Blessingways or other rituals - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 69 Old 01-29-2003, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anybody here had a Blessingway in anticipation of becoming a mama? Or, for that matter, a blessingway for any other transition?

I just hosted a Blessingway for a dear friend of mine whose baby is due next month. I'd never been to a RL blessingway, but had participated in several virtual b'ways online, mostly for pregnant women, but also hosted one online for a woman who'd been recently widowed and then turned 50 (what a birthday present, eh?).

So I was at a bit of a loss, having so little firsthand experience. I drafted a script for my friend's 'way based on a handful of websites I found with suggestions, and also some general ritual stuff I've known about for awhile. It was really important to me to make the ritual to be very inclusive of people from varied religious/spiritual traditions, not to scare conservative people (like my friend's mother, for example, or her CNMidwife, who I suspect to be pretty "normal"!). So my script included a bit of history about Navajo b'ways, plus bits of yogic tradition, Christian references, etc. I didn't realize one of the attendees was Jewish or I would have tried to include something from that tradition, as well.

After it was all over, I didn't want it to be over! I want to host more, and attend more, and I want to create rituals for younger and older women, for different transitions, too! I want to write a book, kind of a workbook, perhaps. I mean, there are dozens of books on making rituals, but I think I've got a hook to make it different, worthwhile, and publishable. I want women to be able to use this book easily to create a customized event that suits their individual desires.

To that end, I'm asking you for your stories about Blessingways (or whatever you may call a ritual that marks a woman's transition). Tell me about ones you have attended, been the recipient of, or hosted. If you have websites about your own experiences, I'd love to have the links. If you'd prefer to interact with me privately about this, please e-mail me at luci(at)OneHotMama.zzn.com and if you would prefer talking rather than typing, if you e-mail me a phone number and a good time to call you, I'll call you on my phone bill.

I hope some of you on this board will be able to be resources for me. If I can use your stories, I'll give you a copy of the book when it's finished, okay?

Luci
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#2 of 69 Old 02-03-2003, 08:32 AM
 
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Hi , I went to a Blessingway for a friend who was 8 months pg. There were about 15 woman there. we all sat around the parlor and told how we knew the pg. woman and what she brought into our life. The invite said to bring a prayer or poem for the new baby. We read it then gave ot to the host and she made a scrap book for the Mom to be. We all brought a vegetarian dish as the Mom is a veg. It was very nice. Also you could sign up to make t he mom a dish when she had the baby. It was very organized. Theres a kids book you might be interested in Welcoming Babies by Margy Burns Knight. Best of Luck.
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#3 of 69 Old 02-03-2003, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hadn't seen that book, but will look for it.

Your ritual was nice, kind of a variation on the standard baby shower. Bringing food for the freezer is particularly good!

I'm hoping to hear from more women about ceremonies of all sorts, although I'm most interested in ones that focus on the mama.
Anyone else? Please?

Luci
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#4 of 69 Old 02-04-2003, 05:32 PM
 
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Hi Luci, I just wrote a B'way ceremony for a local magazine. I give myself permission to post it here in full
At the bottom there are good references for other Blessingways too. Enjoy, hope it helps,
-----------------------------
Honoring Mother and Baby Part 2- A Blessingway Ceremony-
By Mirine Dye
Last month I wrote some suggestions for honoring mother and baby with thoughtful, natural and spiritually inspired gifts. I wanted to take the idea further, but decided to make it a ‘part two’.

If you have never attended or heard of a Blessingway Ceremony, let me start with some background on the ceremony itself. A ceremony to bless the way is rooted in Navajo or more specifically Dine` culture. Traditional blessingway ceremonies are also done for other grand life changes such as new home, marriage and death.

A birth or new baby blessingway is centered around well wishes and blessings being given by family and friends on a single candle. The candle is lighted, passed around the circle, and blown out by the mother. The mother will re-light the candle during her labor or before the birth. The blessings that were cast upon the candle will be brought back to the mother as the warmth of the flame and scent of the candle calm her spirit. If laboring at home, the candle may stay lit and be allowed to burn during the entire birth. If mother is leaving for the hospital, she may blow it out before leaving and carry it with her for the journey.

