9/7/2018

Baby Blessing Reflections

 Baby Blessing x Ashley Neese

Three weeks ago I was fortunate to have my first baby blessing. I’ve been to many baby showers over the years which I have enjoyed. It’s always a treat to celebrate new mamas, their babes and growing families. When it came time for me to consider how I wanted to be celebrated through this transition, a baby blessing felt very aligned, like the perfect choice.

I chose a baby blessing because it brought together elements that are very close to my heart. One of the most important elements in my life is community. The baby blessing created a safe space for my friends to share what is on their hearts and touch into their own vulnerability. Another aspect of the blessing that speaks to me is the act ritual. I am a big believer in building ritual into our everyday lives and especially into moments when we are stepping from one place to another. I also chose a baby blessing because it was a stretch for me to reach out and ask for that much support, attention, and care during this grand and inward facing time in my life.

Baby Blessing x Ashley Neese

Baby Blessing x Ashley Neese

There are many ways to hold a baby blessing. If you are considering a baby blessing versus a baby shower, know that you can make your blessing ceremony whatever will serve you and your babe the most. I knew that I didn’t want a bunch of baby gifts or a party type vibe. What I wanted was to sit in circle and be in connection with the women who have been instrumental in my life. I wanted an opportunity to honor them, the way they have touched my heart, and they ways that they inspire me. I also wanted to give them a chance to hold space for this tender and powerful transition I am in.

I chose to ask my dear friend and doula Erica Chidi Cohen to lead the blessing ceremony. Erica and I have been friends for years and she knows me on a soul level. She also is a deep and grounded space holder as that is her work in the world so it wasn’t even a question in my mind when I thought about who I wanted to ask to facilitate this ceremony. I was so grateful when she said she would do it and the second I arrived at LOOM, the incredible center she co-founded in L.A. on the blessing day I knew I was in for something much more healing than I anticipated.

As a person who teaches and holds space for many people, it was a very different experience to sit in a circle of women who showed up solely for me. A big part of my journey these last couple of years has been to practice receiving the love and support that is around me. I am hardwired to take care of the people in my life and my body entered this world with a major imprint around processing other people’s emotions. It has not been a smooth or easy road learning how to navigate asking for more and leaning into my chosen relationships. A huge part component of my pregnancy has been to reconcile these aspects of myself and learn in a very visceral way just how much help I actually need and then to begin the process of letting it in.

Baby Blessing x Ashley Neese

Baby Blessing x Ashley Neese

Baby Blessing x Ashley Neese

Baby Blessing x Ashley Neese

On an intuitive level I knew I needed to have a baby blessing to support this part of my journey and to help heal my past. I was a little taken aback at just how vulnerable it felt and just how much of my past collapsed into that ceremony to be integrated in such a restorative and healing way. Real alchemy took place in that circle and for the first time in my pregnancy I was able to let go of my vigilance around the experience and soften into receiving the medicine that shows up when I sit in connection with women who love and support me.

Since the blessing much has shifted in my heart, psyche, and energetic body around the pregnancy, upcoming birth, and movement into the next phase of motherhood. I’ve been working through some big pieces around my own birth trauma, imprinted fears from my lineage, and trusting the instinctual yet often quiet places within my own body. I’ve been given opportunity after opportunity to show up as my adult self these last weeks and I’ve made some mistakes along the way. I am practicing trusting the tender voice within, taking responsibility for what is mine, and showing up for challenging conversations because the reality is this is the only way for me. As a parent I can’t just put my head in the sand and hope things will go away. I have to get up, stand tall, and respond to myself and to others with as much compassion, kindness, and forgiveness as possible. There is no room for hiding out when you have a little human on their way in who will be depending on you for literally everything. And there is something in that knowing as well as the strong community of women surrounding me through this process that is giving me the courage to rise.

Here’s to honoring ourselves.
Here’s to letting ourselves be held by people who have the capacity to hold us.
Here’s to receiving the love that is present.
Here’s to trusting the quiet voice within.
Here’s to rising.

Photos x @lanitrock

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© ASHLEY NEESE 2018