Everyone has heard of a baby shower, but have you heard of a blessingway? They aren’t as common as baby showers in the United States, but we feel they are just as wonderful and beneficial for the mother-to-be. Maybe even more so. And luckily they are becoming more popular.
What is a blessingway?
A blessingway is a sacred pre-birth ceremony traditionally performed by Navajo people and celebrates a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood. Now it’s recognized as a gathering of the expecting mother’s closest female friends and family that are there to build up her mind, body, and soul in preparation for her journey to motherhood. The goal is to have her feel loved, recognize her strength, believe in her body and its ability to birth her baby, and feel confident for labor, birth, and motherhood. It’s a time where the focus is not on gifts but on nurturing and supporting the soon-to-be mom. She should feel empowered, strong, and like a queen on her blessingway day. We think that this ceremony is something that every expecting woman should have before giving birth.
What do you do during a blessingway?
There is no one way to host a blessingway. There are many things that you can do. It just depends on the mother’s preferences and what her style is. Here are a few options to make it extra special for her:
1. Share positive and empowering birth stories.
I first recommend inviting positive people in your life like your closest friends and family to gather together and share positive birth stories. When my colleague and friend said they wanted to host a blessingway for me, I was blown away. It meant so much to me that they wanted to host something to help me feel more confident about my home birth. When they asked me who I wanted to invite to my blessingway, I decided to invite some of the women I had helped during their births as their birth doula. I wanted to be surrounded by women who had given birth without pain medication and have them share their empowering stories so I could feel empowered as well for mine. Hearing words of encouragement and recognizing that women have been doing this forever makes you feel not as scared and not alone.
Here I am, listening to my friends/previous clients tell me how much I meant to them during their births and how I can have the same amazing experience was incredibly powerful. You can never hear enough positivity during this time of your pregnancy.
Prepare to shed some loving and happy tears!
2. Have a few fun activities to do.
It’s always nice to have some activities to bring everyone together and celebrate the mother-to-be. These are just a few ideas:
Make her a flower crown.
Ask each guest to bring a beautiful flower to create a flower crown for the mother-to-be to wear during the ceremony. Have the guest explain why she chose that flower and say a prayer or well wish with that flower.
Have a coloring project.
This is fun to do together. Color the pages together and read out the beautiful quotes on each page. Give all of these to the expecting mother at the end for her to have and read through the remainder of her pregnancy.
Create birth affirmations cards or flags for the pregnant mama.
She can then hang these up and read these while she is in labor. The positivity will help encourage her to press on.
Make a bath soak with herbs and salt.
This is a great gift for everyone to take home and relax and enjoy as they soak in their tub.
Paint stones with encouraging and loving words.
This is a fun art project. It’s also a loving memento that she can keep in a box or jar to remember people’s kind words about her.
Create a birthing vision board.
Get a board and post positive pictures, pictures of the expecting mother and friends, and add birthing affirmations and empowering words. Also, have the guests sign it as they enter. This is a great visual board and focal point for the guest of honor.
3. Pamper her.
A blessingway is all about feeling strong and beautiful during the final stages of pregnancy and your birth. I think most women can agree that a little spa treatment goes a long way with that. If you can have someone come to provide mini facials, chair massage, mani and pedis for everyone or just the mother-to-be, this will help relax her body and fill her soul.
4. Get a henna tattoo artist to paint her belly.
Henna belly art is a traditional practice that pregnant women have practiced for years. It’s filled with tons of symbolism and meaning. This is a common activity to do during a blessingway. Ensure that the mother-to-be wears something that she can easily expose her belly. The pregnant woman then selects the symbols and images that she would like painted on her belly to offer protection and celebration for herself and her baby. It’s like a prayer and a blessing to both mother and baby. The henna paste—often mixed with essential oils safe for pregnancy—is soothing, and the designs themselves are swirled with tons of meaning. The time spent applying henna is also an amazing opportunity for the expecting mom to become very still, and connect deeply with herself and baby and reflect on the miracle that is to come.
5. Enjoy some small bites.
I think every pregnant woman loves a good snack or meal. Provide some small treats and beverages that you all can enjoy while you sit together and love on the guest of honor. Make sure that you have non-alcoholic beverage options available as well!
6. Have a special bead or candle ceremony.
Ask the attendees to bring a special bead to create a necklace or bracelet for the mother to wear in the last few weeks of pregnancy and during birth. The guest shares a thought, prayer, or well wish for the birth with each bead. As the mom wears the bracelet, she is reminded of the love, support and prayers surrounding her.
Another wonderful ceremony is the candle ceremony. Have small votive candles for the guests and one larger one for the mother of honor. Have each of your guests tell the story of how they know the expecting mother, share their positive birth story and words of encouragement that they have, and a blessing or prayer for the mom and baby. Then place a string around both candles. The expecting mother will light her candle when she is in labor and let one of the ladies know that she has lit her candle. Then that designated person will let the rest of the guests know so everyone can have their candles lit at the same time and pray for mother and baby while she is in labor.
I was Sarah’s birth doula for both of her babies. She is now expecting baby number three! It meant so much to me to have her there sharing her positive births stories and wishing baby and me well.
I was also Kami’s birth doula for both of her babies. She took my breath away during the candle ceremony. She wrote her birth stories out so beautifully, which brought me to tears. It made me feel loved and strong. For her to take the time and share the love of her stories and what her birth experiences mean to her meant the world to me.
Now I will have everyone’s positive thoughts and stories with me as I labor and give birth to my son. 🙂
I feel like we all should have a blessingway before entering into childbirth and motherhood. Towards the end of pregnancy, women can feel afraid, weak, and unsure of themselves and baby’s upcoming birth. Having a sweet blessingway to remind her of how strong, powerful, and how loved she is can be incredibly profound and impactful throughout the rest of her pregnancy, during her birth, and when she enters motherhood.