quiet holy days

In Scripture, what is holy and sacred is protected from external influence or contamination. I have often wondered if the instructions (Torah) for menstrual cycles and for postpartum have more to do with *protecting the space* of a woman. YHVH alone knows all His reasons for the instructions He gave. But might it be a Good Thing from a merciful Father, giving her a bit of time each month to be somewhat "untouched"? 

After my first two babies were born, I was still subject to a lot of cultural expectations. We were still within a Christian group which had yet another set of expectations beside what is demanded by our American lifestyle. I remember having a meal schedule set up for me, without my opinion and during this time, every family from the local assembly brought a meal and expected to see the baby. Not only that, it may have been considered indecent to receive someone in my own bedroom, so I made the journey down the stairs for every single visitor to receive them. While the food was a blessing, I had done lots of preparation and freezing so that I wouldn't have to cook, and the recovery from that (very hard and long) birth was extended because of the way our home was constantly being entered. I remember receiving my baby girl back from an older woman who had held her, and being absolutely nauseated by the potent fragrance that was now on my baby. 

We need to change our expectations. 

During my third pregnancy, having a few years out of The Group and its expectations, as well as some years of mothering outside cultural norms, I mentioned to my husband that I didn't really want any visitors, how would we keep from having them so soon? He voluntarily suggested waiting a week to even tell anyone that the baby had been born. I was surprised! We followed through, and the main blessing was that none of us were on our devices, distracted by giving out information, sharing photos, incoming congratulations. It was just pure, quiet and intact receiving of a perfect gift. It took me a while to be able to share much, because I did not want to diffuse the potency of the incredible week we had experienced together as a family!

Now, looking back, I see that some family members may have been offended, but all of us remember that week with such vibrant clarity. There was no bustle, no expectations. Drew brought the dining room table upstairs to serve me meals and I was able to stay off the stairs, or even see what a disaster the downstairs may have become. He helped our two kiddos with school at the table, the three of them folded cloth diapers at the end of my bed. The sacredness of our times are still remembered by us as our favorite week, ever. We got to know our brand new precious little girl, the one WE had been waiting for!

I've learned not to feel obligated to anyone based on their entitlement. These first moments and days are unlike any other, and no one else outside of the family unit will be able to feel their glory or understand our joy--there's no need to diffuse this fullness, but there is a great benefit into absorbing it all! My understanding of holiness and my ability to hear the Father's loving words to me grew immensely as I learned how to receive--the same way my daughter was receiving everything she needed from her home, her source...

Don't you think this is why the enemy is infiltrating every stage of this crucial part of life? Not only to rob a child of her parents' full attention, but to rob us parents of the hearing of His Love through our senses, as we oblige to the expectations that we have received after generations of disintegration? The obstetrics model is rooted in severing the biological, hormonal ties as quickly as possible, and have succeeded to the degree that mothers have absolutely no idea what they are missing. For years, mothers have sat in their hospital beds during these first hours, bleeding, yearning to hold their precious baby as it gets passed from person to person, others who have been in the outer rooms waiting to jump in at first chance. Most mothers, somewhat disconnected emotionally due to the mechanical and drug-influenced nature of their births, never questioned what this behavior and attitude does to the new mother. Not to mention the effect it could have on a newborn who is making connection with smells. There is so much robbery in our current model, I feel full of grief for what mothers and brand-newly-emerged people haven't realized is being stolen. The quick cord cutting, the immediate kidnapping/washdown with gloved, impersonal hands, the need for scrutiny, testing, stabbing her heel for no good reason, smearing eye ointment preventing clear vision, quantifying well-being by numbers rather than a mother's instinct. My whole being is grieved for what they call "normal" birth. Adding to this, a postpartum and bonding time hijacked by well-meaning but unaffected outsiders. I refuse to participate in a system that abuses and defiles the sacred.
her big sister didn't have to compete with outsiders
for the chances when Mama shared

All of this to say--I have never regretted guarding and protecting my first days with my offspring from nice people who love them. There is no one outside of our immediate family that is nearly as affected by this choice as the newborn, and myself. For decisions in which there is no right or wrong, it is said that it is best to see who is most affected, and allow them to make the choice. Since my babies don't really have a voice to speak up and say that they are overwhelmed by the many smells, voices and energies (which usually causes them to fall asleep--an overwhelmed baby doesn't always cry), I get to speak for them, as the second most-affected human in the situation...the one vulnerable and bleeding. If a family member is offended that I'm unwilling to break that initial bond through smell by washing the birth off of them, I am assured that this will not affect them as intensely as it will affect us, and they can certainly wait to hold my baby until I'm good and ready to bathe him!

In my preparation for this precious, intimate time, my attention and energy are being directed toward stashing plenty of nourishing food, and actively seeking the Spirit's Word on how I may receive healing and rest while absorbing the fullness of this incredibly exclusive time. I don't need to impress anyone by how casually I accept a new living being in my household. I don't need to look like supermom by reintegrating into society as though nothing transpired.

I think the reason I’m so passionate about this now, is that even with that beautiful postpartum recovery and bonding time, I have made mistakes since. My fourth and fifth, I hastily jumped back into my household and homestead/dairy duties. My own expectations of myself were what stole it from me. I paid for it, with a much longer, much harder transition. My body recovered just fine, but my mind struggled to catch up to the magnitude of the transition/transformation of our family. To avoid making that mistake again and to share with other mothers—it’s so much more than physical healing. It’s taking it all in, drinking it deeply so that your whole being is together as one when all the hormones have settled and the mind, body and spirit reintegrate into a new paradigm.