A traditional baby shower is a great place to conduct a blessingway. If the invitees or situation is already set on a more traditional shower, then consider a small gathering before or after the party. To get started, you will need:

 smudge stick/incense
 Shell bowl for smudging
 Matches
 Candle for the mother

When selecting the candle, think of the likes and tastes of the woman. Scented, or unscented, a color ( I recommend red) or a ceremonial type of candle such as the Goddess candles or New Baby candle at Mystic Isle.

Have the group gather in a circle, with the mother standing next to the giver of the ceremony. Smudge the group, or allow the incense to burn during the ceremony.

The giver will tell the mother and the group the intention of the Blessingway and invite everyone to participate by sharing a well wish or blessing for the birth and arrival of the new baby. After lighting the candle with a few words you could start with A beautiful poem about motherhood or birth or offering a chant. Here is a verse of Prayer Before Birth by Louis MacNiece that I like to start with:

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me

The lit candle then is passed around the circle, letting each guest say a poem or wish. As the mother receives the candle lastly, she can simply thank each guest or say a verse of her own. She then blows out the candle and the celebration continues! Nice touches can be added such as offering a flower crown to the mother and a decorative basket or holder for her candle.

Baby showers almost always seem to be centered on the ( perceived) material needs of the baby. In my past article I gave some thoughtful gift suggestions for the mother as well. Giving the gift of a Blessingway to the spirit of the mother/baby union is priceless beyond measure. Be prepared, the tears usually flow during a touching ceremony such as this, and the joyous sentiment is always the highlight of the baby shower.

References:
The Smudging and Blessings Book- Inspirational Rituals to Cleanse and Heal by Jane Alexander
Circle Round- Raising Children in Goddess Traditions
by Starhawk, Diane Baker, Anne Hill
Mother’s Nature: timeless Wisdom for the Journey into Motherhood – by Gosline, Bossi, Beanland

About the author:
Mirine is a doula, childbirth teacher
and breastfeeding counselor.
Contact her at mirine@bellsouth.net
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#5 of 69 Old 02-05-2003, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Those are some great ideas, especially for a short ritual that may even be included within an existing baby shower!

Now you've got me wondering, though, what was the story in "Part 1"?

Luci

P.S. Everybody, keep the stories coming!
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#6 of 69 Old 02-05-2003, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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While wandering through mothering.com, I came upon a link to jewishpregnancy.org ... and within that site, lists several traditions and prayers that Jewish women may use during their pregnancies, births, and postpartum. Some are very beautiful. I especially liked the idea of a woman using one of the Psalms as a labor affirmation: "V?hu k?chatan yotse m?chupato, yasees k?geebor laruts orach" (translation: ?And he is like a groom coming out from his wedding canopy, rejoicing like a hero who has run the whole way.? Psalms 19:6) What a beautiful vision!

I'll post a thank-you to the person who posted the link in another thread, but I wanted to crosspost here, FYI.

Luci
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#7 of 69 Old 02-05-2003, 05:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by lucimomster
Now you've got me wondering, though, what was the story in "Part 1"?
In short it was how overly-commercial gift giving and layette building are. My suggestions were how to keep it simple and thoughtful and avoid trying to stimulate the new motherbaby couple. Good books, candles, massage oils and lotions, aromatherapy, music, things that will soothe both of them in the months to come.

Also, Blessing the Way is a video about B'ways. A friend of mine has it, and she like it, although she said that the ones we had done IRL were not that different ( or from you have done). AlsoThe Blessing Way book
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#8 of 69 Old 02-08-2003, 08:55 PM
 
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I attended a blessingway (and had one for myself). The one I attended was absolutely wonderful. The whole house had a hushed atmosphere to it. We first groomed the mother, combed her hair, foot bath, massage. We then each made a wish for the new baby. We all brought beads for how many children we have, and told the birth stories of our kids as we put the beads on a necklace for the mom. We then sat in a close circle, and wrapped a cord around one of our hands, the cord was then wrapped around the next persons hand until every one was wrapped into the circle. We then cut the cord and tied it to our hand. The cord was to remain on our hand until the baby was born. We all brought candles for the mom to light during the birth. Then we ate. It was so wonderful!

