Pregnancy and Post-partum

“Being a Mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you never knew existed.”

Linda Wooten

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© Keli Tomlin

 

It has become common in our culture to surround new Mothers and Mothers-to-be with information, advice, anecdotes and cliches, not to mention the vast amount of consumables available to buy. Wanting to support and give to women (or to be supported and gifted to) during these significant times of transformation is both natural and necessary.

Ceremony is a different and more vital way of satisfying that need.

 

Blessing Ways

Pregnancy is a unique journey for each woman who takes it. She will experience a whole range of emotional, physical and spiritual transformations. Her very identity – the ‘who’ that she has spent years discovering, crafting and creating – is about to change for ever and this can be both exhilarating and daunting.

A Blessing Way is a celebratory ceremony to honour and nurture the Mother-to-be. Surrounded by those who love and care for her (often, but not exclusively, women only) she might be treated to a gentle massage, a healing sound bath or even a mini pamper session. Body art, crafting and discussion are all encouraged as are laughter, sharing and sacred silence.

Prayers may be said, songs sung, poems spoken, artwork shared; I will work with you to determine what feels right and what best communicates love and support to the Mother-to-be.

At its heart a Blessing Way is about just that: blessing the way – by which I mean both the body and the spirit of the woman who has become the vessel for a new life to enter this World – through acts of love and care that feel most appropriate.

Motherings

The transition from Woman to Mother is life-changing and can never be fully prepared for; the intricacies of the change are too delicate and unique to each woman. However is is not unusual for a Mother-to-be to have hopes and dreams for her life as a Mother as well as some fears about losing elements of the Woman she was before.

One way to make these hopes and fears feel both heard and validated is to take part in a Mothering ceremony. Often added on to or incorporated into a Blessing Way the focus of this work is on the Woman who will become or has just become a Mother; what makes her special and the qualities she will bring to her new role.

A Mothering might include:

  • Setting aspirations for the birth or intentions for parenting
  • A journey through the Woman’s history, sharing photos, stories and anecdotes
  • Working with her Ancestral Mothers and highlighting her connection to them
  • Adorning the Woman with body art/items that make her feeling empowered
  • Making artwork to represent and reflect the Woman as she is seen and loved

By acknowledging her strengths and beauty in a sacred space we reassure her that she is important and loved at a time when all attention can seem to be on the child-to-come. She is also given faith in her Self which will prove invaluable during labour and the first forays into Motherhood (if not for the rest of her mothering life).

 

Post-partum Ceremonies

In the weeks and months that follow a birth the Mother will traverse a vast ocean of emotions and energy-levels. Adjusting to her new life takes time; ceremony can act as a guiding hand, a celebratory act or both.

Celebration

You might like to celebrate the safe arrival of your child, the formation of your new family or the weaving of a new thread into an existing one, quite soon after the birth. This could take the form of a Naming or be more private; focused on giving thanks and blessing your new way of being.

Guidance

You might consider a personal ceremony to bring your pregnancy journey to a close or to help you deal with any feelings or adjustments prompted by the birth. This may include:

  • Burying your placenta
  • Accepting a birth that did not go as planned
  • Acknowledging changes to the body
  • Acknowledging changes to lifestyle/identity

Such ceremonies will be created intuitively and the content would be discussed and designed specifically to your needs.

Two Types of Ceremony

Due to the deeply personal nature of this time and these experiences I offer these ceremonies in two different formats:

  1. In-Person Ceremony

We will meet and discuss the intentions behind the ceremony, after which I will take the time to craft something unique and suited based on what we have discussed.

We will then meet a second time, in a location of your choosing, and together perform the ceremony. Acting as Celebrant I am there to hold the space, to help the ritual flow and ‘lead’ the ceremony as much or as little is required. Your involvement may be quite active or quite passive depending on your need.

2. DIY Ceremony

Following an in depth phone or email conversation, detailing your needs and intentions for the ceremony, I will then craft a unique ceremony that can be performed without my presence.

The ceremony script you receive will have clear instructions on what to do and when, any objects or tools that may be required and can include set text to be spoken or spaces for you to speak your own heart. You will also receive a simple list of tips on how to make the most of your experience.

This option allows you to explore ceremony as a personal and self-led experience, without the added cost and presence of a Celebrant.

You will receive the ceremony script in one of two ways:

  • a downloadable PDF that you can print out at home and use as a ‘working copy’

or

  • a downloadable PDF that can be printed to use as a ‘working copy’ and
    a paper ‘presentation’ copy that can be kept for future reference and as a reminder of the experience

Adoption and other routes to Motherhood

In our World becoming a Mother does not have to involve conception and birth; there are many alternative routes that lead us to the same destination. All of the above ceremonies can be tailored to suit a non-conventional journey in Motherhood and I would be honoured to help you discover both the sacred and the celebratory elements of your own experience.

 

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