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.
One of the attending mothers said upon returning back to the world from the rebozo cacoon: This has to be experienced by every mother!!!
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.
On the physical level an excellent sealing practice is Benkung Belly Binding. We all experience our postpartum bodies as a little bit off center as if the organs are still negotiating their ways into their pre-pregnancy positions. This is actually exactly what is happening in our bodies after having given birth. Our uterus is shrinking back and our organs are slowly regressing to their original places. And this is where Bengkung Belly Binding comes very handy.
Traditionally belly binding implies wrapping your torso with a tight piece of soft fabric. It is done by wrapping and tying the cloth starting at the pubic bone and working toward the sternum. The belly bind covers the entire length of your torso. Belly binding benefits go far beyond “looking good” after baby comes out as it helps to return uterus to size, prevents postpartum hemorrhage, reduces postpartum internal organs swelling and in general gives the mother a sense of security and "togetherness".
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.