The In-Between Times of Late Pregnancy...
One of the reasons we have chosen to have a Birth Box for our Mother's Love subscription is because we wanted to honour that period of late pregnancy, coined in a now famous Mothering.com article by US midwife Jana Studelska as Zwischen. Zwischen is a German word, a word that captures the time of in-between, of waiting, in the final days of pregnancy. We also wanted to have a box dedicated to your time after birth that keeps you held in centre stage (The Postnatal Box) as well as for that period after the initial commotion of a new birth has begun to pass. This is our lovely Babymoon Box. We want to keep you and your baby feeling held and pass on much joy and positivity as you are continuing to grow in your new role as a mother.
Our Birth Box contains items for that very late period of pregnancy or Zwischen when your friends and family can start to get a little twitchy, sending well meaning messages that can nevertheless stir emotions ranging from mild irritation to exasperation in the heart of a likely exhausted, apprehensive, yet impossibly excited 'near term' or 'full term' pregnant lady. One way around this is to politely request that nobody is to check in for an update (unless you have specifically okayed this under no pressure at all), and they should wait to hear from you. You can also do like the royals do and have a 'due month' rather than a 'due date'. This should certainly make things easier!
Zwischen can be such an amazing time in the passage to new motherhood - like a thousand Christmas Eves rolled into one - literally pregnant with anticipation. It is a time to treasure and not wish away, to be filled with whatever floats your boat - from pouring out your heart through birth art, to mother blessings with the other women in your life (see our new box!), and journalling, hynobirthing and meditation. Perhaps you'll even be revisiting all the details of your birth plan! Yet it sometimes seems that the world's impatience for the birth of your baby is at odds with you, your body and even your baby him / herself. This seeming impatience can also add pressure on a woman to accept medical intervention such as induction that she doesn't necessarily want or need, even if she is officially 'overdue'. As the hynobirthing mantra goes, and as you may feel and say!, baby will come when baby is ready.
Our Birth Box contains items for your broader third trimester and into the final days of Zwischen, such as Natural Birthing Company's Perineal Massage Oil (for use from 34 weeks), and Myrtle & Maude's Raspberry Leaf Tea, advised from 32 weeks. Bliss Botanicals' Love Ritual Bath Soak and Vegan Bunny's Rose Blossom soy candles will also help you to feel nourished and relaxed during this beautiful final stage of pregnancy. Positive Birth Company’s Little Pack of Positivity Cards should lift your spirits and keep you going. They should also be useful in labour!
For Zwischen in particular and then birth itself, our Birth Box contains a Nellie & Grace Lavender, Rosemary and Clary Sage candle that we recommend burning after 37 weeks or during labour itself. Although candles may not be possible in a hospital setting, you may find it perfect for early labour at home. Bliss Botanicals' Rose Geranium lip balm will also help to keep your lips moisturised through the trials and tribulations of labour.
Our Postnatal Box is for that initial postpartum period following delivery that is regarded as lasting for six weeks. In her book The Positive Birth Book, Milli Hill tries to find an equal term for Zwischen to capture the period after birth, coming up with Verwandlung or a time of becoming, a time of metamorphosis. Like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, Milli says, a woman becomes a mother. A far longer duration of time than the much-hailed "golden hour" following childbirth, or even Sheila Kitzinger's concept of a babymoon, Verwandlung describes the transformation that occurs in the days and weeks following childbirth, the making of a new mother.
What is found in the Postnatal Box, you may ask, and why? Postpartum Healing Herbs from Nourishing Mama and Birth Blends' HEAL Post-Birth Perineal Spray should help bring comfort and restoration to your amazing female body. Organyc's First Days Maternity Pads should bring soft and gentle cushioning down below. A freshly made bed (not made by you!) is also not to be underestimated in the care of your tender post-birth body.
To assist with milk production - this free, life-giving food of love - we provide Nipper & Co’s Mum's Milk Tea and Myrtle & Maude's reusable washable breast pads. We also include Positive Birth Company's Words for Mothers, affirmations and mantras that bring solace and comfort at an emotionally heightened time. Montezuma's Dark Chocolate buttons and three delicious vegan bars should also help to keep you going, along with gorgeous organic Drinking Chocolate - perfect during a late night feed! Finally, we include a copy of JUNO Magazine, a wonderful exploration of everything from baby wearing and breastmilk to attachment parenting and postnatal depression.
For many, this time is such a roller coaster ride of emotions: of fragility, new vulnerabilities, tears and unparalleled joy; of worry, broken sleep, beauty and awe; of overthinking, self-doubt, confusion, wonder and gratitude. Of getting into the swing of things. Of love - so much love. Of baby blues. Of care being handed over from midwives to health visitors. Pediatric checks, meconium and Vitamin K. Of closing the bones. For some, a time of placenta burial or encapsulation. Of lactation consultants, and sleep consultants, if needed. Of the discovery and rediscovery of baby wearing. We certainly hope our Postnatal Box can bring a little self-care your way during this mad time!
Now you have an understanding of what motivates us to do what we do at Mother's Love and the thought that goes into our box creations. We certainly hope you enjoy everything from us and always welcome your feedback and suggestions!