Since my last posting a lot of positive vibes have been thrown my way and I am feeling a lot better about where we are and where we are headed. This past weekend I held a mother blessing for a good friend who is due with her second baby any day now. If you’ve never attended a mother blessing, I highly recommend it. A mother blessing is a celebration for the mother-to-be, the process of childbirth, and the transition into motherhood. It can have prayers, or not. It can have different art projects, a gift for the mother to symbolize the power of childbirth and becoming a mother, or not. Really, it can have anything in it as long as it honors the mama-to-be. Of the blessings I’ve hosted, it always ends with our unity string, where we tie one unbroken string around our wrists until we make a giant circle. The hope is to leave the lasting image of the circle of women who support us. We then cut the string between each woman and then make them into bracelets, which we each wear until the baby is born. I love the idea of women walking around wearing matching bracelets, totally ordinary to those we pass but to us, it means power and love. It is our own secret; the secret of birth and motherhood. One woman this weekend quoted the famous midwife, Ina May Gaskin. “There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ they would brag about it. So should we.” How true is this phrase!
Truly, I can’t think of a better way to help get an expectant mother into a positive frame of mind for the birth and beyond. In my mother’s group we started having them when we were pregnant with our seconds and since then I’ve held quite a few for mothers in my various circles. For me, this mother blessing was exactly what I needed to get excited about my own pregnancy. Seeing my friend literally glowing – I don’t know what is more beautiful than a pregnant woman, honestly – and brimming with hope and excitement to meet her baby….the image is so powerful and I plan on carrying that image with me for the rest of my life. I met this woman years ago at a La Leche League meeting when she was pregnant with her first child. She ended up having an unpreventable traumatic birth that left her with a lot of residual emotions and pain. She attended my birth trauma support group and it was during this group that she announced her current pregnancy. Over the years I’ve seen her work through a lot of the frustration, fear, and disappointment and literally come out on top. She is an inspiration; a model of the power of positive thinking and honesty and I am honored to know her.
Whether or not you’ve had a ‘traumatic’ birth, most expectant mothers can empathize with other mamas’ feelings of fear, frustration, and possible feelings of inadequacy and unpreparedness. Regardless of first birth or fifth birth, there is probably a point during your pregnancy at which you’ll feel at least one of these things, and that’s okay. I live by the motto of, “Feel it, acknowledge it, learn from it, and release it.” I don’t know if it’s necessarily the healthiest way to deal with these ‘heavier’ emotions surrounding childbirth and motherhood, but it’s helped me so far.
I wondered how my view of childbirth would change by my involvement with my birth trauma support group. At first I was nervous that I would take on the emotions of the women I’ve met and somehow try to fix them. In the beginning, I was sad by the stories but as the months went on and I saw the evolution of these women, I was inspired. I still am inspired by them and how far they have come in their own healing and I am grateful to be a part of their transformations. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am honored to have the women in my life that I do. Thank you to all of you for being my inspirations.
Follow up from last week: At our 20-week ultrasound this week, Baby-San was being more than helpful and didn’t leave anything to the imagination. Even though I went into the ultrasound not wanting to know, my husband and I knew before the tech even said it. She was nervous because she knew we saw it but hey, there’s no hiding the goods sometimes, especially since he was holding on to it. So, let it be known, another bouncing baby boy will be joining us this winter. I’m so glad we have a padded play room.