Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The power of women...

I had the honour to attend a Blessingway last night. A friend is expecting twins, very soon, and had a ceremony surrounded by supportive female friends and family. The rituals included each person who came giving a bead to be threaded onto a necklace for the labouring mother to wear. We also drew around our hands onto a white T shirt to remind her of our support during her labour. Each of us painted a design onto her belly with henna. And we laid our hands on her belly while singing a song of welcome to her babies - it was awesome, in the real sense of the word, to feel the babies moving under my hand. J is so calm, centred and beautiful in her pregnancy and I know that she and her babies will have a wonderful birth experience.

Writing about last night reminded me of something I wrote recently. It was written for a friend, who in turn writes articles for a local newspaper. My friend edited it a little, but below is my original version, as it seems appropriate.


Women need women. Often, we sail through our teens and early twenties, focused on the opposite sex. Other women are seen as rivals, competitors in the race to get the guy or the promotion or whatever.

Pregnancy is a time when that attitude starts to change. Only other women have experienced what you are going through. You are drawn towards mothers or mothers-to-be, needing to ask questions and be reassured that what you’re going through is normal, whether it is the emotional or physical upheaval of creating a child.

Women used to be surrounded by their family, their village of elders and peers, they were never left alone to face their fears or muddle through. Many of us now live far away from our immediate family and have to create a new community in our town or city of choice.

Being a parent brings an instant connection with other parents. Joining a playgroup, attending La Leche League meetings, just bumping into others at a park and striking up a conversation - you have something in common. Deciding to homeschool my children brought me into contact with a whole new crowd. All of us have that common thread.

Knitting is another activity that brings people together. Knitting can be challenging and frustrating to learn. You can teach yourself from a book but it is much more pleasant to learn from a friend, sitting next to you to guide you through the steps. When the movements become easier, knitting is a relaxing and soothing activity, the repetitiveness and rhythm of the stitches can be meditative. You are creating something beautiful from simple tools and materials. When you are part of a group of knitting friends, you can show them the progress you are making and your finished projects and have them share in your achievements.

To quote a friend, ”Knitting with friends is combining the love of creativity with the love and joys of companionship.”

And another friend, ”A discussion with a person who shares your interest is more two - way and alive, it is like a springboard and the enthusiasm begets enthusiasm, ideas abound and it is just great fun.”

Kate Jacobs’ new novel, The Friday Night Knitting Club, is very timely. Knitting has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the last couple of years. New yarns, knitting books and related paraphernalia have flooded the stores and many new knitters are clicking away. It’s cool to knit...and hopefully some of those who start just because it’s cool will continue to knit because they are hooked - in love with the art, the yarns, the creativity, the rhythm. My “knitting club” meets officially on a Monday - once a month, there’s a place for friends to come and knit - but of course we knit all the time, whenever we can, because it’s addictive!

Three friends and I have started a blog. It’s a lot of fun.... we post pictures of our knitting, write about our successes and challenges, but we also write about many other subjects on which we each have our own opinion. Even when our opinions are different, we still have those common threads holding us together....we’re women, we knit, we homeschool our children....we have a strong bond.

Women do need women - of all ages. Most of my friends are in their 30s and 40s, but I treasure my relationship with a wise woman in her seventies who will listen to me and offer words of wisdom when needed.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree that women need women. I remember very clearly when I came to that realization in my mid-twenties. It felt like a huge revelation!
Thank you for being here last night! It was a magical evening - being in a circle with women is so powerful. Thank you for sharing your love and support!

Mary-Sue said...

Wow. I LOVE this. thank you for sharing your writing, Nicola. And thank you for being part of our circle around J. I feel like my strength was renewed that night and I'm still feeling the effects... women DO need women. thank you for this.