Gina from Ardross
I found out I was pregnant with our third child whilst living in Spain and it was a shock. The pregnancy wasn't planned. I had been very unwell during both of my previous pregnancies, and additionally I had suffered significant insomnia, joint pain, hot flushes and other hormonally triggered symptoms following the birth of my second child. This meant that I was very nervous about how I would cope after having a third child.
My pregnancy was similar to the others, severe 'all day and all night sickness' this time for around six months. We returned to Australia when I was six months pregnant and while I was very happy to be back home with the support of family and friends, moving back into our house was a big job and I was exhausted. I had third trimester pregnancy insomnia which meant I often managed only 2 hours of sleep per night.
I realised that I needed help and we organised to have an au pair live with us for 5 months, which would cover the later stages of pregnancy and the first three months after our baby was to be born. I never would have considered this with either of my first two children, our society expects women to do it all, be up and at it straight after birth. So, when I was walking to the local cafe on day three after my first child was born I felt like I was succeeding, even if I did have a sanitary pad the size of a small surfboard in-situ. Not surprisingly, I developed severe mastitis, three times, along with some other hormonal complications. While my midwife sweetly reminded me this was my body screaming to REST... It actually took until my third pregnancy to understand this.
While I was feeling well supported in late pregnancy by having our gorgeous au pair, a good friend who understood how unwell I was after our second child suggested that I contact a postnatal doula, more specifically she said I must contact Julia Jones. The call to Julia was the best thing I have ever done in terms of looking after myself and my family.
Julia was INCREDIBLE. After a long and difficult labour our third child was born. Julia's first visit was a couple of days afterwards and the Ayurvedic massage was amazing - so soothing and calming. In fact, despite it being my longest and most difficult labour, my recovery was the quickest. Despite having a newborn I felt calmer and more capable than I ever had.
Julia's food was simply delicious and nourishing. I just loved having my fridge full of wonderful food.
More incredible than that, was that in meeting with Julia my husband really began to understand the benefits and importance of confinement and support in the postnatal period, and so he was completely onboard in terms of helping with meals, keeping the house calm and ensuring that I was not overrun with visitors. After my first and second births we had groups of family members visiting within hours of the birth, having champagne and making a great deal of noise. I remember feeling like I just wanted to sleep with my baby but felt I had to 'play host' and be seen to be 'coping'.
Working with Julia relieved me of any such misconceptions, I was now firm in my belief that my role was to bond with and feed my baby, and rest. Everything else could and would wait. I had read about confinement during my first pregnancy but everyone I mentioned it to seemed to think it was such a strange concept that I gave up. Having Julia by my side gave me the strength and commitment to take this time now to benefit my whole family in the future.
Baby James is now almost 8-months-old, and while he is still up at night, I don't have the insomnia or sweats that bothered me so significantly after my second birth. While I still have some symptoms from a long-term joint-related autoimmune disease, it is completely manageable. I don't get the embarrassing and uncomfortable hot flushes that so bothered me after the last births and I have not had a single bout of mastitis.
Working with Julia has also allowed me to listen to my body... It never lies. When I am doing too much, my body tells me and I now step back and rest (as much as one can with three children), and my whole family benefits. I feel stronger and more capable now with three children than I ever did with two, or even just one child. I know that is because I nourished myself during what I now know to be a sacred window of time.
I think working with Julia benefited my entire family as well as my relationships. I seek personal space at all times, but more so in the postpartum period... With leaking body parts, exposed body parts etc., the last thing you need is people popping in non-stop. I found that by having explained to relatives that I would be taking six weeks of confinement and the reasons behind it, people were more respectful of my need to rest and therefore relationships were preserved! Tony is a huge fan, I think we both wish that we had Julia for our first and second babies!
I can honestly say the six weeks after the birth of James was the calmest, most restful and nourishing weeks of my life to date. The experience was so wonderful that many days I even consider that I might like a fourth child... Just to experience that blissful love and calm again!
Nourishing Newborn Mothers eBook
$30.00 AUD (+10% GST for Australian residents)
Ayurvedic recipes to heal your mind, body and soul after childbirth.