4 Reasons you should get a postnatal massage
1. Your body needs it
Short Answer: Your body has just spent approximately 10 months constantly growing, changing, hormones going nuts, muscles pulling, skeleton changing, all culminating in a major, traumatic bodily experience. (Even if the birth went easily, it was still a trauma on the body.) Your body needs a massage to help recover.
More details: Pregnancy and childbirth do more than just make your belly bigger. Your skeleton actually changes shape, your heart gets larger, your blood volume increases, and your muscles stretch and pull in ways that nobody would have thought they could. Following birth, all of that now has to change back. Even if pregnancy and childbirth seemed easy with little pain or issues, there was still a lot going on with your body and it needs to heal and recover. Massage can help relax those muscles and encourage them to pull the skeleton back into place, as well as help the extra circulation settle down and rebalance the organs and hormones, all while allowing the body to get some rest so it can get better.
2. Your recovery takes longer than you think
Short answer: Our society, and even some doctors, tell you that you should be “back to normal” 6 weeks after giving birth. In reality, the human body has only partly recovered in that time span, with some organs and systems taking 8 months to 1 year to “return to normal”. A massage may help the recovery go a little quicker and more smoothly.
More details: In some countries, women are provided with nurses and doulas that help them from the day after the baby arrives, up to 8-12 months after birth. The American concept of "6 weeks to recover" was made up by some male somewhere who has never actually grown and delivered a person, and some theories suggest that it is also one of the many "patriarchal" tactics to keep women suppressed and out of the workplace by proving that if they need more than 6 weeks, they are too "fragile" to handle the same things as men. In actuality, while some women can begin to function a bit more normally by 6 weeks, in reality, relaxin can stay in the system for 4-5 months, the heart can take 8 weeks to return to it's normal size, and the perineum can remain bruised and uncomfortable for 4-5 months. So just because you have made it past the 6-week marker, doesn't mean you are actually fully recovered.
3. Your mind needs it
Short answer: Being a new parent can be very overwhelming. Lack of sleep, constant attention on the new baby, dealing with the changes in the family and household dynamic, plus trying to physically recover - it takes a toll. A massage can help you get away for some quiet time to yourself to let you recharge, rest, and continue dealing with the everyday.
More details: Mental health is often overlooked, and in mothers especially so. New moms, whether it is the first child or fourth, always has doubts and is second-guessing everything, always worried about all the new things happening in her family. Add into it the inevitable "baby blues" or the more serious postpartum depression that can come from a number of factors including the rush of hormone changes following delivery, to other variable reasons, moms have a lot going on in their heads. You need to take time to relax, step away from the chaos, and allow some quiet focus on self care to help recharge and be the best you can be.
4. You need to be taken care of, also
Short answer: After baby arrives, most of everyone’s focus is on baby. Even people who offer to help, mostly mainly want to help with the baby so you can “take care of everything else”. While this is well-intentioned, and while you don’t want to admit it, you need to be taken care of too! A massage can be just the self care you need.
More details: Moms like to be super moms, and hate admitting that they need help for themselves. While some moms insist on doing it all, others are more than willing to allow someone else to take their babies off their hands, but then what? Once baby is handled and managed, what is mom doing? Resting? Not likely - more than likely she is managing other children, making dinner, cleaning the house, or catching up on her job demands. Mom needs help as well. Even if it is just some time to step away and do nothing, or some quiet time alone to lay down and rest - moms need to be taken care of too while they recover both physically and mentally. The tricky part is that moms will rarely admit this. Expectations put on them by society, family, and themselves dictate that moms need to be the ones who take care of everything no matter what and anything they do for themselves is deemed selfish. However this is so not true. Moms need to be taken care of in those early postpartum days just as much as the new babies.