Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mother Blessing...if you don't care for gushing, disregard!

This Friday evening was my Mother Blessing! It was such a special and nurturing time, I was really blown over by the honesty and love and thoughtfulness that went into making it special!
When we all had gathered, we enjoyed some delicious chili and cornbread and my mom's famous spinach, strawberry and goat cheese salad. I enjoyed it SO much *blush*, that I had to take my piece of cake home to eat the next day. (Jennifer, it was so delicious, I caught myself mourning the fact that I'd only brought one home with me instead of two, haha! )

Then, I was ordered into a comfy recliner and had my feet soaked in a hot basin with an aromatic herbal bath. Ahhhhh.

Everyone in the room shared beautiful words of affirmation and encouragement for me and this birth, and as they did, they placed a bead in a bowl for my birth necklace. Each one shared why they chose the bead they did, along with a scripture or birth poem or blessing. Even my 4yo daughter shared a bead she'd picked. They were all so unique, and so precious, and I, of course, cried buckets. I needed to hear every word that was shared.

Jenny sharing words of encouragement,
me looking ugly when I cry, lol!

We shared some letters and words of labor blessing sent from friends who live too far away to come, and the symbolism and love they expressed was really touching. (Yes, I cried. Of course I cried!) It was a humbling experience to have everyone share their encouragement and love for me so openly. Not something I'm used to, but it blessed me so deeply, I'm very glad they did!

We all announced ourselves around the room in relation to our lineage of motherhood. "I, Ashley, daughter of Donna, daughter of Linda, daughter of Faye". It actually gave me beautiful shivers to think about it; even as we're all markedly different from our mothers and grandmothers, we all pass down a line of motherhood, whether they be blood mothers or the ones who patiently (or impatiently) nurtured us. Love it or hate it, we're all inextricably tied to womanhood, all the way back to the first woman who walked the soft black earth. It was an amazing thought. There has never been a human who didn't come from a mother. As we announced ourselves, we fastened a ribbon the the arm of our neighbor, showing how connected we are.

All the women (and girl!) wrote a blessing on a cloth banner for me to have during labor. <3>I loved having everyone's unique way of expressing themselves and their heart collected in such a visual way. Looking at it is really encouraging and comforting; every women there has a way of bringing my spirit strength and peace in a way that the next couldn't possibly do. Every woman's unique light and strength and spiritual gifting holds something that I deeply need...if that's not how the body of Christ was meant to be, then I don't know what is.

Jubliee's blessing about the Eshet Chayil, the woman of valor

More than anything, it reminded me that we're all precious pieces of a crazy quilt that uniquely warms the world. Sometimes, we're juxtaposed in ways that show our similarities, sometimes, our contrasting qualities bring out the beauty in one another. All together, we are STRONG, we are comforting, we are brilliant and beautiful, we are tough and practical. It made me cry (lots of) happy tears. Even though birth is a uniquely alone experience in the inward focus of the moment, the strength that we draw from (all in our own unique situations) comes from a lifetime of love from others and from our Father who has the gentle and fierce heart of a Mother. That is what pulls us through our tunnels towards the light.

All the collective beads for my birth necklace

The ladies!
Me and Cara

Life table, with "a few of my favorite things"

One of the many beautiful things I was given:
a pregnancy book filled with birth quotes and scriptures!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm currently sitting on my couch, downing glass of water after glass of water. I wake up very thirsty every morning, as my body's requiring more and more water to support this active baby, my growing blood volume and myself...and if I don't, I have Braxton Hicks contractions like mad! I love the peacefulness of watching winter's blue morning light filter through the windows before my kids wake up and beg for oatmeal with peanut butter. Besides a few brave crows outside cawing in what I know must be freezing cold, it's QUIET in here. It helps me find my center for the day.

And how important is finding my center for the day? Very. :OP I'm feeling clumsy and heavy and my hormones are in full swing right now. Just ask my sweet, bewildered husband. A little peace can go a long way. Some people need coffee to start the day right. I need quiet. And about a gallon of water.

