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In search of the elusive jujube fruit

Categories: zuoyuezi
Tags: Working mum, natural birth, waterbirth

Wow it's been a long time since I last wrote a blog post! When I first set my business up I thought, "yeah, I'll easily be able to write a blog post once a week."

2 weeks later.

"maybe a monthly post will be more doable."

6 months later.

"is annual blogging a thing?"

Anyway, I'll attempt to (try!) to put aside a couple of hours a month(ish) to actually put pen to paper (my laptop's currently in bits at PC World, don't ask!) and write through what I've been upto, things I've learnt and things that are running though my ADHD-addled mind.

So firstly, to explain the title of this post. You might have seen from my Instagram post a few months back that I'd been reading The First Forty Days by Heng Ou

This book gives a great insight into the Chinese tradition of Zuo Yuezi  or "Sitting the Month," where new mothers are cared for and looked after in the first forty days following birth. A big part of this is with the use of warming, nourishing food and drink. Food has always been a big part of my life (something to celebrate? Let's have some food! Not feeling 100%? Get some chicken and garlic soup on the go!) and this book showed my a way I could incorporate food and its healing properties into my work.

My 'Let's get this done,' attitude ran away with itself as soon as I put the book down. I was going to set my own Mamatoto postpartum food delivery service up! After a few minutes I started thinking realistically, with 2 under 4s running round, a husband who works away a lot AND a full time job I was never going to be able to turn into Delia Smith-type-doula meals on wheels overnight! So I thought I'd start small and decided on restorative postnatal herbal teas, they'd be easy to prepare and pop on the stove to steep whilst I got my kit together for a call out.

The perfect opportunity to try out my postnatal teas presented itself when a very dear friend booked in with me to have her placenta encapsulated. I asked her if she'd like me to prepare some recovery and breastfeeding supporting teas and she thought it was a great idea. Now to choosing the right recipes.


I decided on fennel and nettle, hibiscus, ginger and cinnamon, and goji berry and jujube. Jujube fruit is known as Chinese red date and is a very important component of Zuo Yuezi so how could I possibly put together a postnatal package without it? Easier said than done! All other ingredients were sourced within minutes (thank you Indigo Herbs and Wholefoods!) whereas jujube fruit was proving rather difficult. I managed to find a supplier but after I placed my order found out that they were a wholesalers and the original seller had closed down. I managed to find another seller on Amazon ('m not the biggest fan of Amazon usually and prefer to use independent sellers ) with a delivery date of 2 days time, winner as my friend wasn't due for 3 weeks. Next day I wake to find my delivery date has been pushed back 2 weeks!

After 2 weeks of worrying, trying to find alternatives (there aren't!) and hoping my friend's little one didn't arrive early, my longer for jujubes turned up! They are the red plum-looking fruit in the above photo.

As if by fate, my friend went into labour the next day and her beautiful little girl made her way Earthside in a calm and beautiful home waterbirth (I actually cried when I received her message!)

I am so honoured to be invited into a family's birthing space and no matter how many times it happens, it completely blows me away everytime. The atmosphere is electric, almost other wordly. My friend has booked was a placenta smoothie so while she had cwtches with her little one on the sofa I popped her teas in the fridge and set to work on her smoothie (I LOVE it when my clients book in for a placenta smoothie as I know this is the best way to get maximum available nutrient but that's a blog post for another day!)

So, that's my first step towards becoming an all singing, all dancing doula-Delia Smith postnatal meals on wheels! I loved it and hearing how much my friend is enjoying them I'm seriously thinking about permanently added them to my list of services. 

Mamatoto postnatal teas has quite a ring to it don't you think?!

Rachael xx