swaddling blankets

If I could make a prediction about the general theme of these blog posts in the coming few months, it would be: Nesting Takes Over!  Because, let’s face it, there is the regular amount of nesting for regular pregnant ladies, and then there are those of us who nest, well, constantly.  I even nest in hotel rooms.

Alas, my brood of just-completed all-flannel swaddling blankets for this spring baby on his/her way.  We’ve all probably noticed how the ancient swaddling technique that even our ape ancestors probably used in some form or fashion is, of late, back in high style with infants, accompanying the whole back-to-sleep campaign.  A good tight swaddle in a soft blanket — now who doesn’t want to take a nice nap just hearing that?  (Well, I’ll tell you who — my 1st born.  But, I have a different feeling about this child-in-utero….)  I figured, getting a couple of these easy blankets made up and ready-to-go for baby #2 would create some good sleeping karma.

I just couldn’t resist all of these dreamy colorful printed flannel-cottons at a most recent trip to my neighborhood fabric store.  I have made a handful of these blankets before (including a couple for Orlis before he was born), using Joelle Hoverson’s pattern from Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts which was especially easy because I used plain white cotton flannel, made a binding, and tacked it on.  (Sorry, no photos.)  But…these recently procured dreamy flannels, while irresistible, came with one small issue — they were’t double sided.  So, I doctored the pattern and used some plain white flannel for the backside — sewed the two large pieces together, and then did a super-simple quilting pattern (3 long lines, not detectable in these pictures) through both layers to hold them together before making my binding and sewing it on.  The blankets turned out thick and even dreamier than the originals.  Oh, if only I was, myself, 2-feet long, I’d swaddle myself right now.

Are you wondering this:  will I be keeping all four of these sweet little bundles or sharing the lot?  Well, it’s nearly springtime, readers, and  I’ve got too many friends with buns in the oven to horde.  I let Rob pick his two favorites to keep, and the other two will get packaged up to gift this weekend, indeed.  But for now these four buddies sit nestled in their basket, warming my office studio and my heart for what will, so soon, be wrapped up inside.  (sleeping soundly.)

By the way, just a reminder about the workshop happening here in Portland this Saturday from 10 – noon at Alma Education and Movement Space, 1233 SE Stark Street.  It’s a workshop for soon-t0-be parents and new parents of any religious affiliation to learn how to plan a unique and meaningful Welcome Baby Blessing for their little one.  I am SO excited.  A full description can be found here — and you can register by emailing me at mary@treelifecoaching.com  It’s only $20 if you pre-register by tomorrow night.



preparing your Blessingway

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Pomona

Hi Blogreaders!

I’m back from my vacation and feeling refreshed and energized.  I hope you had a nice week.

Upon my return, my mind has turned full-focus towards a special event happening this weekend, right in SE Portland, OR.  I will be leading a 2-hour workshop entitled “Preparing Your Blessingway”  at Alma Education Space, 1233 SE Stark Street on Saturday January 26th from 10-noon.  The event is for pregnant mamas and their closest friends to attend together.  Here’s the official description:

Being pregnant, giving birth, and early motherhood are the Mothers of all rites of passage. As women, we come together in support of ourselves and each other to prepare as much as we can, and pave the way for the most gentle and meaningful transition possible. True preparation for this incredible rite of passage has little to do with receiving a stack of onesies or sharing hospital horror stories — rather, expectant mothers deserve to gather with their closest women in a gathering that honors and celebrates the mother-to-be during this enormous transition, and creates structure to give the support in early motherhood that women truly need. A Blessingway (also often called a Mother Blessing) is a mother-centered alternative (or sometimes complement) to the contemporary baby shower.

In this workshop, you will learn how to cultivate a caring community for mothers-to-be by planning a meaningful pre-birth ritual gathering. You will learn simple rituals, as well as how to create safe sharing circles. Well also share ideas about who and how to invite, fun birth art projects to incorporate, and how to create and reinforce support structures for the postpartum period. In most Mother Blessings, all women come away feeling both personally transformed as well as more deeply connected to the circle of women present.

