Friday, March 25, 2016

Sealing Ceremony

Written by Master Mother Roaster Sara Harkness

Birth is an incredible, amazing and intense journey. As women, our bodies go through a lot of hard work to bring a child into the world. Through all of this work, through the triumphs, sorrows and joys, the sweat and tears, we are left open. We must allow ourselves to be open when we birth a child.

That openness can then leave us feeling empty after birth. Our bodies have been a vessel that carried and nurtured a small one (or even several small ones) for months. It is no wonder that our bodies would experience a vast emptiness once we have completed the birthing process. So, what then? How do we close ourselves after we have opened for something as incredible as birth? Well, why not have a beautiful closing ceremony.

While pregnant, women will have people "oooh" and "aaah" over their growing belly. After birth, that
attention seems to be turned to the baby. While it's well-intentioned, let's look at continuing to focus and honor the woman who made this birth possible. No, I don't mean the midwife or attending physician. I mean the mother. The continued care and keeping of mom, mothering her, can play a vital role in mom's healing.

Add to this a ceremony to "close the birthing process," and you are honoring the mother. As she heals, celebrates the life of her new child, and transitions into her role as mother, there is no greater honor than to recognize this process via ceremony.

Sealing ceremonies may seem strange to those of us living in the United States, or in other countries where there isn't a lot of emphasis put on the postpartum healing process, but it does happen in other parts of the world such as Malaysia and China. In other nations women are still mothering women after birth, honoring them for the incredible sacrifice that they have made, bestowing blessings upon these new mothers, holding space to allow these women to heal and close what was opened when they birthed their babies, and welcoming them back into society. The questions are, why don’t we do this in our country and what would happen if we did?

A SACRED tuck-in is a service in which several scarves are laid out one above the next. The mother lies down on top of the scarves and warm herbal flax-seed or herbal rice packs are placed across vital points on the mother's body (eyes, shoulder/heart, abdomen/womb, hips, knees, feet). As the warm herbal packs are placed, the scarf is brought up around the mother at each point and tied to allow for
a "tuck-in." She then lies there resting for a period of time being enveloped in the warmth.

The essence of all of this is meant to bring to light the importance of honoring new mothers, honoring their process, recognizing that each mother is different, but each deserving of having the space to be held, warmed, honored, and made to feel loved. When we limit our care to just when a woman is pregnant, we lose focus of the vital role that women play in birth, in life, and in creation. The time is now to come back full circle, and revive this important piece of the pregnancy and birthing process.

Closing the birth process is critical for so many reasons: energetically to finish the process, physically to heal the body, and spiritually to properly step over the threshold from maiden to mother. 
In Latin American countries this is commonly practiced by midwives as ‘closing the bones’ postpartum. It is traditionally done at day 3 postpartum but we have found woman LOVE it and benefit from it even 25 years postpartum! 
In Ecuador, it is sometimes given within hours of giving birth and repeated 5-6 times within the first 40 days. 

Our variation of the closing of the bones that we call the Sacred Sealing Ceremony In is perfect after a ceremonial bath and a nice sesame oil warming rub down and when the mama is fully relaxed. It is never too late for a mama to practice this form of postpartum care!

This ceremony can serve several purposes for the postpartum mama:
*Physically it brings her back together, squeezing her joins and hugging all the areas that pregnancy and relaxing have loosened. It stimulates blood flow which in turn can help clean and renew the mother by moving fluid in her body. This can then help with finding balance for her hormones, immune system, toning muscles and tissue.

*Energetically it will bring her back together by holding her energy close. You can remind her to set intentions of coming home. She can invite all the threads of herself that may be have been scattered during the birthing process to be pulled back together.

*Emotionally it gives her a specific act/time to focus on sealing the birth process. By setting intentions of closing the birthing time and entering fully into motherhood she is able to emotionally transition herself in a way that western culture seldom allows.

To find out how to receive this service please visit our Services page, or send Sarah an email:

Postpartum Blues

If you just had a baby and find yourself feeling down, seemingly crying for no obvious reason or not quite yourself you are in good company.

