Yoga, massage, energetic exercise and other forms of self care — the topics we’ve already touched on in the new year — will boost mental health, but the bigger emotional picture requires a bit more.
The old African proverb (made famous by Hilary Clinton’s 1996 book) says that “it takes a village to raise a child.” As postpartum doulas, we feel that it “takes a village to support the new mom, so that SHE can raise her child.”
During the postpartum period, the new mother should remain in a safe and cozy bubble, inviting in only those who protect the soft ambience and who make the vulnerable mom and baby feel safe and secure. It is absolutely appropriate and necessary to limit visits from in-laws or work associates if they “rub mama the wrong way.”
Judgy friends? No thank you. Nosy neighbors? Only if they bring food.
It’s also a good idea to collect an outside circle of experts. Your doula, your chiropractor, a therapist. Have those numbers on hand just in case you need them! Even if you never call, this will feel like a safety net, which will help you feel confident and sane.
It doesn’t just take a village. It takes YOUR village. The one that helps your brain stop spinning. The one who brings cocoa. The one who’s not afraid to rub your feet.