation for birth and the postnatal period. They are also on very new terrain and might need to hear from other men what life with a baby is like. Are there men’s groups or birth prep classes in your area? Online is a good place to start looking…
Our bubble expanded eventually and so began a very social life for young Taal. He got lots of attention, and enjoyed being a community baby, cuddled by everyone. ‘In arms’ babies thrive. Touch and growth are closely linked, with an increased release of growth hormones from the pituitary gland, being stimulated by oxytocin. As is the bodies ability to store nutrients, all leading to growth and good health for our little ones, all through being gently and lovingly touched.
Lolling around in the land of Love is delicious. Precious time spent skin on skin, breastfeeding, bonding. The pulsing oxytocin, prolactin and noradrenaline sets a strong baseline of unconditional love. It’s designed to enhance the mutually dependant relationships of mammals. And I loved it! No matter my son’s unending needs of toddlerhood, temporary disconnections whilst autonomy seeking, a swear word (or 10!) at adolescence; I am passionately dedicated to loving and guiding this little man child, forever. Those formative experiences of our life together set love as the baseline for everything else.
Taking Mama’s needs for relaxation and sleep seriously at this time reduces post natal depression and the chance of mastitis, whilst facilitating a smoother transition from being a couple to a family or from one child to two, etc etc. For first time parents, the book ‘Becoming Us’ by Elly Taylor is a fabulous resource.
The strength and conviction of a Mama’s love, when she has had an unmitigated flow of birth hormones is remarkable. Love and ecstasy during and post birth is in our ‘hormonal blueprint’ says Dr Sarah Buckley. As mammals, with genetic expectations of love and care from our Mother, we evolved to be born with developing brains that expand as we absorb information, not needing survival skills at birth, like lizards. So perhaps the evolutionary imperative itself, of exponential growth and learning, exists because of love. Hmmmm…
Certainly the original Paleo, the ancient Lucy and her sisters would have needed all the hormonal systems and neurobiology of love for their babies in order to keep them safe from predators, to be fierce enough to protect them when necessary.
In order to truly allow ourselves to experience the potential bliss of the post partum period, to consciously create the circumstances for love to thrive – we need to think like a Baby. A la LeBoyer in Birth Without Violence. What would a Baby need, or enjoy?
Let’s remember that we have the ability to gift ourselves and future generations with a blueprint of being totally safe, deeply loved, full of potential and completely connected… All it takes is awareness and intention.