Giving birth is a profound, intense, and life-altering experience. It redefines your being mentally, emotionally and spiritually and it takes time to assimilate the changes. In Kundalini Yoga it is taught that the first 40 days after the birth of a child are a precious time for adjusting to motherhood and for protecting the newborn in a comfortable and loving environment. Because it takes 40 days to set a change of habit or lifestyle, it is especially important that this unique time be honored and respected in the start of a life.
Create a Cozy & Contained Environment
While it is common in our society for large groups of people to visit newborns and their families, this may not always be the best practice. Mom and baby need to stay close during the first forty days – ideally within nine feet of each other to support their energetic connection. Both the mother and the baby are in a very sensitive space and this is a time to honor that, and to allow the family to bond and adjust in a peaceful environment. If at all possible, stay in the coziness of your home and allow guests only if they are a helpful, positive, and respectful presence.
Try warning people in advance that you will be honoring the first forty days as a private, quiet time. Put a note on your door that says as much if you suspect unexpected guests might drop by. Some people choose to have a party after the forty days so that they can introduce the new baby and share with their community and family. This could be explained in advance, too, so that people know they’ll get their chance in time. Post pictures online so that well-wishers can see and enjoy from a distance.
Welcome (carefully selected) Help
Support is vital for newly adjusting families. Invite help but make sure whoever is helping is compatible with your desired parenting practices, is a peaceful influence, and is someone you can be real with. With hormone fluctuations, probable sleep deprivation, and huge adjustments all around, you won’t need the extra pressure of keeping up appearances. Select a close friend or family member (ideally someone who has personally experienced new motherhood) or, if necessary, hire a postpartum doula (someone trained in postpartum support) to help during the 40 days. Sometimes the help is as simple as listening while you share your joys and concerns, throwing in a load of laundry, running some errands, or holding the baby while Mom takes a shower.
People want to help and congratulate new parents. Accept those gracious offerings by letting a friend coordinate meal deliveries from your community. Or add house cleaning services to your baby registry so that someone can provide that wonderful assistance. The opportunity to support someone during this precious time is also a gift to those who give. As long as it truly is a help, welcome it all.
Make Rest a Priority
Rest is a key piece of Mother’s healing and Baby’s adjustment to life outside the womb. Whenever possible, nap when the baby naps. This is especially important due to the wakeful nights that are typical of new babies. Keep a table near the bed that has things handy for Mom: water (drink lots of it!), burp cloths, a nutritious snack, and any books she wants handy. Play relaxing, uplifting mantra music to keep the vibration high and to encourage relaxation.
These are just a few primary considerations for the forty days adjustment. Explore more information, including special recipes, in the book Conscious Pregnancy: The Gift of Giving Life by Tarn Taran Kaur Khalsa. Gurmukh’s book, Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful is another excellent resource for pregnancy and postpartum. Consider, in advance, how the postpartum days can be best supported and that will allow more time for you to simply enjoy and sit in awe of the amazing blessing that has entered your life.