Ritual after a traumatic birth

Ritual after a traumatic birth June 26, 2015

By Nevit Dilmen [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Nevit Dilmen [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
It can be devastating when birth doesn’t go as planned. And birth is by nature a wildly unpredictable process with countless opportunities for the unexpected. That’s part of what makes it the rite of passage that it is.

A mama wrote to ask for ritual ideas to process the experience of a traumatic birth. In particular this mama wasn’t able to have the birth she’d planned and she really missed the opportunity to interact with her placenta because it had been taken by hospital staff for testing.

Here are some ideas I came up with:

  • It might help to create a representation of the placenta, by drawing or sculpting with playdough (this doesn’t have to be fine art at all) and then symbolically do with it what you would’ve done with the placenta.
  • It might also help to have someone see and acknowledge the reality of your loss. If you’re going to have a ritual, maybe you can invite someone you trust to participate and be a witness to your process.
  • It might help to tell your story, out loud or in writing, to really express every piece of it, the parts you intended and the way things really went.
  • It might help to call on the help of any Deities who you already have a relationship with, to ask them to help you process and integrate your experience.
  • It might help to remind yourself that you don’t have to “get over it” or quickly finish up grieving; it’s okay to feel grief for as long as you do.

I’m holding prayers and blessings for this mama and for all of you who are bearing grief for the loss of the birth you dreamed of. May you find healing and peace.

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