By Stephanie Haskins
While many people have become familiar with the role of a birth doula, they may not be aware of how a postpartum doula can assist in easing the transition to life with a new baby. Whether you're arriving home from the hospital or settling in after a home birth, you and your partner find yourselves alone with your baby. You may be tired from the birth. You may be recovering from a Cesarean or a particularly difficult delivery. You may have other children wanting your attention. However elated you are with this new little person in your lives, having a baby can be overwhelming.
In our culture of rugged individualism, we sometimes think we must shoulder our responsibilities on our own with little or no support from the outside. At no time is this expectation more glaring than during the postpartum period, when families begin the long process of birth recovery and learning how to care for a new infant on their own.
Statistics published by the Illinois Department of Public Health (http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/womenshealth/factsheets/pdpress.htm) in 2012 report that approximately 50 percent of new mothers experience mild depression; 10 to 20 percent experience postpartum depression, and 1 in 500 to 1000 suffer from postpartum psychosis. With new mothers left to fend for themselves, often spending hours alone with a new baby and possibly other children, little wonder that these numbers are so high. In other areas of the world, new mothers are cared for by their families and extended communities for 30 to 60 days postpartum. Typical in the United States is for a few meals to be delivered.
By Carrie Stearns
What if we believed our bodies to be full of wisdom? What if we really listened to our body when it expressed itself through pain and illness? What might we hear and where might it take us?
The practice of homeopathy involves deeply listening to the body and hearing its experience of pain and illness as a language guiding us toward greater balance and health. Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine that works with the body to bring about healing. To work with the body, I, as a practitioner, need to really listen to the body and seek to understand what it's expressing. When a client comes with an acute or chronic health issue (like a sore throat or allergies), I do not just note it as a generic problem. I begin to ask a series of questions that help me to understand exactly how they experience their sore throat. I might, for example, ask if the pain is sharp or dull. Is it better or worse from swallowing? What happens when you drink warm liquids? These questions are key to finding the right remedy for treating the sore throat, because these modalities distinguish a client's symptoms and offer a clear expression of how the person actually experiences their sore throat. One thing that makes homeopathic medicine unique is that it relies on these details of how symptoms are actually experienced. This is the key to working with the body.
The conversation becomes even more interesting when we go beyond the specific physical modalities and begin to look at what the mind and emotions are saying. It might be revealed that this sore throat began after a difficult incident at work in which the client was unable to speak up for themselves. Or a person's debilitating sinus infections began a month after the sudden death of their father. When we really listen to the body, we can often begin to see a much bigger picture than a sore throat or clogged sinus cavity. We begin to get a view into our life as a whole and see where the roots of illness actually are. This is how symptoms become a doorway that can lead us into deeper relationship with ourselves. Such a doorway is full of potential to lead us toward living the life that we actually yearn for.
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