Often times, with this new baby comes some emotional upheaval as mom and dad are getting used to their respective new roles as parents. That wave of emotions can come in the more mild and common form of baby blues or can progress into symptoms of a full blown postpartum depression or anxiety disorder.

Approximately 85% of women will experience some signs of the baby blues within the first couple of weeks of a baby’s life. The blues usually start within the first 2-3 days following your baby’s birth and can last for a couple of weeks.

Although it is normal and majority of women experience the blues, it is often confusing and unexpected for new moms.

After all, the expectation is that “I should be happy, I just had a baby.” Yes, having a baby is a joyous moment but it is also a magnanimous moment in a new family’s life and requires an emotional and physical adjustment.

Give yourself the time to adjust to your new role and your new bundle. The blues have been related to hormonal fluctuations that happen after the birth. As such, in many cases, symptoms will resolve on their own as mom’s hormonal levels return to their original pre-pregnancy levels.

No matter your experience, it is important to recognize that you did not choose to feel this way and that it is not your fault.

You and your body have just been through a lot; pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the transition to parenthood to name a few. As such, you and your body may need time to catch up to all these massive life altering experiences.

As mentioned above, while the baby blues will typically pass on its own, postpartum depression and anxiety really need the help and support of a professional in your area. So please reach out – you don’t have to go through this alone. Share with a friend or loved one how you are feeling, what you are thinking and what you may be needing. You will be glad you did.

Things that can help:

No matter your experience, it is important to recognize that you did not choose to feel this way and that it is not your fault. You and your body have just been through a lot; pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the transition to parenthood to name a few.

As such, you and your body may need time to catch up to all these massive life altering experiences. As mentioned above, while the baby blues will typically pass on its own, postpartum depression and anxiety really need the help and support of a professional in your area. So please reach out – you don’t have to go through this alone. Share with a friend or loved one how you are feeling, what you are thinking and what you may be needing. You will be glad you did.

Written by Alyssa Berlin

What is a Mother Roaster?

Written by Master Mother Roaster Sara Harkness

A mother roaster holds delicate space for women post birth.

Mother Roasters are CAREGIVERS that nurture new mothers after BIRTH while supporting their RECOVERY + JOURNEY into motherhood; as EVERY women deserves to be welcomed into MOTHERHOOD through GENTLE + LOVING + CARE.

Crossing the threshold from maiden to mother is a massive undertaking that not only needs to be recognized and ceremonially honored, but deeply necessitates a healing touch that can welcome the new mama with open arms.

As a postpartum receiver, Mother Roasters are charged with holding space for women on the other side of birth, we are reverent with your service to her, and we are blessed to be her witness as she starts feeding her baby milk, heals her body, and begins to seal the rawness of her birth experience.

We are there to wrap her in a blanket of loving care, warm her insides, massage her, create herbal tinctures for her, feed her warm soups, and gift her with ceremony.

Find out more about all that we offer on our Services page.

Sacred Postpartum Defined

The definition of Postpartum Care is helping a woman regain both physical and emotional balance as she readjusts her post-birth body to a non-pregnant state of being.

The Art of truly caring for a postpartum mother lives in the delivery of the service. It's a delicate touch, a soft voice, a healing hand, and a listening ear, and its the way the brush strokes of each of these, paints a picture of the for a mama after she has crossed the threshold from maiden to mother.

This is a spiritual time that deserves reverence, humility, expert care, and warmth that enables the postpartum mama to truly heal and seal the birth process.

Those of us who choose to serve in this way proudly call ourselves Mother Roasters.

We offer a variety of services to help mama's make this transition one of beauty. To learn more about all that we offer take a look at our Services page.

Belly Binding

Written by Master Mother Roaster Sara Harkness

What is Bengkung Belly Binding?

Bengkung is a traditional Malaysian belly binding method. Essentially it is a practice of tying a long strip of cloth around the abdomen during the postpartum recovery period to ensure a strong support to our womb after childbirth.