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#9 of 69 Old 02-08-2003, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I mean, I find it curious that you describe the Blessingway where you were a guest to be "absolutely wonderful" but you don't describe your blessingway at all. Maybe you just ran out of time, but in case you didn't:

Why did you find the other ceremony to be more wonderful than your own?

What was different about the two events (other than that one was for you and the other was for someone else)?

What can you think of that might've made your own ceremony better for you/for others?

Was it a matter of disliking being the center of attention? My favorite doula, who attended the b'way I hosted, said that the point of the grooming, particularly, was having the mama-to-be get used to being the center of attention physically, to prepare for all the people who were going to try to help her birth the baby. I hadn't thought about that before the event ... was that part of what was going on with your b'way?

Hope you'll have time to respond to my questions, because you've really got my interest!

Luci
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#10 of 69 Old 02-08-2003, 10:21 PM
 
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I thought someone might question me on this! Well, my blessing way kinda didn't really get planned, so the day the blessing way was to be I went into labor. My midwife asked me if I still wanted to do it, and I was feeling good so I said sure. I got a shoulder massage and a foot bath, but there wasn't any really spiritual aspects to it, and I already had the baby so it just didn't pan out right. Also, my ex-dh (as of 2 weeks ago) got himself totally drunk after Leif was born, and was a complete idiot. He got himself so drunk that he passed out and I couldn't wake him when I was freaking out b/c I couldn't get Leif to sleep and I was so tired. So the birth was wonderful, but then it just went all downhill after that. It was really fun to have my friends all come over after the birth, they all brought wonderful food and were fun to chat with, but ex was a jerk. So that is why I didn't really delve into my blessing way.

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#11 of 69 Old 02-08-2003, 10:23 PM
 
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Oh, and my blessingway could've been better if it were planned out better, in enough time to prevent the birth on the blessing way day, and if there were no men or children. The midwife brought her husband and one other lady brought hers too. I didn't really care for that, I thought it should be a womens celebration. And there were lots of kids, which was fun, but not for a blessingway.

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#12 of 69 Old 02-15-2003, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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*shakes head*

See, this is one of the reasons I'm thinking about writing this workbook: for women who WANT a blessingway but don't feel they can ask for it, to have a book that can act as a planning tool, so they can take the book to a good friend early enough in their pregnancy and say "Look at this. I want you to help me have this for myself, and someday I'll do the same for you."

Planning makes a huge difference.

I'm sorry that the "blessingway" you imagined didn't happen for you on your baby's birthday ... and that the birth itself, was, in fact, marred by some of the chaos. You deserve better!

Maybe we can help you have a replacement blessingway, or at least a virtual one!

Thanks for telling us this part of the story. And congrats on leaving a deadbeat who would pass out on your child's birthday, not understanding that you would NEED him. *rolls eyes*

Luci
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#13 of 69 Old 02-15-2003, 08:55 PM
 
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Thanks, my midwife was so disgusted with him. A few months after the birth my midwife said to my that she thought I would've outgrown him by now, and at that point I hadn't, or still wanted my family to work. Now I see what she was saying soooo clearly.

Thanks for wanting to do an online blessingway, but that's ok. It just wouldn't be the same, not being pg or anything. I would love to work with you on this book though! If you want any help or ideas, let me know. I love to do research and can even write some notes or send you links or whatever. I think it would be a very worthy book!

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#14 of 69 Old 02-15-2003, 09:23 PM
 
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I just gave one for a friend. First we sat down for a meal. THen we got in a circle, and gave our blessings and shared beads that we had brought....one for the mother...to be made in to a necklace....the other for the baby...to be put into a dream catcher. We shared our birth stories and words of strength. THen we wrapped leather around our wrists and cut them ......not to be taken off until after the birth. We signed a food train......a list of what we will bring the first week after the birth....... I made a blessing chart.....circles measuring 10centimeters with mantras for labor.. I had an altar also with candles lit...one to be lit for the birth. Then we gave the mother a foot soak, massage and lotioned afterwards. Also a facial. WHile this was going on we drew a lotus flower with henna on her belly and shared stories of our babies being brought in to the world. THen we had dessert that someone had brought. No children attended......we really wanted to focus our attention on the mother to be........

