I have been turning my bedroom into a sanctuary of sorts as a place to retreat to, to rest in, to labor in, and to bond with a new little human. I remember how much giving birth threw us into chaos the last time, and the little things that really saved me. My husband transformed my room into a cozy cave with candles, good smells, soothing music, clean laundry and tidiness, after the first few days of no sleep, clothes piled up, frozen food and our days not having a top and bottom (parents out there will know what I mean). So I am being preemptive this time, and seeking out things that are soothing to me.
Things I am including
As you may already know, I have been studying Tibetan Buddhism in recent years and lately really into the lectures of Pema Chodron. My babe is probably as familiar with Pema’s voice at this point as my own.
Other soothing sounds…my next door neighbor is a concert pianist and I am regularly gifted with free concerts coming through my window (like right now). It is one of my joys in life these days. He doesn’t know how much I enjoy it, I suppose I will tell him someday.
A birthing shrine. This is something that my girlfriend created for me during my Blessingway. It is to include ritualistic items, incense, stones, things collected to honor the birthing practice, a quilt made by another friend, letters, poems, etc. I am tailoring this one a bit as I am very sensitive to smells with this pregnancy (no incense this time around).
Photos of family and friends. My favorite is of my grandmother, my mom and me as a newborn.
Textures, in the form of fabrics, tapestries, paper lanterns, an old traditional Newfoundland hooked rug made by my grandmother out of old clothes (this has traveled everywhere with me).
Plants. Green is good for the air.
While watching the film Vision about Hildegarde Von Bingen the other night, I was reminded how much I enjoyed having a substantial herb garden when I lived in the country. It takes a few years to build one up and I haven’t put in the energy lately due to a busy career and a toddler. I miss all of the smells and dreaming about making concoctions and salves and new recipes. I have said for years that I must have been a witch in a past life because I never tire of going into the garden to gather things and slaving over a large pot for hours. And so in the meantime to substitute I now seek out others who are making their own concoctions of healing herbs. If you have any herbal apothecary’s that you like, please pass them along. Yesterday my son and I planted a little herb garden so that I can have a few fresh herbs at my disposal to aid with sleeping and make a few infusions (lavender, chamomile and rosemary being my favorites).
Wool, wool, and more wool in various forms. I have mentioned already that I have been making the switch to wool bedding, this includes mattress, pillows, mattress pads, blankets. I know this may sound like it would be warm in the humid months, but in actual fact wool is the best temperature regulator out there, warm in the winter and cool in the summer (yes it’s true!). As someone who has had temperature issues my whole life it has been quite transformative, I no longer feel clammy or deal with chronic cold feet in the colder months. Plus as a knitter it means I can surround myself with more of a material that I love on a tactile level. Contrary to popular belief unprocessed wool is not scratchy at all, it is dust mite resistant, naturally fire proof, and studies have show it lowers heart rate during sleep time allowing for more rem sleep. Trust me, sleep is a sacred thing right now, it varies greatly from one night to the next as I have trouble getting comfy with this heavy load. (I will add that a wool mattress is MUCH firmer than a regular one and might not be for everyone. It takes some getting used to, but I found that it is actually better for my back and hip discomfort.) I did find wool much more expensive than other bedding options, but when you factor in that you can have it the rest of your life, its probably cheaper in the long run. The only way for me to have more wool might be to get a sheep myself, something else for me to dream of someday. I should also mention that on occasion some wool bedding (depending on its source) can smell a bit “barny”, other times more like lanolin (read: very clean smelling), but if you are like me the barny smell is a good thing and lulls you off to sleep. You can read more about wool here.
Please note: I am slowing down these days as I will be giving birth sometime in the next few weeks. So I will not be able to respond to much email during this time, if at all. I am attempting to put together a bit of an FAQ for those who write (every day) with questions.