I mentioned here about our birth/pregnancy culture and that when I UPed I kind of felt separated from it. When I think about any of my future pregnancies, I feel even more separated. The first pregnancy is surrounded by lots of excitement because everything is new and wonderful. I've noticed that among women who are pregnant with their 2nd, 3rd, etc., they're kind of just left out there. I'm even guilty of this myself when I see women in our ward pregnant with their 2nd or 3rd or more. Do I go up to them and show my excitement for them? Not as much as women who are pregnant with their first.
As I mentioned in the post I linked to, being left out of the obstetric realm of pregnancy is kind of lonely to. And I've heard of UC moms who've chosen midwives for subsequent pregnancies just because they wanted someone to talk to. But I've reconsidered this: Is a 5 minute OB appointment- or even a 45 minute midwife one- the sort of pregnancy culture I want? Do those appointments really Celebrate pregnancy?
I've been to two blessingways, or mother's blessings. They were very different from each other and there's no overriding "must do" activity for a blessingway. I blogged about one of them, and the other was more recent and pretty much consisted of a potluck gathering of women sitting around and chatting. It was fun.
What is done at a blessingway? This varies from blessingway to blessingway. Belliesandbabies did a great overview of different activities. Things I've done at blessingways/what was done at blessingways I couldn't attend that I know about.
- Beads. Everyone brings a bead that represents their idea of a happy birth/happy mothering vibes. The beads are all strung on a chain for the mom to wear/look at while she is in labor so she can remember that she has the support of her friends.
- Candles. Everyone brings a candle and an uplifting birthing/mothering thought. Each candle is lit while the thought is being said. I think it's typical for the mom to light these again while she is in labor to remember the support she has.
- Belly casting. I think that's a great way to remember and celebrate your pregnancy. I'd like to do one myself next time.
- Henna. At the one I was at, the mom's pregnant belly was decorated in henna and we also got to do little henna tattoos on ourselves.
- Reading of fears and affirmations. At one blessingway the mom read her list of mothering fears and then put them in a fire. The rest of us had written down birth/mothering affirmations for her on a piece of paper and we read ours for her. She kept the list of affirmations to read during the time that she would be in labor.
- Coloring. One friend of mine said that she had a blessingway that involved everyone coloring a picture that would bring hope and strength to the birthing mother. She said she looked at the pictures when she was in labor.
- Food and chatting. This was a part of both blessingways I've been to. Conversation was kept upbeat and uplifting. If someone happened to mention a bad birth story (and sometimes it's hard not to in this culture, they're all we hear), someone gently reminded us that we're at a blessingway and we're here to give encouragement and support, not cause fear.
If you're planning a blessingway soon (I think our playgroup is), Belliesandbabies is having a blessingway giveaway only until Wednesday, though.