"You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours."
Anne Wilson Schaff

 

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Later pregnancy & conception posts (on Narrating kayoz)

 

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Ocean View Verandah

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Saturday 16 March 2002
10:40pm

It's Saturday night and I should probably be going to bed, but I have just had the most lovely evening and I wanted to write about it right away.

My friend Julia organised a 'baby and mother blessing' for me, which is sort of like an alternative to a baby shower. Unfortunately, it being a long weekend in Canberra, a lot of people were away so it was very small, but it was lovely to have those few women here and know that I have their support for the coming months (and years).

I want to record the things we did, partly for my own pleasure and memory, but also because it was so nice for me and might be something others would like to do.

To start with, Julia set the place up beautifully. It was here at my home (Chris went out), but when Julia arrived she asked me to entertain myself somewhere else in the house while she set up the room and told the others what to expect. She brought with her roses from her garden, already in two vases, and asked me for a nice piece of material for the middle of the room to put things on. I gave her a beautiful silk scarf which she used to cover a little coffee table and dragged it to the middle of the room.

On the table she had the flowers, a lovely blue bowl she filled with warm water, rose petals and rose and lavender essential oil, and some lit candles. The candles were one from each of the people who came. The idea is that I can burn them during labour (and I can even take them to the birth centre though they can only be lit in the bathroom) and know that these people are thinking of me.

We started out with Julia setting the scene by talking about how they'd all come here tonight to bless me and the baby and honour me and offer their support. Then Julia had everyone introduce herself in terms of her female parentage and who, if anyone, she was mother to. So for instance, I'm Kirsten, daughter of Leonie, granddaughter of Nel.

Then Julia asked me to fetch a hair brush and a letter I'd written to the baby (she asked me beforehand to write a letter to the baby which I would then read out at the blessing). She had pulled the couch, where I was seated, out from the wall so that people could stand behind me and brush my hair, and while they took turns doing that I was asked to mention any fears I had about the birth or the time following, or any ways in which they could support me following the birth. So I talked about how Fiona had said that should anyone ask how they could help to tell them to bring a meal, and if anyone wanted to visit to tell them to bring a meal, and also that when Chris and I had done an exercise discussing possible causes of friction between us after the baby was born he was concerned that he'd be doing all the cooking for the rest of his life. I mentioned a couple of other concerns I had about visitors after the birth and stuff, but didn't come up with a lot immediately.

After that, but while my hair was still being brushed (which was to remind me that I needed to look after myself and have some pampering both now and after the birth), I read out the letter to the baby. Next, when everyone had brushed my hair they went around the circle and said something they wanted to 'pledge' to support me after the baby is born. Julia said she would bring a meal and would like to give me a massage (she's my pregnancy massage therapist too), to which I readily agreed! Others offered to bring food, baby sit and be available to listen when I needed or to be available for calls in the middle of the night for advice when I needed. Mum said she would like to give us a couple of hours here and there to go out by ourselves while she looks after the baby - when we've settled in, but I think she's thinking when the baby is still fairly young (like maybe 6 weeks or so), which would be great. She said she'll come here so the baby is in it's own environment.

After that came making a bracelet for me to wear during labour (or just have with me). Each person added beads to it saying what the bead represented - patience, relaxation, safety etc. Then Julia had a bowl of warm water and people took turns washing my feet or hands or face, and saying as they were doing that they were washing away one of the fears I had mentioned earlier. I came up with a couple extra for them to wash away during this stage - my main one was probably how having a child might change my relationship with Chris. It was nice to have people deliberately soothe those fears, and offer their reassurances.

Finally, Julia had asked everyone to bring a symbolic gift and a blessing for the baby which they read out to me. Most people had written the blessing down, so I am going to stick those in the 'baby album' I've bought. And the gifts ranged from a bunch of different toys & books from one person, that her children had played with at different ages (they're 6 now), to a crystal that is supposed to help with transitions, for me to have with me during labour. That was lovely its always nice to get presents, and the blessings were really beautiful.

At the end we all went into the family room where there was lots of food people had brought, set up beautifully by Julia with more flowers and low light. We all chatted for a while and then people left and I started writing. It was so lovely to have this done for me - my only involvement in the preparation was to give Julia a list of names and numbers, and to make sure the house was reasonably presentable. To have a group of my friends gather together to offer me their blessings, encouragement and reassurances; to be given gifts and commitments to help - it was just one of the nicest experiences, and really did make me feel blessed.


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