April 16, 2024

Motherhood and Water

Written by Grace

A rememberance of your mother’s nurturing presence keeping you safe as you splashed in the shore break; being mesmerised while building sandcastles with her at the water’s edge; hot summer days spent running under the sprinkler and laughing together as cool water hit warm pavement; jumping into the swimming pool to be caught by her encouraging arms; cool face washers pressed to your forehead during feverish nights; the way she danced, sang and made faces as you giggled in the bubble bath.

For many of us, water is more than just a physical element: it's a conduit for connection.

As a destination cherished for its restorative hot springs, we understand the profound significance of water in nurturing the timeless connection between mother and child. Our wellbeing oasis offers meaningful opportunities for mothers to spend time exploring the magic of bathing with their children, as well as space for self-care and respite.

This Mother’s Day, we’re immersing ourselves in the fascinating relationship between motherhood and water.

mother and child rituals

For thousands of years, mothers have washed their babies in rivers, streams, natural pools and, eventually, baths.

In one way, bathing your child is a totally ordinary and everyday activity — yet in another sense it’s a sacred and beautiful ritual.

There are plenty of other water rituals involving mothers and children: In Indonesia, expecting women are treated to baths containing seven different kinds of flowers as a special blessing for mother and baby. In Finland, the sauna was a common place to give birth up until the 20th Century. And in Nigeria, newborn babies are gently bathed and massaged by their grandmothers soon after birth.

From water births to ocean dips and bath time to swimming lessons, water is at the heart of many enchanting childhood and mothering moments.

the significance of water on the mornington peninsula

Like many coastal communities, the Mornington Peninsula revolves around water. As well as the hot springs, locals are connected by the beaches of Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay — and these water experiences provide important parenting memories, too.

Whether it’s learning to boogie-board or surf at the rugged ocean beaches, marvelling at the wonders hidden in rock pools or spending long, idyllic days swimming in the shallow waters of our bay beaches, water features significantly among families in our community.

bathing with children at peninsula hot springs

At Peninsula Hot Springs, water rituals are brought to life through a variety of bathing experiences. For small children, we have baby baths, bathing barrels and a shallow pool in our ‘Family’ bathing area in the Bath House, while bigger kids have fun lying on the Bubble Spa Couch, exploring the Cave Pool, traipsing across the Reflexology Walk and standing under our outdoor showers.

All of these experiences allow mothers and mother figures to spend time connecting with their children in an environment that’s just as enjoyable for adults as it is for children. Little ones frolic between various intriguing experiences, tiring themselves out so they sleep more soundly when night comes, while mothers immerse themselves in the ancient and profoundly calming ritual of hot springs bathing. This is the equalising and harmonising effect of water.

Gathering at a hot spring also offers time spent away from screens, devices and the stresses of daily life. Instead, children and mothers can engage with nature and find a sense of wonder together. Bathing allows children to connect with playfulness, and mothers to connect with their childhood selves.

water as a journey of self care

Water can provide much-needed rest to exhausted mums. Our Bath House — or tranquil, adults-only Spa Dreaming Centre — are also frequently visited by mothers looking to recapture the peace of solitude, gather with friends or mothers’ groups, or enjoy time reconnecting with their partner.

Geothermal bathing can feel like a full-body sigh. It helps reduce stress, inspires relaxation and improves sleep, among other physical and psychological benefits. It can also be deeply restorative to wander our grounds and explore saunas and steam rooms, foot and hand baths, cold plunge pools and other wellness experiences. There is nothing quite like embarking in a full body scrub using a kese mitt in the hamam, lying back on a hammock with a book under the trees, pausing under the uninterrupted stream of an outdoor massaging shower or sweating it out in a sauna to encourage a sense of renewal.

While we don’t recommend bathing while pregnant, visiting the springs post-partum — with or without your little one in tow — can be restful and healing. You can read more about our postpartum bathing advice here.

And we do, of course, also offer a multitude of other restorative experiences: from massages and other spa treatments to grounding wellness activities, nourishing dining packages and deliciously indulgent private baths.

Ultimately, our connection to water is part of what makes us human. Naturally, this connection flows through the mothering journey too.

To learn more about how water weaves in and out of the parenting journey for two local women, you can read our interview with the duo behind mothering podcast and publication Saint Majella here.

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