I know your story all too well: you have visions of all of your closest girlfriends, clad in flowy skirts and beads, tending to your needs – feeding you chocolate, washing your feet in a bowl full of rose petals – while you sit, respendently pregnant, trying not to break out into belly-jiggling giggles as you have a beautiful henna design painted on your gorgeously swollen baby bump. You feel confident, assured, and surrounded by the love of your supportive sisters.
Only you’re an introvert. You don’t really like hanging out in a large group, even if each member of that group is a dear friend. You don’t even count that many people as close friends; it takes more than just a beating heart to become your confidante. You value deep, carefully tended relationships cultivated over long, quiet talks and sincere moments of connection.
Parties, even those held in your honour, are not your thing.
So how do you, dear introvert, indulge in the beautiful ritual of mother blessing? How do you choose to ceremonially carve space into your life and your psyche to prepare to meet the baby you’ve been growing over the past few months? Here are a few tips:
- Spend a day indulging your physical body. Go for a long walk in the woods, made all the more satisfying by deep breaths and careful attention to nature’s beautiful details surrounding you. Take a long, luxurious bath. See if you can procure yourself some rose petals for said bath. Eat a bar of good quality chocolate while you’re at it. Slather yourself in lotion; dab lavender essential oils on your pulse points. If you can, go for a pedicure or massage.
- Make yourself a birthing necklace. Go to your local bead or crystal store and find some necklace components that speak to you. Spend a quiet hour stringing beads on to a necklace to wear while you are labouring. With each bead that you string, set an intention for your birthing process.
- Have prenatal photos taken. Sure, you can involve your partner and other children if you wish, but entertain the idea of taking some stunning shots of just you in all your pregnant glory. This is especially applicable if your pregnancy has left you feeling a little less than stunning and glorious. In the grand scheme of things, you don’t spend very much time in your life pregnant and able to fully appreciate the miraculous, powerful process your body is capable of, so see if you can indulge in it, and record the moment for future reflection (and awe! and admiration!).
- Do a releasing ceremony. Birth and pregnancy carries with it a lot more of the unknown than we are used to dealing with in our everyday lives, and it is normal that you might have some anxieties about how things might play out as you work to bring your baby into the world. You might find it powerful to name those fears and put them in their place by doing a releasing ceremony. To do this, take a few quiet minutes to meditate and quiet your mind. For the release, you could write your fears on a rock and then throw the rock into a lake or the ocean. You could write your fears on a piece of paper and then burn it. As you name your fears, take a moment to reflect on why that particular thing is causing you anxiety, and then what supports you could mobilize or actions you could take to begin to deal with it. Questions you could ask yourself include, if XYZ happened, how would I like to handle it? How can my support person help me calm myself? Do I need to find out more information to help me make an informed decision around this aspect of my birth? See if you can “own” the fear. If it feels safe enough, picture it coming true and how you might negotiate the unexpected circumstances. Take a deep breath and release it. I often choose to smudge the ashes of my fears or myself after the ceremony is complete, for an additional feeling of cleansing out that which I do not want to invite back into my life. (By the way, sometimes our fears remain with us, even after a powerful releasing ceremony. Sometimes I find myself releasing the same fears over and over again. This is okay: eventually, they will find their way out of your life.)
- Journal. Make some time and mental space to let yourself feel your feelings about this pregnancy and birth. Free-write. If you need some structure to your writing, some questions you might ask yourself could be: How am I feeling about birth? What am I most excited about when it comes to birth and parenting? What scares me right now? You could write some thoughts down about what kind of little person you think your baby will be – will he have your eyes? Your father’s personality? Just dream and speculate: all of these things ultimately cause you to direct your attention toward your baby and your transition to motherhood, which is something many of us find ourselves challenged to make the time to do.
The bottom line with all this is: you don’t have to have a party that makes you feel uncomfortable. In the name of honouring yourself and your unborn babe, do exactly what feels good, and leave behind the rest.