For weeks whenever anyone has asked me, “Are you so ready for this baby to come?” my immediate response has been an adamant, “No! I wish I had two more months! I’m not ready!” I’ve been nesting for quite awhile and crossing things off my before-the-baby-comes to-do list every day (only to think of more things to add and then cross off), but, beyond the physical preparations for the birth and postpartum period, I haven’t felt an ounce of readiness. Each night as I have gone to bed, wondering whether a birth would be waking me soon, I have felt an overwhelming lack of surety… a feeling that not everything was in place… a yearning for something to bolster me and give me the foundation I need to give birth in peace in confidence. Today it came.
In four parts.
We took a spontaneous trip to Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden. I just felt like we needed to take one last outing as a family of five… something to bond us together in anticipation of the changes ahead… bringing closure to one chapter of our lives so we could turn to the next. And I wanted to be among trees, life, beauty, and green things in anticipation of giving life to my baby. The trip did all of those things. It was wonderful. Plus it was exercise… and I think my baby actually might have “dropped” today!
We stopped at the mailbox as we got home from the gardens. I had been anticipating receiving the second half of my “mother blessing” gift from my book collaborators and hoping it would arrive before my birth. And there it was in the mailbox. I opened it right there in the car. It contained some beads and words/hopes/blessings from each of those beautiful women. As I read their words, I was totally overcome with awe, love, joy, empowerment, peace, strength, and confidence. It felt both silly and wonderful to be sitting in my car, in the garage, with big fat happy tears streaming down my face. But I knew in that moment… of course my baby would wait for this.
My friends had given me the choice to use the beads as I wished, suggesting maybe I could hang them on the bonsai tree. But I knew I wouldn’t be in close proximity to the tree throughout the duration of my birth, and I wanted to have the beads right with me as a constant reminder. So I decided to make a spur-of-the-moment birthing necklace.
I took the beads I received in the mail, beads chosen today by my husband and daughters, beads from a necklace that belonged to my grandmother before she died, a bead from a necklace my deceased sister-in-law gave me for my birthday (just weeks before she died), charms representing Mother Eve (an apple) and Jesus Christ (a lamb), beads and charms given to me by special women in my life in the past, seven swirly clear beads representing the spirits of women I have loved who have passed on (and who I hope and anticipate will be surrounding me as I give birth), a handful of filler beads, and a large glass pendant my father and stepmother brought back from Egypt.
The pendant represents the “All Seeing Eye” also known as the “Eye of God.” I had wondered for a long time what I was going to do with it, so it has been sitting (mostly forgotten) on our counter top for over a year now. But as I pondered what I would use as the center of my necklace, I suddenly remembered the pendant, and I suddenly realized how utterly perfect it was for the purpose. What could be more wonderful than a large/heavy reminder that my Father and Mother in Heaven are watching over me and my baby as I give birth? Plus it’s pretty.
As my daughters were choosing their beads and getting excited looking at my growing collection, they pleaded to help me make the necklace. And I thought it was a fabulous idea. After their bath, we sat on my bed (in my soon-to-be birthing space), turned on my birthing music, and made my birthing necklace together. It was a really special experience none of us will soon forget. I hope to repeat it someday with them as they prepare to give birth themselves.
After we finished the birthing necklace, and after each of my daughters and I had tried it on, we went into their bedroom to finish their bedtime routine. Then we gathered in a circle, holding hands, and said a special prayer as a family for help, strength, protection, and peace in our upcoming birth and adjustment to life with our new baby.
And now… I’m ready.
Let me close with the words of a song. It is on my birthing playlist (you can listen to it here), and it was introduced to me by Felice (a dear friend and one of my book collaborators) who reiterated the words to me in the closing of her “mother blessing” message, filling my eyes with tears:
May the long time sun
Shine upon you,
And the pure light
Guide your way on.