As we have moved from communal living, we have gotten away from our roots. We have lost our rituals and discontinued ceremonies that celebrate our various rites of passage. While ceremonies and rituals sound like ‘extras’, I assure you they are essential.
World wide new mothers have long been honored with sacred ceremonies to recognize all they’ve accomplished through pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum. And I think it’s time we bring these ceremonies back!
One way of celebrating is with a beautiful bath. In some cultures, women were discouraged from bathing for the first month or so after giving birth. Once that time passed moms were given ceremonial baths (see below for ideas). These ceremonial baths are akin to baptism. The new mom washed away maidenhood and emerged into the sisterhood of motherhood. Ceremonial baths are an easy one that you can facilitate on your own. You can make it as simple or complex as you like.
***Ideas for bath add ins: powdered milk (powdered coconut milk can be substituted), essential oils, fresh or dried flowers/herbs – lavender, chamomile, roses or rose petals, marigold, rosemary, etc., honey, epsom salt, baking soda, oatmeal powder, aloe vera.
Another, more involved way to honor your journey into motherhood is with a Closing the Bones ceremony or Cerrada, sometimes called a Sealing Ceremony. It is a Mexican tradition where a mother is wrapped, firmly but gently, from her head to her toes with a shawl called a rebozo. The woman who facilitates this ceremony and the women in attendance then lay hands on the new mother and speak blessings over her. Pregnancy and birth are about opening – opening the heart and mind to this new life and then opening the body physically to bring baby earth side. A Closing the Bones ceremony aims to bring everything in and back together – literally to ‘close the bones’ that have opened to accommodate pregnancy and birth. This is a time to honor and bless the new mother. It is a sacred space filled with women who come together to acknowledge the rite of passage that is pregnancy and birth.
We crave ritual. We love celebrating significant events like weddings, holidays and birthdays. For every birthday anyone has ever celebrated, there’s a mother that has given birth! Let’s start celebrating mothers. I can’t think of a better time to celebrate, honor, and bless a new mother then when she has completed her journey into motherhood.
There are many ways to celebrate becoming a mother. These are just 2 of my favorites. You can talk to your mother and women in your life for ideas on how to create your own ritual or resurrect long lost traditions from your culture. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it could just be sharing birth stories over coffee or a delicious meal. Whatever you choose, know that I am celebrating with you in spirit!