Some of the best advice you can be given as a mum, or as a person really, is to do what feels right. If, no matter how it’s sold to you by your excited BFF — “no storks”, “no games”, “no present opening, promise,” — a babyshower just has too bad a rep in your mind, you shouldn’t force it. But just because the babyshower is out, doesn’t mean you can’t honour your pregnancy and celebrate this time. Alison Rice, host of Offline, The Podcast and conscious career and business coach, celebrated with a women’s circle ahead of having her daughter Betty, earlier this year. The women’s circle is a way to wish the pregnant woman well in her journey to motherhood. Spiritual, special and “a lot less ‘woo woo’ than what some might think,” says Alison. To find out more about the celebration and how to host one, we asked Alison to share her own. Thankfully, she obliged. Women’s circles. Let’s go.
What is a women’s circle and how did you become aware of them?
“Firstly, you don't have to identify as spiritual to host one or attend your own. Women’s circles can have different purposes and focuses, but the ultimate intention of my pre-baby women’s circle was to honour my journey from maiden to mother. Instead of the focus being on the baby, like it is at a baby shower, the focus was more on me! My friend Zoe had something similar before the arrival of her son Fox, and I was so moved by the experience I knew that when my time came, I would have my own.”
What attracted you to having one as opposed to a babyshower?
“Sitting in a circle with other women is a huge part of my life. It’s how I process what I've learnt and what I'm still learning. I host women's circles through my self development offering, Offline and I also attend them personally, so it felt very right to gather with the women I hold closest to my heart and allow myself to feel honoured and guided into a new chapter. There's a lot of attention placed on the baby and what the baby needs, but I think it's also so important to provide the woman growing a life inside of her a safe and positive space to sit in her fullest expression: to reflect on the pregnancy, make contact with her hopes and intentions for the birth, and to hear and see the commitment from her women for that postpartum period and beyond. We hear "it takes a village to raise a baby" a lot, but the way we live now means that village is fragmented. I guess my hope and intention was that the circle would also evolve the connection I have with the women in my life as I entered motherhood, and it did!”
Sounds amazing, OK, give us details, what did you actually do during the circle?
“It was very simple, in the most beautiful way. We just connected. We mingled and ate some yummy pastries and fresh fruit, and drank ginger tea. Then we sat down in a circle together and they offered me guidance, wisdom and advice. My sister hosted my circle and asked everyone to write what they wanted to say on a card so I could keep their words and share them with Betty one day. My husband Tony and I had already picked her name and we actually used it on the day! That was a slip-up from my sister but it ended up being the most beautiful thing. Hearing my friends and family say her name deepened things for me. I suffered from quite bad pregnancy anxiety following pregnancy losses so I really needed to focus on believing in her and trusting her. Hearing her name out loud was a real gift.”
Where was it held?
“Bondi Meditation Centre. It's a space very close to my heart and somewhere I spent a lot of time while both healing from losses and trying to conceive.”
Who was in attendance?
“My mum, sisters and closest friends.”
What were the instructions to guests?
“None really. Just to bring their advice on a card and to wear something comfortable to sit in.”
How did you feel after?
“Grounded. Content. Grateful. Prepared.”
What advice do you have for others wanting to have a women’s circle, but aren’t sure how?
“Do what feels true to you. I think the most important thing is that your circle is a unique expression of you and what makes you feel safe, held and seen. I think oftentimes in pregnancy or in the lead up to something like a wedding, it's easy to get lost in the idea of something vs. being fully present in that thing and allowing ourselves to really feel it. So my advice is to share your vision with someone you trust and then fall back. Allow yourself to be honoured and celebrated.”
Learn about what to expect after childbirth, by reading our article here