Birth Rituals: Celebrating the birth of a new mother
When a woman gives birth, two are born; a baby from the womb of its mother and a new woman from the womb of her former existence.
Upon searching to find information about rituals for new mothers in current western culture, I mostly came across information about Blessingway ceremonies for pregnant women, rituals for new babies and got easily distracted by what happens in other cultures around the world in regards to the time of healing immediately following childbirth. Little light seems to be shed however, on celebrating the birth of a new mother, on preparing for, initiating and celebrating the birth of a woman’s new identity after the birth of her child and acknowledging this profound rite of passage.
It seems in our modern society, we suddenly place all of our focus on the new baby (and I’m by no means denying the miracle, the wonder and pure elation of seeing your baby for the first time and for everyone else meeting this divine new human in the weeks afterwards) but what can we do to ensure women feel they have a safe and peaceful space to properly heal and enter this new realm of motherhood? To bid farewell to the self that was once relatively free, to make way for the one who will never again know what it like to be truly „alone“ in this world, to not only appreciate fully the importance of this role but to heal fully from the birth process itself.
Certainly, we can seek out our own means of conducting a ritual, tailored to our personal needs and desires. I’m sure there are many women out there who do more than just pop the bubbly and give themselves a good pat on the back. Women who actually take the time to give thanks to the powers of their bodies, to meditate on what’s just occurred, to create some kind of a ritual or blessing for themselves while basking in the delight and sheer miracle of it all, but why is it so rare to hear these stories? Indeed times are rapidly changing, but ever since the birth of my daughter almost four years ago and feeling as if some part of me needed healing, I’ve been searching for answers to many questions.
How did we get so entrenched in the „production line“ of birth at the hands of modern medicine and forget the spiritual significance of women’s role in creation? Why aren’t we creating more of an open forum about the birth of a new identity as a mother and how we can better prepare for this new role and momentous shift? What can we do to support women who’ve lost a child in birth, experienced trauma or are in shock after birth, or who are struggling with this identity shift? Can preparing for the birth of our new identity as mothers and somehow honouring that, help to minimise the rising cases of post natal depression? I believe we can do much, much more to honour childbirth, to honour the women all who go through it, to honour the sacred rite of passage that birth indeed is.