Indianapolis has an incredible community. I like to call it the “birthy” community - a Sisterhood - if you will. Through this community, I met Ali. After realizing that she was due soon to birth her 4th child, and finding that a Blessingway was to be had, I just knew I had to document it. A Blessingway is a sacred pre-birth ceremony that has traditionally been performed by Navajo people. It celebrates a woman's rite of passage into motherhood! As a Birth Photographer, being invited into sacred spaces for me is not foreign, though it is truly an honor when it happens. Each and every time. Taking part in this circle was no different, and what’s more is that I was able to bring my littles along with me. Being able to introduce my children into such a loving atmosphere, focused on blessing a new little life, was something I’ll cherish for a lifetime.
It was a frigidly cold winter day in January when we arrived at Ali’s house. I grabbed my gear, my carrier, and my kids as we prepared to trek from our parking spot to the house. Not only was it cold, but it had snowed recently, A LOT! When we approached the door, there was a sign, asking us to remove our shoes. They were preparing for a home birth, and part of keeping the birthing spaces clean is removing your shoes! We happily obliged and settled in. My daughter, Emma, helped me get Henry, my son, on my back, and then she went to find friends her age. It was great how we just folded in, as any good guest-member might do. I pulled out my camera and began sinking into the same groove that I’m always used to - quietly documenting. Mingling here and there, but otherwise chasing the light through Ali’s beautiful home and capturing the sheer joy everyone felt for being there. A friend of Ali’s brought by some really tasty homemade granola bars, and after we all had a chance to enjoy them, the paint and brushes came out! Everyone seemed really excited to contribute to Ali’s Birth Affirmation Wall. There was a list of affirmations to choose from, or you could come up with your own! Emma chose to paint an affirmation that said “open”. I loved seeing all of the different paintings. It was like watching a room of artists pour their hearts out into short little phrases. The amazing thing about these affirmations is that after Ali delivers her baby, she will gift them to other expecting families to use during labor!
Once everyone had finished their paintings and hung them in her birthing space, Ali was treated to a traditional Blessingway herbal massage while we all spoke blessings to her for an optimal and positive birthing experience and fourth trimester.
Check out the images from this fun day below. Can you spot mine and Henry’s selfie? ;) If you have a birth affirmation that you love, comment with it!