There’s so much lost when we no longer pass wisdom from one generation to the next. When we no longer gather in community to support one another in good times and bad. This is so poignantly felt during pregnancy and new mamahood when medical systems – which certainly have their place but aren’t everything – take over for what should be a sacred initiation.
That’s one of the beauties of the Internet though. Traditional wisdom is being remembered. Sisterhoods are being forged. We are coming together to share the magic of motherhood.
I feel so grateful for that. Living so far from my homeland meant that I didn’t have my mother or grandmother or life-long friends nearby as I prepared to give birth to Peter.
Luckily my friend suggested a beautiful ritual that allowed me to feel as if they were. I created a birthing necklace.
There are many different ways you can do this simple ceremony. Many women will have a blessingway – a sort of spiritual baby shower – and ask each woman attending to bring a bead to string on her necklace. As the bead is strung, the woman giving it will speak blessings and wishes for the mama and her baby and the birth ahead.
While I did have a small gathering with friends, there were many women I wanted to have near who were too far away to be there with me. Instead they wrote their blessings and wishes and wrapped them around their beads and sent them to me in the post. As I strung the necklace, I read their notes, feeling their magic and presence infuse into it.
In the days that led up to Peter’s birth I often picked up the necklace, fingering the beads and feeling the love and support that was pouring towards me from all over the world.
I didn’t have the calm home birth I’d hoped for but my birthing necklace sat beside me in the hospital as a beacon of strength during one of the most difficult experiences of my life.
It’s such a beautiful ritual to prepare for the sacred initiation of birth and I know I’ll treasure those beads for the rest of my life.