Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Back in February, a few weeks prior to the birth of beautiful baby girl, my amazing, gracious, wonderful friend Austin threw me a mother's blessing, or blessingway. I know this is a little late, but Jen already wrote such a beautiful blog post on the afternoon that I completely forgot that I never did. A mother's blessing is: 

"...a special ceremony designed to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate a woman's journey into motherhood. Surrounded by some of the most important women in her life she will gain a sense of power, confidence, and support that will help her before, during, and after the birth of her child."

A Navajo tradition that has been commandeered by the hippie-granola crowd of young mothers in my generation, a mother's blessing celebrates a woman at a pivotal moment in her life: bringing forth a new child into this world. When I told Austin what I had heard about blessingways, she was completely on board with being the thrower of the gathering, and she bought a book on the subject and made the event one I will never forget.

I invited a few close friends whom I knew would appreciate the slightly pagan and ritualistic feel of the afternoon. I am so happy we kept it a small gathering, though we missed a few people (Ani and Sara V. and Melissa, especially), the women who did come all have beautiful, free spirits who all love and appreciate the mystic and magic of the pregnant female body and the joy and sanctity of birth.

Charla assisted Austin in the planning and execution of my blessingway, namely bringing delicious and healthy food choices (as well as photographing the event, see below). We gorged ourselves on mangoes and blood oranges and oatmeal-flaxseed cookies.

We began the afternoon by sprinkling salt water on ourselves to cleanse ourselves from the outside world, entering the room in the order of our own births. We chanted prayers to the mother goddess:

 "She is earth herself, her body reflecting mountains and valleys, fields and rivers. Her palpable sensuality is a celebration of physical existence. She represents the waves of primordial waters from which all life and consciousness arise... She is peaceful in her body and her truly miraculous power--as woman, as earth--to create life."

We then threw herbs in the fire to burn up our fears (mine included my newborn baby being taken away from me right after birth, a fear that was fortunately not realized post-Tallulah's birth).

After we dispelled our fears and rid ourselves of negative energy, I was presented with gifts from all of my lovely friends. They were all perfect, and included beautiful, soft blankets (which we have used every day since she was born), a gorgeous handknit winter cap (can't wait to use it in Madison), and various play items to keep Atticus occupied while I was taking care of Tallulah (which I definitely pulled out of the closet during the move when Tallulah was a few weeks old!) I was so ecstatic to receive such personalized and thoughtful gifts that I love so much from women and mothers that I love so much (I am especially also excited for Charla's gift, not yet received, which will be a printing of a  beautiful poem to be hung on Tallulah's bedroom wall, reminding her of the power and glory of womanhood).

Everyone also brought a bead to string together in a necklace for me to wear during the birthing. I wore it the entire time, and it helped me have a focal point during the intense contractions during the end. I kept it, and I plan on making it into a bracelet or necklace for Tallulah when she gets a little older. The beads are beautiful, and melded together perfectly on the flaxen cord Austin strung them on.

After I opened the gifts, everyone gathered around my chair and I received some much-appreciated pampering. Austin was a little nervous when she was planning the blessingway, and kept asking me if I would feel awkward to have my guests rub my feet and do my hair. I said HECK, NO! Bring it on. It was amazing, and I would gladly do the same for any of my friends on the verge of birthing. I. loved. every. minute. of. it.

Post pampering session, we did more sacred rituals to prepare ourselves for the impending arrival of Tallulah, and to connect ourselves in such a way as to involve my friends in the birth. The women formed a phone tree, in which everyone was notified when I was in labor, and would again be notified when Tallulah arrived. We also wove string around our wrists and made matching bracelets, that we would wear until Tallulah was born (which we all did minus Tallia, who had to have nose surgery a few weeks later). I loved having a symbolic reminder of the love that surrounded me during this time, and I knew that my friends were thinking about me and Tallulah every time they looked at their wrists. All the women there also took home a candle to light when I was in labor, to send their positive energy and prayers for the safe and beautiful birthing.

Following the beautiful ceremony Austin prepared, my wonderful cousin Nessa came and bestowed upon us her talent and gift for henna. It was probably my favorite part. I loved my henna belly, and it made me love my pregnant body even more than I did before. It gave me power in the coming weeks, and quite frankly, made me feel dang sexy. I would recommend a hennaed belly to any pregnant woman who is feeling large and unattractive.

"We are the flow, we are the ebb, we are the weavers, we are the web."

Tallia expelling her deepest, darkest fears

Nessa is seriously amazing

How adorable is this little hat!? Organic cotton, knit by Raquel

Atticus went bowling with Tim, Jon, Alice and Harrison; he came home and got a cool dino tattoo

Birthing necklace

Jen's gift: activities for Atticus

The final prayer before we departed each other's company was uplifting and inspiring:

"Today we have succeeded in forming a beautiful, sacred space for Caitlin's blessing. The power of the feminine spirit has been unveiled in each of us today. Let us stay connected to Caitlin, creating a cradle of support, as she awaits her birthing day and beyond, as she learns to mother her new baby. This has been a powerful day."

Yes, yes it was.


  1. I love this. I'm going to try and do some for my friends out here.

  2. Love. Feeling connected to other women during this decidedly femenine time of life is amazing. I was surprised the first time around, how connected I felt to my mother and grandmothers and all women in general. I have this idea of a female "great spirit" of sorts that ties us all together. Henna is awesome!

  3. What a lovely description. And your henna belly is absolutely beautiful!

  4. Love your henna! And no stretch marks?!

  5. I'm obsessed with blessingways. I think every pregnant woman should be so honored.

  6. I love this so much! I wish I could have been there to honor you! Your hair and henna were gorgeous!