I love the opportunities I get to network with other professionals in the Fort Wayne area. I seek out with unique skills and perspectives, so that I have plenty of references when clients ask me for a recommendation for anything beyond my scope, and to further my own knowledge so that the care I offer as a doula is informed by the community I serve. One of these professionals that I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with is Asha Hernandez Bailey of Cocina Cura, an Ayurvedic Postpartum Caregiver, who received her training through the Center for Sacred Window Studies. I sat down to dinner with her recently to learn more about the care she offers, and how traditional postpartum caregivers are such a valuable partner to have in birth work.
What inspired you to become a traditional postpartum caregiver? My first birth was traumatic – an emergency C-section that resulted in a rocky postpartum time. Things were made even harder by having no support system in place. After experiencing that, I knew that I wanted to support others so that they didn't have to go through what I did. helped me realize I wanted to do some kind of birth work.
What kind of qualifications did you need? I studied with the Center for Sacred Window Studies to become an ayurvedic postpartum caregiver. Ayurveda is an Ancient Indian science that has detailed instructions on how to care for mothers postpartum so that they are able to heal fully and thrive.I connect with the sacredness and the timelessness of this kind of care. This was the way that I wanted to be when it comes to caring for people.
What does a typical appointment/session/class look like? Planning for the postpartum time before the birth, preparing beforehand (especially meal-planning), getting the family familiar with how you want your postpartum food to be prepared, getting herbs ready, teas ready, food ready for immediately after the birth. Afterwards, cooking for people (family or mother), checking in seeing how food is affecting them, daily check-in about how the body is doing and adjusting food to the specific needs, following what the mother’s body is saying and how the healing process is going.
What is the best part of this profession for you? Being able to provide meals to moms. As much work as it is, you do really see how much difference a meal makes to somebody. Providing things that are so healing and so nutritionally beneficial is amazing. I was surprised at how many people affirmed that this was needed. I didn't realize how much of a need there is.
What has been the greatest challenge? Finding clients. The thing about bringing something new is that there is a lot more education that has to go into growing my business, and I'm not really sure how to navigate that. I’m trying to do it in a way that is accessible and feasible for everyone, so that everyone with a need can receive the care I offer.
What makes Ayurvedic postpartum care so valuable? Bringing back traditional ways of caring for postpartum. Often, new parents are kind of left on their own. Here, we don’t have the same traditions as cultures that take the time to honor the postpartum period. We can’t show up as healthy and whole parents if we don’t heal and care for ourselves, first.
What are your goals for the future? I want to be able to provide quality nutritional care for as many people postpartum as possible in our community. Someday I’d like to expand to a nonprofit to be able to provide no/low cost services, and hopefully to create a collective or community support system for care providers with a similar vision.