Post Natal Traditions from around the World
The post-natal period is considered a special time in which a mother as well as a baby is born. Many cultures have special customs to recognise this exceptional time in the life of a woman.
In some countries women are not expected to carry on with their usual lives but given time to adapt to the new journey in life they are beginning.
In Japan, for instance, the mother is treated as if she were a baby and she is put to bed for 30 days, waited on and indulged while she recovers from the birth.
In the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, new mothers stay at home for 22 days and are pampered. The period of rest is seen as vital to the delicate nervous system of the mother and baby. Few visitors are allowed.
In parts of Southeast Asia, there is the practice of ‘mother warming’. After the birth, the house is closed up and a sign put on the door to inform the community of the new arrival. The father then lights a fire and keeps mother and baby warm in a womb like environment, removed from the demands of daily life for several days.
In Holland, where many births take place at home, a specially trained live in maternity nurse stays with the new mother for 8-10 days. She reports directly to the midwife and keeps her posted on the progress. She also cooks, and looks after the other children, like a Doula.
There are many others but the message seems clear from these ones that the postnatal period is a special time and needs to be recognised.
At Kensington Midwives we are very aware how important and special these days are. We encourage rest and opting out of daily life for at least the first ten days. This ensures a good start to this next important journey in your life.