Monthly Archives: July 2013

2 Cheers for MATERNITY LEAVE

My last day at work was Wednesday until October!! I am officially on maternity leave. WOOHOO!! I plan to spend these next couple of days before the new baby arrives exploring with Bean. So far he is we are LOVING IT!! Puppet shows and story times, sleeping in (at least until around 8am that is) and snacks on the balcony I am in heaven.

I am also super excited about giving birth!! I never thought I could be this excited to go into labor. The excitement of being able to give birth in water AND have my hands be the first to touch the new baby AND having it all documented by photographer Maegan Dougherty AND having my placenta encapsulated by Thalla-Marie Choxi of Live, Laugh, Doula has me floating on cloud 9. Bean has been rubbing my belly and talking about “baby” a lot more lately too which makes me smile and baby goes wild in the belly!!

I just can’t wait!!

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“Pirate” Bean at the puppet show.

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Observing ants on during walk.

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Baseball fun with his girls.

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Blessingway…WOW

20130720-113450.jpgMy bracelet that I’m wearing until I deliver.

With my second child being so close behind my first, I didn’t want to necessarily have a traditional baby shower. So I did a little research on other ways to celebrate a new baby that wasn’t very material/consumer driven but still a way to celebrate the new life and the transition as a woman. With the help of friends, social media and a few of the moms from Holistic Moms Network, I was introduced to the idea of having a Blessingway or Blessing Circle celebration.

I mentioned it to my family a couple months ago but things got really crazy and next thing we noticed I was 9 months pregnant and no planning had been done. With my family being as great as they are, (yeah I’m bragging a bit here๐Ÿ˜œ) they put together a Blessingway in less than 1 week, well actually in 2 days. LOL

My original list was about 25 women who have meant a lot to me as I’ve transitioned into a wife and mother. By the time we got to Wednesday, July 3rd no invitations had been sent and it was a holiday weekend AND my family was still trying to figure out what this Blessingway thing they were planning was all about. By the 4th of July still no invites so we decided to cut the list and keep the celebration extremely intimate and with family only. At first I was nervous about what others would think or how they would feel about not being invited. But then I was reminded that a Blessingway is more of a spiritual celebration and people would understand.

So here’s a little info about this celebration. From what I’ve read a Blessigway originated from a Native American celebration during which mothers of a particular group surround a mom-to-be as she enters the world of motherhood. During this time many spiritual rituals were performed as a way of blessing the mother, stories were told to inform the mom of what to expect and gifts with a history were passed on to the new mom. Many cultures around the world have traditional celebrations and rituals to pull from during a blessingway. That’s one of the great things about being in America, we have access to many people from all over and when planning a blessingway you can pull from these other cultures to make yours unique to your family.

So on Saturday, July 6, 2013, I was surrounded by 9 women in my family. As people arrived we blessed the food that was brought from Madiba’s, a South African restaurant with food from my other home, Botswana. My favorite was Pap (stiff grits) and chakalaka (a type of salsa with beans, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes), there was also South African sausage, vegetable samosas, curried rice and some spicy chicken.

After eating we gathered in the living room in a circular formation. Stories of birth, childhood and parenting were shared with tons of laughs and a few tears. My mom washed my feet as a symbol of washing my fears and worries away. (The water had a bit of lavender oil and rose petals in it, looked beautiful and smelled amazing.) We then made a web of womanhood by wrapping the wrists of each woman with a piece of burgundy ribbon creating a web. This was a sign of our connection to each other as women and mothers. The ribbon was cut and we each walked away with a thin burgundy bracelet that will be worn until the baby arrives. The last bit of fun was creating a bracelet. A bowl of beads was passed around the circle and each person chose a bead to bless and gave a bit of encouragement to me or shared a story about what I’ve meant to them as they strung the beads to make a bracelet for me that I am wearing until I give birth.

Guests were asked to bring 20 notes of inspiration as their “gift” and they were added to a Blessings Jar. Throughout the celebration more notes were added. The idea behind this jar is that I’ll have 365 notes and will be able to read one a day for the first year of the baby’s life. I can’t wait!!

