The following is shared with permission from Kerry Ingram, of Mothering Arts. We are thrilled to share this important resource with the Waldorfish community!
If you are a parent you already know that all the cute onesies given to you at your baby shower/birth blessing paled in comparison to the home cooked meals delivered to your door postpartum.
The diaper wipe warmer and stuffed elephant were sweet, but the friend who picked up your groceries and washed your dishes felt like a superhero. The transition into motherhood or into mothering more than one child is truly a rite of passage. It is vital to acknowledge this passage into parenthood in a way that represents you, your lineage, your culture and your intentions.
Being seen and supported by your community is an inclusive practice that just about anyone can do. Simply by coming together to help with everyday life, is one way of saying "we see you, we see this transformation and we are here for you".
By supporting a family during the tender postpartum time, the community enhances the health and well-being of the entire family, and the health of the community is also nurtured.
When mothers feel supported, they have a boost in oxytocin which helps the production of breast milk, reduces stress, promotes mama-baby bonding and even helps to balance hormones. There is quite a bit of anthropological evidence supporting levels of oxytocin being greater in women living in close proximity to family or close community as seen in indigenous cultures.
Nowadays, many of us need to re-create the village to receive our support and nurturing, that is where Community Supported Postpartum comes into play.
You have heard of a CSA (community supported agriculture). Maybe you have heard of a herd-share where you pitch in and receive weekly milk or meat. We belonged to a wonderful CSH (community supported herbalism) last year and received tinctures, teas and salves each season. Or perhaps you have been part of a school work day or grocery co-op.
All of these organizations have the same foundation of ideals; when we can come together with shared values, it benefits everyone involved as we stand/work in solidarity. When many hands pitch in, the work is lighter and the connection is stronger. The whole is greater to the sum of it's parts.
What if we could use the same great form to support folks who are welcoming a baby? The shared value is that families need extra support in the tender postpartum time, we can all stand behind that notion. I call this Community Supported Postpartum; CSP. My hope is that we can start incorporating intentions of true community support into every baby shower and prenatal gathering so that families can experience how valuable community can be in the postpartum time.
Leave the pacifier with the mustache behind, and grab a copy of this instead.
We all want to be a helpful friend or family member, and sometimes we need a bit of guidance. After decades of supporting my friends, my community and the many families I have worked with as a teacher and in our mama-baby classes, I have curated a list of helpful ways that we can all pitch in to support a postpartum journey rooted in health and community support.