Prayer For A Mother Giving Birth
Prayer at birth
A believing woman knows well that without God's help she can not cope. Prayer does not leave her neither in the days of preparation for conception, nor during pregnancy, nor during childbirth.
Many may be challenged: but how to pray at birth for a woman giving birth? After all, you need to think about fights, attempts & hellip; Holy fathers teach that a person should pray every free minute. This applies to the woman in labor during labor.
Reading prayer calms, and its power invisibly helps at the most difficult moment.
You have to prepare for birth not only physically and mentally, but also spiritually.
What does it mean? A pregnant woman must visit the temple before the birth, be in the service, confess and receive the Holy Mysteries.
Regardless of how you «wear» your baby, childbirth can be unpredictable. And not always doctors can influence the outcome of delivery. God is merciful and all-powerful only.A few centuries ago, the mother was unable to rely on anyone except God. The midwife midwives did not start the pregnant woman without praying. In the corner before the icons burned a lamp, and all loved ones sincerely prayed.
Today, people rely heavily on doctors, and only in extreme cases they recall prayer. Few people now believe in miracles. But they happen. According to our faith, it will be for us.
There are many cases when prayer during childbirth performed miracles: severe labor pains subsided, who could not be relieved of the burden, were allowed, and even bleeding in childbirth stopped.
Whom to pray to?
For a long time, from generation to generation, a tradition is handed over at birth to pray before the icons of the Mother of God «In the Births of the Assistant», «Infant Infant,» «Theodore», «Healer», «Skoroposlushnitsa» & hellip; And this is not a complete list, because there are many miraculous icons in the Orthodox Church. But the main thing is not before which icon to bow in prayer, the main thing is sincere prayer. Pray for a woman in childbirth should be close people. It is good for these days to order a prayer service in the church, read the akathists of the Mother of God and other saints.
First of all in all afflictions we turn to the Theotokos. She hears us and helps. By its purity and holiness, the Blessed Virgin bore the Son of God painlessly. After experiencing human difficulties, she understands each of us.
When giving birth, they also pray to Saint-Great Martyr Catherine, Xenia of Petersburg, Anastasia Usozrasreshitelnitsa.
With difficult births, pray to the righteous Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Forerunner.
Both married couples were barren until they were old, but they did not lose faith and incessantly prayed until the Lord gave them a child.
Prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ
Lord Jesus Christ, our God, from the Ancestral Father, born to the Son before the age, and in the last days, by favor and cooperation Holy Spirit, I am born the Holy Virgin as a baby, and I will put it into the manger.
The Lord Himself, in the beginning, creating a man and wife conjug him, Give the command to them: Grow up, and multiply, and fill the earth; Have mercy on Thy great mercy Thy servant (name), preparing to give birth according to Thy commandment.Forgive her free and unwilling sins, grant her the power to safely be removed from her burden, keep this and the baby in health and prosperity, protect my angels and keep from the hostile actions of evil spirits, and from every evil thing.
Yako the Good and the Lover of mankind, and to You we send glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever and ever. Amen
Prayer for the Icon of the Mother of God «In the Birth of the Helper»
Prayer, Madonna of the Mother of God, tearful prayers of Your servants coming to you. We see in the holy icon in the womb that bears our Son and our God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you have painlessly given birth to Him, both of the sorrow of the weight of the weight and the infirmities of the sons and daughters of human beings.
It is warmer to the warmth of your purposeful image, and this love is tenderly tender, we pray to Thee, the all-merciful Lady: we are guilty of sinners condemned in the diseases of the motherland and feed our children in mercy, mercifully spare and compassionately intercede, but our babies, as well as their babies, and deliver bitter sorrow. Give them health and well-being, and power will grow by force because of the increase, and their nourishing ones will be filled with joy and consolation, for as the present and your present from the mouth of the baby and the sucking, the Lord will perform His praise. O Mother of the Son of God! Have mercy on the mothers of the sons of men, and on your feeble people: the diseases that have befallen us soon healed, the sorrows afflicted us and sorrowed, and do not despise the tears and sighs of your servants. Hear us in the day of trouble before the icon of your fellows, and on the day of joy and deliverance, accept the grateful praises of our hearts. Lift our supplications to the throne of your Son and our God, and be merciful to sin and our infirmity, and grant His mercy to His leading Name, as we, and our children, glorify Thee, the merciful Intercessor and faithful Hope of our race, for ever and ever .
