A New Moon

Alhamdulillah, last new moon as we entered Rabi’ al-Thani 1444 a new moon was born. We had a baby girl half past noon and we named her Zahra. Commonly translated as ‘flower’, it also means the exquisite and illuminated one. It was my first home birth and it reminded me of my second birth experience in many ways, from the fact that they were both born on a new moon, the general feelings around the pregnancy especially towards the end, length of pregnancy and how my labor started, how long labor lasted and the very intense, overpowering fetal ejection reflex (which was not as overwhelming with my other two daughters). Of course, this birth was a lot more hands-off having taken place at home (I recognize that’s not always the case even at home births), with no routine protocols set in place. I very much liked and enjoyed my midwife’s company during my pregnancy and while that did not guarantee that I would feel the same way at birth, I really appreciated her demeanor and support at birth too. After birth, everything went as smoothly as I could have wished for. The kids were ecstatic and they’ve been in love since.

Gift basket for my midwife

As this pregnancy was the most I’ve been away from my family, with only one visit from my sister who had to leave before the birth, I really craved being cared for, something as simple as my mom or my grandmother making me a warming stew. I felt a void and yearned for a somewhat motherly nurturing. This might have been why I didn’t even want to meet a much younger midwife in my area after having met my much older midwife initially. It is also why I so appreciated the compassion I felt from a much older Ayurvedic postpartum doula and massage therapist whom I saw several times for prenatal massage. I almost felt bad getting that care from her and asked her once who cares for her. She said that she feels cared for by caring for others, and that when she gives a massage she has to remain as calm and grounded in her body as possible because tension in her body would translate to more tension in her client’s body.

While it’s been stressful in some ways, realistically speaking, it has also been a smooth transition overall and I have also gained a new appreciation for my husband. While this is not our first child and he’s always been there for each immediate postpartum period (with varying lengths), this is a new experience for him in that he’s had to take on a lot more responsibilities with no one else present to take them on. We also hired a traditional postpartum doula, a wonderful Mexican woman, for 4 days in the first week following birth. That was an invaluable investment and I would have hired her for even more days if it were feasible.

In the meantime I haven’t left the house in 2 weeks and I don’t plan to leave for as many days as possible in the first 40 days, especially not to go grocery shopping. While I miss taking the older kids out myself and getting on with my life as normal, I know that once this sensitive period is over I will be back at it inshaa Allah, so there’s no rush…

Breakfast in bed
(amaranth porridge with fruit & golden milk made with coconut milk & chopped walnuts, prepared by my postpartum doula)

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