In the final weeks of my third pregnancy, my cherished natural birth and parenting group in Fremantle gathered around me in my home to help prepare me for Quinn's birth. They brought sumptuous home cooked meals, enough for us to feast upon and still fill my fridge with leftovers that kept my family fed for a week or so. They brought a candle and a bead and open hearts. We sat around the fire and they massaged my feet, brought me cups of tea and painted my belly with henna. They told stories of birth and motherhood as we lit the candles and threaded their beads onto a necklace that I would wear as I laboured to birth Quinn by the crackling fire of our hearth. Then we blew out the candles and feasted.
My mother blessing ceremony was an evening of womanly solidarity that I still draw strength from. It was a moment for me to pause and reflect before diving back into motherhood for the third time around. My older boys, then still only two and four, spent the night with their Dad at my parents' farm. It was the only night I have ever spent alone in my own home since becoming a mother. Lying quietly in my bed, with the henna drying and cracking on my skin, my focus turned inward and I knew that I was ready to meet my child.
As I gather beads and candles to send to my dear friends in their far flung cities I recall those final weeks of pregnancy, the act of birth, the delicious warmth of those early weeks with my newborn, with crystal clarity. Twenty one years have passed since we first met but you will always be my oldest, dearest friends. And time and space and years may separate us, but when we do meet the laughter and conversation flows as if we had not spent a day apart. I love you darling girls. Bless you both, bless your beautiful bellies and bless those babes growing within. I cannot wait to meet them.