Oh, Most Blessed Lady Lady of the Theotokos, leaving us in the earthly life! To whom I will raise my prayers, to whom I will bring tears and sighs, not to You, to all the faithful Consolation! With fear, faith, love, Mother of Belly, I pray: May the Lord instruct the people of the Orthodox for salvation, may He give us a child for You and Your Son for the sake of goodness, let us keep in purity of humility, in the hope of Christ of salvation, in the covers of thy grace, earthly consolation. Keep us under the mercy of Thy mercy, the Most Pure, praying for the birth of help, the libel of the wicked free, the grievous troubles, the misfortunes and deaths turn away. Give gracious insight, a spirit of contrition for sin, let us see all the height and purity of the doctrine given to us; keep us from perishing alienation. Yes vsi, gratefully glorifying your majesty, will be granted to the heavenly peace and with your beloved, with all the saints we will glorify in the Trinity of the One God: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer to the MostHoly Mother of God before Her Icon «Theodore»
Troparion, Tone 4: The Coming of Your Honor Icon, Bogotrokovice, happy day, God-protected city of Kostroma, ancient Israel to the covenant of the covenant , flows into the image of Your face and Your God, incarnate from You, and Your Mother to him, intercedently pardon to all under the shadow of Your shelter, the peace-loving people and the great mercy.
Kontakion 1: The rebellious Voevoda, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Our Intercessor and the Christian Representation of the ungodly, the phenomenon of the marvelous Icon of Our joy to the Earth-giving Russia and all the faithful children of the Church enlightened, thanks to Zeus, the Theotokos, and pridepayusche your image of the Thorn, with a touch of the verb. Save, Mistress, and have mercy on Your servants, calling: Rejoice, Mother of God, Our Intercessor and Intercessor is our zealous.
Prayer: To whom I call, the Lady, to whom I will resort in my sorrow; to whom I will bring tears and sighs, if not to You, Queen of Heaven and earth: who will pluck me from the sins of sin and lawlessness, if not Thou, O Mother of Belly, Intercessor and refuge of the human race.Hear my groaning, comfort me and have mercy on my bitterness, protect me in troubles and misfortunes, save me from bitterness and sorrows, and all kinds of diseases and diseases, from the enemy visible and invisible, dying the hostility of those who are clinging to me, and I will be delivered from the calumny and malice of the human ; so from my own flesh of vile customs let me go. Take shelter of me under the mercy of Your mercy, may I restore peace and joy and purification from sins. Your Maternal intercession myself I entrust; wake me Mati and hope, cover, and help, and intercession, joy and consolation, and an ambulance in all the Helper. Oh, wonderful Mistress! Everyone flows to You, without Your help, He does not withdraw all the help; For this cause, and I unwillingly seek refuge with You, so I will be delivered from the sudden and fierce death, gnashing of dental and eternal torment. But in the Kingdom of Heaven, I will be pleased and to You in the emotion of the heart of the river: Rejoice, Mother of God, the Intercessor and Intercessor, our zealous, for ever and ever. Amen.
Oh, Glorious Mother of God, have mercy on me, Your servant, and come to my aid during my illnesses and dangers with which all the poor daughters of Eve are born. . Remember, O Blessed One in wives, with what joy and love You went hurriedly to a mountainous country to visit your Elisabeth akin during her pregnancy and what a marvelous visit was made by a blessed visit to Your mother and baby.
And from thy inexhaustible mercy grant me also, more afflicted than Thy servant, to be free from burdens; grant me this grace, that the child, now resting under my heart, came to life with a joyful vigilance, the holy baby John, worshiped the Divine Lord Savior, who, love for us, sinners, did not abhor himself and become an infant himself.
The unheeded joy with which the virgin Your heart was filled in the sight of the newborn Son and Lord, may please the tribulation that lies ahead of me among the diseases of birth. The life of the world, my Savior, born of you, may save me from death, which cuts off the life of many mothers at the time of resolution, and the fruit of my womb be counted among the elect of God.
Hear, O Most Holy Queen of Heaven, my humble entreaty, and look at me, poor sinner, with the eye of Thy grace; Do not be ashamed of my trust in Your great mercy and fall me.
