With full respect to each and everyone's own decisions and lifestyles, I do not speak of an altar in this series in a religious way. Throughout religion, an altar was a place where sacrifices were carried out and religious rites performed.
Here, I speak of an altar as a table or space where one can honour, celebrate, and connect to the magic and beauty in conception, pregnancy, and birth.
As you would have seen in my two previous posts, I spoke about how to create a space to invite communication and connection with your fertility, as well as throughout your pregnancy. Here, I want to explore the magic of having an altar set up for your birth.
A common theme with altars here is that they offer you a space, a zone to direct your attention and energy back on yourself, your baby, your body, and your birth. Life gets away from us suddenly... the jobs pile up, we go to bed late and get up exhausted. I really want to encourage you to take this time, if not any other time, to slow down, and appreciate the magic within the experience. Beyond that, the way we meet our conception, journey through our pregnancy, and move through our birth, is said to set us up for the transition into parenting and beyond.
Some things to consider including in your birth altar:
- sonogram pictures
- baby blanket, clothes, or anything else you have purchased or been gifted for your baby
- Candles (battery-operated is probably safest!)
- Salt lamp
- Fairy lights
- Birthing sculptures
- Photos of your ancestral line / red thread
- Birth Goddess image or statues (Artemis, Bast, Diana, Eleithyia, Hekate, Hera...)
- Birth affirmation posters or flags
- Essential oils (clary sage, peppermint, lavender, grounding blends)
- Crystals (rose quartz, moonstone, black onyx, amethyst...)
... to name a few
Ways to use your birth altar?
This will truly just depend on the individual! The beautiful thing about birth is that no two are the same as no two people are. Therefore, really delve deep into yourself, your experiences, your mentality around birth and becoming a parent... there you will find your sources of power that you can draw upon from your birth altar.
Birth is generally experienced in dark rooms. This is really supportive of the physiological process of labour and birth. If you're hoping to have the birth documented by photos or video, setting up some mood lighting on your birth altar can really make this possible! Also... who doesn't love a bit of mood lighting?
Birth Affirmation Posters
Affirmations have got a bit of a bad rap recently. It is true if you speak an affirmation, you cannot expect your world to change instantly. But as you read the words, say them out loud, look at them ongoing, you are introducing new concepts to your brain and opening up new neural pathways. Here is where you can really give yourself, self-confidence boosts. By creating posters and having them on your birth altar, your partner or support person can read them out to you, or with you, when you're needing the reminder of your strength and capability throughout the birth.
Some examples (but I really encourage you to create your own, and what resonates with you!):
My baby and I are working together
Each surge brings me closer to my baby
All women who have birthed before me stand by me now
I think it is a really great idea to have something on your altar that represents your baby. If you're able to have a sonogram photo, this is even better! To be able to see your baby, to be reminded of what will come from the experience, that you're not working alone but working with your baby in the birth, will give you continual power and oxytocin hits.
Documenting the birth
The birth altar could be a really great place to set up a camera or phone to capture images or videos of you, your baby and your partner labouring. These, truly, are moments you will want to revisit. I promise.
Think of the five senses!
Birth is a primal, instinctual event. The way we can access these instincts, or return to these instincts, can be through the five senses. They can also be supportive of the physiological process, natural pain management and really help create a beautiful, positive experience. Try and make sure there is at least one item on your birth altar for each sense. Also, consider how each of these items may increase or support your oxytocin for the birth.
If you have children, ask them to contribute something for your birth altar. Throughout the birth, to look over and see an affirmation created for you by your son or daughter, will only make you feel more loved and safe.
I hope you have enjoyed the altar series! As time goes on, and I transition from one altar to the next, I will be sure to update these posts with any photos, or items I include. I know this may seem "woo-woo" for some, and as a Psychology student, I generally love to see the science and actual change that comes from a certain practice. However, the connection, the insight, the self love I have gained just from having a space (my fertility altar), to come and sit, breathe, communicate, and return to my centre, has been one of the best things I could have done for myself and my future children.
As we experience this global pandemic, life seems to somehow have picked up pace. I don't want to look back on these times and wished I had slowed down, or experienced the moments more... and I don't want any of you to feel this way about your journey to parenthood either.
Give yourself this. Give your baby this. It must be a priority. Slow down, and embrace each moment.
With a special interest in natural fertility, conscious conception and conscious relating through starting a family, I offer Birth Doula and related services to encourage more depth and awareness in your journey. I educate on the menstrual cycle and encourage women to reawaken their confidence and trust in their bodies, and show an understanding of how all of these experiences are interrelated and must be considered on your journey to starting a family.
To get in touch, email me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my social pages: