During my third pregnancy I struggled with my body. I was so uncomfortable. I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life, everything hurt, and I hated the way I felt. Logically I knew my body was amazing. That nourishing humans, and birthing these humans, was no small thing! Yet, I struggled with how I felt in my new mom body. I struggled with loving my body exactly as it was, instead of dreaming of what it use to be before children.
I knew during my pregnancy this would be my last pregnancy, my last birth, and my last postpartum. So I wanted to make it the best possible. In my postpartum planning I made sure I would have my placenta encapsulated, food for my family, and support for my big kids and dog. I began to think of my last transition into motherhood, and realised I hadn’t thought about honoring ME. My body has done this amazing thing called birth three times and I wanted to do something to say thank you to my body. In my research I discovered traditions from around the world that honored new mothers. One of my favourites was “Mother Roasting.”
From Sacred Mother Bengkung’s website:
“Mother Roasting” is the tradition of keeping a postpartum mother warmed and wrapped during the 40-44 day confinement period. Family members, generally the mother or mother in law and other close female relatives, take over the woman’s household duties and she is left to focus solely on resting, keeping warm, and bonding and feeding her new baby.
In some cultures, such as certain villages in Laos, the mother actually lies over a slatted bed layered in medicinal herbs and leaves, while coals burns below it. This is where the “roasting” term comes from. The mother follows a strict daily routine of hot baths, steams, and roasting, while eating and drinking only “warming” foods to bring heat and balance back to the body. Ancient Mayan traditions of postpartum vaginal steaming is still used in some countries, and are becoming more popular.
I hired Lacey from Sacred Mother Bengkung to come after my third birth for a sealing ceremony and to teach me how to wrap my womb. I was so excited to experience this! Four days after I had Asher, Lacey came over with her baby and friend Sean who took these lovely photo’s.
I nursed Asher while Lacey drew me a bath, complete with almond milk, rose petals, beautiful candles, and calming music. My baby was held while I got to soak in pure luxury.
When I got out the bed was made up with long scarves. I laid across them. Lacey performed a stomach massage, that I admit I was very nervous about. My stomach was my least favourite part of my body as it was seriously stretched out. I was shocked by how healing it felt, I almost cried.
Next, Lacey tied each of the scarves around my body (firmly but not tight) while saying an affirmation and statement of gratitude for each part of my body.
I was tucked in with a warm blanket and left to lay in silence and meditate. In this moment I felt a deep love for my body. I felt strong, appreciated, and grateful for my body.
After this Lacey showed me how to wrap my womb. She applied a warming paste made from herbs on my belly, then a cloth to protect my wrap and clothes. I loved the way the wrap looked and felt and that I could adjust things, such as making it more firm around my hips and rib cage where I felt I needed more support. We had a cup of really delicious turmeric tea and breastfed before saying good-bye. I glowed. I want every person to love their bodies, exactly as they are right now. Sometimes we need help to get there. For me, with my third postpartum body, I needed a sealing ceremony to thank my body for all that it has done and all it will do. I am proud of my body and will continue to love it as best I can.