Assistant of Christians, Healer of diseases, yes I will be comforted and I will experience on myself that You are the Mother of Mercy, and may I glorify thy grace, which has never rejected the prayers of the poor, and relieves all who call upon Thee in times of trouble and sickness. Amen.
It is not necessary to pray these prayers, standing in front of a certain icon. Pray «Our Father & hellip; «, Say Jesus' prayer, pray in your own words, asking for help in childbirth.
Remember, the salvation of a woman, according to God's providence, is in childbirth. Believe me, God will not leave us on the road to salvation!
Prayer for the birth of a child
Sometimes a married couple, for a very long timetime can not conceive such a desired child. The husband and wife can not feel themselves a full-fledged family, despite the excellent relationship between themselves.
Numerous medical consultations do not lead to a long-awaited result, and the couple falls into despair.
In this situation, it would seem, is free to helponly the Most High. In despair, even those people who visit the church extremely rarely go to God.
Even the most wealthy and prosperous people beat the brow about the walls of the temple and ask for help.
The main thing when addressing God is to be sincere andhonest with oneself, do not ask for fulfillment of desires from mercenary motives, and also, in order to harm others. Before appealing to the Lord, one must visit the church and confess, having repented of all their sins, for childlessness can be a punishment for the sins of turbulent youth.
To apply with a request to give a baby is acceptedto the Holy Virgin, the Holy Matron of Moscow and Xenia of Petersburg, St.
Joachim and Anna, as well as to the prophet Zechariah and Elisabeth, who could learn the joy of parenting only in a very old age.The words of prayer should be simple and understandable, and it is necessary to read it daily, preferably at the same time of day, for example, before going to bed.
In this article we offer you the texts of the most popular prayers related to the conception of the baby and safe delivery.
Prayer for the birth of the child of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Oh, Most Holy Devo, Mother of the Lord of the Most High,obedient to the intercessor of all, to you with faith in those who come! Look down at me from the height of his heavenly majesty to me, obscene, falling to your icon! Hear soon a humble prayer, less sinful, and bring it to your Son; pray to Him, let my Divine Grace be illumined by my light with the light of His Divine grace, and will purify my mind from the thoughts of vanities, soothe my suffering heart and heal its wounds, instruct me in good deeds and strengthen me to work with fear, forgive all the evil I have done, May He deliver eternal torment and not deprive His heavenly Kingdom.
Oh, Most Blessed Virgin! You have graciously embraced yourself in the image of Your Georgian, commanding all to come to You with faith, do not despise the less afflicted and do not let me perish in the abyss of my sins.
To Tha, according to God, is all my hope and hope of salvation, and I am entrusting your protection and representation to myself for ever. I praise and thank the Lord for sending me the happiness of a conjugal state.
I beseech Thee, the Mother of the Lord and God and Savior, and with Your Maternal prayers will send me and my wife to my beloved child. May He give me the fruit of my womb. Let him be made his will, to his glory.
Change the trouble of my soul for the joy of conception in my belly. I thank and thank you the Mother of my Lord all the days of my life. Amen.
Prayer for the birth of the child to Saint Matrona of Moscow
Matronushka is buried at the Danilovsky cemeteryPokrovsky Monastery, where to this day her relics are kept.
Women from all over the world come to Moscow to address this saint, for the power of the prayer of Matrona Moskovskaya truly has great power.
There are true cases when desperate couples became parents after long years of childless life shortly after visiting the Intercession Monastery. By custom, Matrona's relics need to be driven 3 times.
We bring to your attention the prayer for the birth of the child, addressed to the Matron:
Blissful mother Matrona, soul in the heavens before theThe throne of God is forthcoming, the body on earth is resting, this type with higher grace, different wonders exhaust! And now, with your kind eye, sinners, in sicknesses, afflictions, demons temptations, now you see with our merciful eyes, consolation of us desperate, heal our fierce diseases, from God our saints, delivered us, save us from many circumstances and sorrows, pray to our Lord Jesus Christ forgive us all our sins, the transgressions and iniquities, we, from our youth even to the present day and time sinfully, with your prayers received great mercy, we glorify in the trinity of the one God — the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever . Amen.
Women who successfully managed to become pregnant induring the entire waiting period of the baby, they dream of an easy and successful delivery. In this case, the prayers pronounced before the birth of the child will also help believers.
