May Mama Message

“Let food be thy inspiration."

- Kelly Dearie

May has been such a joyful month for our family with the birth of our fifth grandson!  He was born at home last week, and I am delighted to be able to help daily with the many tasks surrounding such an amazing event.  With two active older brothers in the house it is a juggling act to keep everyone fed, clean, clothed, entertained, supported, educated, and feeling loved!  I am grateful for this community that has so many resources available for families, and for the wisdom of the midwives and childbirth educators that help us understand the deep physical and emotional needs of the new mom and unfolding family.

My daughter’s journey into motherhood has also been a journey for me in deepening my understanding of the physiology and psychology of birth.  I have been able to learn so much more about what is truly needed for a woman to make this transition with strength and grace. It is a time to honor the mother and new babe, and to support the family in ways that are at odds with our current American lifestyle. As women we are encouraged to do it all, and to be independent and strong.  Yet in cultures all over the world, new mothers are nurtured quite differently, and are supported by their families or wise women for weeks after the birth of a new baby.  My maternal grandmother told me that the women in her family cared for her for the first forty days after she gave birth.  From the books The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson, and The First Forty Days by Heng Ou, and our wonderful podcast interview with birth and postpartum doula Ana Hernandez, I learned about the five basic needs of a new mother.  With this deep caring we can make an incredibly positive impact on a woman’s lifelong health.

The area where I love to serve is in providing warming and nutritious foods for my daughter as she makes this transition.  I have always loved to prepare food, and to learn more about health and wellness through nutrition.  We interviewed culinary creator Kelly Dearie yesterday for our podcast (airing soon), and her quote is “let food be thy inspiration”.  Food is always inspiring to me, so I love her quote…!  Aroma and taste are such primal forces, and the hearth has always been the center of the home.  The kitchen is a place of inspiration to me, and it is such a joy to be able to nurture and nourish my daughter in these early weeks after birth.  I am making warming and nourishing herbal teas and broth.  New recipes with nutrient dense ingredients are unfolding, and I am trying to seek out traditional foods from other cultures for new inspiration.  Foods that encourage milk production, help to soothe and cleanse the body, and help restore lost blood, are all being prepared and provided.

It is also fun to be able to bring my daughter lovingly prepared meals that are pleasing to the eye, intriguing with their aromas, and inspiring to her at this stage.  In supporting her this way I feel connected to all women, and I feel that I am healing a little bit of myself as well…  I can sit and talk with her about childbirth and mothering, massage her legs, back, and feet with essential oils such as Frankincense and Balance, and offer guidance if asked for.  It is a time of deep connection and bonding that I am cherishing.

Then the older boys come running and leaping… needing a book read, a snack prepared, an outing to the stream… and we leave mama and babe to rest quietly for a brief while, knowing that they are well nourished, warmed and comforted, and deeply loved!

Maria Fahrner