Mother Roasting, zuo yuezi, nam lua in… Whatever you call it is the globally accepted practice of keeping a woman warm immediately after birth and in the few weeks following birth. Cross-culturally, it is believed to seal up emotional, physical, and spiritual gateways that have been opened by birth. It is a way of protecting a woman’s body and her newborn, literally nourishing her back into being.
“Many anthropologists interpret the postpartum practices of traditional cultures as ritualistic methods of purifying unclean women after birth. Sometimes this may have been the case, but, in fact, most often these practices were likely done to support the mother in her transition and give her time to rest and bond with her baby (Lang 1987).
When looking at birth from an anthropological perspective, it seems that women in traditional societies commonly not only had relatively easy births, but also enjoyed rapid and complete recoveries with minimal complications, especially in regard to postpartum blood loss. Also, rarely were there problems with breast-milk production (Lang 1987).” – Natural Health after Birth: Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness by Aviva Jill Romm.
Worldwide, women in all cultures are encouraged to lie-in during the weeks following birth, allowing other women in their community to take care of them, nourishing, massaging, binding, bathing, and loving on them. They treat the mother with reverence and respect, giving her a safe space to focus solely on her own body’s needs and her baby’s needs.
Mother Roasting is a time-honored tradition that seeks to give women the safe space to rest, recuperate, allow their body to come back into balance, and allow their minds, hearts, and selves to focus solely on their new role as mother and the new life of their baby. Mother Roasting encourages and promotes lactation, healthy bodies, and healthy minds. Perhaps it is time for us to start warming, nourishing, and caring for mothers again.
To volunteer to make/delivery food/nourishment for a mama and baby in need, please visit ‘Mother Roasting’ Maui on Facebook.
To see a great recipe for new mamas please see the Food & Nutrition article in this eighteenth issue. The sweet potato kitchari is yummy and perfect to nourish a mother in the days after giving birth.
Image Credit: Canary Lane Photography Studio