Prayer for the safe birth of a child to the Lord Jesus Christ
Lord Jesus Christ our God, from the pre-eternalThe Father was born to the Son before the age, and in the last days, by the favor and assistance of the Holy Spirit, I am born necessity to the baby, obedient and put in a manger, the Lord Himself, in the beginning, creating a man and conjugating him, commanding them: grow and multiply and fill the earth, have mercy on your great mercy to your servant (name) getting ready to give birth according to thy commandment. Forgive her free and unwilling sins, grant her the power to safely be removed from her burden, keep this and the baby in health and prosperity, I protect your angels and keep from the hostile actions of evil spirits, and from every evil thing. Amen.
After the birth of the baby, the newly mum on the first day should read a prayer aimed at giving the newborn health.
Prayer after the birth of a child
Lord God, Almighty, heals everyillness and all infirmities! Himself and this servant of yours (this name), this day gave birth, heal and raise it from the bed on which it lies, because, according to the word of the prophet David, we were conceived in iniquities and all in uncleanness before You. Keep her and this baby she gave birth to. Cover her under the roof of your wings from this day until her death, at the request of the all-pervasive Mother of God and all the saints: for you are blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer for the birth of a child with infertility
The strength of faith lies in the fact that it is capable ofhelp where medicine is powerless. So, in particular, even such a diagnosis as infertility can be overcome, diligently and sincerely asking God for a newborn.
The Power of Prayer
The birth of a child is happiness for every familypair. With the arrival of a baby in the family, a bright joy falls in the house. But sometimes a long-awaited miracle does not happen. Diseases, incompatibility, infertility become an obstacle between parents and the baby.
If you are a pious man, with a pure soul, then the prayer for the birth of a child will bring crumbs to your home. But such a ritual should be taken with maximum responsibility and seriousness.Before reading the prayer, select the saint to whom the words will be sent. Also do not forget that thoughts should be clean. Get rid of bad habits and negative thoughts.
A prayer for the birth of a child should strengthen yourfaith. Visit the church, repent, make a pilgrimage to holy places, talk with priests and monks. Remember, God will help someone who sincerely and unconditionally believes in his power.
Blessing begins with a wedding before God
In the modern world, couples areblessing to the church. Some explain this by atheism, others want to test their feelings through a civil marriage, others consider that such a ceremony is a waste of time. But when there are problems with the conception of the child, lovers from the skin climb to become parents. They do not think that before the church and God they are not married.
Having visited a bunch of doctors, dozens of healers andhaving tried all means, that friends recommended, do not despair. It remains only a prayer for the birth of a child. Although it was faith that was to become the first assistant in such a situation. Such pairs for the blessing of pregnancy and the birth of a healthy baby need to pass the Sacrament of the Wedding.
Thousands of families claim that without this rite infamily lack of something weighty. Such emotions have deep grounds. A woman and a man who live together without taking marriage in the house of God — sinners in front of heaven, because they produce vice.
Such a marriage is not compatible with the canons of Christianity. And lovers who swear an oath in a church will receive support from God in difficult situations.
In married couples, the prayer for the birth of a healthy child has more power and gives the best result.
Baby — the desire of two loving hearts
Conversation with God occurs constantly. The most loud are the prayers when they are spoken together. Therefore, the father and mother should equally desire the child.
Conversations with the Supreme should be not just a mechanical fulfillment of the ritual, but an informed, clear message. Conversation with him is a touch to his essence.
Through the rites of Orthodoxy, we can feel it as close as possible.
It is because the prayer for the prosperousthe birth of the child is a dialogue that is being conducted with God, the couple must read it together. Such a procedure will not only bring them closer to the Father, but also open up in a new way to each other.A prayer in which one is asked about pregnancy andbirth of a healthy baby, can be found in church books. Spouses who wish the baby can pray before the home icons on their knees or while standing. Do not forget to bow and be baptized. When the crumb is born, it will be appropriate to pray after the birth of the child.
Another important detail is that inEvery request should be given thanks for all that is, and repent of their sins. Also pray not only for yourself, but for your neighbors and enemies. Remember, God is merciful to those who show mercy.
Defender of all mothers and children
The traditions of Christianity are very ancient. From time immemorial, churches were built on the graves of martyrs who, after death, continued to work miracles and heal hopelessly sick people.
