What is a Mother’s Blessing?
*cue my best TV personality voice* Feeling unsure, not like yourself, scared, nervous, excited, anxious, ravenous?! Girl, you need a mother’s blessing!
Whether you’re familiar with the term “mother’s blessing” or not, it’s actually an important step in preparing your mind, body, and soul for that transformation into motherhood. The transition into motherhood is a truth that spans cultures all around the world and throughout history.
The traditional term is Blessingway, which is a sacred ceremony from Navajo traditions. So out of respect for deeply spiritual beliefs of the culture, I prefer to refer to the more general terms such as Mother’s Blessing or Mother Shower (it’s like a Baby Shower, but like…better). I might be an ordained minister, but I do not claim Indigenous ancestry and therefore have no rights to their sacred traditions.
I, do however believe that all expecting mamas deserve to feel more grounded, have more clarity, and be better prepared for their upcoming birth and beyond. I always encourage my clients to consider holding a small intimate event to allow themselves to be celebrated, surrounded by women they trust, surrounded in positivity and pampered.
Why have I never heard of a Mother Shower before?
Listen my friend, if you grew up in America you have probably been tragically disconnected to your own feminine lineage. I knoooow, me too.
Whereas nearly every other country, culture & belief system around the world & throughout history has recognized the Rite of Passage of new and expecting mothers (yes, even Biblically)…as with many aspects of maternal-infant healthcare- the U.S. well, sucks.
In the U.S., the act of celebrating a new mother instead of the baby has been crushed under the weight of sexism and racism. Even just acknowledging that birth is about more than welcoming a new baby has been washed out of our everyday lives by the puritanical, privileged patriarchal ideas of women as “less than.”
Women have been gathering in this way for millennia to “light the way of the mother.” It is a beautiful, meaningful tradition that I believe modern generations are sorely missing out on.
Misconceptions abound about what it means to honor and celebrate our femininity and emerging motherhood in meaningful ways.
But, YOU are a product of generations of strong and powerful women! And it is okay to be inspired by all the feminine lineage that has come before you.
They have already paved the way for you on this journey.
There is a source of power there that is already flowing within you that you may very well need when you are brought to your limits during labor.
I’m not saying that living a comfortable, suburban life on a foundation of devout spiritual beliefs is to blame for why these types of ceremonies went away (or were sometimes squashed violently beneath oppressive systems of the past).
But I AM saying: You don’t have to believe the lie that you are not worthy of being celebrated!
Is a participating in a Blessingway against my religion?
There is nothing inherently wrong, with celebrating a mother (and only the mother) who is about to embark on the soul-shattering, life-changing journey of giving birth.
There is nothing wayward about honoring those sacred, slow days before Baby arrives, when the pre-baby to do list is complete and you’re just reveling in the Sacred Wait and waiting for labor to begin.
And (despite what your Granny may say), there is absolutely nothing evil about honoring traditions within your family lineage and ancestry that acknowledge the primal power and sisterhood of all the mothers who have come before you.
How do I know if a Mother Shower is right for me?
Basically, a Mother Blessing is yours to make your own. It is simply an intimate party or ceremony for the expecting mother to help her prepare for her birth journey. Loved ones shower her with love, support, and encouragement. You get to make it as traditional or personal as you desire.
Here’s the thing: Your life is about to change. YOU are about to change. Transform into a new being. A mother. Even if this is your second or third birth, you have never been THIS baby’s mother before.
You are transitioning into one of the most important roles in your life, and you deserve to be celebrated in a way that feels special to YOU! That means:
- If you don’t want to light candles or create affirmations to hang in your birth space or offer cord bracelets to everyone in attendance to wear until you go into labor- literally just don’t.
- If the idea of multiple people laying their hands on you and praying makes your skin crawl, don’t do it.
- If you can’t roll your eyes hard enough at Granny who keeps saying how showing off your belly with hand-drawn henna designs in that amazing crop top is akin to conjuring the devil himself, don’t invite her. #sorrynotsorry
What are the Origins of a Mother’s Blessing or Blessingway?
Ancient cultures around the world hold ceremonies for transitional times in a woman’s life, especially when she becomes a mother.
The blessingway (or mother’s blessing) ritual goes back to the Navajo tradition of recognizing and honoring the journey of pregnancy and the transition into motherhood.
