First-time Mum Nicky marks her entry into motherhood.
Mother: the most beautiful word on the lips of mankind. Kahlil Gibran
On a balmy Saturday afternoon, two weeks before my baby was due to be born, 10 women gathered in a garden. While the dappled light on the trees above clearly signalled the final days of summer, the warm breeze and azure sky told a different story. It was a delicious afternoon, ripe for ritual.
Even though most of my friends have children, I have only ever been to one baby shower. The thought of opening baby presents with a large group of women watching me didn’t resonate, but I felt strongly that I wanted to mark my entry into motherhood, this sacred rite of passage, with some kind of ritual, and I knew I wanted to do it with women. Very last minute (the way everything has been in preparation for baby’s arrival), I decided on an intimate blessingway with my closest women.
My vision for the afternoon was simple: to sit in meditation with the women, to receive any blessings offered to me and my baby and to indulge in delectable food and – these days – a rare cup of real, caffeinated tea. Thanks to the extraordinary women in my life, the afternoon unfolded exactly as I had envisioned.
As it turned out, all the women present that afternoon were mothers or, like me, about to become mothers. My mother and mother-in-law had mothered for close to 40 years apiece, other women for only a few months, but I knew each one of them had something invaluable to share.
About 20 minutes in, my unassumingly intuitive friend who was leading the meditation asked all the women to imagine an umbilical cord running from their bellies to mine, and to send me whatever wisdom they’d gained from their experience as mothers. I’m glad she asked them to go gently, as all of a sudden I felt a wave of energy so strong that it literally threw me back in my chair.
“There are some things about being a mother that need no words,” she crooned, and how right she was. As the women eventually pulled their ‘cords’ back to their own bellies (I was sad to feel them go), the next part of the ritual (their verbal blessings) seemed almost superfluous. Everything that needed to be said had been said. Message received loud and clear.
Still, I can’t say that I did not relish in receiving the cards, the poems, the crystals and, above all, the love and support from so many mothers. I felt connected not only to the mothers surrounding me, but to all mothers, for as long as there have been mothers. I was overcome by a deep sense of gratitude and humility for the privilege of being mother to a little soul who I hadn’t yet met, but felt I’d known all my life. I allowed myself to drink it in, feeling wholly nourished and supported by those who’d gone before me.
And of course, the cup of piping hot tea was the icing on the deliciously decadent chocolate cake that followed.