The protector of all women is the Mother of God. The Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Jesus Christ, is one of the most miraculous saints. It is addressed to her with requests to heal from infertility and give children. Prayer for the birth of a child can be read by the Mother of God in any place and at any time. The main thing with this action is a sincere desire.
You can ask for support from the righteous Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Virgin, who have long been childless. They sacredly believed in God, and he rewarded them with Mary.
How can I ask help from the Mother of God?
Often it is despair that makes one turn tochurch. But to a person who visits the temple of God from grief to sorrow, the higher powers as punishment can send one of the greatest ills — expectation. Therefore, the first one from whom it is worth waiting for help is the Virgin Mary. Her kindness and love save the world.
The prayer for the birth of a child with infertility of the Theotokos sounds this:
«The Blessed Virgin! Blessed are You among all women. You have learned the joy of motherhood. She held her heavenly child in her arms. Laskala Him, loved, doves and defended. Theotokos! Blessed are You among all people. Made a son healthy, clean, kind.
In Your power to help us fulfill the goal of our humble life, continue our family. Thy servants bow down before you. In despair, we are. Give us the greatest of the gifts of the earth — the children are healthy. Let them grow and glorify the name of the Lord. They will become our joy, our anxiety, our love.
Ask for us, Mary, from the Most High. And forgive us sinners, the Theotokos. Amen».
The Moscow Saints
Prayer for the birth of a child by Matrona Moskovskayacan be proclaimed directly before Mother's relics in the Intercession Monastery or at her grave at the Danilov Cemetery in Moscow. You can also ask for a baby in a saint by becoming her icon.
Holy Matrona was born in 1881 in the territorymodern Tula province. Since childhood, she was blind, and her parents seriously considered the possibility of giving the girl to a shelter.
But Matrona's mother changed her mind after sleeping. In the haze on her breast sat a white blind bird of magical beauty. Dream predicted a bright future. That's why they left the child.
The gift of Matushka is the ability to heal people. To her for help came from all over the country.
Before her death, the saint said that believers can come to her after her death. She will hear them from the other world and will do everything possible for their happiness.
Appeal to Saint Matrona
Couples who want, but can not have a baby, will help the prayer for the birth of the child Matrona Moskovskaya. Appeal to Mother sounds this:
«Mother, Blessed Matrona! You are chosen among people. Healing your hands, a good heart, your pure soul. You are standing now before the Most High, God's only and just. Now the sky is your home. But do not leave us, sinners of the earth, take care of your children. Help us, Mother Matron.
In your power to give us the happiness of parents to become. His ray in life to find. In your will to help us conceive, endure, give birth, and then teach it to you, Matrona, praise. Mother Moscow, let your children love their descendants to feel and give their unlimited love to them. Amen».
The Basics of the Rite of the Sacrament
Asking for a child from the Savior should both be a wife, soand husband. Before the prayer for the birth of a healthy child is pronounced, potential parents should be prepared.
The main thing they need to do is ask for forgiveness from God and cleanse their soul from their sins. After all, most often it is the person whose soul is sinful, has health problems. Including infertility.
Repentance will make healthy not only the soul, but the body.
Attempts to conceive a child must be alloweddays. So, the church does not recommend making love on the days of fasting, and also on the eve of them (the days of the fast are Wednesday and Friday, their eve is Tuesday and Thursday after 16:00).It is undesirable to attempt to become pregnant on Sunday and on the eve of large church holidays. Also, you should not sleep immediately after the wedding.
On such a day the couple is sanctified and blessed for a later life, so do not associate the Sacrament of the Wedding with carnal pleasures.
If you do not understand the meaning of the prayers or they seem alien to you, do not worry. Personal prayer does not require special skills. It's just a thought, the main thing is that they are sincere.
Baptism as protection from everything bad for the child
When the mercy of the Lord descends on you, and youlearn about your pregnancy, it's time to thank the one who created the miracle. It is also good if prayer is added to daily prayers before the birth of the child. Such a ritual helps to find peace of mind.
Regular communion will perfectly affect both thethe future mummy, and on the unborn baby. The pregnant women are fasted not as severely as other believers. But an easy fast is replaced by reading spiritual literature and beggars.
After birth, the long-awaited child should be baptized on the fortieth day. So a new person will not simply grow according to the laws of God, but have his patrons in heaven who will protect him.
The sacrament of baptism is first of all the birth of a child for God, their unity.
Why does not God give children?
