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With a little help from my friends.

This weekend, several of my favorite women converged on my apartment to help me celebrate Boo’s pending arrival. Organized by my dearest Brooklyn friend, the Mother Blessing was casual and lighthearted, yet deeply spiritual and inspirational. I’m not sure how she managed to pull of that combo exactly, but it was perfect.

We spent the afternoon gossiping, laughing, painting, and crying (well, that last one was just me). We ate good food and chased toddlers all over the place and when it was over, I felt uplifted and ready to birth this baby.

We did several rituals over the course of a couple of hours. First, everyone in attendance painted a prayer flag to be strung together and hung in my birthing place (i.e. my living room). Some of the flags were serious (“Take a deep breath”), some were funny (“Jeez! It’s just a baby!”), and others a mix of the two (like the one from my midwife wishing me a “healthy afterbirth” and “fundus firm”).

From there, we moved on to a reading centered around bread (baked together by my husband and daughter) and apple cider and a couple of other assorted poems, before finally gathering to assemble my birthing necklace.

Putting together a birthing necklace has been one of my favorite activities in the lead-up to both of my children’s births. Last time, before Poppy’s birth, I collected dozens of charms at a large baby shower in Chicagoland hosted by my mom, stepmom, mother-in-law, and sister; then added even more at a smaller party hosted by friends in Brooklyn. And although that necklace was overflowing with charms and a  bit heavy and unwieldy, I wore it through much of my labor, only chucking it for the hard parts at the very end. This time, my necklace is much smaller and more manageable, but still overflowing with love and positive energy and I’m so grateful for every trinket on it. I plan to wear it in labor again, but if I don’t manage to get it on in time, it won’t be far from my reach or sight at any moment.

Overall, the whole event was just what I needed at this stage of pregnancy. It reminded me of all the love in my life and of all the strong women who surround me and support me in my birth choices. It got me even more excited about welcoming this new member into our family and inspired me to have a positive outlook in these final weeks of pregnancy and to work harder at curbing my pregnancy rage.

This was only the second Mother Blessing I’d ever attended (the first being one I threw for a dear friend of mine in October), but I have to say that I’m already looking forward to my next. While there is a fun side to the more modern baby shower centered around silly games and gifts, the emotional and spiritual nature of a Blessing is a pretty remarkable thing to be a part of, and I'm so glad we were able to celebrate this second pregnancy in such a powerful yet understated way.

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Follow Jo on Twitter at @outtajo or visit her personal blog, Outta Jo, Onto You.

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