The Holistic Birth Podcast

Birth as a Spiritual Rite of Passage

June 04, 2023 Holistic Birth & Beyond Season 1 Episode 6
Birth as a Spiritual Rite of Passage
The Holistic Birth Podcast
More Info
The Holistic Birth Podcast
Birth as a Spiritual Rite of Passage
Jun 04, 2023 Season 1 Episode 6
Holistic Birth & Beyond

Pregnancy, birth and postpartum can be an incredibly transformative time. Allison and Brigitte talk about what this looks like and ways you can embrace this time of self discovery. 


Join as we discuss:

  • The journey through the labyrinth 
  • Mother blessing ceremony
  • Closing of the bones ceremony
  • Sisterhood
  • Self discovery and transformation 


Resources Mentioned:

Guide to out of Hospital Birth use code PODCAST20 for 20% off! 

Birthing from Within 

The Birth Labyrinth 

Sacred Pregnancy

Reclaiming Childbirth as Rite of Passage 


Looking for more? Check us out on Youtube & visit the blog for show notes and transcript


Connect:

Holistic Birth & Beyond, LLC

Into the Labyrinth Birth Services

Allison- Instagram & Facebook

Brigitte- Instagram & Facebook



Free downloads:

Holistic Birth and Beyond Freebies

Holistic Birth & Beyond’s Spotify

Into the Labyrinth Birth Freebies



Looking for more? Check us out on Youtube & visit the blog for show notes and transcript

Connect:

Holistic Birth and Beyond, LLC

Into the Labyrinth Birth Services

Allison- Instagram & Facebook

Brigitte- Instagram & Facebook




Show Notes Transcript

Pregnancy, birth and postpartum can be an incredibly transformative time. Allison and Brigitte talk about what this looks like and ways you can embrace this time of self discovery. 


Join as we discuss:

  • The journey through the labyrinth 
  • Mother blessing ceremony
  • Closing of the bones ceremony
  • Sisterhood
  • Self discovery and transformation 


Resources Mentioned:

Guide to out of Hospital Birth use code PODCAST20 for 20% off! 

Birthing from Within 

The Birth Labyrinth 

Sacred Pregnancy

Reclaiming Childbirth as Rite of Passage 


Looking for more? Check us out on Youtube & visit the blog for show notes and transcript


Connect:

Holistic Birth & Beyond, LLC

Into the Labyrinth Birth Services

Allison- Instagram & Facebook

Brigitte- Instagram & Facebook



Free downloads:

Holistic Birth and Beyond Freebies

Holistic Birth & Beyond’s Spotify

Into the Labyrinth Birth Freebies



Looking for more? Check us out on Youtube & visit the blog for show notes and transcript

Connect:

Holistic Birth and Beyond, LLC

Into the Labyrinth Birth Services

Allison- Instagram & Facebook

Brigitte- Instagram & Facebook




Brigitte: Welcome back to the Holistic Birth Podcast! This is episode 6 and today we are going to be talking about birth as a spiritual rite of passage. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart so I am very excited to talk about today. And something Allison is too! 

Allison: We were just talking about how birth sometimes has maybe lost its meaning. Movie scenes and the TV show series scenes of birth and pregnancy in general involves all these stereotypes and assumptions. Obviously it's not always rainbows and butterflies, but the meaning has essentially has been maybe lost a little bit, which is why we are really excited to talk about it today because there are a lot of depths and a lot of transformative moments throughout the the journey and I think that it can be pretty pretty intense for a lot of people and because there's a lot of difference of discovery and transformation too. I think we're really excited to talk about it today to be able to unpack a little bit more about what the meaning could be for the birth journey.

B: It’s not for everybody but for those of you that are interested in getting more connected with yourselves and your baby, this is definitely a good topic for you. We are excited to get into it! I really like to talk about birth as a journey through a labyrinth. Anybody that’s familiar with Pam England’s books, Birthing From Within and Labyrinth of Birth, which talks more about creating your own labyrinth, meditations and rituals. My business is called Into the Labyrinth Birth Services so I was really inspired by her births when naming my business so it’s really something that feels deeply ancestral. There’s different levels of going through this labyrinth, whether it’s through your prenatal time, the birth and postpartum. A labyrinth is a maze essentially, usually in circular shape and as you’re walking through it’ll take you through (almost to the middle and then take you back to the edges). A lot of people will relate this to their journey because they’ll be making progress or feel they’re doing well but will have something come up that is difficult to handle that ends up taking us back to the edges. It can be very overwhelming and intense sometimes. It is just walking a journey and you don’t have to walk it alone.

