In the western world, when a woman is pregnant this seems to rally a call to excited family and friends to come together in planning a special day to celebrate the exciting news, and to show some support by showering the new mom-to-be with beautiful gifts for her little one. Once the little one is born, family and friends start making arrangements to come and visit the baby. This time is filled with a lot of “oohing” and “aahing” at how cute they are. Little focus is put on the mother and what her needs might be postpartum.
However, in traditional Chinese culture, the focus is on the mother and her recovery. This is because the woman is seen as someone who plays a vital role in family life and so her health needs to be protected. If she is looked after, she will then be able to look after her family and the whole community around her.
The 30 to 40 days after giving birth is seen as a time for rest and recovery. This is a time where a new mother can restore the nutrients and blood that was lost during delivery. It’s a sacred time and a supportive space is created for her to gently transition into motherhood. Bonding with her baby is the only thing she does during this time. This time is known as Zou Yuezshi which translates to ‘doing the month.’
Rest plays an important role in replenishing qi and blood. Food is seen as medicine and nutritionally dense foods are vital at this point, as they will nourish the blood with qi, yin and yang. The foods are usually cooked by extended family and the community.
Broth-based soups are ideal as they are full of important nutrients. They are a source of iron, calcium and magnesium. They also contain gelatine which helps in supporting and repairing connective tissues.
Here are other foods that are beneficial for the body during this time.
· Dark leafy vegetables
· Black beans
· Red fruit like cherries, raspberries and strawberries
· Oily Fish
If you are a vegetarian, pulses and grains are a great replacement for animal protein. Using herbs is also essential.
TCM is an amazing way to help transition into this new chapter of life. With nutritional dense meals to nourish and replenish your body, warm herbal beverages, and nurturing treatments, such as acupuncture and cupping.
If you have just become a mother and feel this is something you’d like, then please feel free to get in touch.