"Birth is a sacred act, a process, the details and effects of which stay with you for life. Your experiences of labour and birth choreographs your mothering" - Jane Hardwicke Collings
Ceremonies and rituals for the childbearing year
Rites of passage serve to transport us from one phase of life to another, preparing us for the new role in our lives. Childbirth is a rite of passage into motherhood, and how we feel about the journey and make sense of it is as important as the details of the journey itself. The use of ritual and ceremony can help us to prepare for and heal from the journey to the birth altar. In our modern western culture we have forgotten the ancient ways, and no longer use ritual and ceremony to mark our rites of passage, but in learning about them and working with them in my practice, I have come to see how powerful these opportunities for deep connection can be. I have facilitated many rituals and ceremonies for mothers and babies and love working in this way to help people release their fears, anxieties and grief, celebrate their strength and courage and reclaim their power. There are three main ceremonies that I do - see below - but I also work with people to create other rituals and ceremonies around birth, pregnancy loss and abortion - please contact me for more information about this.
Mother Blessing Ceremony
Based on the old Navajo Blessingway ceremony, a Mother Blessing is ceremony designed to honour and acknowledge your journey into motherhood and bless you, your baby and your upcoming birth. It is designed to be a special time with your friends and loved-ones to feel their love and warmth as you prepare for the birth. It is a time for you to be surrounded by the important women in your life as you explore the challenges, fears and joys that lie before you as you approach childbirth and motherhood, so that you feel supported, confident and empowered during and after the birth of your baby. Rather than the gift-giving at a Baby Shower, your friends and loved ones bring gifts that are symbolic in nature to empower, bless and inspire you as well as the gifts of wisdom that each woman has learnt about birth and parenting.You do not need to have done anything like this before - I will work with the mother-to-be to create something personal and meaningful and will guide the ceremony so that you all feel held and safe. It is best to have the ceremony between 34-36 weeks of pregnancy. A Mother Blessing ceremony costs £200 and lasts a few hours.
Birth Closing Ceremony
Based on the postpartum healing traditions of Mexico and Latin America, it is also known as a Cerrada or Closing the Bones. A Birth Closing ceremony is a postpartum healing ceremony designed to honour the journey that has been taken and close the birth. The whole process of childbirth is an opening experience - from your growing belly and growing baby, to your pelvis, womb and cervix opening to release your baby. You are opened physically, emotionally and spiritually and people can feel quite raw, vulnerable and empty afterwards. This closing ceremony helps to physically and psychologically close and seal in the energies after the process of pregnancy, labour and birth in a sacred space. It is a time of celebrating and honouring the mother's hard work in growing, carrying and birthing her baby. It involves being bathed with warming herbs (optional if you do not feel comfortable with this we can do a foot bath instead), massaged with oil and then wrapped with a rebozo. It marks the end of the cycle of pregnancy and birth and supports the new mother to feel honoured and nurtured. A Birth Closing ceremony costs £100 and lasts a couple of hours.
Birth Reclaiming Ceremony
This ceremony is designed to help people who have had a bad, disappointing or traumatic birth experience. Sometimes things go very far from what was planned or even not that far, but enough that people can be left feeling much grief, sadness and disappointment. With a new baby to care for, and a culture that only focuses on the end result of a healthy baby, and does not acknowledge the emotional and psychological toll that a difficult birth can have, women can feel stuck, isolated and guilty about their sense of failure and loss, and this can impact their confidence, bonding and early mothering journey. Holding in all the grief and disappointment is hard work and can be very painful, and having the space and permission to acknowledge and release this energy can be powerful and important for the wellbeing of the mother and baby. A Birth Reclaiming ceremony is designed to give you the space and place to heal your emotional experience in a loving and supportive environment with someone who can hold you in your grief. Each Birth Reclaiming will be different, but it usually involves recreating the same environment you hoped for your birth in whatever way feels right and meaningful for you. The ceremony usually ends with you and your baby skin to skin, and it is good to have a few hours afterwards to just be together as you would have after the birth. It is a time to recreate the meeting of your baby in the way that you would have wished for, and can be a fresh start and new memory supporting you on healing your birth journey. A Birth Reclaiming ceremony costs £100 and takes a couple of hours.
"She supported me with so much more than the just the physical aspects of my pregnancy, it was great to have Suyai to explore the emotional and spiritual sides of my pregnancy journey too."