Postpartum Recovery: The Golden Month of Opportunity

The image shows a close-up of two individuals engaging in what appears to be a physical therapy or wellness session. One person, visible from the waist up, is wearing a white tank top and black pants, and is seated with their back to the camera. The second person, seen from behind and partially cropped out of the frame, is wearing a pink shirt and green pants. This person has their arm extended, with their hand placed gently on the back of the seated individual, suggesting a gesture of care or support. The setting appears calm and intimate, with a focus on the interaction between the two individuals.

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What Is “The Golden Month”?

The period of the first 40 or 42 days after childbirth is called “Sacred Window” in Ayurveda and “The Golden Month” in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). During this time, there is an emphasis on the significance of physical and emotional healing for the mother. Moreover, the healing and recovery she receives during this time is believed to set a foundation for her well-being for years to come.

As a trained INNATE and Ayurvedic postpartum practitioner, I emphasize the importance of building a support network or “birth village” during pregnancy. In many traditional cultures around the world, the postpartum recovery, particularly “The Golden Month” is held in the highest priority. 

Why trust us?

Zaure Vuk, M.Ed, founder of Pampering Doula and co-author of “Well-being After Birth,” (use code “undefined” for $30 off) empowers and guides expecting and newborn parents on their transitional journey.

Her approach to postpartum caregiving is focused on prioritizing the mother’s well-being, and she believes that pampering a mother after childbirth is important for the well-being of the newborn baby, and well-being of the whole family unit: if the mother is well, the baby will be well.

Preparing for the Postpartum Period

“Should I prepare for postpartum when I am still pregnant?”

This question comes up very often as I present my “Well-being After Birth Workshop” at womens’ gatherings or as a part of the childbirth education taught by birth doulas to communities in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Boston. 

As a mother of four, I can relate to this question a lot. Some years ago, expecting my first child, I didn’t really consider the postpartum period. 

This was partially because the majority of the educational pamphlets and brochures related to postpartum recovery I saw at the doctor’s office I visited while expecting covered what I considered to be really depressing topics, such as:

Looking back on it now, I think I felt like these were mostly negative narratives that I didn’t want to focus on, when in actuality, “the golden month” of postpartum recovery, as it is often referred to in Traditional Chinese Medicine, doesn’t have to be as scary as it’s often made out to be, especially when moms are prepared for it.

Postpartum Preparation: Focusing on Mother’s Health

After working with families and birth workers, including birth doulas and childbirth educators specifically, I noticed that the time after birth is an often overlooked stage. 

In fact, while the postpartum period is widely recognized as the fourth trimester, it is not sufficiently covered in the childbirth education taught to expectant parents. 

In my work, I encourage both birth educators, childcare providers, and health practitioners who work with newborn babies to shift the focus from the baby to the mother. This is done by prioritizing the mother’s physical and mental health during pregnancy and especially in the postpartum period.

Unfortunately, very often I see parents hire their birth doula to continue coming the birth to provide overnight newborn care, or to clean the house and do laundry. 

In this golden month of matrescence, which anthropologists call the process of becoming a mother, there is much more support and guidance needed than taking care of baby or doing housework (although those things can also be helpful to the new mom).  

Building a Birth Village: Why A Support Network Is Essential

In my consultation and preparation sessions I stress to my clients that it is not enough to just hire your birth doula for postpartum care. A birth doula is not trained in postpartum caregiving. 

Just as expecting parents discuss and prepare a birth plan, there must also be a thoughtfully put together a postpartum plan. 

Just as parents intentionally gather their birth team of midwives, doulas, chiropractors, and birth photographers, there must be a village that will surround the mother after childbirth. This village can include (but isn’t limited to!): a lactation consultant, pelvic floor therapist, craniosacral therapist, and most importantly, a trained postpartum caregiver

Mothering the Mother

The mother needs to rest and receive nurturing and replenishing care from the trained postpartum practitioner, who is also trained to “mother the mother” through warming therapies, binding, nourishing meal preparation, ceremonies, rituals, and bodywork. 

Postpartum practitioners are there not to hold the baby! They are there to hold the mother in a container of safety, to witness the deep transitional shift that happens after childbirth that is matrescence.  

Speaking of childbirth, I mean all forms of childbirth, including terminated birth (chosen or not). No matter the birth, the physiology of the mother’s body requires extra support and witnessing during the postpartum time. 

As you consider your childbirth options, please seek guidance on how to prioritize and prepare the resources for your fourth trimester. This should start prenatally, ideally by the 24th week of gestation. 

The Golden Month Resources

As you prepare for taking care of yourself during your postpartum period, consider resources such as the Be Her Village Gift Registry, where families can add gifts that are mother-centered and service-based. Be Her Village is a fantastic resource and alternative to traditional registries, which often focus on the baby. 

Ultimately, I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring a trained postpartum doula (not a birth doula). The postpartum doula is knowledgeable about the postpartum experience and dedicated to the mother’s well-being. The Golden Month can be a beautiful time when mom is supported. For more information about the postpartum period, try my workshop “Well-Being After Birth” (use code “undefined” for $30 off!)

2 thoughts on “Postpartum Recovery: The Golden Month of Opportunity

  1. This gorgeous woman by your side looking after yourself and your babies now that is the most by essential and beautiful beginning a family could choose for themselves. Is it pampering or just common sense? This most crucial phase of development does not come again. Choose the best start. I totally recommend Zaure

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