A few months ago I witnessed my first “Churching”—a liturgy said for a new mother when she returns to church, usually 40 days after the birth of her child. Often it is done just before the child’s baptism. The mother waited with her infant daughter at the back door of the church, facing the iconostasis. The priest came and read the Churching prayers and then led them and their friends and family forward to the baptismal font set in front of the royal doors. Churching follows a long tradition of purification prayers for new mothers used in both the Christian East and West, but they have fallen out of use in some places because people are ambivalent about what these prayers mean, particularly references to the woman’s uncleanness and sin.