Today, more and more couples have health problems. Along with medical ailments, the church advises you to reflect on your spiritual life. After all, these two aspects closely interact with each other.
The prayer for the birth of a child with infertility isthe stage of acceptance of the heaven sent fate. The main thing in this business is not to lose hope.
If the couple can not conceive a child, maybe the Almighty has prepared another mission for them. The purpose of this pair can be a feat, to which not everyone is capable.For example, perhaps, the vocation of these spouses to become the parents of a destitute child, one that they refused.
However, in any case, despair is not necessary, God will always hear you!
Excerpted with permission from Lifecycles Vol. 1: Jewish Women on Life Passages & Personal Milestones (Jewish Lights Publishing).
Until very recently, few birth ceremonies were practiced.
Susan Weidman Schneider, in her now classic book, Jewish and Female, writes with reference to giving birth that “there has been scant traditional ritual around the women in the picture–whether as mothers or daughters.” She echoes Blu Greenberg’s question: “Could it be that if men had been giving birth all these centuries, some fantastic ritual would have developed by now?”
Instead… [books] that… identify themselves as comprehensive of the stages of Jewish life… begin describing life rituals not with fertility, conception, pregnancy, labor, or even birth itself.
[They] begin with brit milah (covenant of circumcision ritual) and sometimes with the conferral of a name for a daughter.
Given high rates of infant mortality, Judaism may have cautiously waited to celebrate birth at brit when one could be more confident in the baby’s viability.
Psalms and Blessings
The mandate of the tradition around birth has been limited. Psalm 126 has long been associated with birth, ly due to the verse “Those who sow in tears will reap in joy” (Psalms 126:5).
Psalm 118, which begins “ the narrow place I called upon God, who answered me in spaciousness” has been paraphrased in Yiddish and recast as a tkhine [prayer or devotion for Jewish women] for childbirth.
It tells of coming close to death, but not succumbing, and of trusting in God.
Brief blessings of thanksgiving at birth itself are increasingly usual in Orthodoxy: The birth of a son commands the blessing Hatov Vehametiv (naming God as good and doer of the good), and a daughter is greeted with the Sheheheyanu prayer, expressing gratitude for sustaining the lives of the parents to this moment. Postpartum, a mother, or her spouse on her behalf, bentshes gomel (recites the prayer of thanksgiving for coming through danger in safety) in the synagogue.
We also recommend this video from G-dcast on the blessing for new moms:
Traditions and Conception
While the legal mandate is small, folk traditions have been sustained through the ages. Monthly ritual immersion can be understood as signifying readiness for motherhood.
In addition, Jewish mystical tradition encourages lovemaking on Friday night, and considers a conception on the Sabbath particularly blessed, since Shabbat (Sabbath) is said to reunite the male and female aspects of God.
From the fervent prayers of the barren mothers of Scriptures, until our own century, Jewish women have maintained traditions of petition to God for conception. Women hopeful of fertility have long invoked the names of Rachel and Hannah, the classic “barren mothers,” and have wept beside Rachel’s tomb in Israel.
Women’s Prayers Before the Enlightenment
Recent years have seen the publication of women’s prayers that focus on childbirth in its many stages: Prayers for conception, for each of the months, for the beginning of labor, for the stages of childbirth, and for the postpartum.
[Other] books… have again brought to light poetry and prayers which women shared for several centuries, but which fell into virtual darkness during the Enlightenment.
These prayers have provided source material for recent efforts of Jewish women to sanctify childbirth in ways authentic to both Judaism and women’s history.
Chava Weissler, an expert on tkhines,observes that the male rabbinic tradition “collapses all women into Eve” and makes much of the association between sin and childbirth.
The tkhines that seem to be authored by women, in contrast, plead for the health and safety of mother and infant and address the question of suffering.
As Weissler writes, attention is paid to “the physical discomfort, pain, and danger women experience in menstruation and childbirth. The authors of the tkhines want to know why women suffer, not why they bleed.”
Contemporary Liturgy and Ritual
Tkhineliterature nourishes contemporary efforts to produce liturgy and rituals for childbirth….
Jane Litman’s “M’ugelet: A Pregnancy Ritual” uses a cord that had been wrapped around Rachel’s tomb.
A group of women recite adapted tkhines and pass the pregnant woman around a circle, chanting personal blessings as she becomes entwined by the cord to which she may later cling while giving birth.
