A couple of months ago a friend asked me if I would attend her blessingway towards the end of her pregnancy. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I felt honoured to be asked. This woman is part of a very special group of friends who found each other *stage whisper* on the internet five and a half years ago when we were all pregnant with our first babies. An eclectic bunch of ladies spanning 3 continents that include (among many others) a vet, lawyer, midwife, published author, teacher, lecturer, nurse, Slimming World consultant, and even a train driver-come-tie dye artist, we started with one thing in common – a group of cells in our wombs. Together we have laughed (a lot), cried, created our own lexicon, encouraged each other through dark times, and celebrated the brighter ones. We have drunk wine, eaten numerous Wagamama’s, hung out, slept on each other’s sofas (or if lucky, a spare bed!), met each other’s spouses, and hired a cottage and climbed the Yorkshire 3 peaks in actual December. OK, only three of the loons did that, I just made hot chocolate and waved imaginary pom poms. We have been through a lot in the last 5 years, and as a result are firm friends, so when one of them asked me to be at her blessingway (whatever it may be), I was there.
I drove to my friends’ house first and dropped my kids off with her husband, before driving to The Owl Tree, a really wonderful shop/sling library/nappy library/hang out/living room in the Wirral. Armed with the prerequisite bead, thread and food offering (smoked salmon and dill quiche – yum!), I walked in to be greeted by several really friendly women. We talked, shared positive birth stories, ate delicious food, my friend enjoyed some reflexology, and then we made her a bracelet with all of our beads. As each bead was threaded we made positive birth affirmations, and the bracelet would be worn to encourage a calm, peaceful and beautiful labour. The thread was to tie around a candle which would be lit during her labour, each thread representing each one of us so that we would be there, in spirit to support her.
One of the women had bought a bump casting kit, and we wrapped our friend’s bump and breasts in a cast that would forever remind her of this stage in her pregnancy. I wasn’t really expecting nudity and nipple sculpting, but in for a penny, in for a pound, and besides, it provided much laughter!
Afterwards, we collected my kids and a few of us headed to Waga’s for noodles and a catch-up. It was the end of a really lovely day. I’ve never been to a baby shower – quite frankly I can’t think of much worse – nappy cakes with a blue or pink bear on (you know, because girls like pink and boys like blue), pampers smeared with poo shade smears that you have to smell to guess the contents etc, but this blessingway seemed to be exactly what a baby shower ought to be – a celebration of being a woman, and everything that our bodies are capable of doing. A group of friends sharing positive stories, food laughter and love. Perfect.