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Why a mother blessing at my baby shower was so meaningful

Weeks later, I’m still basking in the glow of my baby shower and mother blessing.

Why a mother blessing at my baby shower was so meaningful

#MotherlyStories

Weeks later, I’m still basking in the glow of my baby shower and mother blessing. Would you like to see photos?


My sister-in-law, Akiko, kindly offered to host it on their newly renovated rooftop deck with an impressive view of the Seattle skyline. I expressed to her my wishes for a more intimate, less traditional affair.

So we decided on an evening moonlit dinner to beat the August heat.

And the invitations from Minted perfectly suited the vision.

To keep with the celestial theme, my mom asked the ladies who couldn’t attend to record themselves on a free phone app singing a lullaby or reciting a bedtime story.

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The final playlist turned out so sweet!

I’ve been serenading Baby so he can get to know his aunties’ voices before he arrives.

Lucky for me, Akiko is a top-notch amateur chef! She created the most mouth-watering “moonlight Mediterranean” spread.

And since she knows how much I enjoy design details, she let me create personal watercolor menus and place cards for each guest.

My mom brought gorgeous dahlia arrangements from Bea’s, a local flower farm in Gig Harbor. We also used them at our wedding.

I also wanted to make favors for my guests.

And what girl doesn’t love candles?

I glued beautiful raw moonstones to the top of each candle with a tag describing the powers of the gem, which they could later remove and use as they wish.

On the second candle tag, there was a poem:

Light this special candle Once labor has begun. Send your love through candle flame, As Shannon greets her son.


Moonlight Mediterranean Menu:

COCKTAIL:

Blueberry Lavender Vodka Spritzer / Blueberry Lavender Water

TAPAS:

Hummus platter with dips, olives, veggies, pita Grilled haloumi with seasonal fruit with balsamic drizzle Phyllo triangles filled with spinach and feta Roasted vegetable orzo pasta Marinated mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes on grilled ciabatta Grilled feta wrapped in grape leaves with rosemary honey

DESSSERT:

Dates sautéed in olive oil and vanilla over greek yogurt Pistachio-walnut orange blossom baklava “cigars” White nectarine gelato

What a feast, right? Everything was just incredible!


And what mama-to-be wouldn’t want to wear a flower crown on her special day?

After gifts had been opened and the sun went down, the candles were lit and the mother blessing began.

Have you heard of a Blessingway?

It’s an ancient Navajo ritual created to celebrate a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood.

We decided to host a similar ceremony in lieu of traditional shower games.

Each guest was invited to share a poem, passage, prayer or positive personal birth story to inspire and encourage me before I give birth.

As each lady went around the circle, they were also asked to select their favorite moonstone beads from a glass goblet and string them onto a thread to create a mala necklace/bracelet for me to wear around my wrist during labor.

If you’re unfamiliar, malas are usually comprised of 108 beads, a very sacred number according to many Eastern religions.

They can be powerful tools used in meditation to keep one mindful, grounded and present, transform consciousness and overall well-being.

Although we had some technical difficulties getting the needle through the beads (I’ll be finishing the mala on my own!), the sentiment was there.

And I have my girls’ collective energy to support and empower me spiritually and emotionally during birth.

Happy tears were shed.

It was definitely a meaningful way to end the night.

I felt so loved, honored and radiant as they gave me the strength and confidence to embark on this life altering journey into motherhood.

And I have nothing but thanks to all the sweet souls who put their heart and energy into making my shower so memorable.

Shannon Eileen is a Seattle-based mama, artist-designer, singer-songwriter, reiki healer and lifestyle blogger at Happiness Is.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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