I had not heard of a blessing circle until I was preparing for Zack’s birth. It’s based on a blessingway, a traditional Navajo ceremony to mark important life passages. I have been running with the crunchy moms lately and a lot of them are having blessing circles instead of baby showers. The one I attended was lead by her doula. It started with the burning of sage to clear the room of negative energy. Then the mother receives a crown and foot bath. Everyone was to bring a few beads that will be strung together to make a bracelet for the mother to wear to remember this day when she goes through labor. So we went around the circle giving her a blessing or read a favorite saying to her and then we string the beads we brought for her onto the bracelet. I read a passage about how having kids means having to forgive the past while looking forward to the future and the second quote was to help her during labor:
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot and it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. – Bruce Lee
People have birth plans and visions of their delivery but the saying reminds us to go with the flow and not get caught up in these plans but to do what’s best for you and your baby as labor progresses. We then passed some yarn around and everyone wrapped it around their wrists to complete a circle while we sang some empowering songs about womenhood and birth. Then you cut the string and everyone wraps their piece around their wrist and wears it until the mother gives birth.
Even Zack got into the blessing circle action:
I know it sounds like hippy new age stuff but when you decide to give birth naturally, you really need to reach inside yourself to endure the pain. Like a verse, in one of the songs we sang, “I am a brave, bold woman, walking into the dragon’s mouth alone”, it really does feel like that and if you can draw on the strength of women throughout the centuries that have given birth, then your load is lightened (though the pain is a still a real MF).
** Update: Lisa gave birth on the 20th! May be the ultimate Father’s Day gift. Congrats to her and her family.