Saturday, June 13, 2009

...a home birth home.

Last June, on our first night in our new home my mom called me at 2am to hasten me to her side and ultimately to be with her as we lost my father. For a long time my house has felt like a sad place. In order to really believe that this horrible thing had happened I replayed that night in my head over and over again. I can still feel the leap in my heart at the ringing phone and the feeling of looking out my window as she told me what had happened. Over the past 12 months I have begun to feel the warmth of a home seep into this place and I am now starting to feel settled here. We have worked hard to achieve this and we have a long way to go to put our stamp on it. But last Saturday night my life in this home changed forever...

I knew that part of planning a homebirth would have to involve the preparation of my home. I don't mean clean floors and inflating a birth pool. I needed an infusion of the kind of energy that can sustain a mother through the darkness, mystery, pain and intensity of labour. The kind of energy that will provide peace for me as I unfold as a mother of two and work through the process of integrating a new soul into our family. At my mother blessing I received that in spades. Everyone crossed the threshold into my home with an open mind and heart. I was in awe of the edges that everyone went to in this powerful sharing and what came out of it was so rich and juicy. So much of that evening surprised and delighted me and even left me breathless. The ceremony began after I had been adorned by my "hand-maiden" with a wreath of flowers for my head, a double strand of lapis blue beads, gold bracelets and a blue woolen robe (or reasonable facsimiles). I then waited in my chambers for the signal to start my descent. As I came down the stairs all of these women I love were standing with arms reached above their heads forming an arch. As I passed through each pair of women in turn they whispered their truth about their relation to me. "I am the one who..." The power of those whispers to me as I walked under the arches of their arms left me in a puddle of warmth, love and bliss. I never noticed before how much a whisper can resonate through your whole body. I wanted to stand still after each whisper and let the words ripple through me to my toes. Sublime! The ceremony that followed was so rich with the bearing of souls and the softening of all the women in the room. It was sacred. There is almost no other words to describe it. This space where we sat in a circle to weep, laugh and share our love is now a sacred spot in my home. It is now the spot where my birth pool sits inflated and waiting to receive our babe. The ceremony was followed with a feast of epic proportion. Not only do my family and friends have the deepest of hearts but their culinary skill is beyond expectations. YUM! The house was filled with the most delicious smells and the table was bursting with the rich display of food. As we feasted I was treated to a footbath and the most divine foot and leg massage. My belly was hennaed and we even had a slide show of my recent "belly" photo shoot. All this time everyone in attendance wrote or drew in a "blessings" book that my sister made for me. I am so grateful to have that to read and re-read while I recall the power of my blessing. The evening went on for hours and I was thrilled that everyone stayed so long to let the richness of our ceremony sink into their bones. My house is now thoroughly prepared to receive this feisty little soul.

The next afternoon we held a similar ceremony for Meg. We also adorned her with a wreath of flowers, a blue robe and a lapis blue necklace. She walked under the arched arms of Nanny, Auntie Lee, Auntie Kathy, Cindy, David and myself. I hope she will remember the words whispered to her. She nervously sat in the circle as we lit candles and shared our feelings about sisterhood. We read to her and showered her with love and gifts. And she shared with us a "sister birth bundle" that she had gathered as part of her journey to sisterhood. With the exception of Meg and Dave all of us are sisters and have sisters but the words that her daddy whispered to her were some of the most powerful things shared that day. We made her a beautiful sister warrior necklace and then we ended the circle by tying bracelets around our wrists for her. We celebrated with a footbath and massage and did henna on her belly too! She sat like royalty as we massaged her feet and ate heart shaped pieces of strawberries. She only wishes that it could have lasted longer!

This weekend forever changed my perception of the limits of a relationship. Or more accurately the dreams we have about how we need to limit our relationships. Why can't we give and receive in this way more often? I know that I will now. And I have plans to start a regular "Red Tent" gathering at the change of every season in order to celebrate ourselves and our relationships. It is time for celebration to mean more...

I just can't express deeply enough how changed I feel and how profoundly moved I was by the 5 days that I gave to myself last week to receive the gifts of my friends and family. I have left the alter and decorations from the blessing in my birth space to remind me of the love and energy of those dear to me as I struggle through those gates on my way to the underworld. My home feels, looks and smells different to me now. Mission accomplished!

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