A more accurate translation of the Navajo word for blessingway is “continuing re-occurring long life in an environment of beauty and harmony.”
What’s more important than an environment of “beauty and harmony” as you transition into motherhood?!
Traditionally, only women gather with the expectant mother to share positive birth stories, give emotional support, and pamper the mother.
They would give her symbolic gifts like beads, and flowers, share food, sing songs, share poems, dance, offer a mother blessing prayer, and make meaningful promises of love and support to the mother.
Blessings were recited to keep the baby safe, and prayers were made to offer the baby a harmonious life.
Modern Mother’s Blessings
In many ways, the mother’s blessing is very spiritual. Even if you’re not the type to plan a specific ritual at your event, you can still benefit from some of the more modern versions of a mother’s blessing.
The purpose is to focus on feeling pampered and relaxed, cherishing those last weeks of pregnancy, and embracing the love of the women in your life.
Mother’s Blessing Vs. Baby Shower
Does that all sound familiar? Of course, there are some similarities between a Mother Shower and a Baby Shower. The biggest difference between a mother’s blessing and a baby shower is that one “showers” the mother and one “showers” the baby. At a baby shower, you are celebrating the new life of the baby, but at the mother’s blessing, you are celebrating the past, present, and future life of the mother. Of course you will find food, activities, and birth stories at both types of celebrations.
Baby Showers are more fun and may include a larger guest list. Mother Showers are more intimate and personal. And I am here to tell you that it’s okay to do both or to celebrate just YOU and not feel a single bit bad about being the center of attention. Embrace the shit out of that and treat yo’self!
A Mother Shower is about:
- Showering YOU in love,
- Surrounding yourself with people who make YOU feel good.
- Your closest loved ones holding active-listening space for YOU,
- Creating a safe space for YOU to share your thoughts & feelings about birthing and becoming a mother (even if you’ve done it before).
- And most importantly, sending you on your way towards your approaching birthing time with confidence and strength and peace and fortitude and love and light and blessings and whatever else you need from your people who are willing and capable of giving those things to you in a sacred space.
Activities to plan a Mother Shower
Here are a few things that you might want to have your host include:
- Supportive women you want to surround yourself with before the birth – mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, grandmas, girlfriends, doulas, midwives, etc. #goodvibesonly Trust me on this one, only invite your favorite people.
- Comfort food – things like soups, stews, curries, casseroles, or other things that are warm, comforting, and even decadent.
- A Relaxing, private location such as backyards, gardens or large living spaces away from hustle, bustle or interuption
- Sacred décor – Candles, incense, twinkle lights, floor pillows, ribbons, etc.
- Henna or belly paint
- Massage, hair brushing, and facials
- Write encouraging letters for you to read postpartum
- Uplifting music
- Share positive birth stories
- Exchange flowers and flower wreaths or make floral crowns
- Write positive messages on paper or cloth flags to encourage mom during birth or hang them in the nursery postpartum.
When Should I Have My Blessingway?
It’s best to have your Mother Shower toward the end of your pregnancy. I see most women do it between 34 and 38 weeks.
Many Blessings include a henna artist to adorn Mama’s belly. Some may plan their ceremonies as late as possible into gestation so these temporary designs remain in place while when labor begins and can be seen in their birth photos.
Once, I was even hired to host a Mother Blessing for a early-full term Mama. When I showed up with a giant homemade decadent chocolate cake to celebrate for the celebration, I was greeted by the mama with her fully healthy 37-weeker in her arms. Instead of a Mother Shower, we ate cake together as she shared her birth story with me. Because this is always a possibility, some mamas choose to have their shower sooner rather than later.
Making the Most of Your Mother’s Blessing Ceremony
The possibilities for a beautiful and unique mother blessing are endless, but the principles are the same.
Surround yourself with supportive women, embrace your pregnancy, and welcome your transition to motherhood.
Of course, there are more ways to prepare for your child’s birth and celebrate the change in your life than by dedicating a single day. Preparation and transition into motherhood is a journey that can’t be completed in 9 months, let alone one day.
That’s why I’ve created my exclusive course, The MotherNurture Comprehensive Birth & Baby Preparation Program, a unique birth class in Spokane that focuses on the transition into motherhood. You’ll gain insight, support, and confidence whether this is your first birth or your fifth. I can’t wait to see you there!