For the past 3 or 4 weeks, I've been getting little packages of beady goodness in the mail. Precious friends and family from all over the country have been sending me special beads and letters of encouragement for my labor necklace! I'm enjoying reading their notes immensely. As a mother of young children, you're often blessing with sweet little kisses and bear hugs throughout the day, but words of affirmation come few and far in between's been such a special experience to have friends share their hearts and prayers with me during these tricky, funny last weeks.

It's been a blast to see how different, expressive and symbolic they are. :D They're as varied and beautiful as all the women in my life are, and knowing that they represent thoughts and love from all these living treasures has been a real honor and treat. One of my friends even sent a pretty green mug with a leaf handle she made herself! If that's not incentive to drink my Red Raspberry Leaf tea (which is an EXCELLENT uterine toner, btw, and good for period cramps, too), I don't know what is!

My Mother Blessing is this Friday. I hear there will be chili and chocolate cake. I'm so there. I'm excited!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mr. Wonderful. (Week 10)

Pregnancy is often the brunt of so many (sometimes well deserved :OP) jokes, that lots of men tend to view it as a time to steer clear of their crazy, crazy wife until everything goes back to normal.

But the truth of the matter is, pregnancy was never meant to be something that a woman bears alone...the physical and emotional burden is so heavy for any one person to bear! Pregnancy leaves you vulnerable to a tornado of emotions and physical sensations, and, like it or don't, leaves fiercely independent women in need of support. My friend Allison likes to remind women (and men) that pregnancy is a chance for men to shelter their wives emotionally while they're doing the amazing task of sheltering a tiny, fragile life.

I'm so, so, SO blessed to have a life partner that *gets* that. :oD Really blessed.

Barefoot Man has been cooking, encouraging, taking care of the girls, doing the other words, picking up the slack while I'm otherwise occupied. He rocks my face off. I couldn't do this without him, at least not with my emotional self in tact. He puts up with a lot of my crazy, and not because he wants me to owe him. He does it because he knows I need him to. He's proud of me.

So, when I say "we're expecting!!" and women roll their eyes, I really do mean "we". It takes two to do the magic doodle that can't be undid, but it also takes two to grow a family. Yes, it does.

Is he lucky to have me? You betcha. Am I lucky to have him? You bet your overpriced heartbeat doppler. ;O) He's a special guy. <3

Thanks, hon.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Given the fact that you remember whatever dreams happened closest to a waking point, I'm not sure whether pregnant women actually dream more, or if they simply wake up in the night more. I can vouch for the fact that I wake up at least a dozen times a night to shift pillows, pee, and sometimes for no reason at all.

At any rate, I've quite an active dream life at the moment.

As a third time mom, I'm noticing my dreams revolving less around birthing a talking baby seal in a tuxedo or leaving the baby at the open air market, and more around terrible things happening to my older two.

My most recent horrific "sleep brain movie" was dreaming that my 2yo wandered towards a giant grate covering a culvert under the road full of floodwater, fell in before I could grab her, and I was desperately searching everywhere for an opening to jump in after her. I woke up with my heart pounding over 130 BPM, and had to repeat to myself over and over: "She's OK, I can protect her better than that in real life, she's really just here beside me. She's good, I'm good, we're good." Breathe, breathe, breathe. It's THE most awful feeling you can feel as a parent.

Not one to take most dreams as predictions or warnings, I called a friend to talk it over. Of course, I'm worried about my middle "baby" getting lost in the shuffle of family adjustments. I had similar dreams about my firstborn when I was pregnant with my'd think I'd learn. :OP

Strangely enough, this funny little story brought me comfort. :D

There's room enough in my family for another child. There's love enough to go around. We're capable, and children are fairly flexible. There's time enough to love and "shuggle" (as my 2yo calls snuggling) everyone. No one will fall irretrievably down a drainpipe.

Now, if I could only find a reasonable explanation for the odd sex dreams, dreams of being chased by an ugly pig man and stabbing him with a fork, strange hybrid rabid crocodiles and dreams about jumping around rooftops like Mary Poppins, I'll be all set.

What's that you say? Hormones? Yes. That is a reasonable explanation for everything that currently ails me. That and forgetting to take my cal/mag. ;OP