Holding the Space

Something we talk about often in our Red Tent settings is the idea of holding the space for one another, and why this is such a powerful gift to give to another person, and to yourself.

I first came across this phrase when I set out on my journey as a doula. The idea that, when you are invited into someone’s birthing space, you are there as a guest, a guardian of that sacred environment, and that one of the best things you can do for a birthing Mama is to hold the space for her.

It’s not an easy concept to put into practice for many of us, even though it requires little else than being present, mindful, attentive – really, fully being there for someone. Yet it is so often at odds with how we live our lives – amidst constant noise, chaos, busyness.

So the idea of bringing this mindfulness to the Red Tent space has become central to every aspect of our Mother Moon days. Someone articulated this in a lovely way on Sunday when she said that amongst the various birth preparation courses and classes she had taken, she was grateful for the opportunity during our Mother Moon, to explore the emotional and spiritual side of pregnancy and birth.

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And that is really what we hope the Mamas who attend our Mother Moons can do – to begin, or keep on, exploring themselves, finding the right questions they need to ask themselves, and giving themselves the time, and space, to explore those answers. To learn how to hold the space for themselves.

At a time when we are surrounded by experts telling us what to do and how to do it, we do not want to be another set of voices disseminating more information. More information is not what is needed. After all, we give birth with our bodies, not our heads, and we firmly believe that the focus needs to shift back from the outside to the inside – from trusting everyone else’s voice, to finding and trusting our own.

And so, we approach every part of the day with mindfulness and an intent to invite active participation. We spend considerable time setting up, creating a beautiful, warm, comfortable aesthetic which we hope encourages our Mamas to relax and unwind.

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We focus on the details – we cook a nourishing and hearty lunch, we bake homemade cake, we fill bowls with fruit, and water with moonstones and rose quartz.

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We surround our circle with candles and salt lamps, with prayer flags and birth affirmation cards.

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These cards have been designed and hand-painted by one of our own Red Tent sisters and incredible local artists, Ali Watson, who understood that we wanted to display our favourite affirmations in a soft, hand-written flowing script with swirling womb-like, Red Tent colours throughout, and the moon, of course, in various phases, on each card.

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We invite our attending Mamas to look inwards, and to trust that expressing our deepest fears and hopes about birth, particularly in creative ways, can also help us to change our deepest expectations about birth. We have spent our entire lives internalising damaging ideas about birth, and we need to take time to unpick those ideas.

We believe that often the best way to do this, to reach our unconscius mind and our heart, is creatively – through art, and song, guided meditation and fear release rituals.

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The work we need to do to best prepare ourselves for birth is the work of self-discovery. Not so that we can get a specific birth outcome, but so that we can bring an awareness to our births that will help us feel confident, connected and strong in our bodies.

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Mother Moon

I do believe that we meet people at the very times when we need them the most. This is how I felt when the women with whom I run the local Red Tent came together. I felt like the four of us had been drawn towards one another, a perfect mixture of water, earth, fire and air to balance one another out and begin our Red Tent journey.

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We’ve had an incredible experience together over the last few months. We have held many groups, some larger, some smaller, some funny and loud and raucous, others still, serious and quieter.

There is no doubt that being surrounded by people who are dedicated to listening, supporting you and holding you up, can only be a good thing. But I didn’t quite count on the transformative effect of having this sisterhood on a daily basis. Of the enormous power of gathering together to share a sacred space and open your hearts.

Red Tent Mother Moons offer this space to women about to birth. Who have much to think about, much to unpick, to let go of, so we can come to birth feeling ready. We invite you to come in, get comfy, wrap yourself in a blanket and join us as we explore our deepest feelings.

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Aside from our Red Tent group, both Kirsty and I have held many Mother Blessings and attended even more. I love these, and was so grateful and overwhelmed to have experienced one with my third child. \The energy that filled my home by the women who came to honour me was incredibly special and made a huge impact on my readiness for birth.

However Mother Blessings are not always available to every women, and to those who have them, they are almost always thrown by a close friend who knows the Mother and who wishes to give her this extraordinary day where those closest to her create a sacred space around her.

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We have the lovely Renni Prelle (Complimentary Therapist) and Michaela Scott (doula and herbalist) who offer the Honouring Motherhood experience and who work with you to create this should that be what you’re looking for. You can have a look at their packages here

We recognized a need for a longer period of time, a whole day, where Mamas to be can not only be supported and pampered and made to feel like a Goddess, but can also talk about their fears, their hopes, examine what they might be carrying with them which needs to be released and talk to, connect with fellow sisters. We both felt sure that the Red Tent space, with its warm, womb-like atmosphere and its incredibly comforting ambiance, was the right space for this.

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Our Mother Moons are about nurturing the mother within us all, about connecting with other women who are on a similar journey as us and about readying ourselves at our core, in our hearts and minds, for birth. The older traditions of women – women’s song, mythology and shared wisdom is what we need more of at this important time in a woman’s life.

We are so excited about this and have been grateful for all the lovely support we’ve had so far from friends, Mamas and other doulas.

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