Birthing Ritual

Birthing Rituals

Pregnancy is such a wonderful, magical time when considering the hidden processes in the belly and beyond! It is also an opportunity for women to gather together and nurture, celebrate, pamper and recognize the pregnant woman as a carrier of new sacred soul to the earth. This is a ‘Birthing Ritual’.

For twelve years now – since the birth of my first child – I have been celebrating a ‘Birthing Ritual’ with my pregnant friends. The ideas have grown over time, with new insights and ways to honour the new mother. Here are some of the ideas that have added such love, joy, support, nurturing and magic to woman’s lives. So if you are pregnant, or a family member or friend is pregnant, think about holding a ‘Birthing Ritual’ and feel the magic together…

An ideal time to hold a ‘Birthing Ritual’ is when the pregnant woman has approximately six weeks to go. She feels heavily pregnant but not in the last, sometimes uncomfortable stage. Consider a home which is free from distractions and males! (It is sacred woman’s business). Men can be in other rooms, but should not make themselves known.

It is wonderful for a friend or family member to help – not the pregnant woman – with the organisation of the ‘Birthing Ritual’ and to lead it on the night. Give her a break! A nice warm room can be set up including a centre cloth, candles and flowers, and enough cushions for everyone. A table ready for the gifts from friends is also required.

On the invites, include what you would like each woman attending to bring: a cushion (if necessary); a gift for the birthing table to share (not necessary a physical gift, it could be an inspiring poem, song, picture, or ornament on loan); and a shared supper plate.

When all women are present at the ‘Birthing Ritual’, open the circle by welcoming everyone. Go around the circle and introduce yourself saying, “I am ………….. Daughter of…… Granddaughter of………………. And Mother to…………………….Bringing together all of the women in your life and family tree can be very powerful. After this circle is completed, welcome the Divine Mother energy, in all her traditions,  and light a candle (if this feels right for you).

Now take it in turns around the circle to share your gift for the pregnant woman. After sharing, place your gift on the birthing ritual table. Here are some gift ideas: Angel/tarot cards for the pregnant woman to pick one and listen to the message; a story shared from your births; an inspirational poem or saying from your heart or from a book; a birds nest or something inspiring from nature; a crystal with its power message for healing; an inspiring picture, statue or ornament; oil for the evening’s massage; something for baby (home made is very special); soap to soak in; flowers for the table or a garland made from flowers and leaves for the special pregnant woman to wear – stunning! 

Massage time! Massage the pregnant woman’s hands, feet, head, and/or whole body. Whatever she is comfortable with. Remember the towels and oil! 

Make a mobile for the baby (crafty or not!). Leave out a variety of silk, material, hoop, cotton thread, fleece, items from nature. Each woman can make a little gift to tie onto the hoop. A mobile can easily be assembled by each woman present making a gold card board star. Hang onto the hoop, with golden thread in a circle of varying lengths. 

Painted rune stones can be made with love. Leave out small flat pebbles (buy a bag from the $2 shop or collect from the river/beach), acrylic paints, little brushes, pieces of card and a nice pen. Each woman present can paint a little design their stone and repeat the design on a card, including an inspirational message for their friend. The pregnant women can pick a rune and read the inspiring message in the weeks to come before the birth.

Paint the beautiful belly! Get ready for some special photos. Add your own little word or picture to the swelling belly, what a colourful sight! Honeybee, in the resource section, sells great non-toxic face paints and pencils for body art, or I should say ‘belly paints’!  You could also try a belly mould – a bit fiddly – if you wish. This activity is good before the bath!

My favourite is the milk and honey bath. The pregnant woman enters the bathroom – which can be lit by candles – to a lovely ceremony. A jug of milk is poured a little at a time in turn by the women present. As each woman pours, she says a blessing, either aloud or silently, “May this milk nurture you as your breast milk will nurture your new baby”. Next take it in turns to spoon in a little honey, repeat a blessing in the same way, “May the sweetness of this honey, remind you of a Mother’s Love”. Then throw flowers or rose petals into the bath water. The pregnant woman then soaks in this sacred bath. Leave her a bell, so she can ring for her handmaidens to bring her tea and cake from the supper table, what a treat! 

To end the birthing circle, pass a ball of red wool around the circle. Each woman in turn makes a circle around her wrist and passes the ball on. When the ball has been all the way round, pass around a pair of scissors and snip the wool. Each woman is left with a bracelet around her wrist, which can be tied by a neighbour. This simple red bracelet is a reminder to send the pregnant woman special thoughts and wishes. It can be cut either after the birth is announced or when in labour, whilst imagining a safe birth for your friend.

After a birthing ritual, the pregnant woman is left feeling physically nurtured and loved: she has been filled with strength and beauty for her future birthing journey. The new soul coming to the earth has been honoured and the women present are on a high from ‘Goddess” energy!

To end, share a scrumptious supper together. On the night write down a list of phone numbers. This list can be used as a phone tree to spread the news of the labour/birth. This list can also be used as the food roster, to continue to nurture and support the new mother after the birth.

In years gone by, women would gather together at special times. In this day and age we have forgotten the power of gathering together as women but we remember it in our very souls. May these ideas inspire a new way of treating the pregnant woman to a ‘Birthing Ritual’, to gather together once again as women and feel the magic and Goddess in us all!