Small Blessings Blog

Let the nourishment flow... Our first wave of postnatal sevadars is here

Jai Ram Kaur Hergo - Tuesday, September 03, 2019

If I were into conspiracy theories I could probably find one to fit this situation. In this western culture we are so effectively hypnotised into thinking we are alone that obvious, simple and doable ways to get together and nourish each other almost don’t occur to us. 


And also new mothers sit there alone with their babies, unnourished and unsupported, at a time when actually, in a healthy society, you would think that all resources would be pooled to flow towards her in this crucial time. 

Well, we woke up.


Last Saturday was the first edition of the 40 Day Blessing Postnatal Sevadar training here in Perth. It was just 6 hours, with a lot of richness to jam in, but we did it. And had a beautiful special for the postnatal time ayurvedic 3 course meal prepared by the women as well. 


                 


One woman told me that the next day she felt healed, calm and quiet through hearing of the teachings, learning how to serve women in this 40 day fourth trimester window. She felt the sadness and loss of her own postnatal time which was lacking in this nourishment. And in the food that we prepared and ate together was some kind of medicine that she felt healed this pain. So there is some powerful magic afoot when that happens.


Sevadar means one who serves selflessly. Frances Parkhowell of Perth Postnatal Village and Chair of Australian Doulas and I gave 11 women a training that covered the Kundalini Yoga teachings on this time – physical, emotional, spiritual; the scientific, hormonal and physiological correlates to these understandings; what a sevadar does; how to create clear documents with a check list of things you offer, from cooking, cleaning the house, taking care of older children to massage and nourishing conversation; how to create an agreement document to facilitate a clear relationship with the one receiving service; massage; belly binding; ayurvedic food as medicine .. and more. 


                      


We have emerged with a group of women who feel nourished possibly in places they didn’t realise were malnourished, and who are ready to wisely and tenderly serve their nieces and daughters when they have their babies. But also who are ready to serve other women in Perth who need it. 

It’s just a beginning, but a beautiful and encouraging one. 


If you are in Perth reading this and will be in your own 40 day blessing soon and this strikes a chord, get in touch with me. Perhaps there is a woman in your area who is available to offer you some help. And if you would like to be involved or come to the next training, also let me know so I can keep you posted. 


It is such a small distance really to reach across to take another woman’s hand. Such a small act, and yet the ripples of healing and happiness from that act may, eventually, be enough to change the world, one woman, one baby, one family at a time. 

My 40 Day Blessing experience

Jai Ram Kaur Hergo - Thursday, August 22, 2019


My 40 Day Blessing experience 

3 children under 5 and more peaceful and restful than I had ever felt!

Me reading in Foods for Health and Healing, planning what I would like to ask to have cooked for me next :-)

Living in Berlin, when I got pregnant with our third child, I knew that I had to do something radical to help me through the 40 days following birth. The two older children were less than 2 and about 3.5. It had been an intense few years already!

Thank god, by that stage I was immersed in my own yoga practice and also in a community of people who also knew and understood the teachings of Kundalini Yoga on the 40 days following birth. They saw the value for themselves of that time and also the value of offering Seva - selfless service. Plus they cared.

So I put out the call to the community for sevadars to come and help us. 
It took some organising, but in the end we had 3 different women at different times come and stay in a friends' flat just down the road which just happened to be empty for that time and look after me. One of these beautiful sevadars, Petra, is in the picture below. 

It felt luxurious. It felt a touch over the top at first. They cooked for me, cleaned, did washing, delivered and picked up the other kids from their kinderladen, made me endless cups of yogi tea (caffeine-less chai) and were generally wonderful. I quickly got over that feeling of indulgence, however, and lay back and enjoyed it. It was snowing and cold outside and to be inside in this bubble, with my baby and family while I healed and rested, breastfed and ate, was incredible. It felt like what I'd needed to do for years. My whole life perhaps. 


By the time the last sevadar left, I felt so full of beans. I felt ready to be a mother of 3. I was excited for it. Not anxious or overwhelmed. I didn't feel alone. I didn't feel exhausted. I felt energetic, balanced, peaceful and joyful. When I finally ventured out into the world with my small caravan of children, people literally commented on how peaceful and calm I seemed. They couldn't understand it. I knew it was because I had been able to touch into a deep well of peace inside of me and I was just still sitting near that well. And that I was able to take the time to find that because of the service of these sevadars.

Time went on and this peacefulness became a little ruffled. Staying there is the challenge. But I will never forget that. And my daughter Sophia's nervous system - her whole being - is imprinted with this deep peace. 

I also know what it is to feel scared, depressed and disconnected as a new mother. That story goes differently. 

When we nourish mothers we are investing in a lot more than just one woman (though that in itself would be enough). Her state imprints the baby. Her sense of herself a mother is forged there. If we don't value the mothers, what kind of society are we? If we won't bring compassion and care there, where will be bring it?

