|Earl Grey put in an appearance.|
My friends threw me a mother blessing recently, and it was an amazing experience. Thank you to all of you who attended, in person or virtually! It meant so much to me.
|I am blessed.|
I'm terrible at responding in real time when I'm feeling grateful and moved. Even when I think I'm gushing about a gift, for instance, people will wonder aloud if I really liked it. So I thought I'd write this little post about some of the things that touched me and pass the blessings I received on to you, if you're expecting a baby or will in the future or just need a lift in spirit.
|The fabulous spread!|
I apologize in advance if I mess up who said what or in what order. I don't have a recording of the Google Hangout where most people gave their blessings, so I'm going with my own memory here. I've also tried to respect blogging identities, but anyone in this post can let me know if I've misnamed them and I'll fix it.
|Amy and her red-wrapped wrist|
Amy of Presence Parenting led us in a grounding meditation (great chance to practice my Hypnobabies!) and then told me something I needed to hear: that what I need to birth is already within me. Very Hypnobabies again, actually, and empowering: that my body and my baby are doing exactly what they need to and will birth this baby at the perfect time and in the perfect way.
(This little one is kicking inside me as I write this. "My baby is healthy and safe inside me now," says my Hypnobabies affirmation!)
|The incredible Luschka|
Luschka of Diary of a First Child sent in a video, thinking she wouldn't be on because of the UK time zone difference (though she did end up popping up onscreen, minus a working microphone). It was such a pleasure to hear and see her after having visited her in London this spring — I really feel we'd be dear, daily friends if we lived down the block from each other and wish I could! She talked about how much my blog has inspired her and others to parent consciously, which I share not to pat myself on the back but to point out how much I needed that reassurance right now. I've been feeling like a terrible mother lately through the end of this pregnancy. I've been so tired and hot and uncomfortable, and I feel like I'm just coasting with parenting, waiting for this baby to be born, so I can maybe stop sucking again. Hearing that someone has faith in me to be a good parent to #3 (as well as continuing to be one to #1 and #2) is so significant — I can't even explain that. I've seriously been wondering lately if I'm fit to be a mother at all, so — yeah — it was really important to hear. Sometimes we just need that boost to hear someone admires our parenting and is rooting for us — makes you feel in this together!
|Gretchen, with me photobombing|
Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen (the titular Gretchen!) told me that God has a plan for my family and me — that both my boys were meant to be, and meant to be in my family, and that this next little one is also perfectly meant for us. She said my current kiddos would be amazing big brothers, and that the transition would be smooth and easy. Remember how I said recently I wasn't so worried about this transition from two to three? But just in the past few weeks I've had moments of panic that we'll be ruining everything and depriving our children of the attention and love they need. (Did I mention I'm kind of an emotional mess? Third trimester will do that to ya.) So to hear someone say to me, point blank, it will be fine; your boys will be fine; they'll love their little sibling, and you'll all love each other … well, it means a lot! (And, dude, Gretchen brought not only sweet baby gifts but even big-brother gifts for the boys — they were thrilled!) She also read a quote by Marie Mongan (of HypnoBirthing fame) that you would not pull a butterfly out of a chrysalis before its time, and that therefore we would expect a baby to come out at the right time and the process to be just as perfect and the result just as beautiful. She wishes me lots of butterfly sightings in the next weeks.
|Gretchen passed on her enviable style sense to my kiddo!|
|Love these colors!|
I kept thinking, Goodness, everyone's saying something I need to hear! Cool how things work out that way.
|The first mother blessing I ever attended was Jennifer's for her third!|
(And this was the second mother blessing I'd ever attended!)
Jennifer of True Confessions of a Real Mommy (co-host and cupcake baker) had this amazing point about community: that being part of the Natural Parents Network team and, therefore, a community of natural parents, has meant that she hasn't thrown in the towel on parenting the way she intends. Knowing that you'll have to explain yourself to the people who have your back is instrumental in keeping us all on track. There are plenty of times I think it would be easier to do things more conventionally, whether that's crying it out or forsaking gentle discipline or whatever it is, and it's so encouraging and correcting to have these voices in your life continually who are pulling you toward parenting intentionally and with love and grace. (People like Jennifer, incidentally!) She also told me she noticed a family picture in our home that had a space already vacant, just waiting for this baby to complete it. I thought, Sweet, we can Photoshop the baby in and save money on a new portrait!
|Tribal Mama, with her Hypnotoad avatar|
Tribal Mama is someone I've met and admired first through the Carnival of Natural Parenting, so it was so nice to hear her voice for the first time. (Her camera wasn't working, but she has a lovely profile picture that pulsated and hypnotized me.) She wished me time alone with the baby to connect before the birth, and I was happy to really consider that. I do feel like my Hypnobabies practice gives me some meditation time to home in on this little one, and of course I love feeling the kicks and head-butts inside me (ok, most of the time…), but I want to make more of a conscious effort to really connect. I was thinking, after the birth, too, it would be great to have moments alone with the baby or with just Sam and us, so that this little one gets at least some of the same outpouring of one-on-one attention we've been able to give the other two as newborns.
|Shannon concentrating on wrapping|
Shannon of Pineapples and Artichokes (the gracious hostess of the par-tay) said she wishes for us — and expects — that our birth and subsequent baby days will be full of laughter and jokes and sarcasm. It made me ponder how to incorporate some levity into this labor (I think we did manage last time), and it also made me glad that someone who's become close to me gets me!
Amy of Amy Willa (hey, a titular Amy, too!) had connection troubles way up north in Alaska, so she sent a lovely email blessing. She spoke of living life authentically and consciously, something so significant to me.
|Dionna with an adorable companion|
Dionna of Code Name: Mama was trying her hardest to make me cry. (Ok, it's not hard — again, third trimester here.) Dionna and I have nearly paralleled each other up till now in baby-making and baby-birthing (we both went unassisted last time), and here I am pioneering now with this third, so I'll have to report back and let her know how it goes. (I think a lot of people are wondering.) She had this amazing mnemonic of Cs that she wished me, and two wishes that really struck me were communicating during the birth (a really hard thing to do, I've found!) and connection before and after. And I'm pretty sure she must have meant to wish me cupcakes. I'm assuming that was implied — at any rate, I did go on to have another after we hung up.
|My wrist wrapped and connected to the other women|
Life Breath Present was a fun addition since we've connected a lot online but never face to face (as it were, since we were both on a screen). She wished me a magical birth, and I had this sudden image of whipping the baby out of the water with a flourishing "Ta da!" (That is the joking Shannon foretold.) But I do want a magical birth, and LB Present also reminded me that I am strong, and that I can do this. Even in transition, when my body and mind try to lie to me. She also had a super-long labor once (38 hours, I think she said), so I know whereof she speaks, that sometimes that message of strength can get lost. She said, no matter what the intensity of the labor, remember you are strong. I will remember that. (If you haven't labored before, or don't know or can't remember what natural birthing is like, "intense" is precisely the word I use to describe it. I don't go with "painful," because that's so subjective and reminds me more of broken limbs or waxing delicate parts — we local girls had a discussion about that earlier — but I do need some word to convey how much the sensations really overtake you. So, yes, intense. Whether it's back labor as with Mikko or, um, front labor as with Alrik, it's intense. And the best you can do is ride the waves, not fight them, just soar along on the intensity until it ebbs.) She also gave me permission to put my feet up or have a spa day or spa week if I felt like it. I have been granted a spa week! I made sure to tell Sam.
|I sure did feel pampered that day!|
Erin of And Now for Something Completely Different sent me a video later. I give her plenty of dispensation because she's currently in Japan! Lucky girl. I even enjoyed seeing a Japanese license plate in the back of her video, because I'm a geek like that. She said she looks forward to our addition to our family and that my kids are lucky to have me as a mother. Again, I'm repeating that not because I feel it in my bones right now but because I really need to hear it!
I believe a couple other people were prevented through technical problems from their intention of attending virtually: Lisa of My World Edenwild (who recently had her second) and Marybeth of Natural Mom Reviews. We missed you!
As the blessings were given, each participant wrapped her wrist with red yarn, looping as many times as they had generations of mothers and births they wanted to remember. I looped for my mother who birthed my two siblings and me, both my strong grandmothers (four and five births for them), and then an extra to remember all these wonderful, empowering women (including those of you who weren't able to be there). Your birth stories inspire me and give me hope in having another peaceful birth. We'll keep our red yarn on until this baby is safely Earthside. (My boys are already jealous and want their own, of course!)
|Then we helped each other tie them off.|
Now that I've washed with the yarn on, I love how the wool has felted together. It seems even more symbolic — mothers uniting across generations and years and space, all rooted in the experience of giving birth.
|I love looking down and seeing the bright red.|
Whether you could be there or not, thank you, thank you for your blessings and good wishes on this baby, my body, and the upcoming birth. I really am so touched and humbled and grateful for all the love and support.
|Gretchen, Shannon, & Jennifer|
It's funny, too, because I'd been feeling a little sheepish that I had so few local friends to be invited, and it turns out I have so many, just not all close by! The Google Hangout totally surprised me, because I had no idea people would take time and coordinate multiple time zones to virtually hang out with me. I appreciate your partnership, wherever you are, in keeping me calm and centered as I near this birthing. If you want to wrap your wrist, feel free!
Some more pictures from the day:
|Check out this perfectly beachy quilt Shannon's making for the new baby!|
|It's not a party without games!|
|This is me losing like a good sport.|
|The boys appreciated Gretchen's big-brother gifts …|
|… and Jennifer's leftover cupcakes!|
|Who doesn't love a sock monkey book!|
|This boy sure is happy!|
|Alrik got right to work on the painting books that are sure |
to keep them amused when I'm handling newborn duty!
I'm looking right now at the place the birth tub will be set up in our bedroom, and I'm just so excited. A little scared, sure, but thrilled at the thought of meeting this baby and having a wonderful, warm, peaceful birth.
Thank you all for your blessings, and many blessings on you as well!