Becoming a mother changed me. Looking into the eyes of my bonnie, healthy babes makes me want more for the world, more from myself. I constantly wish I could do better, be more, give more generously. I think back to me, pre-motherhood. I am completely unsure what I did with minutes, then. I had so many of them, and I just wasted them! And to have been so emotionally cavalier...nowadays it is a struggle to read the news. The most shocking part of entering motherhood, for me, was how utterly unprepared I was, for the whole thing. For the breathtaking love, for the deep confusion, for the overwhelming protective instinct, for the involuntary guilt reflex, for the dark fears.
My first two pregnancies came and went without any celebration. I've always been wary of baby showers...something about counting chickens before they hatch...after having lots of difficulty conceiving, I guess I felt overly superstitious.
Preparing for the birth of our third baby, I had been attending prenatal yoga classes, where I had heard the mention of a blessingway as an alternative to a modern baby shower. With this being our final baby, I felt the time was right for a celebration of motherhood and birth. I invited my closest women for a simple gathering, a week before the baby was due to be born. I decorated a wall with photos that captured motherhood for me.
My mother, sister, mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law and dear friends shared birth stories- some I knew, some I didn’t. Incredible tales of love, triumph, loss and pain. I lit my large candle with my wish for this baby’s birth, and my women lit a smaller one, offering their wishes too. Later, they would each light their small candle, when news of labour arrived.
Each of these beautiful women brought a bead which, woven together, formed the most treasured necklace, to wear for strength during birth. Beautiful beads came from far and wide- a surprise package even arrived from my dear online friends overseas.
We each tied a red string onto our wrist, binding us together. The string would be cut with news of the baby’s safe arrival.
Everyone brought a plate to share, and this mishmash menu was a most welcome meal after such emotional outpouring.
Throughout the birth, and beyond, I have carried the strength, wisdom and love given to me on that day. A day of many blessings.
To the new mamas, mamas-to-many, grandmothers, and mamas-to-be: many blessings for mother's day. To my beautiful mama (that's her, in the photo up there, holding me), thank you.