A mother blessing & why every mama to be should have one...

Not sure about you, but I generally hate baby showers. The forced gift giving, the awkwardness, the stupid games, I'm simply not a fan (no offense)... But, luckily there is an alternative for every mama to be & it's something that every guest is guaranteed to enjoy. Maybe you've heard of it, maybe not. It's called a mother blessing, also known as a blessing way, & this gathering will leave you pretty speechless. "A mother's blessing is an intimate party inspired by an ancient Navajo ceremony called a blessing way. The ceremony is held to prepare an expectant mother for her upcoming birth journey—to shower mom-to-be with love, support and encouragement."

Mother blessings are not about getting gifts, it's a celebration of the mama to be, to let her know she has a village of strong women behind her to support her, to make it known that she is amazing and loved! No matter how many babies a mama has had, each pregnancy should be celebrated! Seriously, whether it's your first or fifth baby, you deserve a blessing way!

The mama to be does no work in preparation for this ceremony besides deciding who she wants to be apart of her day. It's best to keep the ceremony intimate so I suggest having no more than 15 women. Ask that every guest bring a potluck dish to share and something like a bead for a necklace, a candle for her birth space, and/or a flower to create flower crowns. Each mama is different so I like to plan a mother blessing that will reflect the personality and interests of the mama to be.

All mother blessings are different, because like I said, they should reflect the personality and interests of the mama to be. I usually start by gathering in a circle and having everyone introducing themselves, we then go around and present the item that we have brought for the mama and a story of how you met the mama and why she's special to you or words of encouragement to go with it (this is usually when the tears start flowing), we then do a craft (creating an empowerment banner, make flower crowns, decorate a candle, make a necklace, etc) while the mama gets pampered with something like a foot soak, a massage, or henna, before we get ready to feast on the delicious potluck dishes we give the mama to be our best wishes for her birth & this new journey! 

You will leave a mother blessing feeling refreshed, empowered and uplifted. There is nothing to describe the sacredness of these ceremonies. All of the emotions & the beauty of having a group of women get together to support a mama to be is quite a powerful and rare experience in today's modern culture. I hope that you would consider giving the gift of a mother blessing ceremony to a mama to be. I am sure she will remember it for a lifetime!

The photos below are from a mother blessing ceremony that I had for my friend Erika last weekend. Erika has become one of my dearest mama friends, she is apart of my village and I'm thankful to have her in my life. As always, there were tears & lots of laughter! It was a beautiful day celebrated and surrounded with a group of beautiful women (& babies). Check it out!

All photos are owned & copyright by Wanderlust Birth + Photo 2017. Do not use without permission.


The Waterbirth of Enzlo

It's been quite a while since I've blogged a birth since I've been so insanely busy attending them. Anyways, I'm hoping to get back in the swing of writing birth stories again and this is one I definitely want to share.

A mutual friend tagged me in a Facebook post of a young mom to be who was hoping to go natural and looking to have a water birth. I got in touch with Hayden and sent her some resources, encouraged her to watch The Business of Being Born, and invited her to my upcoming birth prep class. A few weeks after taking my class Hayden and her partner, Lorenzo, decided to hire me as their doula. I was excited & eager to work with them because I felt I could relate to them in some ways. They were a young couple, with a baby on the way, hoping to do things "alternatively" with not much support or encouragement from their families (regarding the birth aspect). 

Around 11pm Hayden texted me that she was having some contractions that felt pretty intense and I encouraged her to rest if she still could. I got a few hours of sleep and in the middle of the night Lorenzo called and said they were headed to the Elmer hospital. 

I arrived at 4am to Hayden in her zone and Lorenzo helping her through contractions. They were listening to Pink Floyd and everything was totally peaceful. Her uncle was there photographing the birth as well, and we both sat quietly in awe of Hayden and her strength. 

When Hayden's mom arrived I could tell she was emotional to see her daughter in pain. I knew that she was bit nervous about Hayden giving birth naturally at first, but she immediately picked up on the vibe in the room and supported Hayden in any way she could. There are some births where the mamas need a lot of hands on support, but Hayden's birth required me to hold space. Lorenzo and Hayden's mom supported Hayden physically through the contractions with the power of touch, while I emotionally supported her and did my best to create a calm environment. With this much love and support Hayden's oxytocin was flowing. 

At 5:15 am the midwife checked her and she was 8-9 cm dilated and the baby was at a +1 station.  After this, Hayden and Lorenzo just laid in the bed together, cuddled up as one unit and there was no doubt how totally in love they were with each other. Hayden started to cry as the music kept playing and it was just one of those moments that leaves everyone in the room speechless. 

Around 6am she got into the tub and felt the urge to push. At this point nothing was comfortable and she was ready to meet her baby. The sun started to rise and filled the room with fresh light. At 7:40am Hayden birthed her beautiful baby boy the exact way she wanted to in the birth tub. Lorenzo and Hayden's moms eyes were filled with tears as soon as they saw him. 

I was so happy for Hayden and Lorenzo to have the exact birth they had envisioned and plan for come true. It was an honor being apart of their birth team for such a beautiful birth. It fills me with joy knowing that they will inspire their friends to learn about the benefits of having a natural birth and how much of an empowering experience it can be. 

All photos are owned and copyright by Wanderlust Birth + Photo. Please do not use or copy without permission.