In our present day culture the pregnancy and birth journey ends …well, at birth. After the birth of the baby, the focus shifts fully to the baby leaving little or no space to the mother’s state of well-being, feelings and emotions. And consider this - she has just been through the major rite of passage. Her birth might have gone as envisioned or might have completely changed the course in the process leaving her with many questions, mixed emotions and sometimes even birth trauma. Postpartum period is a delicate time for the mother and how she is cared for will largely determine the quality of her bonding with the baby and the brightness of her memory of her pregnancy and birth experience.
This is the reason why my collaborator Monica and me teamed up to regularly hold the space for postpartum mothers. In this space mothers can re-live their birth experience, voice their thoughts, claim their victories and release any lingering doubts or hurts.
An amazing format for this process is creating a collective birth story mandala. It is a powerful process that brings women together in a creative spirit and compels them to create beautiful geometrical patterns of flowers, petals and colorful stones while they share their most intimate memories and voice their cherished dreams and wishes.
After the birth story closure it is time for the mothers to be pampered and spoiled to pieces. We proceed to the Rebozo Tuck-in ceremony inspired by the ancient Mexican traditions. Think of this – every mother in the traditional ethic communities in Mexico still receives this postpartum treatment from her comadrona (midwife). We start by forming a circle around the mother who is placed on six sturdy rebozos (scarves). The mother then receives a full body massage from her sisters who soothe her with aromatic oils and gentle strokes under the accompaniment of relaxing music. Afterwards the mother is wrapped up in rebozos according to six energetic points of her body with each part of the body being blessed with a message for blissful and balanced motherhood journey.
As you notice most of the postpartum work has to do with closing, sealing, "getting back together". The pregnancy and birthing are the processes of major expansion – physical and on the energy level. By holding this ritual sacred space for postpartum mothers we facilitate a ceremonial closure, calling the energy back to feel whole again and move on from here further into the motherhood journey honored and reinvigorated.
The postpartum workshop would not be complete without one of its most important ingredients - postnatal yoga practice. Monica did an amazing job of guiding mothers from relaxation into gentle flow of asanas aimed at strengthening mama's bodies and even promote good lactation and leading back into total relaxation in the long waited for Savasana.
Feeling curious? Inspired? If you would like to process your birth story and / or simply feel honored as a mother, please stay tuned for our upcoming Sacred Postpartum: A Mother's Honoring workshops and join the next batch of blessed and honored mothers.
The night of March 12, just a day after my husband, Montri’s birthday, I started having cramping sensations very similar to PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). They were surely contractions but were still far apart with no real pattern. In the previous days, I also saw a series of ‘bloody show’ (blood tinged mucus from the softening of the cervix) in the toilet. I felt that the arrival of our new baby was near… I just needed to wait it out. We used a contraction timer app which I downloaded in both my ipad and iphone. When I found it too much of a hassle to be right next to my gadgets after each contraction, I just manually took note of the intervals with pen and paper. The last book on birthing I read was Hypnobirthing.
I used the breathing techniques during surges/contractions to keep me present and calm. Then I started self-administering remedies from the birthing homeopathy kit and scanned some prayers from the Zohar specifically for labor and birth.
I sent a text message to both my midwife, Deborah and my doula, Irina at 3:21 am that contractions were already 6-8 minutes apart and that I could no longer sleep. I knew that Deborah was going to come when I could no longer talk in between contractions (which wasn’t my case because I could still concentrate and speak in between them) but since she would be coming all the way from Antipolo, my husband and I wondered whether we should set up the birthing pool so at least it would be ready when they came.
Read the FULL STORY on Monica's website Birthing and Beyond. Monica recounts her birth experience - a successful unassisted home VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) in a series of three articles.
I got up extra early on that Friday morning, feeling good and rested. It was a big relief, as I had been getting really strong, yet sporadic, contractions for 3 consecutive days prior to that morning. Surprisingly, my back wasn’t as sore, my thighs didn’t feel like they were going to fall off, and my heels didn’t feel like they were ready to explode. To celebrate, I whipped up a big breakfast of banana-peanut butter-chocolate pancakes (like the super sinful, unhealthy kind) to cure my hunger pangs. I remember very clearly making 3 big ones for myself and a little Mickey Mouse shaped one for the 40-week and 5-day hitchhiker in my belly.
A little after breakfast time, and for about the 20th time since I got up, I used the toilet and saw blood-tinged mucus in my underwear.
“Oh joooooy!!! It’s bloody show time! Baby is coming any day now!” And just as if on cue, the familiar sensations of contractions kicked in. I sent an SMS update to my midwife, Deborah, and doula, Irina, assuring them that I was still feeling ok, and that I would let them know if anything would progress from there. Nanay, who was my yaya/nanny when I was a baby and living with us now, left shortly after breakfast for work. Migui, my husband, went upstairs to the gym. I was ok on my own and used this alone time to do my morning house chores.
By around 9am, I noticed lot of pressure in my butt area ....
Read the FULL STORY on Birthing and Beyond website
It’s been three weeks since I’ve sat down to write anything. But I don’t think I’ll forget either of my birth experiences. This one, however, was pleasantly different, because I was able to approach it with more knowledge, intention and preparation. So I’ll get right into it, alright?
Some pre-story notes, so you can follow my story with an informed point of view:
Read the FULL STORY on Martine's website
Our littlest cub arrived last week. She entered this world via warm water and candlelight and was placed straight into our arms where Carl and I discovered that we now had a daughter to call our own. Her name is Nara.
Nara was allowed to enter at her own time — without any pushing, panic or fear. It was the type of gentle water birth I wanted and I am so grateful to everyone who helped make it possible.
Friends and family tell me that I must be made of tougher things because I’ve delivered both my children without any drugs, surgical intervention, or screaming. But instead of holding these up like badges of honour, I’d like to believe that many women have bodies that are capable of the same thing.
I believe that the chances of having your dream birth are only as big as the team you have supporting you and the preparations you do before your baby’s arrival. Here are some tips I can offer...
Read the FULL STORY on Cat's website
Irina is a birth
keeper, mother and an advocate. As a certified Childbirth Doula and
Hypno-Doula she accompanies mothers through pregnancy, birth and postpartum to
ensure a joyful, balanced and pleasurable experience. It is her greatest joy to
see mothers to come out of birth feeling empowered, proud and honored.