Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Making Pregnancy a Richer Experience

By Anni Daulter

When you look back on your birth experience or reflect on stories you’ve heard from women in your life, how many times can you remember the word ‘sacred’ coming up? Have you ever found yourself wondering why one of life’s most broadly accepted mysteries, or miracles, is so often treated by our modern culture instead as a matter of panic or, more mundanely, a matter of business?

Pregnancy is, in fact, deeply sacred: spiritual, meaningful and life-changing for mother + child, father + family.  The world over is full of ancient ritual that honors this; first with the pregnant mother, recognizing her experience as a rite of passage and honoring its proper elevated place in her life experience. The family is also given space and community support during this time, across the globe and well into the past. A new soul joining the family, whether it is the first or fifth to arrive, is a seminal, unique event in life. For these + so many more reasons, pregnancy is - and should be - a time of reflection, introspection, connection and deep love. That experience deserves to be honored, even in our hectic, technology-driven fast-forward world.

There are as many ways to honor pregnancy as there are women in the world, but also, there are some powerful rituals that we see more than once when we survey birth across cultures and time, and they speak as powerfully to women today as they seem to have spoken for motherhood all along. They take effort – on the part of the mama-to-be and her community, too – but the beautiful part about that is that everyone benefits from the exponential blessings that effort produces.

Often the first and most important step – one that should be sustained once begun, if possible, though pregnancy and birth – is the simple act of sitting with other women. Sitting with women whose stories you can hear and feel is invaluable. From a young woman still dreaming or even fearing her childbearing time to an honored elder mother with years of wisdom earned hard from experience, their stories can and will enrich your own relationship with yourself and your baby during your pregnancy. We can learn so much by listening, by simply circling with others who understand and hearing what they have to say. This in itself is a kind of sacred communion among women, a sharing of memories both fresh and ancient as the earth, and it does nothing less than turn the very soil of your soul, enriching it with each person’s love and intentions for you, as you plant seeds and dreams and plans for your future as a mother and the future of your precious baby. This practice is valuable for all who participate, no matter their place in the life cycle or place in their path, for everyone lends something to one another that cannot have been given elsewhere.

Another practice that sadly often goes unnoticed for many modern women is that of a Blessingway or Mother Blessing ritual. Many of us are fortunate to be given what is often called a “baby shower”, but so often, this event focuses on the coming baby and its needs, not the needs or wants of the mother. Both deserve to be witnessed + honored during this sacred time, and it is nice to take a different set of hours for each, so that everyone’s attention and energy can be focused, if only for a little while, upon the mother bearing the child. This can be as simple a ceremony as asking friends and family to gather and share their wisdom with you to as juicy + delicious an experience as you can handle; since each of these experiences in your life is full of rich, unique time for memories you will always cradle, we say go for broke in the juicy + delicious departments. Invite your community sisters to share their wisdom, but also allow them to share their love: let them honor you with a foot bath and scrumptious salt-rub massage, essential oils, flowers and whispers of your strength and beauty. Soak up the admiration they feel for the sacred time you are living in, and let them bestow you with gifts and adornments. Relish it. If you have never allowed yourself to let down and feel glorious in all your sexy-goddess-gorgeousness in all your life, now is the moment. There is nothing in the wide world more luscious + beautiful than new life, and it is shining through you. That is sacred indeed!

Another oft-neglected but oh-so-important + delicious part of the process of bringing a new life into the world is letting yourself surrender to the fact that you are going to need to accept the help of those who love you. Especially for so many independent and fiercely capable mamas, this is a critical time: both mama + family must be willing to accept any help that their community is kind enough to offer. When someone asks what they can do to help, give them a job! Believe their sincerity; they want to help you or they would not ask. In the process of giving in to the mountain of need there can be in a tender baby’s newborn days, many people are deeply humbled and find themselves forever moved by acts of love they never expected, often from unexpected sources. This is a time of love; why not let the love on in?

Are you a mama craving a deeper drink, a richer experience, a more spiritual way to approach pregnancy + birth support? Sacred Pregnancy, a movement based on the book of the same name by Sacred Movement Visionary Anni Daulter, might just be the answer for you. Sacred Pregnancy has been sharing its vision with passionate birth workers all over the world since last year’s publication, and it is only possible to describe it by saying it is catching on like fire. Women everywhere are hungry for the wisdom and support of other women, and Sacred Pregnancy offers this to every mother, bringing Sacred Pregnancy Classes to cities across the US, Australia, Canada + the globe. Visit www.sacredpregnancy.com to find out more. If you feel pulled by the call of the sacred for all women, or if you are simply looking to get into a deeper connection with yourself, your baby and your family during this amazing time in your life, Sacred Pregnancy is already for you. We’re here waiting. Join us!

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