Blessingways: An Alternative to Baby Showers

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Childbirth is a transformative journey in which a woman comes face-to-face with her fears, her strength and her deepest joy. In our culture nowadays, there is a distinct focus on the mental and physical preparation for birth. Childbirth classes, hospital tours and prenatal appointments are important, but they are only one aspect of the preparedness needed for the life changing experience of giving birth.

Childbirth is hard work that requires a woman to dig deep into herself; it is a mental and physical process, but also an emotional and spiritual one.

A blessingway or a mother blessing ceremony is a beautiful way to inspire and encourage a woman on her journey into motherhood. It offers an expecting mother a chance to connect with her intuition, honor her emotions and incorporate her faith into her process.

Blessingway: An Alternative to Baby Showers

Blessingways are a celebration of an expecting mother where all her closest female friends and family members gather for an evening to support her as she prepares to give birth and enter into motherhood.

The tradition of baby showers is a similar celebration, but the focus tends to be on the baby and the practical items needed. Baby showers also tend to be a place where women share their birthing horror stories, which does little to encourage the expecting mother. In a time with so much fear surrounding birth, new mothers really need to be heard, honored and encouraged.

“Blessingway ceremonies create a sacred and safe environment where a mother-to-be can explore the challenges and joys that lie before her as she approaches birthing and mothering. Surrounded by the most important women in her life, she gains a sense of power, confidence, and support that will help her rise to motherhood.” – Mother Rising by Yana Cortlund, Barb Lucke and Donna Miller Watelet

The beauty of a blessingway is that it can be completely personalized for a mother-to-be’s spiritual beliefs, hopes and fears. While every blessingway is unique, there are important elements that create the ceremony:

Sacred Space

The hostess works with the mother before the celebration to create a sacred space in her home. Chairs or floor cushions are arranged into a circle with a special seat for the mother-to-be.

Cleansing

Guests have an opportunity to dip their hands in a bowl of rose water as an act of cleansing, as they release their day and center their attention to the mother.

Creating the circle

The guests stand in a circle and open with a prayer, affirmation or blessing to create a confidential, non-judgmental space.

Statements

The hostess states the purpose of the blessingway and guests introduce themselves along with a word of encouragement for the mother. A cup of tea may be passed around to share at this time. The mother is then invited to share and release her fears or negative beliefs.

Honoring

A time to offer the mother encouraging stories, foot washing, shoulder massage, hair brushing, belly casting or henna. Gift giving may take place at this time, such as each guest bringing a bead for a labor necklace for the mother. Or, for a craftier gift, guests may decorate small squares of fabric with affirmations to create a banner for the mother to hang in her birthing space. This is also a beautiful time for laying hands on the mother’s belly for prayer.

Closing

Weaving a web with red yarn can be a powerful way to end the ceremony. The mother begins by wrapping the red yarn around her wrist once then handing the yarn spool to a guest across the circle. Each guest continues to wrap their wrist and pass the spool across the circle to create a beautiful visual of the connection built during the ceremony. The mother then cuts the yarn so that each guest is left with a simple red bracelet to remind them to send prayers to the mother. A prayer of thanksgiving may be said to close the ceremony.

Feasting

Breaking bread together is a beautiful way to transition from the sacred to social aspect of the ceremony. Each guest is encouraged to bring a dish to share.

The circle of support that is created during a blessingway extends beyond birth. The women that gathered to honor and bless the mother become her network of support for the delicate postpartum period of re-balance and recovery. They bring meals for her family, provide childcare for siblings and help around the house. They may even gather for a postpartum tea ceremony to celebrate the baby’s arrival and the mother’s accomplishment.

Blessingways provide a sacred space to go back to our roots as women and to connect with one another. Although the focus is on the mother-to-be, every woman is nourished through her involvement. Blessingways offer what our culture needs most, bringing sacredness back to birth.

JessicaStackowiczAfter the birth of her daughter in 2011, Jessica Stackowicz realized her calling to empower and support women through their birth experience. She is a certified DONA birth doula, a certified yoga instructor, and is a Lamaze trained birth educator. She offers birth doula services, childbirth classes, placenta encapsulation, Bengkung belly binding and blessingway hosting services. To find out more, visit her website www.SacredBirthServices.com.

{Please note, there is an affiliate links in this post. I appreciate your support in helping make this website and all our efforts possible!}

{Photo credit @iStock.com/LiudmylaSupynska.}

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One thought on “Blessingways: An Alternative to Baby Showers

  1. Beautiful article written by a wonderful doula! What a great idea to have a Blessingway!

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