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Celebrating 30 Years of ICAN: 30 Crafts–Birth Necklace

Birth Necklace

by Kelly Fischer

Image © 2011 Captured Memories by Sarah, LLC. http://www.captured-memories-by-sarah.com

Image © 2011 Captured Memories by Sarah, LLC. http://www.captured-memories-by-sarah.com

Recently one of my dear friends had an amazing HBAC, and as she prepared for her upcoming birth I was honored to organize a blessingway for her which included creating a birth necklace for momma.  I realize not everyone is comfortable with the idea of creating jewelry – so before you click away thinking “I’m not really artistic” – don’t worry, it’s not complicated! Also for anyone not comfortable with the idea of blessingways – there are lots of other opportunities for creating and gifting a birth necklace to your favorite momma!  No matter what kind of birth momma is planning on, no matter where she is planning on giving birth, and no matter who she is planning to have attend her birth – most mothers will appreciate this handcrafted, thoughtful, and personal gift!

In essence, a birthing necklace is a personalized gift for the mom-to-be, created by having friends and/or family choose beads (with symbolic meaning) that will be strung into a necklace for momma to wear typically during labor and birth, but often in the weeks leading up to the birth as well.  It is a physical reminder that she has a strong circle of support made up of people who love her and her baby. The necklace can also be displayed on a wall or in the baby’s room, and can be worn postpartum when momma may again feel the need for extra support.

How to choose beads:

Beads can be chosen based on their color, what material or mineral they are made from, or a picture/word they might have on them.  And whether you choose a meaning dictated according to some book, or made up on your own – what matters is that you are wishing this positive sentiment for the mom-to-be and she will feel your support by wearing it.  For an excellent tutorial on how to create a birthing necklace, I recommend the book “Blessingways” by Shari Maser, and for a comprehensive list of symbolism based on animals, colors, plants, flowers, food, gems, objects, herbs, numbers or trees (it’s quite a list!) see the book “Mother Rising” by Yana Cortlund, Barb Lucke and Donna Miller Watelet.

If you’re lucky enough to have a bead store in your community, do yourself a favor and go there first!  The folks working there will be able to help you with choosing beads and symbolism, but also how to put it all together!  And from my experience, it’s turning all those beads into a necklace that is really the hardest part.

The great thing about having friends and family choose beads is that you’ll probably get a wide variety of beads with a wide variety of special meanings!  The tricky detail is that these beads are likely to come in many different shapes and sizes so be prepared with extra supplies to help attach beads with very large holes or very small holes. (A great list of tips is listed on this blog)

How to turn your beads into a necklace:

This is where having access to someone with jewelry making experience can come in very handy! But here are some general tips:

  • Select thread/wire/leather cord that will be sturdy and tangle free.
    • flexible wire – be careful not to bend it before stringing the beads
    • satin cord – if any beads can not be strung directly onto the cord, tie them on with thread or create a loop/hook with wire to secure it to the necklace.
    • leather – only very large beads can be strung directly on leather cord, but small beads may be attached with thread or loops of wire.
  • Consider providing extra long wire/cord to string the beads on, and if possible, choose a clasp that is easy to remove and reattach so the mom-to-be can adjust the order of the beads or the length of the necklace

  • Use square knots to close the necklace or secure the clasps.  Clear glue or nail polish may be applied to strengthen your knots.

Click here to read my friend’s amazing HBAC story and to see another picture of the birth necklace as she wore it during her birth!

Image © 2011 Captured Memories by Sarah, LLC.  http://www.captured-memories-by-sarah.com

Image © 2011 Captured Memories by Sarah, LLC. http://www.captured-memories-by-sarah.com

4 Comments

  1. Anita Woods says:

    I did this for a friend, creating a bead out of Sculpey clay. I am now pregnant and due in September, and would love to have my friends do this for me. I would also recommend a great alternative to the blessing way, a book called “Blessing God’s Way” by Doran Richards.

  2. Lisa Kerr says:

    I did a online bead swap with my last baby. The only thing was that baby arrived at 9:15am and mail came at 10:30am. It was still fun to look and read all the positive words in that postpartum time and make up my birthing necklace.

  3. Kelly Fischer says:

    Anita, thanks for the recommendation of an alternate resource to learn about ways to bless and support mommas!

  4. Kathie Larsen says:

    I was lucky enough to attend the blessingway you hosted for Kaity. (I am Kaity’s mom) The birth necklace was a really lovely idea. We also tied a circle of support around all of us by joining red cotton string around each of our wrists. I continued to wear mine until baby Vicki made her entrance. About an hour after she arrived I had Daddy, Catlin cut my support bracelet off my wrist with the same scissors he cut her cord. Then I crocheted the red string into the last stitches of Vicki’s baby blanket I had made her. Thanks Kelly for such a nice way of remind Kaity of all the support she had through this birth!