What is a Blessing Way?
Maybe you should have a Blessing Way instead.
What is a Blessing Way?
A Blessing Way - or Mother's Blessing* - is a way of honouring, celebrating and empowering a mother before the birth of her child.
Typically the mother-to-be will invite her closest and most trusted friends and family members. As part of the Blessing Way the women perform a ceremony to empower the mother - giving her the strength she needs before the big day.
What sort of ceremonies are held at a Blessing Way?
Bead ceremony: Ask each guest to bring a bead and thread them together to make a birthing necklace for the mother-to-be. Each bead is a blessing from the guest to the mother and all the beads strung together is a symbol of strength.
Massage ceremony: The mother enjoys a massage from all the guests, worshipping the body that will soon give birth to a new life.
Henna painting: The guests decorate the mother's belly with henna. They may also decorate their wrist as a reminder of the upcoming birth.
String ceremony: A piece of string is tied around each of the women's left wrists, joining the women as one. The string is cut at the end of the ceremony and each women is left with a string bracelet. When they hear that labour has begun they cut the string releasing the energy for the mother to receive.
Candle ceremony: A candle is lit and passed to each woman in the circle. As they hold the candle they share their blessings for the mother-to-be and her baby.
What else happens at a Blessing Way?
We asked Bub Hub members to tell us what went on at their Blessing Way. Here are their stories.
earthfairy's Blessing Way
"I had 10 of my closest friends in my home. The table was set with beautiful white, crisp linen, candles, flowers and statues of fertility, motherhood and goddesses. We had beautiful food to share - cakes, fruit platters, nibbles and lots of iced water, juice, tea and coffee. All over my house were scented candles and flowers.
Everyone was asked to bring two beads to sympolise hopes, thoughts and wishes. One bead was to be thread onto a birthing necklace for me. The other was to go onto a big sister necklace for my daughter Poppy to wear on the arrival of her sibling. We all sat around in a circle and each person explained the meaning behind the beads they had chosen and then threaded their beads onto the leather.
It really is quite a powerful thing creating a circle of feminine energy. Even people who aren't quite "into that sort of thing" were quite moved. A few people were shaking and a couple even shed a tear at how moving it was.
Everyone then made me comfortable and they started the henna painting of my beautiful baby belly. This was a real bonding experience for everyone. Plus we laughed and laughed and my baby was kicking & moving so much - almost like she was enjoying it too!"
V8's blessing way
"At the Blessing Way I organised, a circle of women came together to celebrate the journey of my friend birthing her second baby. We had a blessing we did with a candle and we passed it around and shared our blessings to the mother to be and her new baby that was going to be welcoming her.
We all had a piece of string wrapped around our wrists until she was due to birth so that when she was in labour we could all release our energy and our wishes towards her for an empowering birth.
We also helped make her a Blessing Way necklace and blessed the beads as well for her to wear the necklace during labour so that she would feel our combined energy.
Then we painted her belly with henna and ate food and had a lovely time"
Why have a Blessing Way instead of a baby shower?
Baby showers are a more commercial and more baby-focussed event than a Blessing Way. Blessing Ways are designed to ready the mother for the upcoming birth. Here are our members' reasons for choosing to organise Blessing Ways for themselves or friends.
earthfairy: As this was my second baby I didn't really need anything for bub. My first "baby shower" was organised by a "friend" who couldn't really be bothered so it wasn't even a baby shower as such. She only invited four people and I was really disappointed. No games, no real gifts etc ... she arranged it at a cafe and I was home by 11am! I spent the rest of the day crying. This time I wanted something that I wanted and had always wanted! Even though I knew I was having a c-section I thought it was important to still acknowledge it as a birth. So many people dismiss c-sections as "giving birth" and I thought this is a perfect way to still make it special.
V8: With my friend we had a Blessing Way because she was having a home birth. We wanted to create a harmonious space for her in her home that honoured her and her baby so that when the time came to give birth her birthspace was filled with lots of female-centred energy to give her power for her upcoming birth. She wasn't interested in all the presents and things with a baby shower, it was more about honouring her as a woman and as a pregnant mother to be.
What the best thing about a Blessing Way?
earthfairy: It more so worships the mother instead of the baby - something that is often left by the wayside. The magic that a circle of women can make. The feminine energy and love that happened in my lounge room that day is still very present in my home. I love that.
V8: I think it was just the energy of all the woman, how it was focused on the pregnancy, the labour and the birth and supporting the woman as best we could to acheive the outcome she wanted. It was very empowering and made her feel very loved and special as opposed to a baby shower the mother isn't really the main focus it's more about the baby.
* Sometimes a Blessing Way is called a Mother's Blessing out of respect for the Navajo people, who have a ceremony called a Blessing Way on which the modern ceremony is based. Because the modern ceremony does not adhere to the exact rites of the Navajo ceremony they do not always approve of the term being used.
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