Almost exactly 2 years ago, we had baby showers for Jenny. Two actually, because she has lots of friends and family and, as it was, each party was pretty big. I take that back, we actually had three and the third one was a couples party mostly for Brad's friends from work, where everyone got drunk while drinking beer from sippy cups.
But, I digress.
I'd wanted her girlfriend parties to be more like a Blessingway, which is a spiritual version of the baby shower. It involves rituals to help ground and prepare the mom for labor and parenthood. And it can generally be a pretty deep experience. The reason we didn't go full on Blessingway is because they're more suited for a smaller, more intimate group of people, not the big bunch of rowdies that we're friends with. ;) We had thought of paring down the list of guests, but really wanted to share this unusual experience with as many of our friends as possible.
We did manage to incorporate a couple of Blessingway-type elements into the parties though. Our goal being to bring in spiritual ideas without beating people over the heads with them.
The first was that we made it Momma centered rather than baby centered (we all know there's plenty of time for that later), starting with the invitations that celebrated Jenny's belly. I layered velum over cardstock, lining up the B in Belly with the actual shape of her body. She was such a good sport to let me use a picture of her pregnant in a bikini, sticking out her tongue.
The most fun part of the parties was that we hired a belly dancer to teach all of us how to dance. The idea was to celebrate all of us as women and how fantastic our bodies are. Personally, I feel so much of our world is held together by the strength of our female bodies, the strength of our bellies and our hearts.
We also asked each guest to bring a candle for Jenny so that when she went into labor, she could be surrounded by the light and love of her friends and family. In return, we offered prayer candles for the guests to bring home and light for Jenny. During labor, the idea of a sea of candles representing your support network can be a very encouraging thought.
(This is a picture that Brad took while Jenny was actually in labor. You can see her reflection in the mirror.)
If you're interested in creating an actual Blessingway, these are the two books I'd recommend checking out. They're full of ideas to help plan meaningful rituals.
Mother Rising: The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood by Yana Cortlund, Barb Lucke & Donna Miller Watelet
Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers--Celebrating Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood by Shari Maser
Sun Salutation Update- I've done 6 of these for yesterday's comments.