I am a huge advocate for tailoring your pregnancy journey and your birth to your specific needs and feel that there is not enough support in our culture to really help women to understand what this means for their own experiences. In all areas of my work, I aim to help women turn inward to find what most resonates for them. It’s easy to see why I wanted to share with you my friend Carmiya’s new offering, called The Honoring Hour. It’s a fantastic way to celebrate all of life’s transitions through meaningful, heartfelt rituals. –Michelle
Call me a stick-in-the-mud, but I do not like conventional baby showers. I feel like a failed artist when decorating onesies, I am embarrassed having friends guess the circumference of my belly, and I feel awkward opening gifts in front of guests. The gift-giving and merriment at a conventional baby shower are meant to help the mom-to-be feel prepared for and joyful about welcoming a new baby. However, when the party ends, the mom-to-be can still feel unprepared and may feel guilty for not having enjoyed the festivities. Plus, she has more stuff to organize, wash, and put away.
What a mom-to-be needs is support to help her across this threshold – giving her the wisdom, community, and emotional tools she needs to make it across smoothly.
When pregnant with my first child, I invited a small number of my close female friends to a restaurant for a “make me laugh” party. Guests were instructed to bring humorous presents. I had the insight to know that in the postpartum stage, I’d need to laugh due to the stress and innate loneliness of caring for a first newborn. There was not a onesie in sight.
I’ve had more babies since, and the purpose of the baby showers has changed according to my emotional needs. When I felt anxious about adding another child, I hosted a basket-making party. Friends helped me create a handmade coiled basket to keep written worries in. It was made from fabric scraps that friends brought from their homes. In addition, each friend brought a letter to me about a time when they were anxious and how they had moved through it. For another pregnancy, I hosted a “build me up” event, where I asked friends to recite mantras that have helped them in times of loneliness or overwhelm. There was not a dry eye in the house! I collected the quotes and read them during labor. We all participated in a guided visualization encouraging relaxation and perspective, and then listened to a song I chose that gives me faith.
The uplift and connection that my “showers” provided led me to start creating these for others. I call it an Honoring Hour – the event honors the pregnant woman and puts her emotional needs at the core. My role, as co-creator and facilitator of the Honoring Hour, is to work with each client to co-create an event where supporting the mom remains the focus of the event. That will look different for each mom.
There are many possibilities for an Honoring Hour. The mood can be light or serious, and the activities will reflect this. These include aromatherapy, meditation, journaling, wisdom sharing, jewelry-making, blessing-giving, craft-making, dancing, cooking together and freezing for later, even making up song parodies. If the guest of honor enjoys touch, a massage by the guests is a great way to feel the physical support of one’s friends. The options are many, and as long as each chosen activity is in keeping with the goals of the mom-to-be, the event will build her up as she heads into this next threshold.
Some women need to feel relaxed before a birth, and others need to feel energized. Some women need to feel anchored by relatives (moms, grandmothers, mothers-in-law) and others want the space to remember those who have passed on. Some women need confidence before a birth, and some need connection. A conventional baby shower does not address a mom’s internal needs. You deserve to have a unique baby shower or pre-birth circle, where what you need emotionally, right now, is given to you.
Carmiya Weinraub received her MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work and has worked as a social worker, teacher, program director, and group facilitator for children, families, mothers, and senior citizens. She is a mother of 5 and lives with her family in Rockville, MD. Carmiya is available for events in the DC Metropolitan area beginning June, 2017. Services include in-person and phone planning sessions, plus facilitation at your event. Learn how an Honoring Hour would add to your occasion with this brief client questionnaire. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/M6LP6JM For more information and pricing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.