So much more rewarding than a baby shower.......!
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#15 of 69 Old 02-15-2003, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i especially love the 10cm circles with affirmations (is that what you meant by "blessing chart?"), and the lotus on her belly!

----

and wemoon, any research you wanna do and point my direction, i'd love! every time i think i've found all the relevant links on the internet, someone points me to something new. and books ... as many books as we can find that are relevant, i want to know about. i need to make sure that what i write offers something new that isn't attended to, or not attended to well enough, in anything already published.
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#16 of 69 Old 02-15-2003, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She birthed her breech baby vaginally, on her own terms, at a hospital over an hour away (since the docs at the local one were insisting on a c/section for the breech), with the support of her husband and her doula!

I won't go into the details, but it was an amazing, powerful, Birthin Warrior Goddess story ("BWG" is what my friends pronounced me after my #2 son's birth and I'm always happy to name others with the same title!).

And yesterday, when I finally got around to telling her that I wanted to write this book, she told me that she felt SO connected to the other women at the Blessingway, and to all birthing women throughout time, and that those connections really helped give her strength during her labor ...much more powerfully than she'd expected. She said she wasn't sure she could have done everything she needed to do, to have the birth that she DID, if she hadn't felt that connection.

MAN, did that feel good to me, knowing I pulled the Blessingway together, to give her that resource!

And this is why I want ... why I probably need ... to write this book.

Luci
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#17 of 69 Old 02-15-2003, 10:13 PM
 
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I love that feeling of connectedness (is that a word?!?) that I felt at the blessingway of my friends. And I feel that connection with all other women who have birthed before me and after me.

Go for the book...it would be wonderful!

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#18 of 69 Old 02-16-2003, 11:10 PM
 
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I had a blessingway hosted for me by a good friend. Alot of what's already been mentionned was done at mine as well. The women also wrote down their names and phone numbers and a phone tree was created so that when I went into labor one woman would be called and then she would call whoever was on her list and so on down the line so that all those women were with me in spirit during labor.
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#19 of 69 Old 02-17-2003, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The phone tree is a good detail for me to include, thanks! I'm not sure I'd have thought of it on my own.

Anyone care to tell any stories about how they felt during/after their Blessingways? Do you still have the beads/mementos, do you still look at them from time to time, or are they kept in a special place? Will you pass them along to another birthing mama, or keep them to give to your child when s/he's older, or do you plan to keep them forever just for yourself (which is also perfectly fine, if nobody's "given you permission"!)?
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#20 of 69 Old 02-17-2003, 05:09 PM
 
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The other thing that was done at my blessingway happened spontaneously but it was great. Everyone had gone but 2 friends. They decided they wanted to take pictures of me and my big belly (3 weeks from due date) so they got a couple of rolls of film and dressed me up in an antique sari and took 3 rolls of film, some black & white, some color. I was feeling so good after the blessingway that the pics came out great. Also someone videoed part of the ceremony which I normally wouldn't go in for but I wasn't aware of the filming. I looked at it recently and boy did I look relaxed and refreshed--2 qualities that are a distant memory these days .

I'm still wearing the hemp string that was wound around each of us to wear till I went into labor. I'm too nostalgic to take it off.
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#21 of 69 Old 02-18-2003, 04:03 AM
 
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I had a beautiful blessingway, it was a surprise (I was kidnapped and blindfolded and everything!) planned less than 24 hours in advance when I was a week overdue and needing some extra inspiration and support. There were 21 women there, including my doulas (who planned it), my close friends and a wide selection of women family members, and my partner, who is also a woman. Most things that were done have already been mentioned. It was powerful and intimate, a full moon evening outside around a big fire. One of things I was really struck by was the diversity of women present, I never would have invited my mother or my partner's grandmother to any kind of "women's ritual", yet there they were, and everyone was so deeply moved by the experience that I felt I had provided some sort of community service.

I also helped give 2 blessingways to a friend whose birth I was attending as a doula. One was a general blessingway and one was specifically for the women's circle that we belonged to. In addition to many of the things already mentioned, we made prayer flags for her, using brightly colored squares of cloth, which we each decorated with an image, message or prayer and then strung on cord to hang in her house for the birth. We made a belly cast for her as well.

