When I was pregnant with my first babe in 2001, a friend hosted a baby shower for me. It was so sweet and thoughtful, but after it was done I longed for something deeper – a connect with birthing mothers throughout history, a connection with the vital women from my life. I was grateful for the "stuff" that the shower guests provided, but really, more than onesies I needed spiritual guidance for the journey I was embarking on.
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Fast-forward four years, to my second pregnancy. By the time Lupine was on her way I had discovered the ancient tradition of the blessingway. My blessingway before Lupine's birth was magical. I gathered women around me to celebrate and prepare for birth and baby. We made prayer flags, they wove me a flower crown and brushed and braided my hair. We sang songs, told stories, and read poems.
My blessingway was small – just four friends: one first-time mama who was pregnant as well, and three other friends who were my birthing and mothering mentors from Sage's early years. It wasn't all of my girlfriends or all of the important women in my life – just those who's energy I longed to help guide my transition from "Mama of One" to "Mama of Two".
This weekend the friend who attended my blessingway pregnant three years ago celebrated her second blessingway with a group of women friends. Most were mamas and all had much to give. We gathered in the yard beneath the tent, shared positive mothering and birthing stories, and gave of ourselves to this woman we care so much about.
We pampered her with scented massage to remind her to receive the gifts that mothering brings and to remind her that in the coming months we are here for her – to listen, to serve, to hold space for her. We gave her written and verbal promises of the help we will give as her family grows – for baby-holding, dessert-making, toddler-sitting, dinner-cooking, hot-tubbing, and many loving arms, listening ears, and strong shoulders to support her journey.
We shared food (including this luscious pregnant mama cake!) and drink, our stories, many laughs, and a few tears.
As we sat in the shade and created a gift for the baby with our many hands, I reflected on how important community and connection is to mothers, and to the rest of us. We are bound together and supported by each other, and our communities are only as strong as the support we offer to one another. These celebrations are a part of that fabric of support.
In this journey that is motherhood I find myself comforted by these rituals and celebrations that we shape our lives around. Old and new intertwined, forming the rhythm of these days.