This ceremony resonates with some older customs…. [For example,] a woman in difficult labor was sometimes given the keys of the synagogue to clutch or the cord that binds the Torah….Women have also borrowed images from the Jewish wedding in creating childbirth rituals.
In Reconstructionist, Shoshanah Zonderman describes a ritual that she designed for 12 women on the last full moon of her pregnancy; it included a ceremony parallel to the wedding and a document parallel to the ketubah (wedding contract).
The women used symbols and fruits, breathing exercises and chanting, and they completed a Jewish mandala upon which the mother focused during labor and which now has a permanent place in the family home.”
Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky has drawn on a variety of ancient traditions–Jewish and non-Jewish–in creating liturgical poems for pregnancy and childbirth.
Schneider in Jewish and Female includes Nechama Liss-Levenson and her husband’s simple ritual for conception: The couple marked their decision to stop using contraception by making Kiddush (blessing over wine on Sabbath or holidays) and reciting the Sheva Berakhot (seven marital blessings) to reestablish the traditional connection between marriage and childbirth, and to sanctify their choice to wait until they were ready to conceive.
Several women who have created new prayer and ritual shift focus from the birth of the baby to the birth of a “mother.” Zonderman writes that she “thought of her advancing pregnancy as a passage through a constricting tunnel to emergence with a revitalized, fuller identity as a Jewish mother–a birth image.
This is also the metaphor of the Exodus from Egypt–mitzrayim (Egypt) being a narrow (tzar) place of oppression–when the Israelites passed through the (birthing) waters of the Red Sea to accept new ethico-religious obligations at Mt. Sinai.
In becoming a mother, I was accepting new responsibilities and a commitment to the future of the Jewish people.”
The Trends in New Rituals
These new religious expressions of gratitude are particularly effective in their appropriation of feminine biblical metaphors. The Exodus from Egypt through the parted Red Sea is the central moment in the drama of the Israelite past, and it remains the central metaphor for Jewish redemption.
Only recently have we stressed that it is a birth metaphor, the passage of people into a new life of trials and triumphs through parted waters, after which nourishment in the form of manna [food that God provided to the Israelites in the desert] is bestowed mother’s milk, various in its taste, and supply generated by demand.
The practice of ritual immersion might be reimagined in analogous ways by invoking, for example, Miriam’s well, the source of water for the Israelites in the desert. Amniotic waters can be seen as analogous to the tohu vavohu (hurly burly) which God labored in birthing the world.The bringing of first fruits to the Temple also finds a new vitality as a feminine image of birth per se when it is brought back to the experience of childbirth in new rituals and prayers.
New as these compositions are, they can be especially poignant when they speak with the force of tradition.
For example, in many Jewish families, including my own, it is customary to add a candle to one’s Sabbath candelabrum for each new family member. A yahrzeit (anniversary of a death) candle is burned when a Jew dies and annually on the anniversary of a family member’s death.
A ner neshamah (soul candle) is often lit at brit and naming ceremonies. Recognizing the candle as a Jewish symbol for the soul, a group of contemporary women liturgists has suggested a rite of conception in which an unlit candle is introduced to the Sabbath candelabrum.
In the unfortunate event of a failed pregnancy, this candle would be ritually burned, a yahrzeit candle, as an act of mourning. An abortion is marked by submerging the lit candle in water.
Under happier circumstances, on the first Sabbath following the birth of the baby, the unlit candle becomes a light among its companions and its place is permanently filled on the candelabrum….
Reclaiming “The Body” of Tradition
Contemplating how childbirth can connect us to our foremothers has reminded me of one of the few details that I know about my paternal grandmother, who gave birth to eight children. My father, who was second oldest, recalls that the older children were made to leave the house when his mother delivered. Still, she screamed loudly enough that the frightened boy could hear.
I screamed my heart out when Samara was born and hoped at that moment that my grandmother’s screaming may have been my own: Liberated, defiant of pain, awe-struck, thrilled. I have come to think of my screams as my foremothers’ and my Judaism’s presence in the delivery room.
The work of naturalizing and assimilating women’s responses to childbirth is in progress.And there is much work still to do–to honor the laughter of Sarah, to sanctify the screams of our mothers, and to bequeath powers of articulation to our daughters as they labor in the creation of worlds to come.
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