the surprise blessingway

So unexpectedly on Sunday, I found myself smack in the middle of a blessingway… for me. Just before Christmas, April had asked me over for Sunday on the pretext that we could spend a child-free afternoon together. We’ve been talking for ages how we ought to do something like that, so there was nothing suspect about her asking me to come over sans kid.

Of course, this meant that when I walked in (late, nonetheless!) and saw a couple of other people — Aurelie, Megan and Lucy (Carrie was to arrive later) — sitting in her kitchen, I was a bit surprised. Not taken aback, but just a tad surprised. “Oh, I’ve just invited a few people over,” April explained nonchalantly. Oh, okay. I actually thought that maybe I’d been overly presumptuous and assumed it was just going to be the two of us when at no point did she really mention such a thing (um, I think). Soon after I got comfortable in the kitchen, she explained her ulterior motive: the blessingway. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised and feeling a little embarrassed because I dislike being the centre of attention (“part of the reason why I haven’t gotten married,” I joked to Carrie later).

But it was a very lovely afternoon, where we all indulged in various foods everyone had brought (I’d only brought a little bit of banana bread, as I thought it’d just be April and I) and revelled in delightful conversation about pregnancy, childbirth, parenting (the things we all had in common) and tangentially, bureaucracy. It’s funny, but all the older kids wanted to come when they found out their moms were going to a party of sorts. Raspberry had wanted to come too, but that was only because she wanted to see April, since we didn’t know about this surprise blessingway. April made some pumpkin soup and fried up some kale, which was delicious with goat’s cheese on bread (up to that point, I’d never had a good relationship with kale, which we got in our CSA share once and didn’t really know what to do with it, so we ended up tossing it in a stir fry when it was pretty old and wilted and it was just meh).

The actual blessingway saw everyone reading poems, passages or quotes relating to childbirth and stringing together a bracelet of beads they’d each brought. April gave me a foot massage with aromatherapy oils from Aurelie’s extensive kit (the combination of smells she picked evoked something very familiar, but I couldn’t place exactly what it was) and Lucy performed reiki on me. I can say with absolute certainty that I’d had neither until that day. Lucy said she’d never performed reiki on a pregnant person before and that she felt an incredible amount of energy/heat emanating from me. Interesting. I’d heard of reiki, but I didn’t really know anything about it until she explained it. We also did the binding of the wrists with some amazingly soft red merino wool yarn, which I could stroke all day, and we established some system to let everyone know of the labour and/or birth. Carrie said that they’ll bring us food in the days following the baby’s birth to help us out and checked if there was anything we don’t really eat (just beef).

I’m incredibly touched by everyone’s generosity and that they threw this blessingway for me. I wasn’t actually familiar with blessingways, until April mentioned a long time ago that she’d had one before Aruna was born. But it’s not unusual in natural parenting circles. Carrie, who often admits that she’s more mainstream than the rest of us, had never been to one either and when she mentioned it to someone else earlier in the day, they said, “oh, you’re not all going to get naked and sit around eating granola, are you?” Haha, good one! Although, there was some mild nudity, if you even call it that, when Aurelie showed us her fantastic back tattoo of a placenta and Fallopian tubes, and I had to take my tights and leggings off for the foot massage. We didn’t get around to doing belly painting, which would’ve been fun, but that’s all right. Actually what I’d really like to do is trace the veins on my chest and belly with a marker and take a picture. Maybe I’ll get around to it later this week. Anyway, I love the sense of community that unschooling has brought us. I don’t think I’d have experienced anything like this anywhere else I’ve lived (granted, circumstances were different), but I’m very much grateful for it all and wouldn’t have it any other way.

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