Looking back now, I realize that I should have made a little more time, and taken more care, to acknowledge my own body's needs. It took me quite some time to recover physically from the birth, weeks before I wasn't constantly aware of pain and discomfort.
I remember suddenly realizing how weak my shocked immune system actually was when I noticed a simple paper cut on my hand was taking far too long to heal and becoming mildly infected. Even then, I didn't do much besides smear some neosporin on it and call it good.
This time around, I want to be more aware of the way that my body reacts to the birth and do everything I can to help it recover quickly.
I mixed up some herbal bath blends designed to speed the healing process, both of which can be added to a peri-rinse bottle.
The recipes are from Natural Health After Birth by Aviva Jill Romm.
- 2 oz comfrey leaves
- 1 oz calendula flowers
- 1 oz lavender flowers
- 1 oz sage
- 1/2 oz myrrh powder
Mix herbs together and store in a jar until ready for use. Bring 4 qts water to a boil. Turn off heat and add 1 oz (a large handful) of herb blend and steep, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain.
Add 2 qts liquid to the bath along with 3/4 cup sea salt. Refrigerate remaining liquid or add to a peri-rinse bottle.
Herbal Bath II
- 1 oz dried comfrey
- 1 oz yarrow
- 1 oz sage
- 1 oz rosemary
Mix herbs together and store in a jar until ready for use. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, then turn off heat. Add 1 oz (a large handful) of herb blend and steep, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain.
Add 4 cups of tea to bath along with 1/2 cup sea salt and 1 cup garlic "milk". Remaining tea can be used in a peri-rinse bottle, but do not include the garlic "milk."
garlic "milk": Peel the cloves from one bulb of garlic. Blend them with 2 cups of warm water until pulverized. Strain.
I steeped a batch of the first Herbal Bath this morning so it will be ready and waiting in the refrigerator when we get home from the hospital. I also picked up a bottle warmer from the Salvation Army to keep the peri-rinse bottle nicely warmed in the bathroom once I'm home and ready for it.
Another mama-care option I have been considering trying for awhile is switching over to cloth menstrual pads. Obviously, it's not something I've had to worry about for the past 9 months, but an article all about the practicalities of cloth in the March/April 2010 issue of Mothering magazine finally convinced me to give it a try.
I used the pattern for "Women's Cloth" in Amanda Blake Soule's Handmade Home, a Christmas gift from Ben and Carolyn. The cloths are made from 5 layers of cotton flannel, a layer of bird's eye cotton, and backed with a layer of PUL (polyurethane laminate...what cloth diapers are made from). I added a snap on the wings to help keep them in place, which also helps keep them in a tidy little package for in a purse.
I am planning to use these as postpartum pads, and later for regular menstrual use. Since we already do cloth diapers, it makes sense to give the cloth pads a try. The care for them is the same, as are the environmental concerns with the disposable options.
The article in Mothering also included a recipe for making cool packs with the cloths for those first days home from the hospital. Of course, the same solution could be used on disposable pads.
Magical Postpartum Pads
On each pad, pour 1 tablespoon witch hazel, 1 teaspoon aloe vera juice, and 3-4 drops lavender essential oil. Put them in a plastic baggie and store in the freezer until ready for use.
I made a batch of these today as well. They'll be ready in the freezer when I need them.I'm hoping these little efforts will go a long way in helping me to get to that new sense of "normal" that having two boys will surely be. At the very least, it should help me be better prepared for the challenge.