Now this is the day.
Into the daylight
You will go standing.
Preparing for your day.
This Zuni Indian poem is how we started my cousin’s blessingway, a traditional and resurgent ritual that celebrates a mother-to-be. My hesitation quickly transformed into an emotional roller coaster as I sat in a sharing circle during my cousin’s baby shower.
After each of the 15 or so women went around and gave the names of their grandmothers, mothers, mother-in-laws, their own names, and their children’s names (if they had children), I could feel the welling of tears in my eyes as I thought of all the generations of women who have birthed and raised children. Just the listing of names felt bigger than I was; to think of all these women had accomplished was mind boggling.
We then went back around the circle and each shared a gift with the mother-to-be, which was any form of a blessing, advice, or shared experience. Some women recited poems they had written; others gave plants that would grow with the baby; a children’s book, On the Night You Were Born, was read aloud; other gifts included CDs or bath salts. Each gift held special meaning to the woman who was imparting it. The goal was to share some comfort to the mother in preparation of birth.
About halfway through the circle, when it came to me to share, my simple story that I planned to share couldn’t even come out clearly through my tears. I am not sure why it was so emotional, but by the end of it, it just felt like what a baby shower was supposed to be. It made me question how this event came so far from showering the mother-to-be with strength, advice, and blessings to the current form of just giving material gifts. Don’t get me wrong: delicious food, bubbly, and gifts for the baby were all still a part of the afternoon, but there was definitely a stronger sense of womanhood and a bigger gift that was shared.
Our child, it is your day,
May your road be fulfilled.
In your thoughts may we live,
May we be the ones whom your thoughts will embrace,
May you help us all to finish our roads.