40 days / confinement / lying in: would love to hear from mothers who have done this! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 08-23-2012, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Greetings,

 

I'm six weeks away from my due date and have been curious all along about the traditions in other cultures besides mainstream US where a forty-day period after giving birth is considered sacrosanct for restoring the mother to health and forging a familial bond. I have lots of links about this from blogs and whatnot, and most recently came across this excerpted article from the latest Midwifery Today  http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/BuildingNest.asp

 

Are there any mothers here who have created such experiences for themselves and their families, or who come from cultures where it is traditional? Can you share what your day-to-day was like, what kind of activities you did or didn't do, what kind of help you had? 

 

This is my first child and I've made a lot of not-popular-with family decisions so far. In addition I will mostly be on my own as my partner is based overseas, so taking a solid time seems like the right idea (planning for a series of hopefully helpful visitors at the beginning and asking friends to set up a meal registry). When I mention it to my out-of-town mother her response is along the lines of "well that sounds like a luxury..." and then talks about what she didn't have...etc.

 

would love to hear from you... (can share some of the other links I've collected if anyone is interested)

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#2 of 16 Old 08-23-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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40 days is such a long time...there is no way I could do it.

 

It sounds like you will have some help at first, and that will be a good time to not cater to them- make them help you, that is why they are there, right?


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#3 of 16 Old 08-23-2012, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes. 40 days is a long time. It is also a sacred number / time period in so many belief systems (in areas having nothing to do with birth). Perhaps there is some wisdom to be learned for our contemporary context? 

 

I understand that in our activity / achievement framework it sounds far out. Has anyone in MDC contemplated or attempted this?

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#4 of 16 Old 08-24-2012, 05:47 AM
 
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I had planned to have that 6 week exclusion time with my first. We let people know ahead of time that we were not planning for visitors (beyond immediate family) until after I had been back in public (ie gone to church) so they would not be offended when we declined visitors after the birth.

 

I did stay home for about 4 weeks before I got restless and wanted to see people again, so I went to church a bit earlier than I had planned.

 

While I was still in that recovery mode DH did all the cooking, and even left me ready made snacks for during the day while he was at work. He also did the laundry etc and the cleaning that could wait, waited. I was having a hard time with establishing a nursing relationship with DS1, and recovering from an unplanned c/s too, so my time was spent resting and nursing and very little else. After I had been to church I did start taking walks with DS in the pram every day, but we didn't really do much until after I had my 6 week check-up with the OB.

 

I had about 3-4 weeks of staying home with DS2 as well, and as I had a difficult time being on my feet for more than a few minutes for several weeks after his HBAC DH filled in the gaps with the cooking and chores again.

 

I think it is a great idea, especially for the first baby.


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#5 of 16 Old 08-24-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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I had a 40 day babymoon with my first daughter. 

 

In the beginning I would get up just to care for baby, although she mostly slept with me she also had a bedside bassinett, I would also get up to go to the bathroom or get very simple things to eat, but was not allowed to cook or clean.

 

I would straighten things up in the room since we had a lot of baby stuff to look through.

 

I would spend the days just taking care of the baby, caring for myself, journaling, eating, meditating, listening to music, accepting company, taking pictures, spending quality time with her father.  He helped with food and cleaning though there really wasn't much cleaning to do.  We really simplified our meals, and I snacked a lot and drank a lot of water.

 

After awhile I began to do gentle yoga, take little walks to the backyard, sit outside on the porch, and I started to make very small meals for myself...like gathering things for a simple salad. 

 

Towards the end of these days, I really wanted to work and would occasionally get caught climbing the stairs to get my laptop and other things from upstairs to work with.  Around this time I also started to cook and clean, just a little bit, still keeping things simple. 

 

I would say it really set the tone for my relationship as a parent, because a lot of the habits I established during this time continued, mainly in keeping things simple and learning how to plan ahead and use my time to focus on my children as much as possible, while keeping things from becoming too complicated that I exhaust myself or create messes or situations that are so difficult to deal with I don't really have time to do them. 

