Ideas for a Planning Mother’s Blessing Ceremony

Beautiful mama at her Blessingway

Traditionally when a woman is expecting a baby her family members and/or friends will throw her a baby shower. The central focus of most baby showers is opening gifts for the new baby. Commonly I see the mother-to-be leave her baby shower feeling thankful but also overwhelmed at the mountain of stuff before her. Perhaps the presence of all the unfamiliar baby gear can make the idea of motherhood seem even more daunting and mysterious than ever before. I often see the father’s eyes grow wide looking at all the stuff and overhear comments between the couple such as where will we put all of this? How can someone so little need so much stuff? Sometimes there’s an unspoken look of what in the world have we gotten ourselves into?

The ritual of a baby shower began with the intention of ‘showering’ the mother to be with love and to help her approach mothering with confidence, but I sometimes wonder if we are actually doing that? Is there an alternative approach to a baby shower that might offer a deeper sense of fulfillment for the expecting mother? What can we do to support our loved ones as they prepare for the transformative journey of birth and mothering? How can we meet their emotional and spiritual needs during this sacred time? A Mother’s Blessingway Ceremony is one way!

What is a Mother’s Blessing[way]?
It’s a ceremony that celebrates and honors a pregnant woman with the purpose of cultivating love, support, and empowerment for all who attend. A blessingway originated as a Navajo ceremony celebrating a woman’s passage into motherhood. Our experiences with these meaningful ceremonies may be very limited. And because this type of ritual is not prevalent in our society, planning one can be difficult. Here are some ideas from a recent Blessingway I attended.

Create a Birth Alter:
Have each attendee bring an object that symbolizes the strength, wisdom, and nurturing capacity of motherhood. It can be an item they share for the day, one that they let the mother borrow for a period of time, or a gift to the mother. Allow the opportunity for each person to explain the significance of the object they brought. The objects can be placed in the middle of the circle so their importance is felt throughout the ceremony.

Bead Ceremony:
Have each attendee bring a bead to string into a necklace for the expecting mother to wear during the final days of pregnancy, during labor, or the early postpartum period. The purpose of the necklace is to provide strength and encouragement to the new mother and act as a reminder of her existing support system.

Candle Lighting Ceremony:
Have one candle for each person present. Ask the attendees to individually light their candles at the beginning of the ceremony. During that time encourage the pregnant mother to share any fears or concerns she has about giving birth or mothering. Let the candles continue to burn until the ceremony is over. At the end when you blow out the candles encourage the mother to imagine any residual fears or concerns being extinguished with the flames. Have each person take a candle home to light whenever they think of the mother and want to send her positive energy.

Making prayer flags

Make Prayer Flags:
Prayer Flags originated in Tibet Buddhism however they can be adapted to accommodate various spiritual or religious beliefs. One easy way to make prayer flags is by using plain white bandanas and fabric markers. Each guest can write an affirmation, words of encouragement, or draw a symbol or picture on their flag. The mother-to-be can use a string and clothespins to hang them in her birthing environment, baby’s room, or any significant location of her choice.

These are just a few simple ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Each Blessingway is as unique and individual as the women it supports.

Have you attended a Blessingway? If so what activities were meaningful to you? Please share your experiences with Mother’s Blessingway Ceremonies as a guest or guest of honor.

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5 Responses to “Ideas for a Planning Mother’s Blessing Ceremony”

  1. Connie says:

    Blessingways are an amazing way to send women onto the path of peaceful, loving and supported labor, birth and parenthood. If we honor the mother she will honor herself, in turn honoring her family.

    Baby Showers, shower the mother with gifts for her baby and in many cases are much needed; however you can add the blessing portion to shower the mother with love and support.

  2. Sarah says:

    Thanks! I hope you have the opportunity to attend a Blessingway someday…they are truly magical! 🙂

  3. Amanda says:

    This is great! I remember being so anxious when I was pregnant. If I ever throw a shower for anyone I will definitely try to remember some of these ideas to provide some of the support that is more important than another set of onesies.

    • Sarah says:

      Haha! Had to laugh at the onesie comment. So true! I have more newborn onesies than I know what to do with! I was also pretty anxious during my first pregnancy. I didn’t know about Blessingway Ceremonies at the time but think I would have really enjoyed having one. Hope you get to participate in or plan one someday. 🙂

  4. Laura says:

    Lovely post! I just recently heard of blessingway and had no idea what it all was. Sounds like a wonderful thing for any Mother-to-be.