Celebrating the Birthing Goddess – The importance of celebrating birthing women.
I want to begin with a story, of an ancestor of mine who lived long ago. How long I don’t know, but I know if I look far enough into the past I will find her. Her story as the birthing goddess holds healing for me through imagining living in a culture that again celebrates the Mother, as a sacred, powerful force of nature.
Embodying so clearly the miracle of life.
This is Herstory:
I lay in centre of the circle,
cushioned by the soft alter built around me.
My beautifully full body on proud display, ripe, pregnant with creation,
my belly swelling like the earths round form.
In my language
we use the same word for PREGNANT as we do EARTH
I am the centre piece of this altar.
Honoured as the embodiment of the mother, the creator.
Around me stands my family, my tribe – witnessing with reverence,
in awe of the magic swirling through my womb.
The women massage my body,
pouring love and blessings into me through their hands,
while the men sing.
Their song worships the mother in me,
the mother in the land,
the mother (creator) in us all.
They sing to their own mothers, their mothers mothers,
the first mother, the future mothers.
They sing all the way to the centre – the cosmic womb through which life pours.
They sing for the mother – knowing to care for her is to care for all life.
They sing for my child’s health through blessing my own,
as it is through mother that all life is sustained.
As I lay here receiving the love of my tribe I am aware of my own mother holding me in her loving arms – the earth.
We all sing together.
And now we return.
To today, a time in which this ancient celebration of mother is to the most part missing. She has been cast out of the centre of the circle, of community and with this the importance of honouring and celebrating her has been mostly forgotten.
With this forgetting comes a loss of her essential wisdom – that through the mother all life is sustained and that by caring for her, the baby’s and children’s health is cared for simultaneous.
Mothers health IS baby’s health.
This social amnesia and disconnection from caring for the mother is reflected in the way we culturally view and treat the earth. Disregarding the importance of caring for her whilst at the same time wondering why our own health is suffering.
During pregnancy, birth and postpartum the mother is baby’s life support. It makes sense that we can nourish and support baby only by nourishing and caring for mother. In a culture that often focuses on baby’s health as separate from and more of a priority than mothers, it makes sense that there is a need to revive this wisdom of interconnection by celebrating birthing women and shifting the culture to again centre around mothers.
It is through this remembering of the mothers importance and her wisdom we can see how celebration of her during pregnancy, birth and afterwards is an avenue for healing. It is healing because mothers who are celebrated, honoured and supported are more likely to be healthy on all levels which creates an environment for baby to radiate with optimum wellbeing also.
There is also potential for larger scale healing on a cultural level. What would our society look like if the mother was re-centred at the heart of community and along with her the wisdom of interconnection?
A popular saying is “heal birth- heal the earth”, and through this discussion I can start to see the threads that connect healing birth through celebrating mums, with a larger global healing of our relationship with the earth as our collective mother.
Birth as a Rite of Passage:
Birth is undeniably a rite of passage, an experience through which woman changes, is reborn – The Mother.
A transition that takes her deeper inside herself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually than ever before.
The way in which family and community treat women during this time greatly impacts her experience for the rest of her life as a mother.
How our community treats us as pregnant women informs us on a deep subliminal level of how our culture values the new role of mother and therefore how we are expected to behave and be treated in our new role.
In celebrating women during pregnancy we imprint women with the knowing they are valued and supported by community, making her more likely to have a positive mothering experience, know her importance and what she deserves.
On the other hand if women are being ignored while all importance is placed on the baby, are feeling depleted and unsupported, then these women according to this perspective will likely accept and expect to feel this same way throughout motherhood – holding her back from expecting and asking to be treated better, appreciated more and celebrated deeper.
To read more about childbirth as a rite of passage for mothers – I recommend tuning into Jane Hardwicke-Collins’s wisdom.
How we can support her in this R.O.P?
My suggestion is by celebrating her, honouring and holding her in her unique journey where naturally she is taken deeper spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually than ever before. Traditionally done in ceremony and ritual – discovering ways we can help her to feel celebrated, respected and honoured specific to her unique personality and culture is how we can support her.
Celebrating the mother: Where do we start?
A great place to start is by asking the mother how she would like to be celebrated, whats important to her, in what ways is she needing support?
