Henna and Bedrest

I recently had a friend in the hospital on bedrest due to preterm labor at seven months. It’s so hard to have to lay in the hospital, being regulated and watched and having to worry about your baby’s health or your own. Situations like these can really take the joy out of pregnancy!

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That’s why henna is so great when things like this happen. It gives the mom the opportunity to stop worrying and remember how amazing it is to have a life inside them. It makes a great surprise for a friend or partner.

BOLD – Birth on Labor Day

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I will be attending the two BOLD Red Tent Events events, Saturday and Sunday September 1 and 2! They will be held at the Mercury Cafe downtown Denver on Saturday, and the Dairy Center for the Arts on Sunday.

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Carrie Hankins, a local doula, described it in this way:

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BOLD asks every BOLD organizer to identify three key people locally, nationally or internationally who they think could help make maternity care mother-friendly in their community. The BOLD organizer then videotapes their event and sends that tape, along with supporting documents, to all three leaders. In some communities BOLD organizers will request a meeting with these leaders to tell them more about their birthing climate, in other cases BOLD organizers will simply plant the seeds for change by sending their video to these leaders. We have chosen our governer Bill Ritter, the head of obstetrics at Rose because they have the highest Cesarean rate in the area and the head of the midwifery grad program at CU.”

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It’s seems like an amazing event and a worthy cause. I will be doing free henna and distributing my brochures and information. Please register here and come if you can! The event is free (except for the performance of Birth by Karen Brody).

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Hope to see some of you there!

Throwing a Belly Party or Mother Blessing

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.

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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.

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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

In labor…

Self portrait I did while pregnant

Belly cast with my daughter’s handprints

Cake decorated like a belly

Party gifts for the Mama’s