Golden Month Project

‘Golden Month’ is the Chinese name for the special weeks following childbirth. For the Chinese mother it is time of joy where she rests and is nurtured by older women. In Asia it is believed that this life change is like a watershed which cleanses a woman’s energy and offers an opportunity for the complete renewal of her health. In Vietnam it is said, “A woman is at her most beautiful after the birth of her first child”. It is believed that many chronic diseases can be cured if the mother is looked after properly in her ‘golden month’. For her family it is a time to celebrate and get to know the new baby.

In Africa the first six weeks after birth are called ‘the 40 days’ and the beliefs and practices around it are similar to in Asia. Again there is full rest, and nurturing of the mother.

Why post natal care of mothers is important

Women are much more in need of rest after giving birth than at any other time in their reproductive lives. Their vulnerability puts them at greater risk of physical and emotional burn-out if they don’t get the support they need to do this. Traditions that have previously supported mothers are increasingly undervalued and undermined by the pressures of modern society. The result is high rates of fatigue and post natal depression. The post natal experience affects recovery in the long term also. Chronic health problems often surface in the months and even years after childbirth when the mother has not been able to recover properly in the crucial first weeks.

A relaxed time of recovery in which the new mother is honoured lays the foundation for good health and good bonding with the baby. By being well cared for the new mother gets the experience of being ‘mothered’ herself and she can then better care for her baby.

Women who come from cultures that value the ‘golden month’ talk enthusiastically about how they were looked after:

During my ’40 days’ I was treated like queen. After it was finished I felt rested and my skin was soft and beautiful from all the massage.” -Somalia

After giving birth I was treated like a queen. Even my hair was brushed for me.” - Samoa

“The mother is sacred beyond all treasures ….she is the canoe that conveys one generation to the next” – Dr Rose Rangimarie Pere. – Maori
Our mothers need to be held in high esteem after they have given birth.
We believe that good post natal care is the foundation of preventive healthcare for the mother, and that her whole family and community benefit from this.