A: There was Pam England’s conference that she had here locally maybe 5 years ago.

B: I missed that, I would have loved that!

A: It was great. It was really inspiring because she was talking about Birth Story Medicine and processing using this healing element she was starting to teach to others to help folks process their birth stories. The way she was describing a labyrinth that day is that the path is there already and we don’t really know what it’s going to unwind to be and it feels like a maze. It does feel very confusing, like “where are we going?” . But you’re just taking one step at a time and turning corners that are made for you and your baby and the path that you’re supposed to be on. I think the way she was talking about it at that time is that you’re on this weird, twisty road inward to retrieve and get your baby and then you find yourself ‘retracing your steps’ to come out of it. That was such a good analogy! I’m glad you brought that up.

B: She loves to use labyrinths as visualization tools so even practicing through labor, she’ll have people trace a labyrinth during labor to help with the intensity of it. It is very meditative and it’s a real journey inward. I just find it super symbolic and really cool to work with my clients with it.

A: That symbolism is something I think people crave in having present in their birth, pregnancy and postpartum. It can feel isolating sometimes depending on your support systems like that. A great solution for that symbolic celebration, while we think of a baby shower, is a Mother Blessing or Blessingway. Mother blessings are a really fantastic way to get together with an intimate group of people, typically other women around you or even your children as well. It’s a great time for ceremony and ritual. You fall into these stages of ceremony, kind of like circle work with being able to step into this space with people where you can open with prayer or meditation but you can call in the circle and then have different activities throughout the ceremony.

You are strategically trying to make room for connection, pampering and really just whatever is going to resonate with you and how you want to celebrate your journey. It could be your first or sixth baby, it can apply to any person. The ideas that you’re implementing, the different pieces of the ceremony, will help you to feel like you are ultimately being celebrated. I think other examples could be you could braid your hair, you could get henna done on your belly, you could wear a flower crown, light incense, listen to music, and people could go around sharing stories of inspiration or give affirmations. Another popular activity is with red thread where you would pass the yarn around the circle and everyone would tie it to their wrist and then set an intention. Everyone would wear it until the birth and some people then will set a phone tree up or something to let their circle know that birth is imminent and you could have everyone light a candle for you. You can have that connection to your tribe, your village, to propel yourself into that birth experience. Most people do this ceremony in the third trimester. Ceremony is a powerful way to reclaim that spiritual rite of passage.

B: It’s something I feel society is lacking a lot, sisterhood and community. There are more opportunities for women’s circles popping up. It’s so needed! As far as ceremonies go, another really beautiful ceremony is done during the postpartum time. It’s called the Closing of the Bones ceremony. You’d bring in emotional elements, like closing the chapter of giving birth. A lot of women feel open and vulnerable after giving birth, their pelvis has shifted and opened and their feeling raw & vulnerable. The ceremony is done with 5 rebozos. One is wrapped at the feet, one at the knees, the pelvis, the shoulders and chest, and then the head. Those areas are wrapped up, starting with a massage first to get the body warm and relaxing those muscles that have worked so hard for several months and are still working hard. Sometimes there are affirmations done at certain points, taking time to thank your body for working hard for so long. Each part is wrapped up snug and it’s a very warming ceremony. After those points are wrapped, the whole body is wrapped in one big blanket. The mother is given time to rest, rejuvenate. You can light candles, have aromatherapy or music. This could be done with one other person or more. You could talk about the birth after or take a bath, whatever feels right to you.

A: You had helped someone with implementing this ceremony with someone recently. Is there an expected length of time it takes?

B: It depends on what kinds of modalities you want to implement. It could take 1-3 hours. If they take a nap or want to sleep after, you can consider that piece too.

