The Birth Blessing
(click on pix for larger view)
How can I tell you about the birth blessing? Well first, let me say that a birth blessing is kind of the polar opposite of a baby shower. Some times people bring gifts, but it's not about things, it's about love and blessings, and it's just my style. After years of infertility, and many painful baby showers, the last thing I really wanted was one of my own. And besides, we already have SO MUCH STUFF that was handed down or bought second hand, that we really didn't need people to buy us things, but to send us love. Oh... and love we got.... by the truckloads. From near and far, from known and unknown..... love love love. It's enough to make a girl cry. Oh... we did that too. And my amazing friend and doula Jackie put the whole thing together for me. I have never felt so loved, and so special. Thank you thank you thank you. You are truly an amazing friend.
First, Mona, (Dr. Mona to some) the naturopath i work with, who is also a wonderful friend, and an indian godess, came to do henna on my belly. All pregnant women must do this. It's amazingly fun, and even though I needed help getting up from the chair, it was very relaxing. Of course, the baby was going crazy kicking and rolling around for Mona, which made her job a little difficult, but she is a rock star, and it came out beautifully. i think that anything you can do to adorn yourself while pregnant should be done. It's one time in your life when you are such an amazing vessel, and even when you don't feel so beautiful, you truly are... and you should enhance and enjoy it!
Mona, the Henna Master!
Yes, I'm really that goofy!
here is the finished product!
While we were doing the Henna, women started arriving, and so did the food. OH GOD THE FOOD. Turkey Enchiladas that are to die for (ala Jackie, the mastermind behind the event), veggie casserole, home made salad rolls (by Joi), salad (ala mona), chocolate covered strawberries (mmmmmmm Theresa!) and so many other goodies, I can't even tell you. Wine flowed for those who were able to partake, and the rest of us had delicious juices, tea and of course... water, every pregnant woman's favorite cocktail ( at least mine! ) Of course I didnt' get a pix of the food spread, which is sad, because frankly it was beautiful!
Once everyone was fed, and watered, the blessings began. Each woman took her turn and read her blessing for me (sigh! For me!!) and gave the bead to go with it, and then did the same with a blessing and bead for the baby. I have hosted and planned many birth blessings, but having one thrown for you is so amazing. So very amazing to have people give you their kindest most sincere words in a blessing.
We went around the circle, and everyone shed a tear at some point (some many many more than others, Jo). Some of the highlights...Laurel told everyone that motherhood was all about the lion king (of course there was an explanation, and everyone was weeping) , jo cried at everything, Joi brought the traditional Navajo blessing (a blesssing way is the tradtitional Navajo name of this ceremony, but since i'm not navajo, we chose to call it something else, and just use some ideas from a blessingway).
Theresa giving a bead
Overview of everyone
Lyn chose a bead that she felt her mom Joan would have picked (joan just passed away a few months ago).
Erin reading a blessing.
Blessings were sent from all over from knitting bloggers I've never 'met' and women who have also dealt with infertility. From friends I haven't seen in ages, to family on the other side of the country. From co-workers who i've known for years, and some I've known for months. People who have touched my life, and who will continue to touch my life and this baby's life. Again, I felt so lucky, so special, and so very very loved. I am again, amazed at the generousness of the internets, and the love that people are willing to give and share. This life is a humbling experience.
After the beads were strung and blessings were said the final part of the ceremony was done. A read rope is bound around each womans left wrist by the woman to the left of her, and then this quote was read
"From women we were born into this circle, from women we were born unto this earth".
Then the rope is cut, and each woman wears the red rope around her wrist until the baby is born, as a way to tie all of our energies together, and to support the woman in labor. Also, everyone takes a candle as they leave, to light when labor starts (I think Jackie bought long buring candles. ;) ).
My mom ended up being sick and not able to attend (horrible allergies, and I knew my cats would make her worse, so she had to stay home) and so did my BFF De. We've been friends since we were nine, and as much as it broke my heart she couldn't be there, her little babe was barfing, and we all know a sick babe comes first, no matter what. ((cause she's a great mommy!)) However, mom put her beads in the mail, and De was able to meet someone else coming from Tacoma area to bring her beads and gift. Sigh. When you've known someone for almost 20 years, they really do know how to make you cry, you know?
She made these cute candy blankets ((um, i LOVE DOTS) and sent a great baby memory book set. (which means I'll have to actually do something with it!).
She also sent this gorgeous piece that says on the back "I may never paint a masterpiece or wriet a novel or sing on stage,orchestrate world peace. But when i look at you, I know you are my masterpiece, you are music from heaven, you are my peace." yeah... that made everyone cry.
As everyone reading this blog knows, our path getting to this place was a long, difficult, and relatively painful one (both physically and emotionally!). We isolated ourselves many times from others to avoid pain and trauma and because of that we lost many friends along the way who weren't able to understand what we needed, or who just couldn't support us because of their own busy lives. Although losing friends is hard, as I looked around the circle of women in my living room this weekend (those that were there physically, and also those that had sent their love and blessings through the mail, email or just the heart) I realized how lucky I truly am. Every woman there at some point has been such a blessing, inspiration, and support to me (and ryan). Sometimes it was a shoulder to cry (or weep profusely) on, or just an ear to hear me rage and complain about the injustice of it all. Sometimes it was a meal delivered while on bedrest, or just a friend to knit away an afternoon in silence with. Sometimes it was just a person to be with who wouldn't make me feel like they felt sorry for me. I looked around the room and saw many friends who had held my hand, held me up, and held up their end of the bargain of friendship.... to just be. I felt supported, loved, and understood. I knew that many of these women have had to deal with me when I was sad and bitter beyond words, and yet they had never judged me for it, and they never took it personally. I was amazed at the love and respect that I was given, and for the tremendous hearts my friends have. Again and again, I am amazed at the generousness of those around me, and the milk of human kindness. I hope that I am half of the friend that these women are to me. My life, is very very full of love.
Other gifts will be posted over at Knitting Zen, cause this entry is already pretty pix heavy!