Planning a blessing way

Feb 2, 2022motherhood0 comments

Pregnancy is a time to celebrate, not only is the mother embarking on a wonderful journey, but like a caterpillar in its chrysalis, she too will be transformed into something so completely different – she will be unrecognizable from her old self. Welcome to motherhood.

 

My mother threw me a beautiful a baby shower when I was pregnant with Ava, my first born and it was filled with games, prizes, laughter, and was very baby focused. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much and felt very loved.

However I had recently stumbled upon what a blessing way was when I was pregnant with my second, Luna, and incorporated the bead ceremony into my baby shower. It was a very special moment and I felt a deeper connection to each person who attended.

For Willow, my third, a group of wonderful friends threw me a surprise blessing way and it was so so beautiful. I knew and felt in my heart a huge difference in not only the way I gave birth, but the way I carried myself as a mother afterwards.

This past Saturday was my blessing way for my fourth baby and again was such a beautiful and empowering experience.

 

When we think of celebrating a mama during this time, we often think of baby showers, hosted by a loved one to celebrate the coming of the new baby. However, there is another option to celebrate this precious time and one I hope every mother can experience sometime in her life.

Blessing ways are a beautiful ceremony to help celebrate, strengthen and support the mother as she gets closer and closer to labor. Traditionally, blessing ways were a Navajo ceremony focused on healing, harmony, peace and appreciation for the mother to be.

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Each blessing way is different, however, most of these activities will take place::

  1. The circle

    • The circle is a way to collect the energy from each participating guest and really focus it on unity as well as the mother.
    • I had my mother bring a soft cozy blanket and throw pillows for us all to sit upon.
    • One way to start is by going around the circle honoring the mothers of the past and present, such as “I am Ashleigh, daughter of Sherida and mother of Ava, Luna, Willow, and this baby to be.” What’s beautiful about this is that as the circle continues to go through this introduction, we are creating a strong bond within us, while honoring the role of motherhood.
  2. Blessing way beads

    • Each guest was instructed to bring a bead or crystal specially picked for the mother. At the blessing way, each bead will be presented to the mother as well as a blessing, prayer, poem, or some other form of empowerment and strength to carry into labor. Once all beads are presented they are strung into a bracelet for the mother to wear during her labor so that she can be reminded of the support and blessings she has during this very special and trying time.
    • For those who were not able to make it to the blessing way, they still were able to mail me a bead or crystal with their blessings and prayers so that they too can be involved in the process.
    • I also gave the option to bring a crystal instead of bead to place inside my birthing tub to help bless the water and support me in that way.
  3. Lighting of the candle

    • While still in the circle we had our candle lighting ceremony, which honestly is so so powerful and bonding to me. The mother has one large candle that she lights, and then one at a time, each guest will light their candle (already provided to them) from the mother’s flame. Once all the candles are lit, everyone will blow them out at the same time and save them for when the mother goes into labor, including the mother.
    • We made a list with phone numbers so my mother can contact everyone once I have started to go into labor and tell them to light their candles. One by one all candles will, once again, be lit to support the mother during her birth. How magical right???
  4. Winding of thread

    • Most will use the color red, however, I chose pink for my baby girl. As we connect ourselves to each other in the circle it is a reminder that this thread can be thought of as the web of life that we are all a part of.
    • I started off and wrapped it around my wrist then passed it clockwise (which is also a direction for protection) and each guest wrapped it around their wrist passing it to the next guest.
    • Once the thread has made it way back, it’s time to cut the string/yarn/thread. Pass the scissors clockwise until everyone has had a chance to cut theirs. Tie the thread around your wrist and then keep on until baby is born. Once again this is another way we have connected ourselves to the mother and her support system
  5. Washing her feet

    • We didn’t do this one at my most recent blessing way but did during my first one and it truly was so relaxing and nice (even though I didn’t know it was going to happen and didn’t shave my legs 😅😅🙈)
    • There was a lovely basin of epson salts & essential oils topped with floating herbs and flower petals.
    • This is a nurturing and feminine act, this can either be done by one person, usually the mother or mother in law, or by everyone in the group. For mine, each friend took a foot, leg, hand and arm and truly spoiled and loved on me.
    • This might be an awkward activity for some to request of their friends, but you can always opt for some other spa treatment or even just a foot soak. Blessing ways are all about empowering and relaxing the mama-to-be during her final stage of pregnancy and even painting nails or a shoulder massage can do the trick. However, as a pregnant woman, I can’t tell you how valuable a foot rub truly is.

Outside of the circle activities ::

  1. Birth Affirmation banner

    • You can use paper or fabric for these and have your guests write an affirmation on a precut flag as well as decorate it for you to later hang up near the birthing area. This was very powerful during my third birth, because I was reminded of my whole support system being there cheering me on in their words. Reminding my of how strong I was, or how soon baby would be here. I even left mine up for a few weeks afterwards as a sweet reminder of how strong I was and how it lead to my tiny Willow being earth side.
  2. Belly Art

    • Painting of the belly to decorate the fullness of her figure is a fun reminder of the power us women have, the fact we can create life. Henna has slowly incorporated it’s way into these ceremonies, and I absolutely am on board with it.
      • henna is a safe and natural type of body art made from the henna plant in powered form. It’s very common in a number of traditions where celebration takes place, think of it as just another way you are blessing your baby. What I love about henna, is that it lasts much longer than paint and hopefully will still be visible during my labor.
    • This act can be done by one person or everyone in the group can add a little bit. For me, we had a henna lady come out to do my belly and the hands/arm of any guest that wanted it.
  3. Flower crown

    • We can all agree that flower crowns all make us feel a bit more beautiful and even magical when adorned with one. What better way to celebrate motherhood than with gorgeous flowers worn upon one’s head. The flower crown symbolizes the transformation the mother is going through into a new and beautiful stage of life.
    • I had a sweet friend who owns a flower farm nearby make my flower crown, as well as bring 4 bouquets for the guests to make their own. I wanted my guests to be able to celebrate their motherhood journey as well and it was a fun activity for them to do.
    • An alternative to a flower crown is brushing and braiding the pregnant mother’s hair. Also symbolizing change in appearance and the change after birth as well as once again nurturing her.

There are many more traditions that take part in blessing ways, such as pot lucks and the singing of songs. However, I only shared the ones I’ve participated in knowing I had a better understanding of them. As mentioned many times in this post, a blessing way truly is a beautiful ceremony supporting, nurturing, and honoring motherhood and the mother-to-be. I truly hope that each mother can experience her own or at least participate in one sometime in their life.

Feel free to browse through the many photos of my most recent blessing way below. Thank you for stopping by & I hope you learned something valuable today!

 

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