Motherhood Insight with Andrea Shuman

By Angela Potter


Where do you call home?


Two places.  Reno, where I live with my family, and Portland, where my company is headquartered and run. 


How many kids do you have?


Two, ages 1 and 4


What was one of the hardest changes for you physically during your postpartum journey?


After my first, the doctors and IBCLC's thought I had inflammatory breast cancer and on week 2 postpartum I was already seeing specialists and having biopsies and tests. My milk supply tanked and never recovered.


With my second, the biggest challenge was disconnection from my core. By in large, the second time was pretty easy in comparison. I did not have too many postpartum issues, and belly wrapping was a HUGE assist. 


What was one of the hardest changes for you mentally/emotionally during your postpartum journey?


The situation around the cancer scare and my first one was tough, but my husband was also full time working and full time student, so I was alone, and new, and stitched. Mostly I felt a lot of anger and a sense of unfairness.  Along with the breastfeeding issues, I was exhausted.


What surprised you most about the postpartum time? 


The nursing challenges. I was prepared for everything but those. The second time I was ready and am going breastfeeding strong at 14 months postpartum. I was also surprised by how much new babies nurse!


What has been your greatest joy in motherhood?


My greatest joy has been the one on one time spent close to them. It is both the hardest and best part. 


How was your postpartum experience different with each baby?


I had Ayurvedic postpartum care with both. The diet was super helpful. Neither I nor my babies had digestive problems. With my first baby it was hard with my husband being gone so much, but the postpartum care and ingesting the placenta helped a lot.  I don't think the physical recovery was as big of a problem because of those things.


What is one resource that felt invaluable to you during the postpartum time? 


  • Belly wrapping (a must)
  • Placenta stew (way better than caps)
  • My training with the dear departed Ysha Oakes, who taught me Ayurvedic postpartum care so I was aware of the sacredness of that time.
  • The website
  • My care by Ashlie Sakashi Wilkens who was my ayurvedic cook, massage therapist and PP doula. 


What is one piece of advice you would like give to pregnant moms in preparation for their postpartum journey?


Eat carefully and don't do too much. Just be present with baby. 


About Andrea


Andrea started her journey as a licensed massage therapist in 1997, and Clinical Ayurvedic Practitioner in 2007. Andrea specialized in women's health and postpartum care. Through her practice, Ayus Ayurvedic Bodywork & Massage, she treated patients in San Francisco and Portland until taking over her ghee business, Ahara Rasa Ghee, LLC, full time in 2015. Andrea has birthed 2 beautiful boys and was fortunate enough to have the assistance of an Ayurvedic postpartum doula in both instances.