Kamala Santos of Soma Doula, is an Ayurvedic Postpartum and Life Transitions Doula who has dedicated her path of practice towards selflessly serving (seva) women during transitional times. She beautifully pairs her inner wisdom with ancient wisdom coming from the Yogic and Ayurvedic traditions, which allows her to tend to new mothers and their families with a unique full body, mind and soul approach.
In this conversation, we dive into the ‘newborn mother’ experience (the first 40 days postpartum) and offer up some perspective and lifestyle strategies for navigating this tender time with more grace and resilience. I hope this conversation inspires deep nourishment, and if you enjoy this topic, please check out PART ONE: Ayurvedic Postpartum Support For The First 40 Days with Kamala Santos.
Q: Welcome back Kamala! For those who missed last week’s interview, can you share your perspective on why Ayurveda offers a more sustainable and holistic approach to wellness for mothers no matter what stage we are in?
The term Ayurveda can be defined as ‘the science of life,’ encompassing the full arc of life from birth to death. It points towards a rich and profound tradition of holistic philosophy for life’s longevity. These centuries-old practices have refined the interrelationship of body, mind and spirit.
The axiom, “The first 42 days will impact the next 42 years” confirms this important conviction Ayurveda holds toward the longevity of a woman’s life.
During the first 40 days specifically, a new mom’s physiology is swiftly and dramatically altered. Ayurvedic postpartum protocols are always designed to be a very personalized approach—customizing diet to support digestion through herbs and food, regular oil massages, practices to aid in sleep and calming the mind.
Curious to know what led Kamala towards this path of service? Check out part one of this interview → Part One: Ayurvedic Postpartum Support For The First 40 Days
Q: I like to call anything beyond the first 6 months of motherhood as the “forever postpartum”. Can you provide us with a few practical tips for bringing about a sense of steadiness and ease for those women who are navigating this continually transformative season of life?
The simple reminders below are meant to help ease the way and cultivate a stable attitude, so that your motherly intuition and confidence are readily available to you throughout your parenting journey. The essence is to pick a few that resonate and keep it simple.
❋ Prioritize Non-Negotiable Self-Care: When we do not prioritize our own self-care because we are busy serving others, our energy never gets the opportunity to replenish itself. Instead, we find ourselves perpetually exhausted, and our abilities are compromised. The best way to prevent this imbalance is to take 30-60 minutes for yourself, everyday…non-negotiable. Building in this practice creates a family environment where rest, rejuvenation, quiet and energy repair are part of the daily rhythm and seen as the family’s grounding pulse. When mom is happy, everyone is happy. This doesn’t necessarily mean catching up on to-do lists or hygiene routines, but rather, it may look like simply sitting still in a form of meditation or rekindling old joys. Everyday, discover a way to connect with yourself (pre-baby), and make it a priority.
❋ Reflect & Fine Tune Daily: This may be a beautiful time to create a new routine in the form of daily check ins, self inquiry and reflection, giving yourself the opportunity to spot areas where extra support is needed. If you’re someone who appreciates goal setting, potentially create a sleep goal for yourself during this time to ensure you are getting the rest you need. Nurturing sustainable habits strengthen our inner resolution as mothers and allow yourself to feel guided from the wisdom within.
❋ Cultivate Inner Resolution & Agency: Cultivate a clear point of view for your personal expression of Motherhood so that you do not confuse the map for the road. Ask yourself, What will cultivate a fierce conviction beyond time, beyond goals within my role as mother? Dwelling within a firm viewpoint, saved me when I wanted to be anywhere but in Motherhood. It’s important to gently remind yourself that this map (or viewpoint) is not the road, but merely a guide helping you mark the terrain. Use this inner resolution as inspiration and not a generator of the all too familiar motherhood case of the “shoulds”. You may decide to hold this very unique map quietly and close or share it with a trusted partner /friend so that you have the support system if you feel a little lost.
❋ Create Your Personalized Rhythm: Ayurveda relies on seasonal and daily routines to stabilize the elements and create an inner environment that feels balanced and nourished. Creating a customized structure, routine or rhythm for yourself and your family will help stabilize a new world order, dissolving the intensity of the first 6 months post birth. Let your direct experience and your intuition shape and guide you and don’t hesitate to pair your inner wisdom with time-tested guidance and ancient wisdom from traditions you trust and admire. Keep the structure simple, as you develop your skills and practices that nourish the new you. Maybe it’s as simple as integrating a few dinacharya (daily routines) of Ayurvedic self care, a little exercise, quiet time, or resting when the baby rests. Don’t forget to bring the “slow and steady”, “it can wait” and the “better than nothing’ mantra along with you.
❋ Foster Friendship: The investment in friendship (maitri) is the greatest ally you will have down the path of motherhood. Through friendship we have the opportunity to develop the virtues of generosity, compassion, patience and forgiveness, all translatable virtues to be practiced in the presence of our children.
Q: For mothers seeking a deeper sense of surrender and presence on a daily basis, what do you think is the low-hanging fruit as far as a good starting place?
In order to fully surrender to the present moment, we must continually practice deep listening. This is the language that is directly connected to the heart.
When we listen deeply we strengthen our ability to hear the essence of what was said, with less misunderstanding. As mothers and caregivers, listening is a true devotional practice, where we listen to the spoken and unspoken as if our and our child’s life depends upon it.
The children’s book called, The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito is a tender reminder of the beauty in deep listening and awakens an awareness of a secret language.
From my viewpoint the deepest surrender came through an insightful moment when I learned the child is only a gift temporarily given to our care, and a gift that acts as our greatest spiritual teacher. In a sense, mothering is the ultimate babysitter, allowing us the practice of devotion. Devotion is such a beautiful concept. Yes… motherhood is thankless, yet it is the highest practice clearing out misplaced desire and attitudes for a fulfilling motherhood experience. We are the comforter, the guardian, the teacher of love, the self, the emotional management system, relationship builder, navigator of worldly pleasures and desires, etc.
The ongoing refinement of our relationship of our role as Mother is a gift to self, your child and ultimately to the world.
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Kamala, I want to thank you for your devotion to this interview. You’ve beautifully outlined practical tools and resources for our newborn and forever postpartum mothers. If you enjoyed the tips and resources shared with this interview, please check out PART ONE: Ayurvedic Postpartum Support For The First 40 Days with Kamala Santos.
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