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Blessingway - Livin' the Good Life

Nov. 7th, 2009

06:57 am - Blessingway

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The baby shower that we gave last Sunday was not your regular run-of-the-mill baby shower. In fact, it was a "blessingway". There were some baby gifts during the last 15 minutes or so of the three hour event, but that was not the main purpose of the party. The "meat" of the gathering was the loving interaction between the mom and her friends and family... her support group. Here's how it went.
The guests arrived and we all sat in a circle. Each of us was holding a special bead that we brought to string on a neckless for the mom to wear during her labor. As the neckless string went around the circle, and each woman strung her bead, she talked about her relationship with the mom-to-be. There were many heartfelt tears! We talked about how we met her, what she means to us, our wishes for her and her labor and birth, and any advice we had for her based on our own experiences with labor. No horror stories were allowed. Only positive birth experiences and advice. She shared her concerns about the birth and what life would be like with a fourth child. Since she was in my childbirth class, I had had the opportunity to witness her relationship with her husband over a three month period, so I had a lot to say about that. I observed that she and her husband have a model relationship. Married 20 years, they behave like newlyweds. They are affectionate and kind to each other, ready to be playful, yet serious about the important stuff. They are clearly a team. They are of one mind about their family and how they want this birth to go. Her husband is fully on-board and ready to do the work of assisting her in labor. He is a completely involved parent. (I wrote about him as the only dad who attended with his three year old at my "Apple Day" event.) It was brought up that she and her husband had been junior high school sweethearts and that they were married right out of high school. Here is a case where marrying young worked out very well. I put on an "extra" bead for him. All of this, and more, was discussed and I think she felt thoroughly loved and supported by the end of it all. She will wear her neckless during labor to remind her of this love and support. Beautiful.
Afterwards, instead of those dreaded games, we painted a plaster "belly cast" that she and her husband had made of her "due any day" pregnant belly. She said her husband had painstakingly made it as perfect as he could, and it was noted as the most carefully made cast any of us had ever seen. We sat outside on our deck listening to the birdsong and the trickling fountain, with the smell of the grass and flowers wafting around us. So pleasant. While some painted, others gave her a foot bath and foot/leg massage while she looked on. Since pregnant women often have swollen feet and ankles at the end of their pregnancies, this was a welcome, well-received gift. There were healthy snacks available during this time. A sheet was posted to sign up to bring the mom and her family dinners after the birth. I signed up for the fourth day, the day her milk would come in, so I could help her with any breastfeeding concerns. The cast turned out surprisingly beautiful, and we all stood around admiring our artistic efforts. The last thing the mom did, which was almost an after-thought, was open gifts. We were careful to give her things that she actually needed, and she clearly appreciated that. It was a sweet, sweet testiment to the love and caring that a community of women can give one another. I was honored to be a part of it all.


Date:November 7th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Perfect. Absolutely perfect. I especially love the sign up for meals. Something a mom of 4 is going to adore. I've never liked the traditional games either. They seem so impersonal and meaningless.
This is one of the many things I love about you Darlene. You are always thinking outside the box.
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Date:November 8th, 2009 05:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, games at baby showers never made any sense to me. Why??? To take up time? Because intimate, meaningful conversation is too uncomfortable? Because showing someone how much you care for them is to difficult and embarrassing? Because talking about birth is too scary?? Because adult women can't go to a party where there are gifts for a guest of honor and not have a shot at getting a gift for themselves? Sheesh! Birth, children and marriage are big, juicy subjects that can be really satisfying to talk about. We just need to practice doing it. Baby showers are the perfect opportunity to practice.
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