One woman at a time, one baby and family at a time, we can help to bring more peace, more deep security, to our planet


Roasted almonds in ghee

Jai Ram Kaur Hergo - Wednesday, September 11, 2013

                                           

 

This is a very simple, nurturing and delicious thing to eat in the weeks after the birth. The naturally wrinkled skin of the almonds is said to help the uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size and shape after birth. It is best eaten BEFORE BREAKFAST. And ideally, prepared and served to you in bed by someone ... (if you have other children, someone with small hands and a big heart? :)

 

Roasted almonds in ghee is in fact recommended to women generally in Ayurveda, as a food that is nurturing to the female reproductive system. 


Ingredients
10 to 15 almonds
2 teaspoons ghee (clarified butter which is a protein not a fat - look for it at organic or health food shops or Asian food shops. It tastes slightly nutty and can be used in Indian cooking.)
Honey, if you like.

Melt the ghee in a small pan and then add the almonds. Roast them on a relatively low flame for a minute or two. Add a little honey if you like it sweet! Let them cool off a little but eat them still warm. You can follow this up with a cup of yogi tea to nourish your nerves.

Note on the tendency to think "I can´t do that!":

Many of us have trouble letting ourselves be served. Consider that there might be a deep relaxation that comes from letting go of your internal struggle and allowing someone to do this simple thing for you in the morning - a grace and strength in being able to receive in the knowing that you are very valuable just as you are. If you´re already able to do that, excellent. If not, perhaps try it and find out what happens.

  
               

Ayurvedic recipes for after birth

Jai Ram Kaur Hergo - Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The following are special recipes to help you heal and recover strength in the days and weeks following birth.

Ask a friend or your partner to prepare the following dish for you when the baby comes and bring it to you during these very precious first few days.

Childbirth Subjee

This recipe is to be eaten only in the first few days after birth, before the milk proper comes in (after that the onions may upset your baby´s sensitive digestion). It works to repair the uterus and regenerate the nervous system. It also cleanses the body to prepare for milk production.

 

Take one cup of ginger root and chop it medium fine. Saute this in Ghee (clarified butter) until lightly brown. Add 1 Tbsn turmeric and stir to prevent burning. Add 2 medium chopped onions. Add a few Tbspn water. Cook well.

Add 2 cups yoghurt and simmer about 30 minutes.

You can add 1 Tspn chickpea or other flour to make it thicker. Halve the quantity of flour if using wheat flour.

 

Eat once a day with rice and yoghurt for the first few days.

 

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You can have this nursing drink prepared for you in larger quantities kept in the fridge to take as you wish.

Special Nursing Drink

To improve the quality of your milk. If you don´t drink cow’s milk, use oat or rice milk.

1 cup of milk

8 - 10 blanched almonds (soaked and peeled)

2 Tbspn ghee (clarified butter)

1 – 2 tspn honey

 

Blend well. You can warm this drink up to make it even more nurturing, but then add the honey afterwards. Heated honey may release toxins.

 

Yoga for Better Milk

The exercise "Washing Machine" is also excellent for keeping the many glands that feed into your breasts massaged and free of blockages and the quality of your milk good. It also improves your posture and can relieve shoulder and neck tension.

Sit cross-legged on your bed if it is firm enough or on the floor, with your hands lightly grasping your shoulders, fingers in front, thumbs behind, and your elbows pointing straight out to the side. Experience the opening spread across your chest as well as across your upper back.

Staying tall in your spine, inhale and twist your whole upper body and head to the left. Exhale swing back to the right.

Start at a moderate pace and keep your eyes open. Breathe fully and deeply. Increase the speed and dynamic as you become comfortable with the movement. Close your eyes then, and bring your focus to rest at the brow point, between your eyebrows and a little way in. This is for stimulation of the pituitary and intuition as well as mental stillness and peace.

Continue for 1 to 3 minutes.

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The recipes on this page are from the Ayurvedic tradition which has a close connection to Kundalini Yoga though its founder in the West, Yogi Bhajan. The exercise given is also from the tradition of Kundalini Yoga.

Nourishing Yogi Tea Recipe

Jai Ram Kaur Hergo - Thursday, January 31, 2013

This is a tasty, caffeine free, nurturing tea which is ideal for pregnancy and the time after birth. The spices are lightly stimulating without the negative impact of caffeine, nourishing to the nerves and strengthening to your blood. It is drunk with milk and honey to taste. You can also use oat, rice, almond or soy milk.

After the birth you may like to have a thermos of this tea by your bedside. Every woman is unique so there is no rule as to how much you can drink each day. Be aware that too much honey or spice through the breast milk may upset your baby´s delicate digestive system so keep an eye on it and reduce your intake if in doubt.

Ingredients

1 cup water

3 cloves

4 cardamom pods

4 black peppercorns

½ stick cinnamon

1 slice fresh ginger

½ cup cow´s milk or alternative

 

Procedure

Boil spices in water for 10-15 minutes. Add milk (about 1/3 cup) and bring to the boil.

Turn off heat. Add honey to taste.

To make more at a time you can reduce the amount of spices. Eg. for 2 litres of water use 15 cloves, 20 cardamom pods, 20 peppercorns, 3 cinnamon sticks and 5 slices fresh ginger. Boil for 20 to 25 minutes. Add 500mL milk and honey to taste.

 

This taken recipe from “Foods for Health and Healing – Remedies and Recipes, based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan”


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