Rebirthing ~ A Reclaiming Ritual
*There are lots of different ways to do a rebirth so use your inner guidance and this guide to help you customize a ceremony that feels special and meaningful for you *
What is a rebirthing ceremony and why is it important?
A rebirthing ceremony is a beautiful ceremony to help mom and baby and your partner (if you choose) to reconnect and sorta press a reset button. You can’t change the past but this is a way of recreating and reclaiming the birth experience you had hoped for. It is an opportunity to create an internal resource by creating a new memory for your family. It’s a fresh start, and it’s often the point where women report they knew they had begun to heal.
How is it done?
A rebirthing is typically done in the bath but you can set it up wherever you feel safe. This is your ceremony so choose the birth scene you wished you were able to have or whatever feels right for you in this moment.
*The key is feeling safe*.
Draw a warm bath, play soft music, lower the lights, light candles and invite a support person (who was with you at birth) to be with you to hand you your babe. ( this isn’t a necessity if you would like to do this alone with your baby, just rest babe safely in a chair until you are settled in the bath) It’s usually done when your baby is little but you can of course do this with an older child as well. When you are performing the ceremony with a little baby, you let them float in the water until they are nice and relaxed and calm and then pull them up on your tummy simulating the actions after birth. You can let them breast crawl ( newborns are totally capable of doing this) up to your breast and latch on. This part is especially important if your baby is having trouble nursing. It’s very common when we have traumatic births for breastfeeding to be challenging so this is a perfect way to reset and allow your baby to complete that process that was interrupted by a traumatic birth. If your child is older or not nursing you can pull them up onto your chest for skin to skin snuggles and kisses. Tell your babe all the things you would have said or wished you could have said as you first met them. If you are doing this with an older child, close your eyes and remember when you first met. Notice what comes up, it could be thoughts, feelings, smells , colours etc. Your subconscious was aware of meeting your baby even if you aren’t able to remember. You may get glimpses of what happened.
Next, you can tell your baby their birth story. Give them all the details of what happened and remind them that they are now safe. *This is super important* It’s very helpful for us to explain to our babies what happened so they can make sense of what they experienced and their nervous system can settle in knowing they are now safe. If it feels important you can apologize for things not going as you had imagined for you both and tell her how you wished it had been.
If you can’t remember the birth you can ask your partner or support person to describe every little detail they remember. How your baby looked, smelled, what they did ,what you did, what your baby did and what was happening around you all. It’s helpful to have your eyes closed to really feel into all the details.
Then just allow whatever emotions need to come up to come. Your baby may be a bit fussy, but this is just their way of telling you how they feel about what happened. They may need to release trauma as well so resist the urge to shh them and just allow them to tell you how they are feeling.
You can really customize this and do or say anything that comes up that feels important depending on the goals you have set for your ceremony. Really feel into what you need and go with whatever comes up organically. It’s hard because as humans we believe time is linear but really it’s just a construct we have created so there is great value in recreating this reparative experience of birth at any time after birth! You can trust knowing that it will be healing for you and your babe no matter when you do this!
Some More Ideas..
If your bonding after birth was interrupted, imagine your birth going in a gentle and empowered way, really imagine all of the details and how you wished it to be…then snuggle your baby and tell her all the things you would have said right after she was born..how you love her, how beautiful she is, count her toes etc..By doing this you are completing that process that was disrupted.
If you babe was born by a cesarean birth, forceps, or vacuum they can often benefit from a massage you could perform after the ceremony or in the bath with help. Have someone hold baby for you if you are in the bath and starting at the top of her head with your thumb and forefingers touching making a circle around the top of their head simulating your vagina. Apply gentle pressure as you move your hands down your babes body simulating what a vaginal birth would feel like, one hand on each side of their body simulating natural contractions. This can be done as part of the rebirthing in the tub so you are both feeling relaxed and can naturally end with the skin to skin, or you can choose to do the massage then greet your babe as you would have at her actual birth. This gentle pressure and action helps to release the stored energy that is trapped in the nervous system that would have been released with an uninterrupted birth.
What do we do when we are done?
After you are done, plan to be skin to skin in bed or babywearing for the rest of the day if you can just like you would have after birth. If you are doing this with an older child, allow for a quiet day at home to just connect and bond. If you have a toddler you can ask them what the experience was like for them and see if they remember their birth.
Ok, so that’s the gist of it, take these suggestions and create something that feels perfect for you.
Sending you lots of peaceful, calm empowering energy to reclaim your birth?