This week we have another amazing mama. Introducing my sweet friend Daria and her babe Isa! I have been blessed by Daria in so many ways during our friendship. She is a kind, giving, and nourishing human who is a joy to be around. I had her write a little something from her heart, and what came of it is truly beautiful and inspiring. I hope you enjoy her insight into becoming a mama, an explanation of the medicinal properties of some chosen herbs, and a couple amazing herbal tea recipes. This post is for any human interested in ways to nourish themselves.
Grab a cup of tea and enjoy…!
There is joy to be found here: self care ritual and the childbearing year.
At the center of a family's wellness is the wellness of the mother. When the mother is nourished, the family is nourished. When the mother is aligned and present, so is the family.
This interconnected relationship between maternal wellness and family wellness is the reality of my life way. Beginning with the conception of our daughter and up until this present moment I have witnessed this truth come to light each morning and set with the sun each evening. What a beautiful blessing it is; to know my ability to nourish myself is inseparable from my ability to nourish my family. With this gift has come deep real responsibility. To myself, my family and to the world. To do the work and truly hold space for reflection, acknowledgment, accountability, unlearning, relearning, healing, listening, trusting, receiving, giving and loving; all•ways loving.
Motherhood called me in to listen to my body and spirit, trust my intuition, receive what nourishment I need and give nourishment through my own. The past two moons with the blessing of our second child on the way, I've heard motherhood whispering to me again. In a partial state of déjà vu, I take time and enjoy the deliciousness of a familiar season - familiar sounds, fragrance, rooting, sprouting - but my intuition listens and hears the difference in this new season of motherhood calling to me. One of relearning pregnancy care as a mama of a one year old- with days full of divine fleeting moments - and remembering; that whatever emotions and physical manifestations are flowing through me in each moment of this pregnancy - and no matter if these moments are similar and different to my first journey impregnated - there is joy to be found here. Joy to be found in the ritual of nourishing myself. Joy to be found in the new delight of doing so side by side with my daughter. Joy to be found in witnessing nourishment multiply itself through my family as I keep giving my loving energy to it.
One sure way I hold onto this joy daily is my ritual of making pregnancy tea and infusions.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I held and nurtured myself each morning by making my half gallon tea for the day before going to work. Now my daughter and I have been making my tea and infusions together; what a joy it is that this is my truth to write. My blends are based on what I'm hearing from my body and spirit each week, but all consist of the below powerful and womb loving herbs:
Alfalfa (medicago sativa): nutrient dense with maximum storage and absorption. Alfalfa contains a wide variety of minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, sodium, potassium, silicon, and trace elements. It is also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It contains essential amino acids that are not made by the body but must be obtained from food sources. Alfalfa contains the highest chlorophyll content of any plant.
Nettle (urtica dioica): Nettle’s purported anti-inflammatory effects have been repeatedly confirmed by modern research over the past ten years. Nettles boost our immune system function and is are an effective treatment for many skin conditions. Pregnancy is predictably unpredictable, nettle is the herb that can keep up with the waves.
Dandelion (taraxacum officinale): A backyard herb with many benefits in pregnancy. Dandelion is a source of a variety of nutrients and the leaves and root contain Vitamins (like A,C, K and B-vitamins) as well as minerals (including magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and choline). It offers gentle and powerful digestive and hormonal support to aid in the daily physical and spiritual labor of incubating!
Raspberry Leaf (rubus idaeus): When I think of raspberry leaf I think of my love for women and how lucky I feel to embody feminine becoming. Raspberry leaf is my good girlfriend that I go to for all my womanly needs: magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins B, A, C, and E. The high level of B vitamins in particular makes it useful for relieving nausea, soothing leg cramps, and improving sleep. (Symptoms that definitely increase during pregnancy!) The high concentration of vitamin C in raspberry leaf makes it great during illness and I use it in a variety of my favorite herbal tea recipes for immune support during moments of vulnerability which can flare up in pregnancy. It strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles which I believe offered me and my daughter a blissful labor as she came into this world.
Oat Straw (avena sativa): Oatstraw is my go to for when I am feeling prickly and nerved. During pregnancy the body may feel different sensations through the nervous system, oatstraw makes our perception of those sensations delightful. Oatstraw is particularly high in calcium and magnesium – minerals that are much needed during pregnancy. It is also considered a useful nervine, safe for pregnant women. Oatstraw tea can help promote calm and reduce tension.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Lemon balm is a mental wellness ally in every season of life especially pregnancy. It has a calming effect and helps relieve irritability, insomnia, and anxiety. Pregnancy comes with varying levels of sleep disruption and lemon balm minimizes it in every way.
Chamomile (matricaria recutita): Chamomile will forever hold a special place in my heart. I use it daily on myself and my family. It's my daughter's favorite tea currently and our biggest support when she is teething.Chamomile has several health benefits like relieving muscular pain, curing insomnia, soothing cramps and remedying runny noses.
Rosehips (Rosa spp.): Loaded with vitamin C rosehips assist in toning the body to prevent arthritis, sciatica, muscle cramps etc. It allows our body to maintain needed iron levels, protects adrenal function and supports our connective tissues.
Burdock Root (arctium lappa): Burdock is known to strengthen both the liver and urinary tract which get overworked during the childbearing year. It has been used to balance blood sugar during pregnancy which is crucial to a healthy pregnancy and baby. Women who are prone to constipation can try burdock as a mild laxative that supports the body throughout the digestive process.
Lavender (lavandula spp.): I especially enjoy lavender mixed with peppermint in pregnancy. Both offer a simultaneously relaxing and rejuvenating energy into my day. Lavender aids in digestion and has mild sedative properties.
Partridge Berry (mitchella repens): Partridge berry lovingly tones the uterus in preparation for birth. It even has the power to stop an impending miscarriage or early birth.
When you're vomiting one minute, crying the next and laughing while crying, it's grounding and empowering to take the time to nourish in the process of making tea and infusions daily. The familiar fragrance that I bask in with my daily tea and infusions feels like a beautiful dance of coming home to myself. There is joy to be found in the ritual all•ways. I look forward to what joy will be discovered through ritual in this new pregnancy. With my daughter and husband with me for each season. Including writing this post together! We had a blast! My husband was our photographer and my daughter and I created a sweet moment for the two of us to hold in our hearts forever. What joy was found here!
Below please indulge in a couple helpful handy midwife created recipes and remember to find joy in the ritual all•ways:
Nourishing Pregnancy Infusion:
2 parts nettle
1 part red raspberry leaf
1 part oat straw
1 part alfalfa
1/2 part rosehips
1. place dried herbs in a jar
2. Fill the jar with hot water
3. Breathe into the steam from the water, set an intention, say a prayer
4. Cover and let sit 4-24 hours
5. Strain into a new jar or beloved vessel
6. Enjoy and nourish
Herbal Infusion for Anemia Prevention:
1/2 ounce nettles
1/2 ounce dried parsley leaf
1/2 ounce dried yellow dock
1/4 ounce peppermint leaf
Heart Burn Relief Tea:
2 parts anise
2 parts fennel
3 parts peppermint
1 part cinnamon
Recipe source: moonstone midwives pregnancy care handout