After a whole lot of discussion with my doula over what exactly I was going to do around ‘pagan-happy-rituals for birth’, with the two main constraints being:
- none of my family is pagan, and few of my friends are, and many don’t even know I am, and therefore I can’t invite them to a rit or do one ‘energetically’ with them assuming they’d be okay with it, and
- most of my friends and family live way far away, so they won’t be around for rits, baby showers, or the birth itself,
we finally landed on the somewhat popular and fairly straightforward blessing bead.
In case you’re not familiar, this is a practice where you ask supportive friends/family to send you a bead to represent their best wishes, blessings, and support for you, your baby, and whomever else you may have around (ie: partners, siblings, etc). You collect the beads, string them onto something (rope, ribbon, thread, yarn, etc), and bring it with you to the birth. It’s a less-overtly-pagan way to do a ‘blessingway’, but still offers a way to bring supportive, positive, happy energy with you to your birth.
For me, it feels like a good compromise. It doesn’t require a full ritual (I’m very uncomfortable with assumptions about other people’s willingness to get involved – even energetically, even if they don’t believe in it- with rituals of any kind… similarly to the way core shamanism teaches you shouldn’t offer healing without permission), and yet it ties me to my very-geographically-extended support network in a way I rarely get to experience. I’m excited to send out cards with the request– fresh, in the new year, at the beginning of my third trimester.
So, if you’re looking for a way to bridge distance and disparate spiritual beliefs, consider asking for beads or a similar physical extension of goodwill and positive energy. Even those who think it’s all “hooey” are likely to still honour your request (after all, when you’re pregnant, you get to ask for weird shit. it’s part of the deal, I guess)… hopefully without raising too many eyebrows or awkward conversations.