The Mad Muthas did a post about belly art and I just have to step in and raise my freak flag.
[Roll Theme Song: "She's a super freak, super freak, she's super freaky...]
When I was pregnant with my first child, The Notorious Mayor, there was the usual fanfare and celebration.
There were baby showers, the decorating of the nursery, the acquisition of endless miles of giant plastic baby crap to replace all tasteful decor and so on.
I was nervous about the baby showers.
I thought maybe I wasn't the "baby shower type."
In advance of our wedding, K and I registered for things like mosquito nets and DEET because we took off for a 16 month odyssey immediately after
I lost my virginity on our wedding night.
Contrary to my expectations, the baby showers ended up meaning a lot to me.
The gifts were lovely, but the events themselves felt like important rites of passage.
It was incredible to gather with women I care about and celebrate the coming of my first child and the onset of motherhood.
Late in my pregnancy with Rooster Girl I started to feel depressed.
I felt let down that her arrival would go uncelebrated.
I didn't expect or want another shower, but I felt like there should be something... something that would honor our excitement about her pending arrival.
K, all on his own, hatched a plan to make things right.
He did an internet search to find a mendhi artist in our town and then made zillions of phone calls until he found a voice on the other end that said, "Yes. We can do that."
He arranged for the mendhi artist, a woman named Rosie, to come to our house and decorate my belly on the day before I was to be induced.
He invited a bunch of my girlfriends and prepared coffee and desserts.
When the party started, he took The Mayor and left the house.
My girlfriends had secretly organized a mixed CD that played throughout the party and featured their hand picked songs for labor & delivery with lyrics like,
"AHH, push it... pu-push it real good."The mendhi artist spent about an hour applying designs on my belly with the same kind of bag you might see someone using to decorate a cake.
(Okay, a GYNORMOUS, gazillion pound female cake, but still...)
It didn't tickle and the henna paste felt cool on my skin.
When the belly masterpiece was finished, Rosie gave my guests their own body paintings.
I left the henna on for six hours and then rubbed it off like dried mud.
The resulting design was tea colored.
The next day we went to the hospital for my induction.
The look on the labor and delivery nurse's face when she saw my belly was priceless.
I think she actually gasped for air.
She later admitted that she initially thought it was a permanent tattoo.
The henna design lasted for about three weeks and triumphed over my puckered and deflating whoopee cushion of a stomach.
Looking at the design on my belly made me smile and laugh every day of those first three weeks of Rooster's life.
(This was so much better than the sobbing as I did for three weeks following The Mayor's birth.)
Looking back, I am grateful to K for organizing the belly art party.
Music played, women gathered to eat and laugh together and the coming of The Rooster was acknowledged and celebrated.
I'm glad for that.