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You’re Invited (And I’m The Guinea Pig)

Affiliate Disclosure | in Motherhood | by | with 121 Comments

You're Invited (And I'm The Guinea Pig_

I Showed Up To My Sixteenth Birthday Party In A Bra

Oh yes I did.

To clarify, it was a sports bra, and if you’d spent the afternoon rock climbing on a 106F August day and then driven home in a car with no A/C you probably would have, too.

Especially if, er, you didn’t know your 30 closest friends were waiting for you at home with a giant chocolate cake to smash in your face.

For my seventeenth birthday I was thrown into the back of a van and taken camping – the next year was a reprisal of friendly kidnapping followed by a lakeside BBQ. You’re seeing the theme here, right?

Personality wise, I am more likely to give up indoor plumbing at 38 weeks pregnant than throw myself a party. Ironically, I just did the plumbing thing (don’t ask!), and now I’m going to do the second. It’s an unbaby shower of sorts, and OF COURSE you’re invited!

Happening Today: A Mommypotamus Mother Blessing

Mamas, I’ve told you this before, but I seriously love you. If it weren’t for you I’d just be some crazy woman concocting ferments alone in my kitchen, but you have surrounded me with a community that continually inspires me – not to mention making me laugh pretty often! Though I don’t need any more stuff for babypotamus, I would love the gift of your presence as I prepare for his/her arrival. Since I can’t invite you all over, I’m asking you to join me today for a virtual blessingway.

What Is A Blessingway?

A Blessingway is a Navajo tradition that focuses on nurturing the mother – “filling her cup” if you will – before she gives birth. I’ve been wanting to write about it since I was invited to one last year, but hadn’t really considered making myself a guinea pig until now. This way you get a crash course in Blessingway basics and a chance to practice before you host one with your friends. Sound good?  Good! Here’s what you need to know:

When mamas gather in real life this time of celebration can take many forms . . .

  • Women sometimes bring a bead to give to the mother-to-be, which is strung into a necklace for her to wear during labor. Often the beads are selected based on the mama’s favorite colors (I love this idea!)
  • Belly painting and henna tattoos are also common. Belly casts are often done as well.
  • Guests usually share a light meal together (each woman brings something to share)
  • Pampering – such as painting mama’s toenails or massaging her hands with pregnancy-safe essential oils – is also not frowned upon
  • And of course, the mama-to-be is showered with kind words, encouragement, and blessings/prayers

(find more ideas here)

For those of us that have close friends/sisters/aunts who live too far away to attend, a virtual Blessingway is a great alternative. It can’t make the miles disappear, but it is a wonderful way to connect with and support each other.

Will You Join Me In This New/Old Community Birthing Tradition?

I know I have been a bit silly in this post, so let me take a moment to switch gears. First of all, let me thank you for the warmth, camraderie and laughter you have all brought to my life. I love you guys – I told you that, right?

If you’d like to participate, now is the time to take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Imagine your lungs massaging your heart as you breathe in, then feel it warm and expand as you exhale. Consider doing this 3 minute relaxation exercise if you’ve been sitting hunched over a computer for too long.

Think about the births of your own children (if you have them), and imagine what you would say to yourself if you could do it over again. If you are not a mama, don’t hang back! Your support and encouragement is most definitely needed here.

Next, share ANYTHING you want to in the comments below, like:

  • A blessing or prayer
  • Your favorite birth quote
  • Words of wisdom/advice
  • Well wishes
  • A story about how you found me (and why you didn’t run away!)

What Happens Next?

After you leave your comment Daddypotamus will select some to read to me during labor for encouragement. If you would like you can also tie a small ribbon around your wrist as a reminder to think of/pray for me during these last few days/weeks. We’ll let you know via my Facebook page when I go into labor – you can cut the cord then and know that we will be doing the same thing soon!

After that, I’ll be sharing an intimate (but not graphic) video from the birth here on Mommypotamus. Thank you guys for celebrating this amazing journey with us!

—-

Note: I have used the term Blessingway because it is the one most commonly used – for those looking for info on hosting a celebration this is the term that will most likely lead them here  for help with ideas. However, it is my understanding that some Navajo prefer for non-Navajo participants to use a different term, like Mother Blessing.

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121 Responses to You’re Invited (And I’m The Guinea Pig)

  1. Erin says:

    For the blessingway of my first child – seven of my close girlfriends gathered at my home, while several of my close women from afar gathered “virtually.” Let me tell you – these are powerful connections! After about one hour together, I went into full blown active labor at 38 weeks. Having the strength of generations of women around me – physically and in spirit – was profound. After a couple of hours, all physical presence was dispersed but the connection spiritually still there. Five hours later, my girl was born healthy and at home.

    I commend you in your strength as a woman and mother, and for calling upon the energy of like-minded women together through your words and your blog – and this virtual Blessingway. All of us, and generations of women before us are here with you as you experience what your body was made to do. As you birth your baby into this world, may you feel this support , encouragement and strength from within. You rock, mama!

  2. Hannah says:

    Dear Heather,
    I don’t remember how I found your blog, but I keep reading because everything is so helpful to me, and I think you are funny and so, so smart!
    When I was in labor with my son, and felt like I couldn’t go on, my husband said, “Our baby can’t wait to meet you!” That gave me the strength to get back at it.
    So I’m saying to you… your baby can’t wait to meet you! keep up the good work!
    God bless you, your baby, and your whole family!
    Hannah

  3. Jenny Brooks says:

    I found you today, when a friend of mine pinned one of you’re posts. :)
    Praying that God wraps you and your family in his warm embrace during this pregnancy and the delivery. I pray for grace and peace and joy!
    I haven’t been here long but I was still encouraged by reading your blog. You got this girl!!

  4. Renee says:

    I am not a Mama but I love the warmth and inviting presence of your website. If I get to be a Mama someday, I know that I will refer to the pages of this website again and again for advice, wisdom, encouragement and lots of recipes! Here is a prayer for you:
    Dear God,
    Thank you for choosing this wonderful woman to be a vessel of life giving force. Make her strong in her contractions and a Warrior as she pushes her child from her womb and out into the waiting arms of a loving Mother, Father and Siblings. Let her recovery be swift and strength restored. Thank you for her and her family and let her light continue to shine among us. Thank you God, for the Gift of Life. Amen.

  5. Molly says:

    Heather,
    For a while, I thought that I didn’t want kids. But God has REALLY changed my view on that and now I’m 13 weeks pregnant! You have been very influential in this process of thought change as I think you are the COOLEST MOM EVER! You have shown me how meaningful and fun mommy hood is. Thank you! I pray blessings and all health for baby #3 and for a speedy birth and recovery.

  6. ( : Kate : ) says:

    Thank you for the joy that you share in nourishing your family; body, mind and spirit!
    As labor draws near and begins to wash over me, I like to think on 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
    Many blessings to you as your prepare to hold your newest little blessing! Maybe God fill you with His peace and joy as you bring a new life into this world… what a privilege!

  7. Crystal says:

    This sounds absolutely lovely. I had been hoping to have a blessingway but as we are moving region when I’m 36 weeks pregnant I had been thinking about having a postal blessingway with my close friends that are being left behind. I really look forward to hearing more about the strength the love of others gives you during your labour. Sending you beautiful, positive birthing vibes.

  8. Diva Goes Organic says:

    I can’t remember how I first found you, but I’m sure glad I did! I learned so much from your site while preparing for my labor and delivery, and I continue to learn more pertinent information as my sweet daughter grows.

    I pray that God blesses you with a fabulous day (or night) as you experience the absolute joy and empowerment of birth! I know you and Daddypotamus and the kids will enjoy adding to your family. I’m very much looking forward to the video that you’ll share with us. My very best wishes!

  9. Rebecca says:

    Heather , you are such an inspiration to so many people, you make such healthy choices for yourself and family! Your strong !

  10. becky says:

    Hey sweet lady! I have often enjoyed the company of your blog posts. Thank you for candidly sharing your journey with us. I know that this sweet child will be a blessing to you. I have three children and each one contributes life and love and their own uniqueness to the family!

    Here is my prayer for you:
    Precious Jesus, I pray that you surround her with your peace. That you will wrap around her in comfort and strength. Be her rock. I pray that her child will be healthy and will bring much joy to his or her family. Amen

    I am excited for the next part of your journey and look forward to hearing about it. Lots of love, Becky Z

  11. Christa says:

    My favorite birth quote:

    “There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” ~ Laura Stavoe Harm

  12. Jesi of MinivanMaverick.com says:

    So blessed to have stumbled upon Mommypotamus while looking for natural help with a fever quite a while ago. You will be awesome and birth that baby with a saucy flair! Sending prayers your way.

  13. Katie says:

    You are currently doing the most beautiful thing anyone can do…giving birth to your new baby. Men can’t do it. Only you. Do you know how special and wonderful you are? You were given this gift so that it may be carried on into future generations. Nothing this great comes without struggle. This pain will pass. As soon as you look into those tiny eyes, it will all disappear. You are so strong, so beautiful, and soon it will all make sense again. You can do this. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Jo says:

    Wishing you a safe and quick labor! I love babies!

  15. Erin from Blue Yurt Farms says:

    You both are so amazingly fabulous, and inspirational. I frequently stumble onto your blog in my journeys around the interwebs, and your posts never fail to make me smile. And this one gave me goosebumps.

    So, as a non-mom, I don’t know the specifics, other than…PUUUUUUUSH, smile, and know that soon you’ll be holding a little person in your arms that will challenge and delight you in the years to come. ::hugs::

  16. Mindy Wood says:

    You are strong. Your body is able. Birth is one of natures greatest miracles. It is the most natural thing your body could do! Let your mind rest while your body does the work.

    Congratulations and I can’t wait to hear about your newest addition :)

  17. Loriel @ Healthy Roots, Happy Soul says:

    Heather and Daniel. I hope today goes easy and the way you want it to be. I had my baby via the conventional route (before I knew better) so it’s hard for me to say anything related to natural births. I can say, however, that I wish you both a safe and easy delivery and I am sending you all sorts of positive vibes your way.

    I can’t wait to see photos!

    I can’t remember how I first found Mommypotamus but when I did, I fell in love! You are such a wonderful woman Heather and I look up to you and how you run your blog. You are an inspiration to all of us!

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