Henna or mehndi has always been used in celebrations symbolizing joy, strength and love. Belly blessing henna for pregnancy is all of those things and more! It’s a wonderful bonding experience, not just for the mom-to-be and her beautiful belly, but a gathering of many women coming together to celebrate and bless them both. For me, it’s truly a humbling and connecting experience, especially when the baby moves and reacts to the henna cone tickling the belly as I paint.
Here is my story on how I discovered this beautiful art and why I fell in love:
At the beginning of my henna career I was invited to a belly blessing ceremony held by a doula. I actually had no idea what this was and didn’t know what to expect. It was held at a cottage with a garden in Delray Beach, everyone was dressed in flowing dresses and flower crowns. There was a stunning display of delicious fresh fruits, veggies and snacks and an equally stunning array of desserts and teas.
We took off our shoes at the entryway and proceeded into what looked like a warm Moroccan yoga studio with throw pillows and lanterns. I set up my henna table in the corner and started painting each of the approximate 20 ladies and the mom-to-be’s belly. During this we paused, everyone sat down in a large prayer circle with a basket of glass bangles (among other items) in the middle. The Doula performed a beautiful ceremony with a spiritual prayer and a meditation. Then, each woman was asked to think about words of strength and advice: anything, for enduring labor, for raising a child, for being a woman in a new part of her life. Each woman then took a glass bangle and spoke their words of advice to her while placing the bangle on her wrist.
“Just breath. Long after labor, there will be days you want to scream. Just breath.”
“I’m not a mom, but I have nieces, remember to laugh.”
“No one is ever truly ready, remember to ask for help, it’s ok to ask for help.”
“You might want to clean and cook and do all these things when they nap, but seriously get some sleep while they sleep”
And on and on, where even I had to hold back tears and many sniffles were heard all around.
The story goes: that when she is in labor, she breaks each of the bangles and thinks of the words spoken to her and draws strength from them! ❤️
From then on, I fell in love with being a part of this amazing ritual. Something that is so sacred and understood by women of all ages and time.
Years later, I was invited to do a belly henna for a similar gathering of just six ladies. All the women in attendance were moms already, I was privileged to listen to their intimate words. Then each person wrote a fear down on a piece of paper and put them in a small fire pit in the end releasing their fears and tears.
“You are a warrior, do not let others make you feel ashamed about your body and feed your insecurities.”
“You are not being replaced, your husband will still make time for you and love you more.”
“There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, you are doing great!”
These belly blessings have truly humbled me. Witnessing these vulnerable moments of women empowering women, providing nurturing shoulders and empathy is eye opening. You don’t see this in corporate America, we fight to hide all of that for fear of looking weak, even amongst other women. This beautiful ceremony and tradition, strips down walls and highlights the courage in the face of fears and struggles we can all experience.
I hope to partake in many more of these sacred moments that celebrate a woman as a true Goddess.
Belly blessing henna FAQs:
- How much is it? Starts from $85 and up, depends on the size and detail of the design. Each belly blessing henna includes a Goddess Glam Bag: featuring aromatherapy aftercare and relaxation products.
- Do the designs mean anything? Designs on the belly can be completely customized with symbols, animals, baby’s name or little footprints. It’s all freehand and open to your creativity.
- Is it safe for the baby? The ingredients are lemon juice, sugar/honey, water and essential oils: tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil, and sometimes lavender. These are all safe and relaxing.
- How does the photos work? We can do a mini-session the day the henna is applied or you can come back in 2 days to have the photos done with the dark henna stain. Either way, be sure to plan props, fabrics, jewelry and any little elements to personalize the moment.