Monday, 12 October 2015

the Postpartum Recovery Called Zuo Yue Zi or Sitting In

In my journey researching different traditions within birth work, I found some unique beliefs and paths. One in particular is the Chinese custom called “Zuo Yue Zi”, or more publicly known as the ritual of “Sitting In”.  This is a time where the mother and child spend 30 days or more in the gentle  and secure surroundings of their home. The process itself has been coined “Chinese Postpartum Confinement” because that name brought (some people) to see it as a caged, its name has been changed to a time  “the Pampered Seclusion”;  has been practiced for over 2000 thousands years. The process of giving birth is a time of great transition. In the research I have done, it expressed that the tradition practitioners, believed this is a time of vulnerability and pronounced transformation.  Sometimes in times of adjustment, it is helpful to take time to let the changes develop into norms.
In this time, there are a few things that happen or do not happen, as the women spend this time in postpartum recovery.

  • DO NOT’s: no exercise, household chores, cold foods, bathing, work, outside time or wearing light clothes. Traditionally, women would not wash their hair; because, it was believed that it would upset the mothers “chi” or energy balance. It is really it is about not letting anything cool the woman’s body temperature to negatively impact on the “Chi”.
  • DO’s: blankets, hot hearty soups, self-care (such as massage or belly wrapping), sleeping, prenatal physical care,  attachment with the baby and adjustment in to motherhood; all done to help restore the body to a natural healthy balance.
To assist in the success of the process, women in the matriarchy line of the family would come to the home and help with preparing foods, look after the household chores, waking up with the baby at nights and transition the baby to the mother whom is snuggled within her bed. Due to society changes, yet still believing in and wanting to ensure positive and healthy recovery of the mother and child; families now for the successful time of confinement,  by utilizing a postpartum doula, specifically, if family are not available. The hiring of a postpartum doula or 24-hour “confinement woman” has been utilized more in the more recent years. It has been noticed that this time of confinement, takes away a lot of pressure on the mother to be the “perfect mother”. 

If you are looking for more information on this topic, there is a wonderful book called Sitting Moon: A Guide to Rejuvenation after Pregnancy by Daoshing Ni   ( Sitting Moon) “Sitting Moon provides women with information on how to prepare for a new child and how to have a healthy postpartum period. The book includes information on nutrition, especially Chinese nutrition, what physical changes a new mother might expect, common ailments and how to help heal them, qi gong, acupressure, meditation, and exercise. Also includes recipes for the first four weeks after birth and meal plans.”
If you are looking at more holistic Chinese Medicine or more natural help within your in Pregnancy, check out this YouTube video for some ideas.  A Healthy Pregnancy with Wu Ming Qigong  (Video) There are many Chinese Medicine or Natural Path practitioners in the world, search  for them or ask your doula she may know of some practitioners personally

Lesley Cressman, CLD, SBD

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

In Class Component Completed

Lesley Anne has successfully completed her in class components for Labour and Postpartum Doula services. This class has only built upon her strong foundation from her early childhood education child development program; it created a new frame of reference with current research-based data on what is promising practice within the rhythms and rituals as a woman births her own child.
As she works towards her certification requirements, Lesley Anne is proud to offer student doula rates to her clients.

Acupressure for an Optimum Natural Birth Course

Lesley Anne has successfully completed the learn acupressure to encourage an optimal natural birth online course. Courses like this will be a stable expectation from the Sacred Journey. As a whole we strongly en-courage the least invasive, comfortable experience by listening to a woman’s natural rhythms, as she births her child. The most important part of the process is to allow the mother, the power to birth as she sees fit: natural, unmediated, medicated, with the midwife, with an OB, or with her family practitioner. As a doula, our role is to nurture the mother, the partner, and assist the medical staff and whatever they need.

The actual meaning of the word Doula is a person who serves.

Bengkung Belly Binding and Birth Sealing Ceremonies

“What is Bengkung ? Well, it is a traditional Malaysian belly binding method. Essentially it is the practice of tying long strips of cloth around the abdomen during the postpartum recovery. To ensure a strong support to the woman's womb after childbirth.” Valarie Lynn, author of the mommy plan.
Ask me about the many medical, physical, and emotional reasons for belly binding.

Birth Sealing Ceremonies close the journey of giving birth, it allows one the opportunity to celebrate what when well and to mourn for that did not go as expected.

These are services offered at A Sacred Journey for free to her Labour and Postpartum Doula Clients.

What is a Doula?

The number one question, I have been asked lately is What is a Doula? The repetitiveness of this question made me realize, it's impossible for a pregnant women to want a service that she know little about! According to the dictionary definition, A Doula "is a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born." 
Okay, so does my midwife or doctor.  So why would I need a Doula?

So here's my thoughts, a Doula really is that catchall person in your support team.

  1. Educated in the expectations of your birth experience in a clear comprehension of the emotional needs a woman requires throughout this process
  2. An understanding that a women's birth experience whether it's positive or negative will stay with her for a lifetime
  3. Knowledgeable about natural comfort measures for women to maneuver through the journey as they birth their child 
  4. Create an environment that is comfortable for the intended parents; the important wording to remember is "comfortable to the intended parents". The picture could look quite different in each birthing space
  5. Continuity of care, a Doula is a coach that stay with her client throughout the experience
  6. Awareness of the scope practice, A doula is a important part of your support team and in no way shape or form is a medical practitioner. In my practice, I will not plan to be at an unassisted birth.
  7. Assist the partner in meeting the needs of the birthing mother
  8. Assisting the partner in their own individual needs
  9. Help sibling in transitioning into this new role
  10. Common knowledge of the importance and resiliency of the whole family as they come to their new norms

Personally, I see those support needs to include the above, but also to include those that are not listed yet that are important to the intended family. The questions from my client, so far at all seem to have different levels of individual importance.  My clients have expressed the following concerns: comfort measures, concerned about the possibility of another C-section, first-time births, and for birth after a silent birth, known as a rainbow birth. Each of these clients have their own needs, and it is my goal to meet the needs as each individual family requires. There are a lot of different hats the doula wears, moment by moment within the birth experience.

I hope I was able to shed a little light, and my views of what to a doula does as she travels with a family on the journey of birth. Please know that each birth experience that a doula is a part of stays in a little  space in her heart.  A doula's truly enjoy supporting women and their families in this exciting and transitional time.

A Sacred Journey, Waterloo On,
Lesley Anne, CLD, SBD and Founder of A Sacred Journey
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