Note: This is the first day of Gussy Sews’ Inspiration Workshop; I’m looking forward to writing once a week here about the creative prompt she provides. You can still join up here!

The Inspiration Challenge word of the week is HANDMADE, which got me thinking about all the handmade items in my home that I adore:

Baby blankets crocheted by loving grandmas.
Masterpieces made by my kids.
Amazing artwork created by friends near and far.
This vintage sweater knit by my Auntie Aggie.

But this birthing necklace takes the cake as my favorite handmade possession – a gorgeous gift created by a circle of friends before I gave birth to Truman in 2008. Very few folks thought I’d have another baby after what happened during and following the 2003 birth of my first son, Ryder. When I mustered up the courage to do it all over again, we had a birthing circle event a few weeks before Tru was due. The most wonderful, wise women gathered one afternoon to shower me – not with baby gifts, but with love, support and beads. Each woman brought a special bead, chosen especially for me. One by one, in a circle, they each described the bead they brought and why it reminded them of me or our relationship.

Needless to say, there were some tears…and a bunch of belly laughs. Some women purchased beads with colors or words or designs that made them think of my personality or a favorite memory with me. Several presented me with beads that were family heirlooms or souvenirs from faraway lands. Each one just floored me. Then, the beads were lovingly strung to make a gorgeous necklace.

Before Brad and I went to the hospital for our scheduled C-section, I put the necklace on. It was full of amazing energy. I felt loved. I felt beautiful. I felt brave.

Usually, you have to remove all jewelry before surgery, but the hospital made an exception: I got to keep my birthing necklace on. It will always represent courage, love, friendship and hope to me, which is why I’ll treasure it always.