Saturday, April 11, 2009


My midwives hosted a beautiful Blessingway for me today, a ritual held to help women prepare spiritually for their births and the crossing over into mothering a new baby. It was an incredibly special day.

The women gathered, my closest friends here in Maine, were all mothers themselves, and all except one had homebirths (the one who didn't had a birthing center birth during which she crawled around on all fours during labor and caught her own baby in a squat, so she's right there with us homebirthers!), and some of them had homebirths in homes without running water, and two of them were homebirthers who had babies who died.

It was actually really important to me to have these friends there whose babies had died, because honestly, we're in a special sort of club, those of us who have children after having a child who died, one that moms who have not had a stillbirth or a neonatal death can't totally comprehend, I think. And my Blessingway would not have felt complete or honest without this very genuine understanding that I am not another kind of mother: I am a mother who has had a baby who died. I am so grateful for all the friends who were there today, because all of them are examples to me of mothers I admire and respect for a variety of reasons, but I am especially grateful to my friends who have been to the place I have been and could see me through this next part of my journey with that experience shared between us. And to my midwives, who are the kind of midwives who have likewise been able to be present and attentive to the possibility of death as a part of birth. (Not even all midwives are able to do this!) And the kind of midwives, and friends, who made me a Blessingway loaded with meaningful ritual and powerful female energy.

So now I have a twig wreath full of symbols and gifts from these women hanging in our bedroom, and a necklace strung with beads that these women chose for me to represent their own children and families, and string bracelets on both wrists which were connected to lengths of string that all of these other women are also wearing to protect me and be with me through my birth. I feel very blessed indeed.

I have more or less one month to go, folks.

Tomorrow, since everything around here is closed for Easter and we have no other plans, I think we're going to do some prepping for the birth and baby--set aside some birth supplies, order some stuff online, etc. I'm so excited to be in this place at long last, the place where I have to start getting ready for the possiblity of a new addition to our family.

* *

Oh, and we just celebrated Passover, and hosted two seders, which was a first for me (and obviously for Rob!). It was fun, though I missed being with my family. But Passover--and Easter (Willa participated in the Belfast egg hunt today, held in the park just blocks from our house, and had a great time even though it was gray and cold)--mean spring is coming, and new life, and flowers are starting to sprout all over town, and today on the way to the Blessingway I passed a field with baby lambs nursing their mamas, and as it was with Willa, it's such a lovely time to be thinking about bringing a new baby into the world.

Now if it would only get above 48 degrees for once.


  1. Arielle,
    your blog is wonderful -- i live in belfast and love the poems, too! the 100 days blog i also love, so that makes me a trifecta fan I suppose! i found your blog I think from a link somewhere out there, and my husband turned me on to the 100 days poems blog. i think he's meeting up with you very soon for the paper on this (ethan)...anyhow, just introducing myself electronically and wishing you the best with your homebirth. your blessingway sounds lovely. our second baby was born at home, in nyc in our tiny apartment bathtub. it was The Best Ever.

    If interested, check out my blog too. Be well. xopeggy

  2. Happy to hear that life in many ways is moving along a safe path. Your blessingway sounds like a wonderful ceremony for you. Was willa and Rob there too? I think of you often and I am awaiting the news and relief of this birth. I am glad you are surrounded by friends who are taking this journey with you. Friends become family when family is not there. I know that feeling, believe it or not. I love you Arielle and the rest of the Bywaters, the born who died and the yet to be born. Know that I include you in my prayers and that I think of you. I sincerely hope that this birth brings you and the rest of the family to a joyful conclusion. love, Aunt Ellen