The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year shortlist was a little depressing for 2016, featuring words such as ‘alt-right’ and ‘post-truth'. But there was one little gem of a word in there that I absolutely LOVE for postpartum…
Hygge, pronounce hoo-guh, means a “quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”
As a word lover it is a word that has always fascinated me, especially since there is no direct English translation. Recently it seems to have grown beyond it’s Danish origins and made it’s way into English use globally.
I used to tell a story at my free pregnancy classes about a Korean woman who said she felt ‘pampered’ after the birth of her baby. At the time I loved that word for postpartum, and would ask my clients if they felt pampered. But now I think hygge is even better.
Hygge is associated with indulgence and relaxation, but also has a foundation of simplicity and gratitude that make it more homely and comforting. Hygge is not grand or pretentious, it’s not ambitious or competitive. Hygge has a more balanced, harmonious and satisfied feeling.
Despite the climate, the Danes are some of the happiest people on Earth, so I think it’s well worth taking a leaf out of their book. Here are some ways to incorporate Hygge into your postpartum plan:
- Candles or an open fire
- Pots of tea or coffee with cardamom
- Essential oils of pine, orange, rosemary and cinnamon.
- Merino wool socks and your favourite old leggings
- Mulled wine (yes, you can drink when you are breastfeeding!)
- Warm porridge with honey
But hygge also implies a warm and welcoming social atmosphere, which means no conflict, judgement and no discussing politics or economics. Hygge means spending time with loved ones and creating a refuge or a safe haven.
A perfect intention for a Newborn Mother and her newborn baby.