“Hey Cait, who’s throwing you a baby shower this time round? Or maybe a baby sprinkle?” asked a dear friend.
“I’m not sure. But I think what I could really use is a Blessingway…” I replied, a little hesitantly. It seems a kind of selfish, now that I think about it. A party that’s really more about Mom than baby…I rubbed my belly and whispered, Baby Girl, it’s not that I don’t want to celebrate you and your imminent arrival, I just really need some love right now. Some support. Some empowerment as a mother.
The last several months have been hard. Hard in a PPD kind of way. I didn’t know that pregnancy depression was a thing, but apparently it is. Ante-natal depression, they call it. Well, whatever it’s called, I’ve been living it. And it. is. hard.
So, after weeks of lethargy, big angry tears, too much yelling and not enough hugging, let’s just say I was needing a little encouragement as I add another person to my daily circus.
What I got was more than I could have imagined. Or perhaps, it was exactly what I had in mind, but only in my most wild and far-fetched imaginings. In a, that seems so awesome, but there’s no way it would ever happen to me, kind of way.
Let the record show, I have never felt more empowered in my role as mother, nor humbled in my role as sister and friend.
I spent several hours listening to women love me. Women, who are each people I admire and look up to for innumerable reasons, affirm me.
Words have power.
Words of affirmation can heal a soul.
Through tears I tried to stutter my thanks for such a gift. Those words, and compliments, and stories and heart-songs will sustain this broken Mama through many a grey day to come. Because at my worst (or rather, at depression’s worst) I have myself thoroughly convinced that I am the worst mother, worst wife, worst sister and friend and daughter than anyone could have.
Worse than being un-loved, I am un-lovable.
And that night, that Blessingway, shattered all those thoughts. Shattered all those doubts. I can now confidently point to those memories (somehow stored in the same brain that’s trying to sabotage my life) and realize that the Caitlin my family and friends see is not the Caitlin depression would have me believe in. They can’t both exist.
They don’t both exist.
Only I exist.
While I know this kind of hippie party is not everyone’s preference, I was giddy when the girls said we were doing belly henna. I have always wanted henna on a big, giant preggo belly, and even better than having it done at the Fair, it was done with love by those that I love.
Whether they knew it or not, they were writing their love and support and prayers for me and baby girl on that big ol’ belly of mine.
And she danced.
Oh she danced and kicked and moved and made everyone laugh as they tried not to smear the love-mud.
People ate ice cream and smiled and laughed and cried and prayed and sang and lit candles and placed a flower wreath and destroyed fear. Lit it on fire. That is the power of women. That is the power of community. To destroy fear.
It was just enough to swell the tiny pagan part of this thoroughly Catholic woman’s heart to near bursting.
Thank you ladies. Thank you from a deep, deep part of my heart.
I am loved. I am lovable.
And I am not afraid.