Historically, in various cultures around the world, women gathered together to empower and support one another as they stepped into the role of bearing and raising children. This rite of passage into motherhood was tribe life, deeply ingrained, passed down from culture to culture, generation to generation, and woman to woman. A Blessingway is a sacred pre-birth ceremony that has traditionally been performed by Navajo people, and celebrates a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood. Today, a gathering known as a ‘Mother Blessing Ceremony’ or ‘Mother Shower’ is reviving the practice of honoring the journey into parenthood.
Unlike a baby shower where the focus is primarily on gifts and the baby, a Mother Blessing Ceremony puts the focus back on nurturing the birthing person. Friends and family gather in love to support and build up her mind, body, and soul. The intention is to fill the mother-to-be with love, strength, confidence, and belief in the ability of her body to birth and nourish her baby.
While each ceremony looks slightly different, there are some rituals that are often a part of the celebration. Following an opening meditation or dedication, those present may to share a blessing or wisdom, an inspirational verse, or a song. Pampering of the mother is almost always a component as well. This may include a foot soak, hand or shoulder massage, and a laying hands on her and transferring as much loving energy to her as possible.
Another beautiful activity can be binding everyone’s hands together with yarn or ribbon. After blessing the mother, each attendant cuts herself a small piece of yarn to wear on her wrist until the honoree goes into labor. Every time they glance at the yarn they can send up a prayer for the upcoming birth. The yarn forms individual, yet connected in spirit, bracelets that symbolize the umbilical cord of the baby connected to the mother. The bracelet will remain until baby safely arrives, at that time it is cut to celebrate the arrival of new life.
Another way to maintain the group connection it to light a large birthing candle for the honored woman from which each attendant can light their own votive candle while affirming a word of strength to the mother. These candles are only to be lit again when the mother has sent out the message that she is in labor.
Not only is a Mother Blessing Ceremony a beautiful way to honor a mother, but is also contributing to a change in the way we view birth. By bringing back into the light the sacred ceremony of a blessing way, we are reopening a chapter for families to view birth as a sacred occasion, deserving of love and support from their greater community.