I have come across some “rebirth” or “birth reclaiming ceremony” stories lately and I have really been impressed. I have been moved to offer it as a service. Birth is a big event, it’s life changing. It’s life bringing. It can be beautiful and gentle and empowering. Unfortunately, there are on occasion births that are traumatic. Every birth requires some amount of processing afterward. For those moms that didn’t get that birth they wanted, had a medical emergency or maybe went into birth feeling unprepared and without knowing their choices, they can have some real grieving over their birth. A mom needs to be able to work through and process her feelings. For these mothers a Birth Reclaiming Ceremony can give them the chance to release those feelings without judgement, to set up a time to heal and gain some of those precious memories they had wanted to make. This is not right for every mom, but can be a big blessing to those that need and want it.
Picture a nice, warm tub with rose petals and herbs floating gently. Mom relaxing with dad close by for support. Soft music playing. Whatever set up mom wanted and still wants. The sweet baby being held gently in the water, face and ears out of the water to safely breathe. As mom gets some time to process her birth, baby gets to remember that warm water-bath of his previous home surrounded by mom. Baby can be held by a loving doula or dad as mom gets the chance to talk and release. Mom can also hold baby. Perhaps dad or the doula can recount the birth and mom’s strength to baby, taking time to cover and discuss any areas that mom or dad need to talk about. Giving mom time, when she’s ready, to talk about her birth. Sometimes mom may want to hold her baby and talk to him. Some moms feel like they in some way didn’t give their baby everything they wanted to in their birth. Some feel cleansed to apologize. In doing so it can help them realize that they don’t need to harbor guilt and that they didn’t ever ever need to hold that guilt. Mom can talk about memories that are causing pain and release them. Mom may have tried to talk about her grief or worries before. Often, her feelings are dismissed because at least she has a “healthy baby.” However, that doesn’t mean that mom’s feelings or grief are any less. Perhaps mom has been bottling them up, feeling selfish to talk about them or like she’s flawed to even have them. Those bottled feelings don’t just disappear and now she gets to let them go and feel the pressure removed. Through talking about them mom can see them see them clearly and understand her feelings, herself and her birth much better. This can be a great time for dad also. Some dads are also affected deeply by traumatic births or births that went totally unexpected.
As mom is ready, and after baby has had time to fully relax in the water. The baby is gently brought up to mom’s abdomen. This can be done as mom is talking or after. Here if mom is comfortable and baby is willing, baby can rest skin to skin with mom. The baby may start a breast crawl. Babies are born with the ability to crawl up to mom’s breast and suckle. Sometimes, this time in the water simulating the womb followed by close skin to skin with mom can trigger the breast crawl desire in the baby. For those who have struggled with breast feeding this technique has helped. Baby could also be placed at the breast and be given the chance to search for, find and suckle mom’s nipple when ready. This time should be nice and peaceful and not rushed. This is a time for bonding, for healing, for mom to enjoy and get to know baby. For some, this is the first successful breastfeeding session. If desired mom and dad can coo and fuss and welcome their baby into world just as much as they had planned. This is when memories can be made.
As a parent I’ve learned that most often if I feel down about missing out on something or wishing I had spent time with my child, the best thing I can do is put aside my guilt and to go spend that time together now. There is always a chance to heal.
So, if you or anyone you know has experienced a traumatic birth and feels the need for something like a Birth Reclaiming Ceremony, I can set one up with you. You can also feel free to do one on your own (note: mom should always hand the baby to someone else as she stands up and gets out of the tub) I do think that this is best done with someone supporting you and helping you and helping you make sure you get the time you need uninterrupted. I have also heard from mothers that repetitively made the time to bathe with their baby. It was a great way to heal on a continual basis. So I encourage you to find whatever works best for you.
Here are some links regarding Birth Reclaiming Ceremonies or “Rebirthing” that I liked: