Continuing the Passion and Possibilities Interview Series with Awen Clement an independent civil celebrant and Pagan Priest who blends the traditional with the spiritual to celebrate life and death and all the milestones in between.
Awen grew up in a Pagan community that rites of passage including menarche were celebrated and which has influencd her journey into offering celebrancy to the world as she feels it is much needed. Despite her own supportive upbringing she still experienced a gap between her belief that birth is sacred and special and the reality when she became a mother for the first time and part of her work now is to fill that gap for other women.
4.12 How motherhood intrinsically changes you and yet the expectations are to return to normal life quickly and skate over the change. More fuss is made of baby than mum and there is a craving for connection that is not met.
7.12 Awens experience with her 4th and final baby and how she learned to give spae and time for herself, permission for herself. Noting how women often have a pattern of being able to look after others and tell others what is best and then being slow to do that for yourself.
9,23 A summary - The journey of birth and motherhood for Awen leading her from 'the gap' to fulfilling her desire for connection and how this conversation aims to help women avoid suffering in a prolonged ‘gap’
11.48 All about Mother Blessings, why they are not the same as a blessingway and the benefits of a mother blessing over the more familiar baby shower. The power and healing of placing the mother to be at the centre of a circle of closest female friends and family – sending out the message that you matter and your birth matters
14.25 Some specific ideas of what a mother blessing can include and how you may create your own.
17.34 The family dynamic and how it changes over time and with each new child. The importance of marking this change each time and how it supports and eases the whole family with the transition and changes a new family member brings
19.34 How seemingly small acts of care can have big impacts. One ceremony such as mother blessing can ripple outwards each birth is an interconnected web that ripples outwards far beyond the immediate family. The positive impace of this loving attention just for being you with all done for you.
21.48 Creating memories for life. Give yourself permission to receive.
22.41 How activating activating your wishes and prayers with witnesses in a group enhances their impact.
23 A really passionate part of the discussion. We don’t know how birth is going to go and a mother blessing provides the space to hold the woman wherever she is in that without dismissing how she feels or diminishing her experience in any way. This gives her power.
24 Love love love- Love is the antidote to fear emotionally and biologically - oxytocin is what we want more of for birth to progress smoothly and adrenaline can impede or slow birth down. So create more oxytocin iducing situations more often.
25.45 Extend the love with practical gifts. These help you feel seen and give you time to spend with your baby and work out who you are now and how you fit in with this new person and your newness as a mother ( no matter how many times you have done it before)
26.55 The more kids we have the more help is needed and yet the inverse sometimes happens, at least in the acknowledgment of how special you and what you have done is. However it is new every time.
28.24 The importance of honouring the Journey at many steps along the way. Awen speaks of her personal journey and how she is poles apart from 1st to 4th child and needed different holding and celebrating each time. We need repetition, reassurance and celebrating again for each milestone and greater need to make more space with more children
30.30 What Awen finds inspiring about birth is witnessing the transformation of a woman into a mother and her sense of I did it. The shift from I don’t know if I can do it to I did it! - with special emphasis on 'I' .it was me that did it no one else can do it for you.
33.37 Have people around that believe in you without caveat or qualification. Who say I see you and believe in you and this makes miracles possible How we don’t say this directly often enough We still need unconditional love and support as adults that we did as children
35 It is ok to need help for that to be fun. This is the difference between a task being hard and horrible and it being difficult still not easy at all and yet incredibly rewarding. Separate hard from horrible.
37 Awen underlines the importance of our birth stories to us and urges you to avoid listening to the competition between women for who has the worst birth story and urges you to find and share positive stories instead. This shows also how important our birth stories are and the need for support in their telling. Do not tell a pregnant woman your horror story but seek help to have it heard and unpacked in an appropriate way. Unresolved trauma can be helped and supported and your story given a fresh meanging for you We crave for our stories to be heard.
42 It is never too late to unpack and heal from traumatic birth. Even if your children are grown up
43 Disscussing ceremonies from other cultures, including Mexico and Morrocco- Closing the Bones/post natal sealing ceremony. These ancient and healing traditions are now spreading back to the West where we lost many of our traditions and have a deep need and longing for this kind of work – a mother is wide open energetically for birth and needs to bring all that energy back into herself postnatally, physically and energetically.
45.49 Small steps = big shifts. You can hire a professsional or create your own ceremonies with friends. Awen wants women to claim back this knowledge and share for all to benefit
48 Land and the Village. We know is there something missing. A gap. Slow down with help of rhythm of the land. The mwww.awenclement.comove to fixed calendar clock and electric light played havoc with our natural rhtyhms creating disconnect and a fast pace whichfuels exhaustion. The remedy reconnec t with time outside
57 Finally, listen inside to yourself beyond the extensive noise of our modern lifestyle. Allow that which is rising in you and come back to the place where you trust yourself as your own best witness and guide.