Aromatic Support for New Mothers
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new”
I love this quote, so simple and so true! I often liken the ‘process’ of becoming a mother to travelling to a new land. It’s like you cross a bridge, or alight from a flight, to find yourself in a completely new place. It doesn’t matter how many travel books you’ve read, or how much advice you’ve been given by those who have “been there, done that”, nothing can really prepare you for your unique experience.
Sometimes called the 4th trimester, those early weeks of motherhood are often a bit of a blur: recovering from birth, establishing feeding and getting used to new routines and sleepless nights. During the postnatal period aromatherapy and massage can be beneficial for new mums as they recover from birth and adjust to the physical as well as emotional demands of motherhood. Here are some examples:
Breastfeeding issues: for engorgement, oversupply and weaning essential oils that are astringent and anti-inflammatory can help. Mastitis can be treated (along with conventional means if required) with anti-infectious, analgesic and anti-inflammatory blends. Some essential oils are galactogogues (increasing the flow of mother’s milk) which can make them useful in increasing low milk supply. As breastfeeding issues often produce anxiety in the new mum I also include essential oils that are calming and confidence building.
Birth recovery: this encompasses both physical and psychological recovery. Essential oils can help promote healing of wounds as in episiotomies, tears or caesarean wounds. For some women though they can feel wounded on an emotional level, especially if they have experienced a traumatic birth. Aromatherapy can help treat injuries on a physical and emotional level.
Anxiety and depression: we know that our olfactory (smell) system has an immediate and direct link to the limbic system in our brain, which affects our emotions, behaviour and hormonal activity. Just think about how certain smells can immediately trigger memories, good or bad. Essential oils can be a simple and very effective way to help calm us down when anxious or lift our spirits when feeling down. I find a lot of mums simply need a bit of a confidence boost to set their mood right.
Massage is also valuable postnatally to reduce muscular tension (muscles you never knew you had!) and help women get back in tune with their bodies. So much research has been done on the power of touch and how essential it is to one’s wellbeing.
Mothers need nurturing too…and not only on Mother’s Day. As women’s health expert Dr. Christiane Northrup states
“Each of us mothers must also learn to mother ourself, or else we can’t possibly be good mothers to our children”.