Dec 26, 2006

Lying-in: Postpartum planning

After reading this great article on the practice of lying-in,
At rest in the arms of the mother: The postpartum practice of lying-in allows a mom to deeply bond with her newborn babes

by Katherine Gyles (see her blog here) we are beginning to consider a lying-in period of our own.

What is lying-in?
Lying-in is basically a time, immediately postpartum, where the mother and baby and dad are sequestered together and cared for by the father or other community members. The intention is to allow the mother to deeply bond with her newborn baby, to learn their cues and to learn how to breastfeed without any external pressure or visitors.

We found out early that our midwives prescribe two weeks of lying-in (and no stairs) for postpartum moms -- partly as a way to encourage them to stay in bed and bond with baby and also to heal. At first, I didn't think I could abide by this. But lately, as I get bigger and more tired, I understand why this prescription is a good idea... after all, you only have that first two weeks once in your and their lives. why not close in and try to make it a special family bonding time? How could that NOT be beneficial? I have watched many a friend brag about how soon she was up and outta bed and 'back to normal', only to be really exhausting herself completely in the first six weeks postpartum. ...which brings us to a larger question: Why are women trying to pretend nothing happened when they have a baby? Why isn't it okay in our society to take some time to learn how to breastfeed, to sleep, and to bond with the new baby, keeping visitors at bay, until you have more rest and energy and a bit more of a hang for things?

Carol Gray, a grandmother and Doula in the Portland area, wrote a lovely blog entry about adequate postpartum care:
"Have we missed something by proclaiming that as women we can do it all - and do it well? What would it be like if each mother, surrounded by a cocoon of loving helpers, could rest and recover from birth at her own rate? Would it change the way we parent our babies? Would it change the way we think of ourselves as mothers? Would it change the bonds we form with our babies? Would the babies change? Who would those babies be as adults? Would they change the world?"

I just ordered this book about postpartum wellness. Can't wait to get it!