And, on a different note, our women's circle also held a "breastingway" for one of our members before she had a mastectomy. We all brought small items and made a medicine pouch for her, said prayers, sang songs and also did a plaster breast casting. It was a very intense and deeply heartfelt circle. I was honored to be able to help create that passage for my sister-friend.

Blessingways are such an important ritual to be reclaiming and recreating in our culture!
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#22 of 69 Old 02-18-2003, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by sweetmama
One of things I was really struck by was the diversity of women present, I never would have invited my mother or my partner's grandmother to any kind of "women's ritual", yet there they were, and everyone was so deeply moved by the experience that I felt I had provided some sort of community service.
YEAH! The value of these rituals extends far beyond the individual woman we're blessing: everyone in attendance takes something from the event, some more than others. I also believe that the value transfers from the mother to the baby: that sense of connectedness and belonging surely helps a woman avoid postpartum depression (I'd like to think so, anyway -- any thoughts, anyone?) and bond with her new baby.

I LOVE the idea of the prayer flags (I had Tibetan prayer flags hung in my room while laboring with my #1 son -- the mainstream nurses and docs thought I was a real freak!), a medicine bag, and of course the plaster castings. I think that your "breastingway" was especially touching, and having the plaster cast of your friend's breasts must've been extraordinarily powerful -- to be touched so lovingly, both literally and metaphorically!

Thank you for these wonderful ideas! (And women, keep 'em coming!)

Luci
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#23 of 69 Old 02-18-2003, 10:36 AM
 
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That was one thing I noticed about the mom at the blessingway I attended. She looked so different from how I ever saw her previously. She had a glow, her face was soft, her eyes wide and a smile never left her face. She was beautiful.

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#24 of 69 Old 02-24-2003, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In re-reading your post, I wonder how it felt to be "kidnapped and blindfolded" in preparation for the blessingway. In retrospect, do you feel it enhanced or detracted from the event? How did you feel while the "kidnapping" was happening? Were you able to immediately and completely relax into your "captivity" because you knew and trusted the women who came to get you?

Frankly, given all the anxiety that I know many women feel near the end of their pregnancies, I'm kind of shocked at this aspect of your ceremony. So I really want to hear more from you about that aspect in particular.

Thanks,

Luci
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#25 of 69 Old 02-24-2003, 05:12 PM
 
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Yes, I can understand the concern about the anxiety it would involve to be "kidnapped". In my case it absolutely fine. It was my little sister and best friend from childhood and done in a playful spirit. My partner was also blindfolded, although she was somewhat in on the plan. I never would have imagined my sister/friend at a women's ritual, I thought they were taking me to the local bar for one last "girls night out" (just so you don't think I'm completely nuts I'm talking about a non-smoking, gingerale serving, small hometown establishment!). So the "surprise" element of the blessingway really worked. I never would have guessed.

That being said, under usual circumstances, I would advocate for a planned in advance blessingway. I just hadn't planned one, and no-one knew I wanted one. So I was extremely grateful. I also never would have invited some of those women, out of uncertainty that they would be open to ritual, and was gifted by the experience of having someone else put together the guest list and invite all the women who they thought were important to me. I live in the small town that I grew in, so there are a lot of overlapping social circles. Now I belong to a women's circle and would do the whole thing differently, but hey, that was then, this is now!

Some women believe that the blessingway can be like a metaphorical blueprint for the labor and birth, the implication being that the labor and birth will reflect the patterns of the blessingway. Is the woman empowered to create her own meaningful ritual celebration or does she need (and receive) much support from her sisters in the creation of her beautiful ritual? Are there many present, or just a few? Is it a deeply felt emotional experience? Was it even her idea to have a blessingway or someone else's vision? Can she surrender to the power of the ritual or is there resistance? It can be uncomfortable being in the spotlight of such an intense community event.

