Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blessing the Belly

Years and years ago I learned about Mehndi from a little phamplet a middle school friend had.  I had seen it many times before on the hands and feet of primarily Indian women in Miami but I hadnt really known what it was. Back then Henna, the herbal paste used for Mehndi tattoos, was out of reach entirely so I used ink pens to design often intricate designs on my hands and palms. I dont remember where but I once read about Mehndi for the pregnant woman and was HOOKED. While I was pregnant with Iris I badly wanted to have my belly blessed with a Mehndi design and sought out an artist.  Unfortunately they were HIGHLY expensive. One of the women who knew an artist had smiled deeply and told me "Mehndi is good for the mother and the baby. Henna it draws all negative out from the baby, it is good. Good blessings for both".

Although I didnt get to do it during my pregnancy with Iris, I was lucky enough to have it done with Aeva. My good friend Kathryn whom was a month ahead of me in pregnancy had her blessingway the day before my babyshower and decided to have henna applied. Guess who got to do it? Yes ma'am! The night after my own baby shower, i got to have MY belly hennaed and blessed by Jess and Jessie. I then in turn hennaed them.

I cant say for sure but I really think that that Indian woman was right...the Henna drew all the neg out and I had the VBAC i was told would NEVER happen.

Naturally now that Jessie is carrying Jellybean (aka Lucy), I wanted to impart the blessing on HER

Designs for Jessie were SCATTERED. Somewhere along the line of looking for ideas she told me about her desire to have a tattoo with the Moon representing her,  the Sun representing Jere and a star to represent each baby. Most henna designs have flowers and birds and butterflies. I cant draw birds and Jessie hates butterflies and flowers.
So yea. Big issue.
Until i saw this tree design and i took off

heres Jessie, slightly uncomfy for the hour or so it took of sitting like so

I wish I had had a better applicator and that it hadnt been about 1 am because i wanted to add SO much more detail.
I must mention, right before starting, Jessie rubbed eucalyptus oil on her belly to help the stain adhere. Between that scent and the scent of the Henna, Jessie and I both felt more relaxed somehow, and we think it was due to the smell.

I wanted to add deeper roots but alas I was unable (no space there without smudging)

Can you spot the 4 family members?

She looked happy to me, what do you think?

There was a little bit of henna left so I marked myself with a tribute

The henna gets wrapped up overnight if its not fully dry (takes a couple of hours) and because of the peeling process. Ideally you want it to stay on your skin as long as possible before flaking off to get a deeper and thus longer stain but its not necessary. Some people prolong it by applying a lemon juice concoction.
Traditionally brides would get their hands and feet hennaed and the longer it stayed without fading, the better the relationship with their mother in law ( a very important relationship in that culture). Its said that some women even reapplied the henna secretly so as to impress their MIL. Beats having to cook and clean to impress ;)

1 comment:

  1. gorgeous, lady! i wish i knew you when i was preggers so you could have hennaed me. :)