ANCIENT RITUALS FOR MODERN PREGNANCY (Published on Over the Moon Magazine)

Modern pregnancy is a crazy experience. On one hand there is an incredible mystery and connection to the Divine Feminine as we grow our babies. On the other hand, we have an unprecedented amount of science that can take a peek inside our bellies, sometimes dispelling the magic of pregnancy into calculated hormones and chemistry. Add to the fact that birth has become a business, and in a hospital, is often something to be managed rather than experienced— you can lose that connection to the Divine.

Many mothers want more. As we begin to awaken to a new era of consciousness, more and more women are recognizing the Divine power they possess as mothers-to-be. They are looking for something deeper than a designer crib or the best bouncy seat. Instead, they crave a connection to their higher selves, to the new soul they are bringing into the world, and to Mother Earth herself.

They are recognizing pregnancy as a chance to see their bodies as something more than a commodity, and rather as a vessel for life that has the ability to grow, birth, and feed a small human. They are becoming in tune with their own intuition about mothering.

So how can we fan this flame to create strong, beautiful, self assured mothers? Mothers who can feel confident in their connection to the Divine Feminine? This is where sacred rituals come in. Whether they are shared from mama to mama, from a doula, or in a prenatal yoga class, there is something sacred about inviting rituals into pregnancy and birth.

In lieu of dancing under the moon or bathing in the ocean, here are four ways we can connect with this feminine energy:

Adornment: One way to honor your changing body is to adorn your belly…your baby’s  home for 9 months! Finding a henna artist is a nice treat for a mama-to-be, but it does not have to be a professional artist. It could simply be a group of close friends with some body paint. As our bodies change, it is important for the pregnant mama to feel beautiful, and decorating her belly is an awesome tribute to her beauty!

Sharing Circle: This can be formal or informal, but it is important for women to get together and share the highs and lows of pregnancy. During pregnancy, we are so open and feel everything so deeply that the outside world can be like a bit of an assault. Pregnancy can also be isolating, and we often feel that we are the only ones who can be feeling so excited, so anxious, or so confused about birth. We must find space to honor our feelings and our journeys in a circle of supportive women. Prenatal yoga class tends to be a great space for this type of sharing, but often times there will be support groups for pregnant moms as well at yoga or wellness centers. If there is nothing like that in your area, you can start it yourself and get a group of moms-to-be together for some tea or coffee and share your stories!

Pampering: Think herbal foot bath with yummy essential oils, a nice prenatal massage with coconut oil, or even just a delicious piece of dark chocolate alongside some organic red raspberry tea. This is all about making you feel good while you do the hard work of growing another being!

Mother Blessing Ceremony: This is my favorite way to invite in sacred rituals. A Mother Blessing is a modern take on a Blessingway Ceremony, which celebrates the mama-to-be entering the next phase of her life—motherhood. This type of ceremonies often include a foot bath and massage, candle lighting, birth jewelry making, and birth story sharing. Unlike a baby shower which celebrates the baby coming and revolves around gifts for the baby, this type of gathering focuses on the mother and supporting and loving her, making her feel like a mama goddess.

It’s important to remember there are no right and wrongs with modern pregnancy. As long as a mother feels supported and knows her options, she should be free to birth however she chooses. This may be a hospital birth with an epidural, an unmedicated birth at a birth center, or a water birth at home. It can all be beautiful and sacred. By bringing in these rituals to pregnancy, we help mamas-to-be hear their intuition to help them make the best choices for themselves they can. We make this special time, a time which we usually only experience a few times in our lives, something truly beautiful and memorable. Most of all, we build mother who are confident, beautiful, and strong… and connected to the Divine Feminine.