my blessingway was on sunday. this is a tradition among my group of friends, a way of honoring the mother who is about to welcome a new baby. in contrast to a traditional baby shower, it's less about the baby and gifts (and balmex, oh that commercial is annoying, isn't it?) and more about the mother and her transition and also about the birth itself.
i've been thinking for a few days how i might describe it, and i don't know if i really can. it was empowering and i felt incredibly supported as i leap into the unknown of life with a second baby. it's really something to feel that connection not only to my circle of mama friends, but also with women in general... say, maybe, the 300,000 who will be having babies the same day i do. (having a baby is this crazy mix of life-changing and kind of mundane, at least on a broader scale. weird.)
last friday, my friends surprised me with a trip downtown to get henna on my belly, and as you can see above, they all got their hands done. i absolutely love my henna, i think it's really beautiful. i can imagine looking at in labor, letting it ground me and bring my focus back where it needs to be.
we also generally do some sort of offering to the mother, something assembled or crafted by each of us, offered up with some words of support for labor and beyond. i was given a prayer flag, with one panel from each person, along with three blank panels for larry, eva, and i to complete later. eva just drew hers, i'll get a photo up on flickr at some point -- it includes panowah in my uterus along with amniotic fluid. cute, right? it also includes her riding a skateboard (what?!) and the dog "swimming in water at gram's house". so, it's a mix of accurate and befuddling.
and if that wasn't enough, there was more -- a food tree to begin after the baby is born, candles to be lit by each person when i go into labor, an amazing and beautiful homemade cake. the best part, though, was having that time to spend with my friends (both on friday and sunday) before life gets a bit more crazy.
i was hearing some concerns that i might go into labor before the blessingway... and i kept thinking "what are you talking about? i'm nowhere near having this baby!" (you know, despite all... logic. and reality, and that sort of thing.) well, somehow now that the blessingway is over, and the fact that the next day i hit 38 weeks, suddenly i'm feeling like, yes, i could actually have a baby at some point here. at 38 weeks, i'm officially more pregnant than i've ever been before (and oddly, have gained to the pound the same amount of weight i gained with eva).
so now i feel like i can have a baby, but i still don't know that i will imminently. i'm perfectly happy being pregnant -- in fact, i think i'll need to get over that before the baby will be born. this is likely my last pregnancy, and despite the difficulties i had a few months ago, i like being pregnant. i'm sure i'll feel done at some point as time progresses, but for now, i'm content to wait. don't get me wrong, i'm excited to meet the baby, very much so. but i guess (at least for now) i'm willing to be patient. so unlike me! maybe this portends well for my ability to be more in the moment this time, to not try to rush through always to the next stage. that's my hope anyway, to really treasure these fleeting moments that are gone too soon.
all of that said, there's some crazy stuff going on in there right now, so who knows. maybe the baby will be here sooner than i think. i have a history of being too dismissive about such things. :)