“The workbook was a life saver! I didn’t realize how challenging the postpartum period would be. Having a plan was an invaluable part of my survival! I’m eternally grateful!”
-mother in Oregon
“I just got your book in the mail today and I love it! It is brilliant! Thank you so much for compiling this!
-postpartum doula in Texas
In 100 pages, you are gently guided though revisioning your life with a a new born. You finish the process with a concrete plan that is specific to your needs and situation. You will have your systems of support in place, know who to call when things get hard, and your family will know how long you are resting for.
- honors this time with a new born as precious and sacred
- addresses your needs for nourishment, rest, baby bonding, and community
- supports you in personal reflection
- affirms your inner wisdom and parenting styles
- helps you uncover resources you may not realized were there
- invites dialogue between you and your partner, supporting alignment
With the Build Your Nest workbook I offer you a planning process that gives you plenty of guide posts, and yet supports you in finding your own way. You come through the process with a completely personalized postpartum plan, specific to your parenting style, your family structure, and your community.
The Workbook gives you lists of self care ideas and holistic recovery tips; suggestions on creating your own rest time frames; ways of helping your older children adjust and get their needs met; and your own list of resources.
What is so powerful and useful about this is that it involves YOU writing down your choices, once you have considered the options. It is not just another book or pinterest post giving you more information than you struggle to put into action. It is like a workshop or a coaching session, but instead you get to do it at your own pace and you can share the process with your partner, doula, or your mother.
The Workbook draws on traditional postpartum practices that honor new mothers with care with a focus on recovery and long term health. Specifically, I look to Chinese Medicine and traditional Asian practices that are about rest and warmth. The Workbook guides you in setting up contingency plans for unexpected birth outcomes and challenges specific to the postpartum time such as difficulty with breastfeeding and mental health struggles. It covers placenta encapsulation, belly wrapping, and the importance of a meal tree (or meal train). It also explores other aspects of your life that are affected like your finances and your family relationships. I take a holistic approach that is both gentle and informative, empowering you to pick and choose what is right for you and your family.
What unfolds as you complete the Workbook process is your own plan for slowing down and savoring your newborn, feeling rested and taken care of, and knowing that you have a community there to help you when you need it.
The Workbook includes:
- holistic tips for healing
- practical solutions to common challenges
- journal exercises
- planning calendars and worksheets
- a pregnancy-to-do list
- complete template for your postpartum plan
Even if you have the most attentive work-at-home partner or your mother is coming for 2 weeks or you’ve hired a postpartum doula, The Workbook will be enormously helpful. You will see how their support fits into your larger plan and ease the transition when you no longer have their support. Creating a broader base of support will help you feel more connected to your community.
You may have older children and you have been through all this before. While in some ways experienced mothers can welcome a new baby with more confidence and ease, it is important to remember that each birth and each baby is a whole new experience. Usually families with older children receive less support even though their parenting load is growing. Careful planning and calling in support is beneficial to the whole family, helping older siblings adjust to life with a newborn.
Postpartum practices from around the world:
- In Spain, all parents get 6 months paid leave the first year of their baby’s life.
- In Vietnam, mothers traditionally went back to live with their own mothers to be taken care of for 3 months.
- Somali mothers have a “afantanbah” or 40 days of staying in and being cared for.
- In Sweden new parents get 480 days of paid leave, and 60 of them must be used by dads or else they’re forfeited.
- In Mexico, mothers are traditionally given the “Cuarentena” or 40 days of being cared for.
- Canadian mothers get 50 weeks of maternity leave.
- In China, the mothers have the ” zuo yue zhi” or the “sitting month” of staying in and being cared for.
- In Bali, new mothers do not enter the kitchen until their baby’s cord stump has fallen off.
- These practices show honor, care, and love for mothers.
This is not too much to ask for. Mothers benefit from being well taken care of. Babies benefit from having mothers that are well taken care of. Siblings, husbands, partners benefit from having mothers that are well taken care of. There is always more love to go around, when there is less stress. And this is something that we can plan for!
“This is the book for mothers; all mothers. It gently guides families to understand what help they need and how to ask for that support. It’s a one-of-kind planning tool and the perfect companion for families.”
– Courtney Jarecki, author Homebirth Cesarean
“Understanding how to support humans in the period after baby’s birth is vital. This is the contracted, protracted, exhausting, few weeks and months, when new parents must learn, under pressure, and often, with little support from extended family, how to care for a (hopefully) demanding newborn, AND whilst mothers recover from the massive physiologic and emotional changes of giving birth and starting the nursing relationship. AND partners must completely switch gears to provide essential care and support for a new family, while perhaps not getting their own needs met.
Kestrel Gates’ Build Your Nest offers accessible information for new parents. Cultural practices from around the world, those that bind people together and build supportive webs for mothers, babies, and partners, are used as examples of how we can rediscover the nurturing so important for getting a comfortable, sturdy nest together. This workbook is a valuable tool for all postpartum families.”
-Sue Skinner CNM, CFNP
“I received excellent prenatal care. I was considered a ‘high risk’ pregnancy and every step was taken to insure the delivery of a healthy baby. However I learned first hand that our current system is set up to do just this and no more–once the baby has arrived, the goal has been accomplished. In fact I don’t think anyone even had a conversation with me about postpartum care. With a difficult physical recovery and no time to adjust mentally or emotionally, I was blessed to have Kestrel’s postpartum workbook. This is such an important time in the process and women do not have adequate support. This workbook gives support and tools to women when they need it the most. Thank you Kestrel for creating such an invaluable resource!”
-first time mother
“Something that I really loved about Kestrel’s approach to postpartum was the notion of a “milk retreat.” Any time my thoughts were consumed with all the tasks of my day to day life, I would remind myself that I was on a milk retreat and that my most important tasks were to be resting, eating nurturing food and bonding with my baby. The milk retreat gave me permission to softly close the door to the outside world and nestle into my baby’s rhythm.”
-first time mother
“The postpartum workbook was a great conversation starter for me and my husband. It opened up topics that we needed to discuss, but were hard to start talking about, as well as helping me to think about who else to ask for help. I realize now that the coparent is assumed to be the go to person for pretty much all postpartum support which is not a reasonable expectation. Without a broader cultural postpartum tradition, we need tools like the Build Your Nest postpartum workbook in order to envision a positive experience for the whole family welcoming a new baby.”
-mother of two
“The Build Your Nest Workbook was an incredibly helpful resource for me as I planned for the birth of my second baby. My first postpartum experience left me with an injured back a few months after my son was born via an unexpected cesarian. Using the workbook to plan for how I would keep myself healthy and strong after my new baby arrived was critical to my success. It also helped me to write up a birth wish list for the scheduled cesarean I needed to have, which helped me and my baby be together as soon as possible in the operating room. I am now 6 months postpartum and have felt so supported by the community of people I enlisted, the resources I sought out, and am feeling much better this second time around. I also feel more empowered to advocate for my own needs, since my health is critical to the health of my family. I have bought the book for all of my newly pregnant friends, so that they can be helped too! I am so thankful for this simple, but complete planning tool.”
-mother of two
“Having the Build Your Nest workbook while in my third trimester with my second baby has allowed me to remember some of the more powerful moments of birth and post-partum, focus, and feel comforted knowing that my husband and I have a vision of what we want the time surrounding our birth to look like. The questions and pages focusing on Partner contributions to support and parenting roles of existing children enabled us to have a discussion we may not have had otherwise. That alone makes this workbook priceless.”
-mother pregnant with her second baby