Whether you’re expecting a baby or planning to throw a baby shower for someone special, I hope you’ll consider this baby shower alternative: The Blessingway.
It has Native American roots and instead of exclusively focusing on the baby, it puts the spotlight (or soft candlelight as it were) on the mother-to-be and her transition into motherhood. The book we referenced was “Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers–Celebrating Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood” by Shari Maser.
My mom threw one for me in 2005 mere weeks before our first son was due, then again with my second in 2009 and just did again in August 2017. It IS a big deal, becoming someone’s mother…yet traditional baby showers, with their silly games and an hour spent opening a huge pile of presents, sort of misses the point. Yes, the mother-to-be may come away with some useful “stuff” but little else.
It is recommended that the Blessingway be held as close to the due date as possible, just so the mother is more likely to carry the feelings of peace and empowerment with her to the birth.
On the day of the Blessingway, all the mom should have to do is show up, relax and enjoy. It should be tailored to what the mother-to-be needs it to be, so each one will be different.
My main objectives for the first were these:
1. for me to experience a time of relaxation and pampering
2. to honor the mothers that had given birth before me, both in my family lineage and in the history of all mankind
3. to empower me to give birth naturally
4. to pray for a safe labor and delivery
5. to honor the transition from woman to mother
Guests should be chosen based on who the mother’s most supportive friends and relatives are as well as those who will be present in the baby’s life.
There are so many sweet ceremonies and activities you can plan, here are just a few ideas.
- smudging with sage
- making a floral crown for the mom to wear
- having guests each bring a bead to add to a bracelet to be worn during the labor and delivery
- an “arch of friendship” for her to enter through
- painting the mom’s finger and toenails
- each contributing to a piece of art
- henna body art with each guest adding to the mom’s belly
- creating a belly cast
- lighting a candle and singing “Happy Birth Day”
- soaking the mothers feet in flower-infused water
- laying hands on the mom’s belly for a prayer or blessing
Food and drink should be as healthy and natural as possible and based, of course, on the mother’s preferences and needs. It’s nice to offer the mom a cup of hot tea, or spa water if she prefers, for sipping throughout.
Hosting a Blessingway will be an experience the mother and her guests will never forget.
In this fast-moving world, what better reason is there to slow down, gather and celebrate than for a mama who is about to bring a new human being earthside? I hope you’ll try it!