When a woman enjoys a peaceful, supported pregnancy and looks forward to a pleasurable birth, there is no doubt that a sense of bliss will create the optimal mental and emotional state for a new mother during labor. Supporting our beautiful, blooming mommies-to-be is a special commitment. Offering positive energy, stories and blessings is a powerful way to connect with the pregnant mother and unborn baby. This sacred time is known as a “blessingway”.
Some mothers are given a blessingway in lieu of a traditional baby shower. Others have a portion of their shower include a blessingway. There is no correct way to create this special time to offer words and symbols of love and nurturing. Henna belly painting, singing in a circle around the mother, taking a nature walk, creating a book of blessings…no two blessingways are alike!
Blessingway beads are a unique way to honor a mother and leave her with a lovely piece of jewelry to wear during labor, birth and beyond. Each person present at the gathering brings their own bead which is then strung onto a necklace as a blessing is shared with the pregnant mother. Relatives and friends who cannot attend can mail in a bead with a little blessing note that will be shared for them. The necklace is placed on the mother before everyone leaves.
A simple, yet elegant and meaningful way to include attendees at a blessingway, is to have the pregnant mother soak her feet in warm water and essential oils or herbs. A foot massage or neck massage is always a welcome addition! While the mother-to-be is being pampered, each person present shares a “blessing” for the mother and the baby. This can be a simple word or phrase, a poem or song, a pleasant memory, or a simple wish for an amazing birth.
Another beautiful ritual is to ask attendees to bring fragrant flowers and herbs from home. As each person shares their blessing, the flowers and herbs are placed into a bowl near the pregnant mother. At the end of the gathering, the flowers go home to be pressed or dried and then placed in a special bowl as a fragrant potpourri. This little bowl of dried flowers is inhaled frequently by the pregnant mom throughout the rest of the pregnancy and during labor as a positive reminder of the support and love from the blessingway. At my fourth birth, I kept my own blessingway potpourri in a little bowl next to the water birthing tub in my bedroom. I touched the flowers and breathed them in during and labor and after giving birth, feeling the strength and well wishes of each mother who had attended my shower. After the baby’s birth, the flowers may be sewn into a sachet to keep with the baby’s clothes or toys. Pressed flowers can be added to a baby book.
If you are interested in hosting a blessingway for a pregnant mother, excellent resources may be found online and in beautiful books. If you need assistance, some doulas, midwifes, birthing preparation instructors, spiritual leaders, and holistic practitioners are available to lead or help create a blessingway. Adding a blessingway ritual to a traditional shower is a lovely way to honor the mother and still have the games, food and fun! Whatever type of blessings you are able to gift to a pregnant mother during your lifetime, know that they will always be cherished and remembered by the pregnant mother and will make a positive difference in the way that she experiences her pregnancy, labor and birth.
Jennifer Tan, MA lives in Davis, California with her husband and four children, and teaches music and fiber arts, performs on flute, officiates weddings, consults and leads workshops for parents and teachers in the areas of Waldorf curriculum, homeschooling, music, and handwork. She is thankful for the blessingway at her baby shower last year lead by herbalist/author Kami McBride. Jennifer may be reached through her website, Facebook, and her blog.
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do.