 

As for help, at first my doulas and midwife were very helpful, as was baby's father.  After awhile his mom came to visit and she helped out.  My mom came a few times and helped out.  I don't remember any of my friends coming to help, they came to visit though.
 

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#6 of 16 Old 08-24-2012, 06:57 AM
 
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I gave myself 6 weeks of rest with this one, no cooking or cleaning, staying in bed with her while home. We did have to go out sometimes for drs or groceries but mostly it worked. This the first time for me though as my older kids were finally able to take over a lot plus my husband is running his own business and able to work around our needs at home for the most part. She was 6 weeks on Tuesday so I am slowly getting back into things.

 

I think the postpartum period is largely not respected in American culture, for whatever reason, and mommas are seen as lazy or very ill or just way out there if they attempt this, which really sucks because we really do need support at this time. And some of the attitude might just stem from resentment too, which is sad. My daughter wants to be a midwife and since she is homeschooled I plan to encourage her to do some pp doula work as she gets older.


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#7 of 16 Old 08-24-2012, 07:25 AM
 
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[quote name="featherstory" url=
I would say it really set the tone for my relationship as a parent, because a lot of the habits I established during this time continued, mainly in keeping things simple and learning how to plan ahead and use my time to focus on my children as much as possible, while keeping things from becoming too complicated that I exhaust myself or create messes or situations that are so difficult to deal with I don't really have time to do them. 

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#8 of 16 Old 09-03-2012, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks to Lynann, featherstory and fruitfulmomma for sharing your experiences with a 40-day lie-in. I am just reading your responses because for some reason I stopped getting notifications from this thread! you've given me good food for thought and planning as I approach my due date!

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#9 of 16 Old 09-05-2012, 02:27 PM
 
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Wow it's such a coincidence I ran into this post today. Just yesterday I got the "40-day briefing" from my boyfiend's aunt. All the older generations of women in his family have done the 40-day postpartum rest. She not only strongly advised me of it, but she warned me of the dangerous of not carrying it out properly. Two women in his family suffered lifelong consequences from not resting properly.
She told me that more than anything, I should avoid sudden exposure to the cold. She told me about how my mother-in-law went to the beach 8 days after delivering my now-present boyfriend, and since that cool day on the beach she has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis of the whole body. His aunt also told me her own bad experience. Just days after delivering her own 3rd child, she had some girlfriends come visit. She was being feeling hospitable and reached into the fridge to serve them some drinks. She was wearing a robe down to right below her knees. When she opened the door, cold air from the fridge rushed to her legs and chilled them. Ever since that day 11 years ago, she periodically feels deep pain and discomfort from the exact area below knees, all the way down her legs.
In Mexico, where we're all from, there is a general cultural awareness about the dangerous of sudden exposure to cold weather when the body is already warm. One might get sick, cold, etc. In my boyfiend's family there seems to be evidence of it being especially dangerous to postpartum mothers... So I'll be avoiding the coldness like the PLAGUE! Lol.
Anyway, for 40-days I'll be avoiding the fridge, cold water, and I'll be staying indoors (my due date is in early January!) and I'll be dressed warmly. I've also been banned from carrying heavy things, doing chores or moving about too much, I'll probably be carried up the stairs if I need to go... But my boyfriend said he's going to pimp out our bedroom with food, water, and plenty of entertainment since he doesn't want me to leave the second floor of the house.
We have a whole support system of family that's going to help. They'll do heavy cooking and errands and such while I recuperate with the baby in bed rest.

I hope this helps, If I found out more information about the whole process I'll come back and post smile.gif
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#10 of 16 Old 09-05-2012, 02:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felina32 View Post

