Lynne Murray says:
Belly art and henna dye are not just for pregnant women. But the image below is stunning, and there are more at the links:
Before talking henna, I should mention that although I’m almost assertively non-decorative when it comes to body art on my own body, I love seeing it well done on others. An experience that opened my eyes to the beauty of a tattooed belly was the revelation the designs on the belly of a lover, who was both an artist and a fat man. He had turned his own belly into a canvas that expressed his mystical views about tantric and metaphysical symmetry. On him it looked splendid and it centered his belly as an object of desire.
Now about henna and the tradition of its use on pregnant women:
Kmom, a childbirth educator, provider of common-sense information about pregnancy in women of size, free-lance writer, and well-rounded mama to four kids, begins “honoring our bellies month” on her Well-Rounded Mama blog with a lovely May 2nd post about the use of henna on pregnant bellies
On Well-Rounded Mama, Angela and Stacy, both women of size, share images of their own henna and there are many links including one to the pregnancy page on Henna Caravan that explains the traditions and some new variations.
Many countries including Morocco and India have traditions of applying henna during the third trimester of pregnancy. Henna is believed to protect and bless the mother and child from any evil or malicious spirits that may be near during delivery.
The red coloring of the dye and protective images used in the patterns guard against the evil eye and are thought to protect the pair during the child’s difficult passage into this world. Special attention is given to the hands and especially the feet as they are considered to be vulnerable connections to the world.
As henna is being incorporated into modern culture, new traditions are being created. One new way women are using henna is to decorate the belly during pregnancy. This is a wonderful way to celebrate the body’s physical changes during pregnancy and embrace this special time. Baby showers and henna parties can be combined into a day of pampering and relaxation for the new expectant mom, her friends, and family.
I love how kmom ends her post by inviting both pregnant and non-pregnant readers:
Just another way you can celebrate your belly and your baby during pregnancy!! (And who’s to say it has to be limited only to pregnancy!)
As Lisa Sarasohn, Belly Queen and author of The Woman’s Belly Book says:
The life energy focused in your belly is the source of your passion and creativity. Your courage and confidence. Your capacity to love fully. Your intuition, insight, and sense of purpose. It is your release from stress, your guide to good health. It is the origin of your inner strength.