And so begins your fourth trimester.
It is a time of massive expansion, incredible flexibility, sleeplessness, explosive love, monotony, exquisite beauty and necessary stillness.
It can feel riveting. It can feel compelling.
It can feel so, so scary.
It can feel like a kind of tired you didn't know existed. It can feel like the Goddess herself shines upon you each morning. It can feel sharply painful. It can feel raw and exposed.
It can feel beaming and golden.
Chances are, you're busy feeling ALL of these feelings because that's what this moment in time as about: It's about adjustment and yielding. It's about acquiescence. It's about unconditional love - for yourself, and your new little nugget. It's about expansion.
It's about deeply NOT knowing, while tuning into your truest instinct and deep inner knowing ... all in the same breath. It's a paradoxical journey, it's counter-intuitive - AND IT SHOULD BE:
You are hard-wired to pay attention right now. Your awareness (while sometimes exhausting) is key. Your child's ability to thrive absolutely depends on it.
What's more, you didn't arrive in this moment well-fed, refreshed, full of sleep and hydrated. You arrived in this moment after participating in the most physically and emotionally challenging feat that your body and spirit can ever perform. You got here with effort. With lots, and lots of effort. Relentless, loving, (hopefully orgasmic for many of you), never-knew-i-could-do-this, hard, exhaustive, blissful effort.
I bet you're hungry.
The Fourth Trimester is as much a developmental phase as the first, second and third trimesters of your pregnancy. The simple difference now is that it is an external process. You are gestating your physical and emotional relationship with your new baby outside of the womb.
Away from the quietude and consistency of the placenta ... You are both IN THE WORLD now. Good news is you're together. Bad news is that this time can be incredibly challenging for mothers because we often fail to support ourselves. We are doing relentless work of monumental importance and yet, we forget to ask for support. We think we can power through. After all, that's what our culture has taught us about being an empowered, enlightened, self-sufficient woman - right?
Experts in the field of postpartum care agree that when a woman is nurtured during the Fourth Trimester, the incidence of postpartum depression is significantly lower. Further, there is a significant body of research that points to increased longevity in mothers who are carefully nurtured - body and soul - during this fourth and final developmental phase of pregnancy.
Calling in helpers who give positive energy in its various forms (cleaning, meals, laundry, meaningful conversation, listening, massage, holding the baby so mom can take a shower, etc.) can dramatically decrease the likelihood of #BabyBlues and #PostpartumDepression.
In the past, when family was physically close, women in their Fourth Trimester were tended to by mothers, mothers-in-law, aunties, sisters, and other female relatives. In our modern day, however, these family units are often not close in physical proximity, and beyond that, often aren't energetically what the mother craves.
Our current paradigm can be seen through a lens that is dashingly empowering... Many of us have the opportunity to build our tribe and create our own personal plan ... to establish loving boundaries around our postpartum care and support. I encourage you to be a radical pioneer and advocate for your inherent right to gently and patiently discover this new territory. Lean in. Remember your beauty, ask for support (ask early and often). Prioritize your self-care during this most precious time.
So why make jars of broth for a woman in her Fourth Trimester?
Because she's hungry.
And also, something magical happens when people eat broth. Cupping a warm, round vessel in your hands. Breathing more deeply, exhaling more fluidly, taking in the nourishment more fully. Often, eyes soften and shoulder blades drop down the back. Not to mention the restorative and deeply nourishing properties of broth:
- Broths are highly digestible, allowing your body to work on healing itself, and not putting additional energy towards digestion
- Broths are rich in trace minerals
- Bone broths (and many iterations of vegetable broths) are rich in collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine - which have restorative properties for your entire system - healing the gut, facilitating digestion, skin and hair benefits, etc.
- Broths are warming to the body (and soul). During this time when your body is recovering from being physically inhabited by another human, that literal vacancy in your uterus creates a particularly susceptibility to cold, dampness and illnesses. The warming component of broth is critical as a food staple during this period of recovery. (So is a hot water bottle on your belly!)
- Broths in jars are simple to heat up with one hand, easy to consume, and forgiving if you forget about them for a little while. They reheat easily, freeze elegantly, and also sit at room temperature with no issue.
- Broths are easily turned into other meals that are equally as simple: Add cooked rice or quinoa to a bowl of broth. Toss in a handful of fresh spinach and let it wilt when you're hankering for greens. Substitute your broth for water when you're cooking your grains for added flavor, nutritional content, and digestibility. Float an egg on top of hot broth, or whip it in a bowl and drizzle it in for easy egg-drop soup. Easy, forgiving, fast, and seriously nourishing.
- I add healing herbs to many of the broths that I make, based on the specific needs and desires of my client. Especially barks and roots that can be difficult to integrate into your diet through teas (that don't always taste great), can be added to broths and no one will ever know the difference. You're getting the benefit, while enjoying taking the "medicine."
- It's a simple way to remind, remember and provide for your self-care, amid all of the hub-ub and excitement about the new baby. You have to be well-fed to be a good care-giver. You just do. It's hard enough without being hungry and dehydrated.
- Often, postpartum help lasts the first few weeks if we can manage it, and then the care tends to wane as friends and family get back to their normal lives. Simple, durable meals, provided at frequent, predictable intervals supports you during the entire Fourth Trimester.
- There is an inherent feeling of interconnectedness when you eat food that has been lovingly prepared, made specifically for you. One of the most magical elements of postpartum food delivery service is that it reminds you that you is not alone in this new world. There might be an opportunity for a smile, a cry, a shoulder rub - any moment of authentic connection - that you desperately crave. It can feel so lonely sometimes. Delivery of warming soul food serves as a potent anchor of connection as you navigate a very challenging time. You are connected to a community of women who have been there. Right were you are. And we understand.
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