At some point towards the end of a woman’s pregnancy, women have traditionally gathered together to celebrate the impending arrival of the new baby. In Western society, this gathering is usually in the form of a Baby Shower and tends to involve various games, the exchange of gifts, advice and the consumption of lots of cakes and tea.
I myself was extremely fortunate to have one of my dear friends organise a “Blessing Way” for me recently which seems to be the new trend following the old Navajo (native American) ceremony, celebrating a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood. Unlike a traditional baby shower, where gifts are purchased for the baby, a Mother Blessing or a Blessing Way is all about nurturing the mother-to-be and celebrating motherhood.
It was one of the most special things I have ever experienced. She sent out gorgeous invitations asking my closest friends to join us on a balmy saturday evening – on each invitation was a request to bring an affirmation which was to be read to me to inspire me for my upcoming birthing journey and to bring 2 beads that symbolise each person’s thoughts and wishes for me. One of the beads was used to make a mother blessing necklace and the other was used to add to a handmade baby mobile that we made on the night. Each of my friends was assigned a different colour for the beads which correlated to a chakra colour.
We sat in a circle outside in the garden, the water fountains gently bubbling away in the background and a soft summer breeze blowing in the air. My girlfriend who had coordinated the evening read a short note that she had put together explaining what was going to happen on this very special night and the intention with which it was created.
Before we got started on the affirmations I was surprised with a henna artist who had been booked for the evening to paint my belly and then to move around our circle and offer a smaller design of the same type for the hand or foot to everyone else. It was a beautiful experience and I was just amazed at her incredible free-hand artwork. [picture below]
It was amazing how each of my friends took to the evening in their own special ways – some having been to a blessing way before and others were just open to a new experience.
The affirmations that the girls brought with them were just beautiful – inspiring and powerful leaving me full of excitement and empowerment for what lies ahead. Each of the girls transferred their affirmation onto a clay disk which had been made for the baby mobile. One of my favourite affirmations is “Just as a woman’s heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale and her hand to pull back from fire – so she knows when and how to birth”.
The love that my friends brought on the night still humbles me today. Never before have I felt an energy like it. Each of my friends explained why they had chosen each of the beads that they brought with them – whether it was the shape or the colour or the feelings that they had when they bought it or perhaps something that they felt was represented by the bead made it so personal and an incredibly emotional journey. I found myself on the verge of tears on numerous occasions listening to the love and strength that my friends had on offer.
One bead went onto the mobile and the others were strung together on fishing line to make a birthing necklace, again with beautiful stories of strength, hope, love and blessings for our family. I took a couple of days after the Blessing Way to put them all together to finalise it. I have been wearing it since then and will certainly wear it during the birth. [Below is a picture of the finished product].
I cant say enough how much the evening meant to me, that my closest friends took the time out of their lives to be there and that they spent time writing and selecting affirmations and beads. If you are planning on having a baby shower, I highly recommend looking into the traditions of a Blessing Way – you can tailor it to your own tastes as some involve binding, belly casts, meditation, yoga… anything goes and its just a matter of selecting the bits and pieces that you think will resonate with you (or your friend).