Warning: this post is long and sentimental. Please read if you are: a) a birth junkie, b) are pregnant, c) interested in obtaining knowledge of Mother Blessing celebrations, or d) just want to!
The night began when I wished Eric and Ella off for the evening.
I stood waving in the driveway. Breathed a relaxed yet excited exhale. Tonight was my night. Guests would be arriving in roughly a half hour.
Going inside, I surveyed the surroundings. Dishes put away, counter wiped, plates, forks and glasses set out on the counter. I walked around the house checking for anything out of place. It looked good.
Finishing touches on hair and makeup, then upstairs to get dressed. After thinking about this night all day, I had an exact outfit in mind. Black leggings, black tube top, (which is actually a long belly band) and the lacy purple shirt over it. My new home birth necklace from Moon Over Maize was the perfect addition, and seemed most appropriate for the occasion.
The first guest arrived.
Melissa. I was glad she was there first. We’ve known each other since before I became pregnant with Ella – the oldest friend who would be attending. I was calm in her presence. She brought over homemade truffles, my mother’s exercise ball that both she and I used during our labors, as well as a newborn carseat to borrow (score!).
Cathie got there next. The friend I have known the shortest. She’s so sweet. Seemed so genuinely excited to be there. We stood in the kitchen and chatted. My doula Jessica and Beth were right around the corner.
With their arrival, the celebration began to progress. Desserts and drink were placed on the counter, and Jessica moved to the table with the ease and confidence of someone both accustomed to and graceful at leading a group.
I gave the ladies a tour of my home.
They ooo’d and ahhh’d, commenting on the various locations that would be nice to give birth. The jacuzzi tub upstairs was a particular hit. Someone said I could rent it out, which followed with “your house could be the new birth center!”
Greetings were heard between Chelsie and Jessica. I walked down to receive a beautiful prayer plant and big hug. I met Chelsie through Jessica’s recommendation about two months after Ella was born. She was planning a home birth and was expecting her baby to arrive any day when I called her on the phone to offer my support. We had never officially met, but I felt drawn to connect with her. I shared my recent home birth story with her that night and we’ve been friends ever since. Her prenatal yoga class got me whipped into excellent pregnancy shape!
We made our way into the living room and Jessica began guiding our ceremony.
First things first – introductions. Our name, who were the mother of, and the name of our mother, her mother and hers, as far back as we could remember.
Next, she directed our attention to a pile of smooth river stones on the table. “Sit quietly and think of a word that you would like Kaitlin to have before and during her labor. When you’re ready, write that word on one of these stones and tell us what your word means.”
Melissa: Believe – believe in yourself.
Chelsie: Dance – dance your way through birth.
Beth: Release – release your mind and body.
Cathie: Baby – this is the first time you and your baby will work together.
Jessica: Peace – I wish your family peace during this birth and your transition into a family of four.
They were all so beautiful, I have to share (I told you this would be long!).
Birth Blessing by Natalie Evan,read by Melissa
“Close your eyes and breathe deep.
Breathe in peace, breathe out pain.
Imagine your feet -
toes curling in dirt…
think if yourself as rooted;
think of your place in the Earth.
How did you come to be here?
Through generations of women named -
a maternal lineage
that brought you to this place.
Think of their birth stories.
Realize their births carry deep wisdom.
Some may carry the memory of joy and transcendence…
Each birth is a powerful experience.
Each birth traces down to you.
Just as you pass this knowledge on to your baby,
understand that your birth is your own.
It will be different from all others.
Like the swirls in your thumb,
your birth will have a unique pattern
unfolding with each contraction,
rising and falling like a newborn’s chest.
This birth belongs to you:
it is an opening;
it is the end and a beginning.
May this blessing of birth come to you without fear.
May this blessing of birth come to you with great understanding.
May this blessing of birth come to you and make your heart soar.
May this blessing of birth bring shouts of delight to your lips.
Blessings to you and your birth.”
“Moms aren’t just those gals that do the birthing – they are also the stepmothers, mentors, teachers, friends and people who do the nurturing and loving. I am talking about the women in our lives who teach, care, listen, act, hug, wipe away the tears, tell us everything is going to be all right, say no, say yes, guide us, who pray and have faith in us.
These special women share the blessings of a mothering spirit as they touch lives and hearts forever. They mother because of their great capacity of love, and they give their generous spirit without expectation.
Mothers get to love with all their heart, they care and nurture another life, sing songs out loud, play make believe, snuggle under the covers, splash in bubble bath, play peekaboo, dance when spirit moves them, carpool, jump in the pool, and do anything it takes to help their child be all they can be.”
Within, by Beth
“You are strong ~
May you know the strength you possess.
You are powerful ~
May you feel the power within you.
You are wise ~
May you gain wisdom from those surrounding you.
You have connection ~
May you trust your intuition.
You breathe birth~
May you let your body take over.
You are beautiful ~
May you have just the birth you were meant.
You believe ~
May you always Trust the Process.”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Cathie chose this quote for me because she thinks of me when she reads it, which I consider an incredibly high compliment. Thank you Cathie.
Chant of the Pregnant Goddess
by Jana McCarthy, read by Jessica
The geometry of my shape shifts
from gentle curved lines
to expanding circles:
earth, moon, sun.
I am powerful.
I am strong.
The tempo of my vibration quickens,
butterfly wings, to floundering fish,
to beating drum,
the rhythm as old and constant as
the cycles of the sun
and the turn of the tides.
I am powerful.
I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I hold the hope of my ancestors
the knowledge of my time
the fate of my future.
I am powerful.
I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I am mother.”
Each woman lit her candle after she finished reading her blessing.
I cried. I laughed. I felt so loved and honored.
Now it was time to connect one step further.
This was Chelsie’s ritual and gift. She took out a spool of red yarn and asked us to sit close together in a circle. We would wrap a few strands of yarn around our left wrists, each saying a silent prayer for me and my birth while keeping the string connected between us.
“Close your eyes and relax your shoulders. Open your heart. Let a gentle smile spread across your lips. Think of Katie and her birth.”
We cut the pieces between us and tied our bracelets into strong knots. We will wear them until baby has arrived, safe and sound.
Then I received a pregnant goddess massage!
No kidding – Chelsie rubbed my ears, jaw, neck and upper back while Jessica and Beth (the doulas!) each took a foot. They used a clary sage and lavender oil blend that Jessica used on my belly during my labor with Ella.
I was adorned with a daisy crown which
Jessica made for me. I felt like royalty. So pampered and cared for.
We snacked and chatted for the rest of the evening. It couldn’t have been more perfect. The perfect ladies in attendance, perfect poems, perfect guidance and time spent together.
I wish every expectant mother could receive a Mother Blessing ceremony.
While baby showers put focus on the baby and emphasis on gifts, a Mother Blessing honors the mother, and the baby in which the mother will be bringing into the world. It is my firm belief that mothers deserve to be honored and highly appreciated for this task.
Do the honors and host a Mother Blessing celebration for a friend. I hope you got some good ideas from this post.