This spring, three of my friends were all pregnant and due around the same time. I decided to throw a belly party in their honor. I thought it would be special to honor them as women and as future and present mothers. An idea I got from my Birthing from Within book was to have a special ritual that celebrates the birth of the mother, not just the birth of the infant.
I made a special cake decorated to look like a pregnant woman with henna on her belly, decorated my house with special artifacts from my own pregnancy (a painting of me pregnant, a belly cast, a self-portrait I did at eight months), and played vibrant music.
Birthing from Within suggests the idea of a “Mother Blessing.” It aides in acknowledging the change in role and status of a new mother and honors that role.
Suggestions for your own belly party…
Some of these are my own idea, some are from Birthing from Within.
- Make the pregnant woman’s favorite food
- Make a birth-blessing bracelet. Each guest brings a unique bead with them to the ceremony. Share advice or a good thought or blessing with the mother as she strings each bead. Then the mother wears the bead until labor is over.
- Henna, of course, can be a great addition to this! I did my own belly at nine months and still had the stain when I went into labor. It was very special to me.
- Think about hiring a belly dancer or take a belly dance class with friends. Belly dancing was originally only for women dancing for women during labor, to show them how to use their abdominal muscles to move the baby out.
- Do some sort of fire/water/sand ceremony where each guest either lights a candle, pours a cup of scented water into a bowl, or layers colored sand in a glass while sharing a bit of advice or well-wishing. You can pour the water into a special vial and keep it as a reminder of the support of your friends.
- If your friends have had children already, share a birth experience of your own
- Instead of decorating onesies like so many baby showers do these days, have your guests decorate a square of fabric to be sewn into a blanket. You can send the fabric out with the invitations. If you have the party early enough, you can finish (or have someone finish for you) the blanket by the time you start labor. It can serve as a reminder of your friend’s love.
Blessing Blanket for my wedding
Self portrait I did while pregnant
Belly cast with my daughter’s handprints
Cake decorated like a belly
Party gifts for the Mama’s