What is a Blessingway?
“A Mother Blessing is a beautiful and unique way to honour the mother, spend time with her, share stories, debrief fears and to instill confidence and strength..A blessingway is an old Navajo (native American) ceremony, which celebrates a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood. A westernised version of this is the ‘Mother Blessing’ which is the term I will use out of respect of the Navajo tradition, especially having read that the Navajo people don’t approve of the name being used this way (I have used it in the title as it is more widely known as a blessingway). Unlike a traditional baby shower, where gifts are purchased for the baby, a Mother Blessing is all about nurturing the mother-to-be and celebrating motherhood. As with most special events in modern society, baby showers have become very commercialised. If you were to ask someone to describe what happens at a baby shower, the answer would probably be something like, ‘where women get together and give gifts for the baby’. There is also so much focus on the new arrival and excitement of meeting the baby, and very little focusing on and nurturing the mother – ‘filling her cup’ – so it overflows with love. A woman who is given lots of love has more love to give in return – and there is nothing like a circle of loving women to get that oxytocin (hormone of love) flowing!”- courtsey of bellybelly.com
What do you do at a Blessingway?
“Beading Ceremony – Each woman attending the Blessingway brings a special bead. You all sit in a circle, and each woman tells the group in turn about their own birth story (if they have one to tell). A blessing for the mother-to-be and the baby is then given by each woman, along with the bead which is either placed into a bowl for stringing later, or strung onto a thread there and then. The necklace is then given to the mother-to-be to wear during her birthing. This will remind her that her female friends and family will be with her in spirit when she gives birth. It will remind her of the millions of women in the world who are giving birth at the same time as she.
Belly Art – this can be done with henna or body paints.
Pampering – treat the pregnant mother to a massage, a facial, mani/pedi etc.
A Feast – have each woman attending the blessingway bring a small dish of food to be shared amongst the group. It doesn’t have to be anything complex; just the simple act of bringing and sharing food can be a wonderful way to connect as a group.
Music and Dancing – now; this one certainly isn’t for everyone, but it can be a lot of fun. Belly dancing in particular is great fun and is very good for pregnant women as it helps relax the pelvic joints ready for labour, as well as strengthening the stomach muscles. You don’t even have to do a ‘proper’ dance; just have a musically talented guest play a rhythm on a drum for everyone to groove to in whatever way they want to.
Flowers – flowers are the ultimate symbol of abundance and fertility. Have each guest bring a bunch – hand picked wild flower are beautiful and free – and fashion a crown of flowers for the mother-to-be to wear during her blessingway. Afterwards, the crown can be pressed for the mother to frame as a keepsake.
Pledge your Support –At the blessingway, pledge to help the new momma in any way that she needs you to help. This could be keeping her focused on her birth plan and supporting her goals, bringing a meal, cleaning her house,watching her other children for a couple hours so she can bond with her newborn or whatever you can do to support her family.”-courtesy of Alternative Mama.com
I was lucky enough to have my Midwife host mine, which worked our great because NONE of my BFFs had ever heard of a Blessingway before. Everyone was asked to bring a bead to be added to my labor necklace. A friend painted my belly while everyone took turns telling me why they picked their specific bead and what it meant. They then each affirmed me and (of course) made me bawl my eyes out. Everyone was instructed to introduce themselves (example: My name is Krystle and I am Daughter to Janet and mother to Annabelle) before they began. It was such a special and sacred moment and I so enjoyed being apart of something ancient and really treasured everyones involvement. Once everyone had gone, they put the necklace around my neck. I drew much strength from it during the birth of Evelyn Jade (Click HERE for the video of her waterbirth). Next we all sang a song (I remember it started with “I am woman..” and later we chuckled about how crazy all of their husbands would think I was for organizing such a crunchy event) and as each person was passed a red ball of string and tied it to her wrist or ankle. This was representative of the umbilical cord and symbolized their commitment to pray for my birth,the babies safety and our new life’s as a family of 4. Lastly, they all got henna and had some dinner. I am SOOOOO happy about my decision to ditch the gifts and focus on my baby and birth. I felt so special, honored and empowered. Below are some pictures!
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