During pregnancy a mama’s body retains water and air which causes her body to swell and expand, including the organs in the womb area such as the cervix and vagina. The water retained by cells supported the amniotic fluid and the purpose of the air was to cushion the baby, mama’s internal organs, and bones as her center of gravity shifted and her baby grew bigger and bigger. This is why a mama gets more and more swollen during the last months of pregnancy. When a baby is born, the excess water and air are no longer needed and the cells will naturally release and shrink back to their pre-pregnant size. However, the purpose of a post-pregnancy wrap is to speed up this process with constant pressure on the abdomen and torso area.

A post-pregnancy wrap provides a holistic support to all the abdominal and pelvic organs, including the muscles in the pelvic area. Support to the pelvic area is very important in the immediate weeks after birth as a mama’s cervix dilates 10 cm when active labor is reached, this is the equivalent to the size of an average bagel. Therefore the pressure of a longer wrap on the hip area helps the cervix shrink and allows the pelvic muscles to heal without being further stretched. 

Steady, pressured support on the hips allows the body to “close” more easily than if just left in its expanded state. The Bengkung style of binding is known to help heal diastasis recti with the constant supportive pressure on the abdomen area.

What makes a Bengkung different from western postpartum girdles like Belly Bandit?

A Bengkung Belly Bind is a long wrap that covers from under the chest all the way down to below the hips. This way, it doesn’t just work on the waist, but also helps the ribcage and the hips go back to their former dimensions. It also stays put when you move, and so it doesn’t press on the abdomen.

Wrapping the belly is an effective and important part of a mama’s recovery in the postpartum stage of her journey. It aids the body to shrink and recover in shorter period of time, normally six to eight weeks. A Bengkung belly wrap provides a mama’s postpartum body with complete support to assist abdominal wall muscle retraction, improve posture, stabilize loosened ligaments, and provide support to the torso while vital organs return to their pre-pregnancy size and position.

For Best Results 

Begin tummy binding as soon as you can after giving birth, ideally around day 5, and continue to wear each day for at least 40 days and even long if you feel you need to.

The wrap should stay on as about 10-12 hours per day, especially in the very beginning if possible.

C-Section mom's should wait at least 6 week before beginning to wear a belly bind.

From Valerie Lynn, Author of The Mommy Plan

To receive this service please visit our Services page, or send Sarah an email:

My Vow

Thursday, March 24, 2016

About Us

Sacred Living Alaska is a sister of the national Sacred Living Movement, founded by Anni Daulter. The Sacred Living Movement is all about inhaling the beauty of life and recognizing that all aspects of our life journey need to be honored, marked, and seen as sacred.

Sacred Living Alaska is managed by Sarah Josey a Clinical Herbalist & Nutritionist and owner of Golden Poppy Herbal Apothecary. Sarah spends three month's of the year living in Fairbanks where her husband works as a Smokejumper for the BLM, with the rest of her time in Fort Collins Colorado where she also manages Sacred Living Northern Colorado.

The Sacred Living Alaska blog and newsletter will be filled with up-to-date educational information and inspiring topics related to fertility, pregnancy, birth, parenthood, nourishing foods, and all things relating to bringing the sacred back in to our everyday lives.

Sarah is excited to bring the services she offers to the community of Fairbanks and beyond.

About Sarah JoseySarah began her journey as a healer when studying biochemistry at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Part way through the program she felt a need to find a healing method that was closer to the rhythms of nature; one that worked with a person’s body and the wisdom innate in us all. Shortly thereafter she began attending the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Boulder, CO where she completed their two year program to become a Clinical Herbalist and Clinical Nutritionist.

Her love of working with clients, as well as being in an environment where people could come to learn about natural health options, inspired her to open the Golden Poppy in Fort Collins.
A few years later she discovered the Sacred Living Movement and again felt a desire to bring this to those in her community by offering Sacred Fertility and Sacred Post-partum rites and programs to those who are seeking a deeper connection to themselves.

Sarah’s practice combines a blend of traditional herbalism and wisdom as well as the latest research and knowledge on herbs and nutrition. In this way she has the ability to use what has worked for centuries by traditional healers as well as the many advancements that the modern health field has to offer, creating a blend that is as adaptable and personalized as each of her clients.

Contact Sarah via email: