Most women are pretty familiar with the standard baby shower. Cupcakes, the clothes pin game, measuring mom’s belly, gifts, ect. Baby showers are a wonderful way to come together and bless the expecting family with things they need, and show support for the pregnancy!
I loved all of my baby showers, and so appreciate the women who took the time and energy to put them together for me. I recently started hearing about another way to celebrate the new mom, however, and I think that if I ever have another pregnancy, I would opt for a blessingway!
Before I jump in and talk about what a blessingway is, I would like to point out that it originated in Native American culture. In an attempt to stay away from appropriation of a sacred cultural tradition, I would like to take the focus away from the ceremonial aspects of a blessingway, and focus on it as a time to celebrate, honor, and cherish a new mother. The ways we do that can vary from person to person and culture to culture, so take any suggestions I give as a starting point, and change them as appropriate!
So what is a blessingway, and how is it different from a baby shower? Well, a baby shower is mainly focused on the baby. Baby clothes, baby colors, baby games. All great things! Of course, there are often gifts for the parents brought to a baby shower, but the main theme is the baby.
In a blessingway, the focus is on the mother. Typically, a group of her closest friends and family will come with nourishing foods, prayers or blessings for the birth, things to pamper her with, and words of wisdom to share.
During a blessingway, a mother may have her hair done or decorated with flowers, be given a massage, have her belly painted with henna, and be offered wholesome, nourishing foods.
The women gathered may be given a candle to light when the mother goes into labor, or be given pieces of yarn from the same string to be worn as a bracelet until the baby comes.
There may be a time of meditation or prayer, an opportunity for each guest to share how much the mother means to them, or a time to make encouraging birth art for the mother to keep.
Some women ask each guest to bring a special bead, and they take turns stringing them onto a necklace as they share stories and wisdom.
Overall, the atmosphere of a blessingway is calmer, more nurturing, and more intimate than a baby shower.
Of course, there is no reason you can’t have both! It might be nice for some women to have a larger group of people to celebrate the baby, and a smaller, more intimate group for a time of blessing and honoring the mother.
If you have had a blessingway, I would love to hear how you used that special time!