A Blessingway often includes:

 *ritualistic pampering, honoring, preparing, and adorning the mom-to-be

*space for acknowledging and releasing fears

*sharing stories, blessings, letters, wishes, and symbolic and nurturing gifts

*co-creating birth art

*opening to the divine presence and the inherent birth-giving capabilities in every woman

*an opportunity to learn about and bolster the specific choices in childbirth and hopes for parenting of the mom-to-be

*establishing creative and practical structures for birth and post-partum support

*a potluck feast


We will be meeting in the new space (adjacent to the regular Alma Education space) that is all-too-aptly titled, “The Gathering Place.”  There are still spots available for pre-registration, and if you register by Friday night (1/25) you get $5 off the $25 fee.  If you bring a friend, it’s only $10 extra (no limit).  You can register by commenting on this blog post or by contacting me here.

I very much appreciate you helping me spread the word to pregnant ladies in Portland.  I am so excited to be with all these pregnant women and their loving friends on Saturday, in preparation for one of the biggest transitions and transformations we know as women, and in creation of a ritual and celebration that will support them.

And, just a reminder to you local Portland folks, I’m also leading a one-hour workshop tonight(!) at Alma Education Space, 1233 SE Stark.  It’s entitled Elimination Communication: Potty Training from Day 1.  There’s more info here (at the Treelife site) and here (if you search Alma Midwifery’s calendar.)  It’s only $15 per family and walk-ins are welcome!   (If you happen to be an Alma client, it’s free).  Come learn about the freedom of doing Elimination Communication with your little one — I’d love to see you there.



pregnant mamas unite

There are few things more comforting for a big-bellied pregnant mama than a whole room full of big-bellied pregnant mamas.  One Tuesday evening per month, a group of us gather around a table and share a meal.  I must say, there is just something so lovely about each of us inching our growing bodies as close as we can to the potluck table and filling our plates with the various homemade goodies with an unspoken and very much spoken understanding that this is a special time in our lives.  There’s a lot to discuss about this enormous transition we are all going through.  Lucky, lucky me to have found the amazing community resource that is Alma Midwifery, here in Portland, OR.

This particular group of us all plan to give birth — some of us for the 2nd time, and most of the group for the 1st time — either at home or in the warm and most inviting private rooms at Alma’s stand-alone birthing center sometime in March, April, or May.  That makes us the “Spring Mamas.”  And besides just being pregnant (which I’ve found to be a great common denominator among all different kinds of women), we all share in the experience of having chosen the midwifery model of care.   This, I have found, is a source of instant connection, commonality, and great bonding.  With a  shared paradigm from which to draw, much to learn from each other in the way of resources and ideas, and the vulnerability that this sacred process beholds, this is community-building at its very best.

This monthly potluck ritual is so much more than just a few women gathered for a meal, I find.  And much of that is due to the physical space in which we gather — Alma’s Movement and Education Space in SE Portland — where, I think anyone could make themselves comfortable.  There’s a gorgeous bathroom, a clean, shared kitchen stocked with herbal teas and jars of honey, soft chairs and pillows everywhere, and a bulletin board with reminders about all kinds of juicy offerings happening in the same space throughout the month.  It gives the sense, you are invited.  You are welcome.  What I love most, though, are the bits and pieces of art scattered around the space that honor the uniqueness and beauty of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.   There are beautifully painted bodycasts, paintings of babies and mothers nursing, and many images that celebrate the rawness and realness of birth.  I am humbled by these images, and specifically, by the powerful reminder they offer about the work that all of these women’s bodies are doing now, and the work their bodies will do as they bring their babies into the world.  I’m humbled, too, by the people — partners and husbands and midwives and doulas — who have made it their passion and their business to make it so, and specifically, to make it so on the mother’s (and nature’s) terms.  It isn’t easy work for anyone involved, but it’s sacred, and this space pays homage to that more than any I’ve had the honor to visit.

People often ask me — what are the reasons to prepare for a home birth?  Why do it?  And I want to say, among so many things, this is why — the community, the honoring, the nourishing, and the attitude of both realness and celebration around what many describe as the biggest transition of one’s life.  I am honored, truly, to be a part of this group of Spring Mamas — to be growing community together in this way, and to be sharing in this magical, complex, and wild ride.

P.S. I leave for vacation today!  I’ll be gone from this space for about a week and will see you back here on Wednesday January 23rd.  Have a great week!