The idea of postpartum henna has fascinated me for years! I first read about the idea in Catherine Cartwright Jones article over 12 years ago and decided to start creating this kind of work myself. The image below is from 10 years ago!
The article begins:
"Hennaing a woman after she gives birth is a traditional way to deter the malevolent spirits that cause disease, depression, and por bonding with her infant. The action of applying henna to a mother after childbirth, particularly her feet, keeps her from getting up to resume housework!"
Women have been doing this for each other, in some form or another, for thousands of years. It was wonderful to celebrate pregnancy with henna, and there was something really something special about celebrating with women once they were on the other side of this massive life transformation.
This photo (above) is from a recent postpartum celebration that happened this winter. I traveled to this new family's home and spent about 3 hours adorning the new Mother and Father, and also both grandmothers. They returned to the studio for more photos after a few days for more photos. This is the same couple that celebrated their pregnancy - see photos of that here.
I am one artist recreating the tradition to the best of my ability, but it's really inspiring to take a look at how other cultures do this. I saw this video and just watching it, knowing women are treated with this kind of respect after birth, really filled my heart with joy. This is how women deserve to be treated after the massive transformation into Mother! (photos of video above & below)
To see other postpartum celebrations I've done, check out these blog posts:
Newborn henna celebration and another mama and one more mama.
A few weeks old
One mama celebrates both pregnancies and both postpartum periods with henna!
To see more of my postpartum henna art work, check out my books! I have 6 volumes that showcase the ART of honoring pregnancy and postpartum!
I also wrote a few Postpartum Articles for Artfull Mother Magazine:
Spring 2016 issue
Postpartum henna is something that happens (traditionally) in the first few days or weeks after birth. However, some women give birth wearing their pregnancy henna, which is a different kind of special art!
Want to know more? Check out my 2019 Spring Art Update.