Mother’s Blessing: A Spiritual Baby Shower Alternative
When it came time to think about having a baby shower, I knew I wanted to do something a little different. I craved something more spiritual and personal than the more traditional baby shower focusing on gifts and games.
I did some research and quickly came upon the blessingway, an ancient Navajo ceremony that focuses more on blessing the mother – empowering her birth and rite of passage from maiden to mother.
Immediately this felt like what I was after, and it also worked out being that I am now Jewish; baby showers are not typical since the baby isn’t traditionally celebrated until after the birth (it’s a superstitious thing). On top of that, we loved the idea of doing this along with a sip-and-see, which is an open house-style party held after the baby is born so that people can actually meet her.
There are so many different rituals you can choose to include in a ceremony like this; below are the three that we chose to include, plus a special gift I gave to each of the women in my circle to allow them to further support and be included in my birthing experience. Below that I’ve shared a few more tips and details that may be helpful to help you plan your day. I encourage you to do your own research on all of the different rituals and customs that exist, as well as the different ways of carrying them out, so that you can make this ceremony your own.
The Beaded Necklace
Have a variety of colored beads (here are the ones we used) on hand for attendees to choose from or ask attendees to bring their own special beads from home
Each person chooses a bead based on color or gemstone meaning, sharing their choice and intention for the mother’s birth or journey into motherhood
Works well if you are also wanting to include some people on Zoom or virtually, so that they can choose a colored bead to be included in the necklace
At end of ceremony someone strings the beads into a necklace for the mother, repeating the colors or beads if necessary so that the necklace is long enough
The mother now has this beautiful necklace to wear or bring to her birth, as a tool to keep her strong and supported, reminding her of these beautiful intentions and messages from her tribe
The Red Thread Ritual
Gather a long red string or thread and tie to each woman’s wrist in the circle
Represents strength, power, and connection of sisterhood among these women as well as ancestors passed, all of the mothers who have gone before us
Bracelets keep the women in tune with the mother until the birth, they can look down at it and think of her, sending her love and positive energy in the remaining days or weeks to her birth
Either upon labor, the birth or during the postnatal period, the bracelets may be symbolically cut to wish the mother well as she officially transitions from Maiden to Mother
The Foot Washing
Flower petals or dried flowers are combined with water to pamper the mother with a simple bath for her feet
Symbolizes preparation and readiness for a new journey or new beginning
If using dried flowers, you can leave some extra with the mother so that she can repeat this ritual again before or during labor
The Parting Gift: Labor Candles
As parting gifts, I purchased candles for everyone with the intention that we would all light them together when I went into labor. The idea being that we could all feel connected to my birth even if we weren’t together; my loved ones could simply light their candle and say a prayer or offer a blessing to wish me and baby well.
I found a lovely maker on Etsy named Lady in the Woods who allowed me to choose my own crystals, dried flowers, and essential oils to be included in the candles. As we had chosen the name Violet for our daughter, she even had dried violets that I (obviously) chose to include! I chose rose to represent love for all of the candles made for my friends, and jasmine for my own as this scent is thought to help labor progress. For the crystals I chose amethyst, rose quartz, and citrine.
More Tips for Hosting Your Own Mother’s Blessing
It’s traditional to share a meal together after the ceremony; a potluck is a beautiful way to go that also keeps things easier on your host.
Adorn your space with fresh flowers, and definitely wear a flower crown! You can ask your circle to purchase one at a local florist, make it themselves, or you can even purchase a dried floral crown online on Etsy (I’m wearing a dried crown I got while traveling in Mexico in the video).
Don’t be shy about asking your friends and family to host; as a mother, you will need your village so this is a great time to start creating that sense of support for yourself.
In lieu of gifts, you can ask your circle to bring small items that you may want to include on a birthing altar; this can be anything from crystals to found items from nature or any small token with meaning.If you’re working with a doula, you can ask if she assists in hosting these ceremonies or perhaps she may know someone; my doula recommended someone locally who graciously shared her knowledge with my friends, though it’s easy enough to also research this information online.
As a way to honor and acknowledge the Navajo people, it is recommended to use the name mother’s blessing or birth circle rather than their own traditional name of blessingway.