Our third featured contributor for the Bellies and Babies Blessingway Giveaway is BlessingWay Beads. She has some truly amazing pieces of art on her site!
To enter to win the trio of beads that she is contributing, along with other goodies that have been featured previously and will be featured later, please follow the instructions here.
My name is I-dra, I'm 29 & I live in Portland, Oregon with my partner, Tim, and our 2 year old son, Solomon Elijah. He was born with midwives at a birth center in Otis, Oregon after about 24 hours of active labor. I feel pretty confident that, had he been born in a hospital, I probably would have been subjected to a cesarean for taking so long. His birth was transformational in more ways than I could have predicted - it is because of his birth that I'm blessed to be doing what I love today. I found my passion & my calling when I became a mother.
We had a Moby & a pouch sling, but I wanted to try a mei tai, so after finding a pattern online, I sewed my own. A friend encouraged me to sell them, so my website, Sew At Home Mama was born. It's fun creating custom carriers for people & my style definitely evolved over my son's first year. He was a great little model, too, helping me demonstrate the different styles & carrying techniques. I now specialize in onbuhimos, a Japanese carrier.
Last year, The Business of Being Born was playing in Portland for one day only, so I went to see it. One of my heroines, the midwife Ina May Gaskin, was being interviewed during the film & I loved the pregnant torso necklace that she wore. I scoured the internet & local shops to find something similar, but to no avail. I'm pretty crafty, so I picked up some polymer clay at the grocery store & tried to make something like what she had. What I came up with was my now-signature roll that is featured on all my mamas. I also experimented making other beads including placentas, breasts & crowning vagina's. That same night I opened my Etsy shop, Blessingway Beads. I have great fun making these & work best when I follow my creative bend. I like to come up with different themes for my little mamas, but they usually just wo-manifest themselves maybe in a dream or on a burst of inspiration. My all-time best seller is the Vine Mama!
My second most popular bead is the placenta. I think the placenta deserves more respect than she gets! In some cultures, she is regarded as the baby's "twin" & is given a proper burial when her work of sustaining the child is done. One of my favorites is the Lactivist. It is unapologetically unsubtle in that the breasts are there, they're bare, get used to it! I even added a drop of translucent "milk" to make it extra unmistakable. My hope is that our American society can overcome the stigma of breastfeeding & can embrace the lactating mother as the nurturer she truly is. We must support our breastfeeding mothers.
In addition to operating two small home businesses, I'm also studying the become a certified childbirth educator through the program offered by ALACE. I'm learning so much & I can't wait to start teaching. I'm totally committed to furthering the natural childbirth movement, lowering the national cesarean rate & protecting the genital integrity of all children, as I believe circumcision is a personal choice to be decided when a person is of consenting age. I also support & practice breastfeeding with child-led weaning, bed-sharing & infant pottying.
For the future, I'd like to attend births as a doula, study herbalism & become more self-sufficient in a "back to the land" sort of way. My ultimate dream is to establish a "red tent" women's community center that will serve as a sort of all-purpose meeting hall, hosting guest speakers, craft or dance expos & childbirth classes. I'm always looking to network with others who share my vision & commitments.
When I opened the package from I-dra, I was delighted to see a beautiful trio of beads for the Blessingway Giveaway, along with a gorgeous placenta bead for me! I am so excited to have a chance to show it off sometime soon! Thank you, I-dra!