Wow it's such a coincidence I ran into this post today. Just yesterday I got the "40-day briefing" from my boyfiend's aunt. All the older generations of women in his family have done the 40-day postpartum rest. She not only strongly advised me of it, but she warned me of the dangerous of not carrying it out properly. Two women in his family suffered lifelong consequences from not resting properly.
She told me that more than anything, I should avoid sudden exposure to the cold. She told me about how my mother-in-law went to the beach 8 days after delivering my now-present boyfriend, and since that cool day on the beach she has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis of the whole body. His aunt also told me her own bad experience. Just days after delivering her own 3rd child, she had some girlfriends come visit. She was being feeling hospitable and reached into the fridge to serve them some drinks. She was wearing a robe down to right below her knees. When she opened the door, cold air from the fridge rushed to her legs and chilled them. Ever since that day 11 years ago, she periodically feels deep pain and discomfort from the exact area below knees, all the way down her legs.
In Mexico, where we're all from, there is a general cultural awareness about the dangerous of sudden exposure to cold weather when the body is already warm. One might get sick, cold, etc. In my boyfiend's family there seems to be evidence of it being especially dangerous to postpartum mothers... So I'll be avoiding the coldness like the PLAGUE! Lol.
Anyway, for 40-days I'll be avoiding the fridge, cold water, and I'll be staying indoors (my due date is in early January!) and I'll be dressed warmly. I've also been banned from carrying heavy things, doing chores or moving about too much, I'll probably be carried up the stairs if I need to go... But my boyfriend said he's going to pimp out our bedroom with food, water, and plenty of entertainment since he doesn't want me to leave the second floor of the house.
We have a whole support system of family that's going to help. They'll do heavy cooking and errands and such while I recuperate with the baby in bed rest.
I hope this helps, If I found out more information about the whole process I'll come back and post smile.gif

WOW!

i respect your culture. i did no such thing at all. i can't say that i suffered any consequence for being right "out there" immediately after birth.

i will also say that i had NO such help as you describe. i would agree that the American culture doesn't want to give the PP mom any chance for such "indulgences." sad but true.

but my SIL, also from Mexico, did the 40 days at home thing. i also remember her bundling up the babies super warm. 

 

i have a question: is the purpose of the 40 days lie-in mostly for the mother's benefit, or for the mother's + the baby's?

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#11 of 16 Old 09-05-2012, 03:34 PM
 
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I have a friend who does this because the time postpartum just hits her so hard. She doesn't feel well and has some depression and such each time, and benefits from relaxing at home instead of going out and dealing with people and everything. Me, I take it easy a week or two and stay in bed even though I feel great part of that time, wiped out some days, pretty delicate off and on. I did find with a home birth and just one doctor visit after my second, rather than the daily doctor visits to monitor jaundice they required after my first, my afterpains were much milder. I imagine breastfeeding and early set-up and protection of immunities are better for the baby being secluded with mom for a good long time, too.

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#12 of 16 Old 09-05-2012, 09:22 PM
 
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I was a zombie for the first month or so! It was the dead of winter and quite cold outside, so I didn't go out much. I hung around the house, watched stuff on Netflix, and other people cooked for me. Recommended, because you probably won't get much sleep.

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#13 of 16 Old 09-06-2012, 03:02 PM
 
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@Tropicana, the purpose for the best rest is both for mother and baby. The body is especially vulnerable and in recovery after delivery, and the baby's immune system needs to be strengthened through breast feeding. :-)
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#14 of 16 Old 09-13-2012, 10:09 AM
 
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I tried. I made it 3 weeks with our 3rd child and DH was on me about getting out. He forced me to take a phone call from a "friend" who proceeded cuss me out.  I will try again when this baby is born. I had a really bad experience being out in public and allowing people into my house after our second child was born and do not want to repeat it.  DH was worried about post partum depression from staying in and that was his reasoning for forcing me out and to talk on the phone.  I think he will understand better this time. 

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#15 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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For the first 3-4 weeks with my first I did this by necessity. I think there is something to be said for having no expectations for new mothers beyond BFing and caring for the infant (with help from partner and close family/friends) for a good amount of time. I think 40 days would have been fine with me, though like I said I did start getting back into the swing sooner than that.

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#16 of 16 Old 09-17-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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I've been in a hurry to get "back out there" after my other deliveries. This one, though, will be our last, and I think I'd like to spend several weeks just at home with her and our other kids so that everyone has time and space to get used to each other without external stimuli. Plus, I may not feel like moving much anyway. redface.gif


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