This is a powerful opportunity for women to re-write their story around receiving and being celebrated as we can be so unused to it. It’s common for women to feel uncomfortable asking for celebration or even receiving it because of our cultural conditioning that women, especially mothers give give give and rarely receive. However as mother – the more we receive the more we can give.
Through being open to be celebrated during pregnancy we have the opportunity to change our relationship around receiving and being celebrated, relearning that we are worthy to be worshiped as the goddesses we are. And that the more worshiped and celebrated we are, the healthier the whole – our family, community and world.
Here are some other suggestions….
Baby Shower / Mother Blessing:
The popular way to celebrate as a community the birthing experience of a women is often to shower the unborn child in gifts. This reinforces the cultural focus on the baby over celebrating the mother and her experience. This is not the case in all cultures where ceremonies and rituals, especially in ancient and traditional cultures are performed and held to spiritually support and empower the new mother for her journey of birthing and motherhood.
A shift of intention around baby showers away from solely focusing on showing baby with gifts to a gathering in which we nurture and honour the mother and her rites of passage experience is a powerful way to celebrate the birthing woman.
Mothers blessings are becoming a growing trend around the world – a gathering in which the mother is celebrated in a unique way specific to her. It can be as ceremonial or playful and casual as the mother desires and has the intention of leaving the mother feeling deeply nourished and supported by her close friends and family. Mother blessings are usually women only events as it creates a special feminine space but really it is about the mother – whats she wants so the possibilities are limitless. Some Doulas also offer facilitating mother blessing events and are skilled in creating special experiences for the mother with her loved ones.
Below are some links to different mother blessings examples for inspiration:
Here are some Mother centred gift ideas:
- Pregnancy Massage voucher
- Maternity/ postpartum clothing & products.
- Relaxation experiences – float, sound healing session, meditation events ect.
- Breastfeeding care – products that support her to prepare for and increase her chances of success with breastfeeding.
- Supporting her to finance her Doula or Private midwife.
Worship her body!
Celebrating our bodies through bodywork, makes us feel cared for, nurtured and nourished on all levels. To receive this during pregnancy throughout all trimesters and postpartum is so important and beneficial. Different therapies can support the mother’s body (importantly her pelvic pathways) to come into alignment, increasing her chances of having an ease-full birth. Because the whole body is connected and the health of the whole effects every part- nurturing our full body is so important.
Gifting her healing sessions, massage, relaxation therapies is going to support her physical health and help her to come into alignment. Again of course this benefits the baby also.
- Pregnancy massage
- Chiropractic care
- Any therapies that relax and nurture the body
***Make sure when receiving bodywork during pregnancy that they are pregnancy specific therapies and tailored to your stage of pregnancy and what feels good and safe.***
Listening and holding her:
Honouring that pregnancy is not only a physical journey but an emotional deep dive – offering emotional support, listening to her, creating a space of trust and non-judgment where she can share whats alive for her can very beneficial, especially if the mother is having fears and concerns come up. In pregnancy as we go through such a deep transition into our new self- the mother, it is a time of release. A time where deep seeded personal, collective and ancestral fears and patterns can arise and in this there is opportunity if acknowledged and addressed for them to be let go of and healed.
Creating a non- judgmental space for listening and deep sharing space can be done one on one, with a professional counsellor or in a group setting, such as with close friends or at a women’s circle. During pregnancy is a great time to establish sisterhood and join groups of like minded women who can nourish mothers needs for community and space to express and be held and respected.
Hire a Doula:
Birth Doulas are women who are there in service of the birthing woman, to hold her, support her and be there throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum time. To have a skilled person there to support the mother on all levels continually is an incredible support and has been linked- statically to an increase in women’s chances of having positive birth experiences and outcomes.
Often birthing women may need support in financing a Doula or finding the right one for her. Supporting her to do so is another way we can be there for her during this incredibly important time in her, her families and baby’s life.
Whats more worthy of being celebrated than the mother of creation!?! I am excited that through birth and the celebration of the mother, we as humans have a pathway to relearn, to remember the importance of honouring the sustainer of life, our collective mother the earth.
My name is Freya Parre and I am an emerging birth doula training with Vicki Hobbs at the Doula Training Academy. I am passionate about honouring birth as a sacred and powerful right of passage for mother and baby. I love bringing earth connection into my services and holding, nurturing and supporting women as they go through their own rebirth along with baby. If you would like to connect please contact me at:
Image 2-4 are my own.