What is more appropriate than birth for our beginning? A new child in the world offers a rich opportunity to honor the baby, the parents, the space where they will live, the already-existing siblings, the grandparents and extended family and friends.
The actual birth process itself as well as preparation for it already creates special moments. As we grow to understand our role in adding more meaning to our lives, this birth time is opportunity knocking with a loud beat. I can’t tell you how many unusual ways my girl friends and I created something out of the ordinary into a unordinary way to celebrate an impending childbirth celebration. We wanted to do something for each other, but not necessarily a traditional shower.
The gals and I grew up together, we married within weeks of each other and our babies were born with in weeks of each other. As time went by they had two or three children with in weeks of each other. Then there was me the odd duck out I didn’t have my second baby until seven years later. Hey! It’s better late than never. Right!
This story is a bit unusual, as it talks about preparing the place where the baby will live. The gals and I designed the event, and this is what we did for our friends Linda and Dave.
My friends Dave and Linda’s first baby was due near the holidays. I wanted to do something for them, but not necessarily a traditional shower. The birth time was getting close and we needed to move into action if anything was going to be done. I called Linda, saying that I wanted to offer to plan something for her and Dave. I asked her what would she like? Very quickly she said, she was dreaming of a time with close friends to prepare the living space for the baby.
She went on to explain to me that she didn’t mean a physical sense of painting and remodeling, but of welcoming the child into the world even before she arrived. I was thrilled with this idea and excited to be part of making it happen.
Linda and I started putting it together. Linda was very clear about who she and Dave wanted to attend–those folks who would understand and support the idea of a pre-birth housewarming. I called the guest on the phone, as it was short notice. This was before email and texting. It was in the 1970’s. The parents wanted the gathering place to take place in the location where the baby would be living.
The intention was to prepare a community nest for the baby. The nest would be made of stories, poetry, wisdom, favorite children’s books, lullabies and handmade items. The offering of the event would come from the heart of each guest. We trusted that each person knew what this new being needed to smooth the transition into the world, help her be comfortable and accepted before her actual arrival.
When the evening arrived, we gathered men and women in a circle n the living room of the home where the child would be living. A candle was lit in honor of the baby. We passed around a rattle to use as a talking piece.
A friend acted as host/facilitator. The offerings included prayers, live music presentations, the start of the child’s own library, special Christmas ornaments, wisdom for parenting, and stories from childhood. Best of all there was the overwhelming sense of how wanted and special this child was, even before she entered the world. Blessings on this living home and caring parents were offered. Afterwards we ate, laughed and celebrated new life.
The actual birth came a few days later and turned out to be a little difficult for Linda, one of the things that helped her stay focused was remembering the support of those who had assisted in preparing the home for her child.
Because Linda had a clear vision, I was able to help make it happen. In this situation, I was less the creator and more an enabler. I didn’t need to agonized on what to do, as Linda knew what she wanted and I could act as the helper.
Linda designed her own evening. This celebration honored the parents and welcomed their first child into our lives. The circle of friends were ready to receive Linda and Dave’s new baby. As a thank you gift Linda and Dave gave each of us a photo frame with our names engraved randomly around the frame with a picture of their beautiful new baby girl.
Celebrating beginnings helps us connect with family and friends in wonderful new ways. Even small beginnings, transitions can be explored and filled with wonder. The idea is not to have a “celebration in a box” solution, but spur your creative imagination. You’ll find inspiration to design an event unique to you will give meaning and love to all that participate. Celebrating out of the box is a way to connect with heart and meaning.