I loved the celebration and the fact that the focus was not on materials but on being a woman, a mom and part of a village. I was so excited about the celebration the morning of that I woke up and wrote personal thank yous to each of the people who were invited. As favors, they were given candles to light when they receive a text that I’ve begun the labor process.

Everyone was given an opportunity to “throw” someone or something in the circle that they wanted people to pray for in which ever way they pray. I left feeling very blessed and excited about giving birth and being a woman. The release of emotions, prayers, encouragement, stories and love was kind of overwhelming. I would recommend this celebration for anyone thinking about an alternative or an additional celebration to keep a mama-to-be’s spirits high towards the end of her journey as a pregnant woman. I’m sure the experience will help me get through my labor with positive thoughts as I visualize, reflect and remember the support and love my baby will be joining!!

I LOVE WOMANHOOD, BEING A MOM AND MY FAMILY!! I am counting my blessings through to good and not so good times. Come on baby, we are ready to receive and nurture you!!๐Ÿ˜

Does your family have any traditional/cultural ways of celebrating a new life?

20130720-122423.jpg My sistercousins put a lot of love into the “program” all the down to the TZ detail for each child’s name (boy or girl).

20130721-152337.jpg Blessing Jar strips for more notes.

20130721-154652.jpg ๐Ÿ˜Š

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Unforgettable Weekend!!

My weekend was beyond AMAZING!! It started off on Wednesday. My job received a ton of perishable items of food that we were not able to give away so we were allowed to take home some goodies. I was able to give my grandmother a bag of corn the cob, oranges, cantaloupe and yams AND I had a bag of my own. What a blessing!!!

Thursday was a holiday, that I don’t really celebrate (that’s another story), but I can always appreciate a day off๐Ÿ˜Š. We weren’t too sure about the weather but took an impromptu trip to the beach. Long Branch was our choice and it was PACKED (it took us 30 minutes to find parking, geez). They were having an ocean fest, which meant amazing food and music, and the air was the perfect temperature. My aunt and 2 sistercousins drive in from Brooklyn to join, aunT, my brother, hubby, bean and me for a fun filled day at the Jersey Shore.

Bean refused to put his feet in the sand for about the first 30 minutes. But after enjoying a vegetarian gyro (that was beyond delicious) and a little help from one of the aunts, he was good to go. This was his second time at the beach but with him being almost 2, it was pretty exciting to see him explore in the sand, make a friend and jump the waves. I actually got to relax a bit as I wedged my 9 month pregnant body in a kiddie beach chair and just observed the scenery for a bit. Tons of fun!

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Friday, back to work, UGH! Well not really this time because it was an extremely productive day in a very empty building. AND I got to have lunch with a friend I haven’t spent time with in a bit. That was really refreshing. Plus we got out about an hour early AND my dad and Phyllis came from Virginia for a visit.

Saturday, was my Blessingway (my baby/womanhood celebration) that I opted for instead of a shower. This event needs its own post so stay tuned for that. Just know that it was new to my family and so worth having.

Sunday, a trip to the NJ State Fair on an extremely hot day. It was the last day of the fair and we arrived right before they opened. Parking was free and the unlimited passes were discounted. Just my mom, brother, bean and I went. It was perfect! We (well they) didn’t have to wait in any lines for rides or snacks. I usually get on rides with my brother but since I have a little seed I my belly๐Ÿ˜ƒ my mom stepped right up. I don’t remember her EVER getting on rides when I was younger. But being the best mom ever for us she put her fears aside and was flipping upside down and all around for her son and even wedged in a few kiddie rides with her grandson. Bean was able to enjoy a few rides on his own this year which was pretty exciting. Needless to say WE HAD A BLAST!!

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To wrap up the weekend my hubby took me on a date. Now we’ve had date nights before but haven’t in a while. I usually plan them but this time he planned everything. I just had to go along for the ride. We went to China Gourmet and the food was delicious! We had a good chat, a few laughs and headed back to my moms to get Bean.

Whew!! That was a loaded weekend and I had a blast. Times like this just remind me of how blessed I am. With so much going on in my world right now it’s nice to be able to reflect on such a wonderfully, powerful weekend of family fun.

Thanks for reading and I hope you are able to reflect on goodness whenever it comes your way๐Ÿ˜Š.

Peace and many blessings!!

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