No Baby Shower for Me
During my pregnancy, I had a few motivations for not wanting a baby shower. The first was that we live in a tiny house; this caused me worry that I would be overwhelmed with stuff I had no place for. The second was that I didn’t like the idea of getting together with loved ones just for the sake of receiving gifts.
The thought of sitting in front of everyone opening gifts while they watched, made me cringe. An event centred around material objects did not feel like me. This day felt like it should be more about seeing people I love, celebrating becoming a mother and bringing a new life into this world.
The further along I got, the more I felt I wanted to celebrate this life change with all the woman I love in this world, in one room, before I had a little one to divide my attention between. So I did a little research to see if I could do something that wasn’t so materialistic. I found what is called a Mother’s Blessing or Blessing Way ceremony.
A Mother’s Blessing or traditionally called a Blessing Way ceremony is said to originate from the Navajo Native Americans. However their’s looks quite different according to anthropologist, Sheila Kitzinger. (I will be referring to my celebration as a Mother’s Blessing, calling it a Blessing Way ceremony can be considered cultural appropriation. I wish to be respectful of all cultures and traditions).
In her book, Rediscovering Birth, she explains that the Navajo Hoshooji in North America, do a nine-day Blessing Way ceremony with the purpose of “long-life empowering”. It also involves a night called “no-sleep”, where the woman goes to the doorway as the sun rises and does a certain visualization, while a Blessing Way chanter says a special prayer.
Many other cultures have various forms of ceremonies and rituals during pregnancy, all thought to keep the woman and baby safe. After reading some idea’s on the internet of what other modern day Mothers Blessing’s are all about, I decided on the “rituals” I wanted to partake in.
A Modern Mother’s Blessing
A Mother’s Blessing can really be whatever you’d like it to be. My research led me to a few different idea’s to choose. Some of which include:
- Wrapping a thread or string around each woman’s wrist. The thread is cut and each woman has a bracelet to remind them to pray and send positive thoughts to the birthing mother when the time comes.
- Painting or using henna on the mothers tummy. Everyone contributes to the painting. This could be a great way to celebrate the beauty of pregnancy and make the mother feel pampered. If henna is used close enough to the due time, the mother can look down during labor and be reminded of all the people who love her.
- Reading or singing positive prayers and songs.
- