Guest Contribution: Excerpt from Calling on The Blood
By Guest Writer, Mariamor
The following is a personal account generously shared by writer, Mariamor (contact information is found at the end of the article)
Trigger Warning: First Account Abortion Detailed Description
That night I drew myself a bath and cried. Praying to the water, the Earth, and my helping spirits for guidance. I texted a dear friend and teacher, Carmen, asking if we could talk. Carmen had taught me about herbs for birth control and abortion from the lineage we are studying under. Carmen was non-judgmental, patient, and understanding. I understood that between her, the plants and the spirits I would have the support I needed if I decided to go through with a pregnancy release, or abortion.
Carmen guided me to pray and think on it. To bring my prayers to a ceremony that weekend. But I couldn’t wait. I felt the need to start then. I was already further along than I felt comfortable with. I never figured out how far along I was. I could have been further along than 5 weeks since some people still have a period that early on. It was maybe too risky to use the herbs but the plants are so important to me. I really wanted them to join me on this journey. Carmen and I began talking about which plants I could start using. I loved the idea of doing it this way, it felt ancestral and heartful.
Carmen and I said goodbye for now. I sunk into the water and talked to my baby spirit, an invitation from Carmen. To let them know I love them and this just isn’t the right time for them to come. I let them know they can choose to be patient and wait until I am ready for them to come through me or they can choose another family if they can’t wait for me. I felt peace between us, an understanding that we were linked and understood one another for their choices. I let waves of grief flow through me. I’ve always wanted a child, to be a mother but this just wasn’t the time. I allowed myself grace and courage to choose. To choose what is my birthright. To bring life or not. To choose what our bodies will go through or not. To choose to bring a child Earthside or not.
I came out of the bath and told my husband, Spencer, I decided to go start the process of a pregnancy release with herbs. I wanted to start right away. He didn’t say much but followed me through the house. I gathered what I needed, shared my reflections, and started a fire. He got his guitar and sung. We prepared for the ceremony we were entering. I prayed, he prayed, we lost ourselves in prayer and grief. I called upon my helping spirits, my baby spirit, the fire, the Earth, the plant spirts, spirit of Motherwort. I asked for support from the plants, invited in their spirit and took a moment to make sure it felt right before I ingested them. I sat in front of the fire and began working with a Motherwort tincture, ingesting large doses over periods of time. Not sure of the specific protocol yet but trusting I would be guided. I surrendered to the medicine, to the fire, and to the prayers. I felt the support of my angels and spirits with me. My partner played the guitar behind me, his singing muffled with tears.
I have faith with all my heart that I will be guided and supported. I have faith that this embryo will move through me easefully. That my body will be healthy. I have faith that my blood will come and wash out what is ready to go. I call upon my blood. I call upon the midwives and ancestors here to support me. I trust my body to do what it needs to do.
We retired once our roommate came home. Neither of us ready to share yet. I was drunk off Motherwort. My room spinning and heart heavy unsure what I had just signed up for.
The next day Carmen called me, she talked with our teacher, Norma. Norma would guide Carmen with supporting me through the abortion. Carmen read me a list of plants we could work with, inviting me to tune in to which ones would be a good fit. I chose my allies to begin the work with. Already having a relationship with Motherwort I felt comfortable starting with her. Others were Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh, and Cotton Root. Later we added Queen Anne’s Lace, Evening Primrose, and Rue. I began taking doses of Motherwort, Blue and Black Cohosh and Cotton Root. The amount of these herbs I was taking would begin signaling my body to release the pregnancy. I also to began calling upon my blood. Centering my intention and visualizing my moon returning. Blood flowing once again.
As a part of the commitment I was told to make an appointment at an abortion clinic for a month or so in advance in case the herbs didn’t work. Since the herbs I would be taking would affect the fetus I needed to show I would follow through with the abortion one way or another. I began calling centers nearby none of which accepted insurance for an abortion. I learned it would be $600 for an abortion in the area I lived. I learned no one could come in with me. I would be alone. I resented that. I began to envision what I wanted the birth to be like, look like, feel like. I wanted it to be a ceremony, with fire, music, friends and prayer. I gave Spencer and my friends a heads up that they would be on call for this ceremony.
I told a few close friends what I was going through, careful who I told. I was tender and didn’t want to deal with judgment or negativity. To my surprise I was held and supported. Even thought of as brave, strong, and looked up to.
I didn’t realize what a commitment the herbs were. Every few hours I had to take a dose and re-center my intention. I couldn’t tell what were pregnancy symptoms and what were symptoms from high doses of herbs. I was tired, nauseous, and all over the place. I would find my way back to gratitude and pray.
During this process I met with Carmen about weekly for energy clearings/womb work**. I’d seen her for a couple years to receive this work with the intention to align the womb, get some energy clearing (limpias) and to just feel good overall. This massage work can be done while pregnant, during certain windows, and while working on a pregnancy release. The massages during this process were a bit different. Carmen paid more attention to certain points on the body that support the process of inducing labor. Where we usually stuck to a 3 on a 1-5 pain level we were reaching 4.5-5. I would breathe through these difficult parts, usually with a plant up to my nose to smell their aroma and have their support. My favorite part about these sessions was that Carmen’s baby, little Carmen, was present. She’d sleep, play, or be in a sling in front of Carmen’s body breastfeeding. Little Carmen would be my reminder that I do love children and want them someday but now was just not the time (a story for another time as I work through it). Womb work is found in many Earth-Centered traditions. I felt a call earlier that year to learn it as well to connect with the magic of it and with my Mayan lineage. It felt right to be on this path every time I received this healing work from Carmen. I felt my helping spirits and the plant spirits more deeply each time. And each time Carmen had a bit of spiritual “homework” for me.
[** Not all practitioners that do womb work would be comfortable supporting in this process.]
A few days after the ceremony I had to check in with Spencer. I realized I left him out of the choice making process since it was all so visceral for me. I asked him how he felt about it. He told me he was sad and confused since the first day he felt like would keep it. I listened to what he had to say and my heart felt so tender hearing him speak. I apologized for not asking him what his wants were. I was so in my head and in my own experience of it. When I initially told him I was pregnant I didn't see joy in him. He's not a very expressive person in general. I wanted him to be expressive in that moment. Either way he expressed that it was my choice and that he was going to support my decision and be there for me. We made peace with one another and continued forward.
That weekend we had a small Full Moon ceremony at our teacher Norma’s home. It was an opportunity for women to gather and receive a healing. I was a ball of emotion that night. I asked for help with a healthy release. I was guided to pray that night as if it already happened.
Thank you so much for this healthy release. Thank you for the strength and courage to move through it all. Thank you for sending me great allies and support. I have faith with all of my heart that this was the best possible choice for me at this time. I have faith that my body is healthy and my spirit restored. Thank you for your support and guidance during this time.
Later that night, Norma and I got a moment to talk privately. We hadn’t talked directly yet about my process. She found me and said something like: “I commend you for your work and what you are doing. It is not easy. We have been doing this since the beginning of time. When we were tribal and if it was an unsafe time for someone to have a baby they knew which plants to take, what things to do to bring death. The womb is a place for death and life. If a child would bring danger to the tribe, or there weren’t enough resources for that child then there was no judgment about this choice being made.” I was in awe, I wanted to ask so many questions but just let this beautiful teaching sink in.
I increased the herbs over time. Carmen connected me with an acupuncturist who was familiar with this work and could help me induce. The acupuncturist had an intense abortion where she over-bled and had to go to the hospital. She was so kind and comforting to me during our sessions together. She worked on points on my body that would induce me. A similar method you’d give someone who was full term. I recall holding back tears, feeling so tender and grateful for safe spaces and safe people.
There was another special ceremony I got to be a part of. A ceremony where we gather and ask for a healing or blessing from the helping spirits of a specific lineage. My husband was able to come to this one. I stood in line waiting for my blessing in tears. Overwhelmed by where I was on my journey, grateful and scared. Feeling held but also completely alone. These ceremonies were supportive, a moment of reflection and introspection. A moment to clarify my prayers once again and ask for help in what felt like a very special opportunity.
I have faith with all of my heart that this baby spirit will move through me easily. I have faith that my body is wise, my womb is strong and that I will heal from this well. Thank you so much to the Maya helping spirits, to my angels and helping spirits for supporting me and being with me. Thank you to the Earth for your love and wisdom. Thank you to the midwives for carrying this torch, these teachings, reminding us of our God given rights.
Carmen gave me all sorts of ideas to call on the blood: hot baths, hot sauna, high intensive workouts, wearing red, lighting red candles, invoking goddesses, eating slippery foods to support an easeful delivery, penetration, yoni steams, self-womb massage, etc. Energetically most of these activities were helping to draw energy down and outward. I was too tired and overwhelmed to do too many of these but the idea was to push myself to the edge, and do things with deep intention and purpose.
We introduced a few more plants near the end of the journey. Queen Anne’s Lace and Rue. I was introduced to a traditional Mexican remedy of rue and aspirin, every few hours I took one then the other (rue then aspirin, then rue then aspirin, etc). As much as I love the plants these were all so hard to take! The alcohol tinctures were bitter and nauseating, and I couldn't stand the taste of the Queen Anne and Rue.
Queen Anne is a plant that grows locally here in Colorado. She is abundant and can be used as an herbal birth control. I’d been working with her for that purpose but had gotten too comfortable at some point. I was grateful to have her support in this work as well. We had a lot of Queen Anne’s Lace seeds that we had harvested years prior (my husband, Carmen and I) I tried chewing the seeds or mixing them in juice to drink. It would make me gag every time so I decided to put the seeds in capsules. The first batch Spencer and I we went through the process of figuring out how much I needed to take, how much would fit in a capsule, and how many capsules I would need to take for each dose. I ground up the seeds and he put them in capsules. We made a few batches over this month and the next couple times he made them on his own.
Carmen wanted me to seek out a midwife/doula/someone to be there for the delivery in case I had a hemorrhage or bled too much. She got me in touch with an underground midwife who was an angel. She told me that there were other options, that she had access to most of what is available in a clinic. She could support me with the abortion pill or an extraction if necessary. I was tired of waiting, it had been over a month since the start and we were concerned that I may be too far along for the herbs to work. I decided to change gears and try the pharmaceutical route. She reminded me that the plants were a great choice and we as humans have evolved to create other tools that work more effective at times. She offered her support on a donation scale. I gave her some cash and gifted her mushrooms. She seemed happy with the exchange and she would be on call in case I needed anything. If the pill didn’t work she would come and do an extraction on me.
The midwife told me that the clinic gives you two different pills. One to take there, mifepristone and one to take at home, misoprostol. As underground midwives they only have access to misoprostol. However, all the herbs I’d taken so far did the job of mifepristone. The herbs prepared my body/womb to give birth by blocking progesterone and to expel the embryo. The misoprostol, would be the final push to expel by softening the cervix and stimulating contractions. She recommended I stop the Mexican protocol but continue the rest of the herbs. I prepared as much as I could; myself, my home and my friends for the birthing ceremony the next day.
Saturdays are my favorite days during the summer because I go to the farmers markets. I went by myself to the first farmers market to get veggies and flowers. The drive to/from was emotional. I cried, sang and prayed.
I invite in my compassionate helping spirits. The spirit of the plants.
I ask for your support and guidance in this process. I trust that my body will move through this in a healthy way.
I call upon the midwifes, those that guide this path.
I call upon my mother and grandmother to hold me and be with me today.
I’m so grateful for this healing, this connection to you all.
When I got home I began the process with the pills. 2 pills in my cheeks, and 2 pills in my vagina up to my cervix. I prayed, I cried, I surrendered.
I wanted to go to the second farmers market to kill time and see a friend. I couldn’t stand waiting around. Spencer and our roommate joined and we rode together. Once I got to the market I used the restroom and had begun bleeding and cramping. I was overjoyed and nervous. I thanked my helping spirits and trusted I still had time until things progressed. I also thought it would be nice for Spencer to have someone to support him at the birth and suggested he called our friend, N, to be with us. N didn’t hesitate and said he would be there.
From the market we went to forage. I wanted some of my plant allies to be present with me at the birth. I brought offerings to the plants and the Earth. I asked for permission as I went to each plant to see if they would agree to come. I picked summer lilac, their fragrance soothing to my spirit. I picked lemon balm, sage, catnip, spearmint for their aromas and supportive properties. I picked poison hemlock, a poisonous plant I kept turning to during this process for its wisdom in killing (not for internal use just energetically).
We returned home and I had to do the dose again. If necessary I would do it a third time but the midwife thought 2 doses would do. I prayed and cried, the never-ending cycle.
Spencer and I tidied the house. I prepared several altars with plants, flowers, candles, and pictures of my beloved mother and grandmothers. The pain increased overtime and like puzzle pieces my friends arrived and the process began.
My roommate got me a heating pad and made me date balls to support my womb. I started the fire. My husband played ceremony music on the guitar. A friend rolled me a joint for the pain. Another friend massaged me and applied essential oils on me. Another friend brought a black candle and a picture of the goddess Kali for the altar. We prayed together, sat together, waited. The contractions got to be really painful. I began moaning in pain. A friend told me I was holding back and began moaning with me. Soon all the women were moaning with me. After moaning and moving through the pain for what felt endless the pain subsided and I sunk into a pillow. Resting.
I sat up over the bowl between my legs. I let out a burp and felt everything move out of my womb and into the bowl. I began assessing the contents like my midwife told me to do. I saw 3 of 4 pills I inserted into my vagina in the bowl amidst blood. I freaked out and called my midwife to process with her. She asked me to send her a picture and told me it’s probably that my vaginal PH wasn’t able to break down the pills. I wondered if I needed a third dose, but on closer inspection of the contents I realized the fetus was in the bowl and the placenta. Clear as day. On the phone I yelled “DUDE! The baby is in the bowl!” I sent her a picture she said she would look at it and call me back. I waited for her reply and those who were comfortable enough in the room watched the floating fetus in the bowl with me in awe. We prayed and gave our thanks to the baby spirit, the helping spirits, the midwives, the plants, the Earth, and so on.
Thank you to my helping spirits, the midwives, the plants, my body, and this baby spirit. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me and for supporting me. Thank you for guiding me. I’m so grateful this release went well and that I am healthy. I pray that this baby spirit feels my love, our love, and is able to find its way forward. Thank you for trusting us and sharing your spirit with us on this journey. Thank you to the midwives for keeping these ways alive, for protecting them and empowering us. Thank you to the fire for your inspiration, your warmth, your energy. Thank you to the Earth for sharing your gifts with us, for nourishing me and offering your strength. Thank you to my blood for returning. Thank you Thank you Thank you.
My midwife said it looked like all the contents were there and that the process went well. I wasn’t bleeding any more than I usually do when I have my moon. My friends and I gathered to share a meal together. The bowl remained on the altar until I felt ready to put it in the freezer to bury later. At some point a few girls and I went outside to dance/hug/shake off some energy. I asked them to cover me while I peed on the Earth and another piece of membrane came out. I gathered it and put it in the bowl. It felt complete.
I felt in awe of my experience, my path, and the support I had. I dreamed up ways to support people in making this choice and holding ceremonies for them if they wished. I learned from my midwife of other simple ways to be of service, by picking people up from the airport, to/from appointments, being with them, serving them meals, finding them a safe place to stay and so on. I learned there are people out there who raise money to help get people that want an abortion transportation tickets, money for the clinic, a temporary place to sleep, and get them back home safely. I appreciate the kind hearted people that help out in these situations and I would also like to be of service to those in need.
I felt radiant and at peace for the next couple days. I was exhilarated by my birth, my journey, my initiation into abortion doula work. Grateful my body was healthy, and that it went so well. On the second night the crying spells began. It wasn’t grief or regret. It felt like lost emotions were coming through. I realized it could be my hormones processing not just postpartum but the effects of the herbs I took for so long.
I began a new protocol, taking certain herbs to support my liver, my hormones, and my energy overall. Primarily a decoction (a strong simmer of herbs) consisting of dandelion root and burdock root to support my liver in healing and detoxing from the herbs I had taken. A tincture for my liver made from Milk Thistle Seed. And a formula from Wish Garden called “Baby Blues” to support my mood/hormones in postpartum.
I bled on and off for two months. I got checked for any issues but nothing was wrong. I saw my acupuncturist, who knew my journey, and she supported me with some spots to stop bleeding, the bleeding stopped the next day. Looking back I think I didn't give myself enough time to slow down/rest.
When Carmen had time for me again we continued the womb massages, now more gently. I felt supported and held in the container with her, her baby, and the helping spirits. Her baby was present for each session. It was a gift to have her there, a tiny healer offering laughter and play.
Carmen had initially planned to support me with a fire ceremony where we would invite my friends and we would pray together to call upon my blood and a successful termination. We still gathered together but now with gratitude for the healthy birth. My friends wrote notes for me to read when I felt down, notes of the strength they saw in me. We gave offerings to the fire and shared a meal together.
“You are so strong and powerful. I am so proud of you and the path that you walk.”
“I am inspired by your trust in the wisdom of your body, your deep intuitive sense and your embodiment of the wise woman who trusts her inner sight.”
“Your choices are helping women all over the world to be empowered.”
“I am beyond words with how proud I am with you, you are so strong, graceful and loving.”
“You are woman, woman is a goddess, createss, the one who sustains, births and destroys. The cycle of life resides in your body. You hold the power.”
“Your heart centered choices make your ancestors proud.”
When I was nearing 2 months postpartum I did a closing of the bones with Carmen. I had received a womb massage/healing session from Carmen and she wrapped me up tight in blankets with prayer and intention. She left me to process alone and I let the tears flow. Tears of gratitude, tears of release, tears of awe for this body and what she can do. The intention behind the closing of the bones ceremony is to seal the portal that was opened during birth. To bring the birth giver back to their body. A symbol of closure.
I’m grateful for the initiation into this realm of work, and happy to share my story and wisdom. I’ve buried the remains in a small ceremony with my husband under a rose bush in my garden. What we thought would be pink roses ended up being white.
I’m reminded that postpartum is forever. As I sit to write this tears flow freely remembering the journey, the support, the intensity, and the prayers that enveloped this time in my life. I have deep respect for this work. For the midwives and healers that carry this work behind the shadows, a link to the wisdom of our ancestors and the plants. I would like to offer some suggestions for those that find themselves on this path, so that they have guidance and support on their journeys.
Working with the baby spirit:
Some thoughts that were shared with me along the way:
Baby spirit may be in/out of the realm of your womb during the pregnancy. They aren’t in there fully until sometime afterwards. (This may soothe the spirit of those working through the religious guilt and shame around abortions).
Those cells in your body forming life are yours! They are a part of you and you get to decide what you wish to do with them, what you want to do with your body, what processes you want to go through or not.
We choose so many adventures for ourselves in between lives, some spirits might choose to experience the womb for a short amount of time, or to be born for a single breath then go. I’m not sure how to explain it but we as spirits sign up for a vast range of experiences. My baby spirit may have just wanted to be around me and watch me go through my experience for one reason or another.
If it feels in alignment here are just some of the things you can do with baby spirit to build relationship:
Create an altar for them with flowers, water, candles, incense, etc.
Write letters to them
Talk to them spirit to spirit - let them know this is not the right time for them to come through, give them the option to wait until you are ready in this lifetime or if they prefer they can find another family to come Earthside with.
Mother/Parent - you may wish to continue conversing and creating altars for this spirit long after your abortion/miscarriage. Some believe that we are forever linked, you are a parent to this spirit regardless of them being here in the flesh.
At the simplest you can let them know your intentions so they have that awareness.
Trust that they are not angry or upset, some believe that on their realm they are non-judgmental and understanding
Working with Plants:
If you’re interested in working with plants for this purpose I want to encourage you to build relationship with the plants beforehand if possible. Find the plant; bring the offerings (tobacco, dried flowers/herbs, cornmeal, something meaningful). Sit with them, introduce yourself, sing to them, talk to them. These are the ancient ones, our plantcestors, they are here to help us but please try and work with them in right relationship (with them and the Earth).
Tell them your intentions, and ask for their permission before harvesting.
Herbal protocols will work the best during the earlier windows of conception/pregnancy or in combination with medication.
If your plants are already dried or processed you can still dialogue with them and connect to them. Thank them for getting to you.
Throughout your process thank them, talk to them, call upon them when you go to sleep to work with you in your dreamtime. Enchant your medicines (teas, tinctures) with prayer, charge them up on your altar, always remain respectful. The plants are willing to work with us, but we have to call upon their spirit in a loving way.
Ideas for yourself during this process:
Take moments to center yourself. Meditate, breathe, move, dance, whatever works for you to help you clear your mind and energy.
Pray, ask for support from your loved ones, well ancestors, compassionate helping spirits, angels, spirit, God, whatever feels right for you. I felt called to pray to the midwives that were here before us guiding this way.
Set up altars, an opportunity for you to sit with your feelings and connect with the Earth and elements by giving offerings. I offered my moon blood that I had collected months before to the Earth, I offered flower blessings, tobacco and herbs throughout this time. It can be a simple act of laying flowers on the ground or as complex as building a mandala, sitting with the Earth, singing, or creating ceremony with friends.
Seek out those around you that might be comfortable supporting you through this, by just sitting with you or being present for any appointments or ceremonies.
Collect the remains (baby, embryo, collection of cells) and bury them under a tree or a plant. A place you can come to visit. An offering to the Earth for supporting you during this time.
************ The herbs and processes listed in my story were what I was meant to work with. I sincerely hope that you are able to find the plants and resources you need to do this in your own specific and special way. There are wonderful resources that I will list below that I hope you can find even before becoming pregnant to have time to connect with certain plants or methods that you would want to use. Herbs are best used earlier in the pregnancy, as they will work more efficiently.
Herbal Abortion Zine
Earth Mama Medicine Youtube
Contact: Mariamor - email@example.com, IG: @Sweetmedicinemariamor