in between ~ notes on menstruation in early motherhood

After a decade of reliable full/new moon bleeds, my bleed post-birth has settled its rhythm in between ~ with the waning half moon. This is my 4th cycle as a mother & I’m starting to understand what menstrual wellbeing looks like whilst caring for my baby. I know now what support I need to feel rested & nourished.

The night before my bleed, a woman visited me in a dream to check my lochia had ended ~ she said its still flowing in small amounts ~ on some energetic level, these early motherhood bleeds still feel like post-birth bleeding. I am somewhere in between postpartum & motherhood ~ I wish there was an empowering name for women arriving at the place post-postpartum?

Sitting in the layers of my in betweens, from the comfort of my bleed rest nest, I lay down to gently massage my abdomen with rose oil ~ memories flood back of my 3 day long pre-baby bleed rest nests & all the practices I had to nourish myself. With baby, it is 2 hrs here & there so my toolkit has now become a series of soothing micro-practices.

I find stroking my post birth belly really beautiful ~ 7 moons since birth, still soft with a slight bulge & my linea nigra still visible. This line is the ancient pathway that guides baby to the breast during skin to skin. It’s lasting presence is a reminder that I still share so much of my body with my babe. In many ways we still live as one – only now she lives beyond my skin.

& that means that parts of me ~ my heart & nervous system ~ live out there beyond my skin with her ~ both lovely & anxiety provoking. It continually demands my attention outside of myself which is why as mothers it is SO easy to lose ourselves – to abandon our body & needs in service of the beautiful one we feel so deeply outside of us. My experience of motherhood right now is of being somewhere in between my own body & wherever my baby is ~ all day & all night I flit between being in & out of myself.

What a gift my bleed is then to call me back in to myself. Thankfully I had a bulletproof menstrual wellbeing practice pre-baby ~ it is deeprooted in me & ensures I tend to myself through all the demands of motherhood.