A: How do you handle that with babies and feeding schedules and all the unpredictability of postpartum?

B: That’s another awesome question. Again, it depends on the situation. If someone is bottle feeding or breastfeeding & bottle feeding, they can have their partner or someone to help take care of the baby. During this last one the baby just slept the whole time.

A: That’s very thoughtful!

B: Yes, so baby can be resting at the same time as mom. Someone watching the baby during the process is helpful. Feeding schedules can be wonky, but when baby is in that resting chunk of time we take advantage of that time.

A: Do you find there is an ideal time to implement it in your postpartum journey?

B: I usually say to wait at least 4 weeks to allow yourself time to get into a rhythm at home before you make time for something like this. Some people also recommend waiting 6 weeks but it can be done anytime. It could even be done years later if you want. Another nice thing about the ceremony too is that it can be done for someone who has had pregnancy loss, which can be quite therapeutic for an experience like that. I encourage people to look into that!

A: I feel like there can be a lot of structure and set appointments and all that when it comes to pregnancy. I think the mother blessing or the closing of the bones ceremony can help bring more meaning and help you feel more spiritually connected to your baby and journey. We talk about it a lot as doulas; it’s way more than just are you alive and healthy. You deserve so much more than that! That’s the bare minimum. We have ridiculously high maternal mortality rates, especially for black women and people of color, so we could be doing a lot better. One of the things is we’ve just gotten into the mindset of responding to a wild birth story with “at least you and baby are alive and well.”

We obviously want you alive, healthy and well. But we also want you to feel this multilayered experience that you were seen, you felt heard and connected to the people behind you, that your autonomy was respected and that your choices were offered. We talk about it a lot in our course, Guide to Out of Hospital Birth Course. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is in our course guide and it helps us to focus on more than just the physiological needs.

B: I love that you brought that up because it’s such an amazingly sacred time. You’re bringing another soul into this world. It shouldn’t be taken lightly at all. It should be celebrated and honored. Women are incredible creatures and we should be treated with respect and get more than just the basics of food, water and those things. It goes way deeper than that!

A: There are a lot of external layers but also a lot of internal layers!

B: Big time! A huge transformational time. You learn so much about yourself. You’re on a total journey of self-discovery. I heard from a midwife that during pregnancy you’re actually most able to heal any sort of past traumas and really integrated deep healing during pregnancy. I thought that was really interesting to hear that. It makes total sense. Some of my clients have said they have crazy stuff coming up around traumas they have or have things to work through with their family that didn’t come up before. You go on a really in depth journey just by being pregnant.

A: There’s so much we are used to having control over. I am a color coded, organized and prepared lady. There’s so much you can do to prepare for the birth and postpartum experience. But there’s a lot that’s really just impossible to be 100% prepared for. Especially if you’re someone like me who likes to be prepared, it can feel like all the choices or twists in the road and the fear of the unknown can be daunting. When you’re thinking about the postpartum timeframe, birth is a hindsight thing. In the moment you don’t know if this is the beginning of labor things or if it was Braxton-Hicks. Once you can look back you get context. The person that you end up being is a different version of you. Everyone’s like “get my body back” and “get my self back” but it’s like, you’re still there! You’ve been there. You’ve just grown and transformed into this whole new version of yourself. That deserve celebration and to be given time. It took you 9ish months to grow this little baby and your body made all kinds of adjustments for this baby and ways that it grew with baby. Now, you do deserve a very generous time on the other side to take that time also to walk that rite of passage. It’s its own story too.

B: Yeah, all different seasons. I’ve heard people refer to it as seasons. It’s exactly what it is! Good stuff, love this.

A: We do go into more depth about the spiritual right of passage that birth can be in our Guide to Out of Hospital Birth class. Anyone can take it if you’re curious about those layers. We do have a discount code if you’re interested, just check the show notes. If you’re a listener of the podcast you get 20% off. It’s a great course and I think this episode important to both of us but it’s important for people to hear that they can bring meaning and the time to give meaning to your birth journey.

B: Cool! Thanks so much for listening. We are excited to get into next week’s topic so check us out next week. We will see you then!

A: Bye bye!