When I was pregnant with my first I did everything you were
supposed to do to feel prepared and ready for the birth. I read the
books, I took a class, and I scoured lists of what to pack, to do,
to have. I was the first in my circle of local friends to have a
child so I had no close contacts to question and no one to guide me
really. I prepared for labor like I was studying for an exam,
focusing on what I knew, the science/medical side of it. It never
occurred to me back then that little things I did would become the
comforting rituals of delivery, even when delivery didn't go as
My mother, who had three children, didn't like talking about the
technical or medical side of birth. She was short on details and I
never pushed it, but she did tell me something she did that
intrigued me. She said for each of her births she treated herself
to a new nightgown and robe set so she didn't have to wear the
hospital gowns. It seemed like a good enough idea so I followed
I don't wear nightgowns. I am a tank tops and shorts or pants
kind of girl. I went to a local department store and bought my
first, and only nightgown. It was nothing fancy or special, not
even particular stylish but it was suited for the job. Sleeveless
so I wouldn't be hot, not long so it wouldn't be in the way and had
enough buttons that I felt I could nurse in it. I hadn't yet
heard of designers like Hot Mama Gowns and others who make stylish
hospital gowns so while it wasn't exactly stylish, in my bag it
I sit here typing this in that same, still not stylish gown.
While I have discovered all those trendy and stylish shops I never
remember to order until the week before delivery. The frugal me
also has hard time spending the money knowing that it will
only be worn a few times.
Since that first delivery and nightgown purchase I have
developed a few of my own delivery rituals or traditions, things I
always do or have on hand for the birth. They provide a comfort and
a routine during an uncertain time and give me something to focus
on other than my anxiety. They also connect each birth with
the last and help me remember and connect the children we've lost
with those that are here.
One of those rituals is my hair. I have medium to long curly
hair. When I had my first I wanted to keep it out of my way, keep
it from getting super tangled and look cute in pictures. I wore it
in pigtail braids for that first baby and for every one since then,
even our losses. It seems like such a little thing, but it's a
ritual of repetition that calms me, grounds me and connects all my
For this most recent birth my hair is longer than it has ever
been. When braided in pigtails it's actually more in the way as
they hang down to almost my elbows. As I prepped for this final
baby I debated and worried about what I would do. The thought of
not wearing braids to my final birth would bring tears to my eyes,
and a bit of worry. I was had made myself so superstitious that I
needed to wear them.
So for this last baby I took a deep breathe and adapted,
something I am sure I will be doing lots of! I braided a smaller
braid into my larger side braid. It kept the hair contained and out
of the way and I still had two braids. A small little act, somewhat
vain, but one that has been an important part of my mothering
journey. Two small simple rituals that connect my journey of
motherhood to my mothers and connect one birth to the next.
Do you have any rituals or traditions that you do at each of
Melissa is mom to 4 kids and 2 angels | writer | creator | localist with LittleLakeCounty.com. She once lived in heels and dreamed of traveling the world, now she lives in her minivan and dreams of a clean kitchen
See more of Melissa's stories here.
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