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 106°F August day and then driven home without 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
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, my husband Daniel 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.