So, yes it was fine but I know I have a pretty unique situation here!
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#26 of 69 Old 02-25-2003, 05:04 AM
 
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Luci, you rock for doing this!! I am so happy to be here tonite, just what I needed.
I am preggo with no.4 and it will be my last one. I am trying again for a hbac in the water, last one ended in c section, so now I have had two. sighs*
I am working hard to deal with any of my stuff, reading Birthing from Within and I want a Blessingway so bad. I feel weird doing it for myself, it feels like it should be something gifted to me by someone else. I would love to hear what others think. I just don't know....Part of me says WTF, go for it, who cares! But it is an intimate, spiritual thing for me, I think a womyn would need to be committed some how to it to participate. Maybe I am just hormonal and feeling sorry for myself that no one would plan one for me!!
I will love your book and I would love to do them for womyn, feeling how I feel about it!! Hmm...
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#27 of 69 Old 02-25-2003, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm pretty sure I've already had my last baby, and I was in your boat: I wanted a blessingway, bad, and didn't feel I could plan one for myself. So I didn't get one!

And of course, that's why I want to write this book, so nobody else goes without!

So keep up with this thread here, give me advice here or e-mail it to me at luci@onehotmama.zzn.com ... and now you've given me a good deadline to shoot for -- I'll aim to have a draft done, at least, before the last month of your pregnancy! If you like, you can be one of my "test cases" for the draft.

I'd love to read your birthstories, especially if you have some ideas about what a blessingway might be able to help you heal in them.

Birthing From Within is an outstanding book. If you can get into a class, or even develop a sort of study/playgroup around it, I think that'd be fabulous. The art therapy ideas they have in there are wonderful.

Do you have local c/s / vbac support? We've got a group that meets here monthly, and it's so helpful to regularly be with other women who truly understand the complex feelings we c/s survivors have.

Baby calling me, gotta go. Come back!

Luci
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#28 of 69 Old 02-25-2003, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by sweetmama
I thought they were taking me to the local bar for one last "girls night out"
That's great! You were prepped for a celebration, you just didn't have a clue what the tone of that celebration would be. What a wonderful surprise!

Quote:
I also never would have invited some of those women, out of uncertainty that they would be open to ritual, and was gifted by the experience ...
Isn't this especially wonderful? The mama of my friend for which I threw the b'way, a conservative woman who works at a hospital and who was really worried about her daughter doing all these "alternative" things (like prenatal yoga -- yegads! and hiring a CNM rather than an OB! and wanting to deliver a breech baby vaginally!), she told me the other day, when she was in town to meet her new grandbaby, that she'd told several friends the story of the b'way I threw for her daughter, and they all wound up in tears. Obviously, she felt moved, herself, or she wouldn't have been able to tell the story movingly. So that's a great gift, and an appreciation to me that I hold very dear.

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Now I belong to a women's circle and would do the whole thing differently, but hey, that was then, this is now!
So tell me more about what you'd do differently!


Quote:
Some women believe that the blessingway can be like a metaphorical blueprint for the labor and birth, the implication being that the labor and birth will reflect the patterns of the blessingway.
I've read just a bit about this, but I'm curious to hear more about your beliefs here. Did your blessingway affect your labor and birth, and how? Can you tell me other stories, maybe of other mamas, or introduce me to them (or them to me, via e-mail, perhaps)?
Thanks for your continued interactions in this thread. You're providing me with very "nutritious" food for thought!

Luci
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#29 of 69 Old 02-25-2003, 12:45 PM
 
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What wonderful stories and ideas! It makes me sad, too, that I didn't get a blessingway (we are planning on not having any more.)

Here is a page I put together about blessingways:

http://home.earthlink.net/~eaglefalc...essingway.html
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#30 of 69 Old 02-25-2003, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for posting the link to your website, but I want to tell you that I already had found it, and used it pretty extensively to plan the b'way I hosted for my friend!

You've included lots of wonderful, wonderful ideas, and I'm so sorry to hear that you didn't get a b'way of your own!

But ya see, that's ANOTHER reason I want to write this book, to start out with b'ways for birthin' mamas, but also to form the groundwork for b'ways for women in other transitions ... so maybe you can have one when your youngest starts school full-time, or when you reach a milestone birthday ... or when you go through other important (but sadder) transitions, such as when your mother dies, or you go into menopause, or live through a spouse's death or divorce.

I think the ritual, the celebration, the honoring the spirit of the woman, that's what's really key: it's a profound help to a laboring woman, but it can also be profoundly helpful to women in a number of other important intersections in her life.

Uh-oh, I hear rumbling upstairs. Time to step away from the computer again!

L
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