Have a Blessing Way
A Blessing Way is a wonderful alternative to the traditional ‘baby shower’ that is held for a woman approaching birth. The Blessing Way ritual (also a fun day out with the girls) literally blesses the way for the mother to be ready for childbirth. As a community, you welcome the baby that is coming soon and confirm the support that you are willing to receive from your community of friends and family.
Traditionally, a woman invites those people closest to her, in whose friendship and wisdom she trusts. You can invite friends to bring a plate of food and/or a gift if you like, but a special ceremony as part of your day is the central feature of a Blessing Way.
When we first wrote this article back in 2001, it was the only article on the entire internet that we could find. Being from Byron Bay, a Blessing Way was normal. Once again, Byron Bay is a place of initiative around intuitive birthing rituals. These days, lots of websites have written about a blessing way. Articles such as this one from BELLY BELLY are informative.History of Blessing Ways
Blessing Ways are traditional to North American Indians according to Mystic Mama. The Indigenous people of the America’s are said to have celebrated and honoured the transition a woman makes when she moves from maiden to mother. This rite of passage is the second ‘blood rite’ for a woman, the first being her first menstruation. It is a time of receiving for the mother to be, a time where she is nurtured and honoured by her community of women.The Blessing Way Ceremony acknowledges the commitment and energy involved in being a mother and gives her a time where all the energy is available for her to receive. This ceremony can be given to a woman each time she has a child, as with each child comes a new level of commitment and surrender.
The key is for the ‘mother to be’ to allow herself to receive and ‘fill her cup’ as deeply as possible. The Blessing Way is also a powerful way to assist in the mother’s preparation for birth. It gives other mothers present in the circle the opportunity to share experiences. Often it is a time when the ‘mother to be’ can express any fears or worries in a safe and sacred setting and receive the support she needs. Here are some ideas that you can include in your special day as you create your own personal memory.
When the birthing woman goes into labour, all women in her Blessing Way circle are contacted through the phone tree and each woman breaks the thread and sends a blessing for an easy birth. This circle of women can then be contacted once the baby is born and be invited to support the mother in practical ways that allow a new mother to relax and bond with her baby, which is her priority right now.
We suggest you choose only one or two of the following rituals that best suit your community of friends. A Blessing Way Ritual is always best remembered when it is the right length of time, and needs to consider that the women in the Blessing Way circle may have young children of their own at home being minded.
Blessing Way Bead Ceremony – Each woman is asked to bring a bead for a blessing necklace. At some time during the ceremony a bowl is handed around the circle and each woman gives her bead and a blessing for mother and baby. At the end of the ceremony one of the women threads the beads together and gives the necklace to the mother to have with her during the birth. This gives the mother-to-be a connection to all her women friends when she is birthing.
Binding of the wrists – The woman running the ritual brings a reel of wool or fine thread. The colour is usually red to represent blood. This is bound around each woman’s left wrist by the woman who sits to the left of her. As each woman binds the thread on the other woman’s wrist she says ‘ from women we were born into this circle, from women we were born unto this earth’. This ritual is symbolic of the thread that connects us all as women. It also keeps each woman tuned into the birthing mother as she leads up to her time and reminds them to send her positive, loving energy as they all see their red string every morning until the baby is born. Once each guest has delivered her helpful post-natal task for the birthing mother, the red string can be removed.
Massaging the Mother – Take along some lush, pregnancy friendly, massage oils and be sure to give her the full treatment with as many women as possible joining in. Brush her hair, give her a facial, whatever indulgence she wants.
Flowers – Flowers are symbolic of nature’s abundance and beauty, just as a woman is when she is in her full pregnant bloom. Be sure to ask all women to bring flowers and create a beautiful alter with them. A flower crown is a beautiful thing to have for the mother-to-be.
Singing – The singing of songs to celebrate woman, pregnancy and birth is a beautiful way to honour and share at a Blessing Way. Each woman may bring a song or poem or instrument to play, or you may have a talented friend who can lead the group in song.
Belly Casting – A kit is usually the easiest way to ensure success with a belly casting. I suggest you do your cast in private and then have it at the Blessing Way circle as a group activity to decorate. Alternatively, you can create the Belly Cast as part of your Blessing Way Ceremony (kits are available from www.natureschild.com.au in our pregnancy section).
Prayer Flags – Flags are a beautiful way to create a lasting memory of a Blessing Way ritual. Each guest is given a piece of fabric of equal size to decorate. You will need fabric pens, sewing materials, fabric scraps etc so your guests can create a unique prayer flag specifically for you and your baby (kits are available from www.natureschild.com.au in our pregnancy section).
Post Birth Support
On the day of the Blessing Way Ceremony have a close friend take the names and contact details of each woman present to be put on a ‘support roster’ for bringing meals after the birth. Each woman brings one meal (ensuring the ingredients are breastfeeding friendly) to the new mother and helps out in any way she can when she drops it off – e.g. dishwashing, clothes washing etc. This support is invaluable for the new mum at a big transition time in her life.
Add your own ideas inspired by this list to create a day that suits your own personality and celebrates your unique wisdom and experience!
This Article was first written in 2003 and edited with new links in 2016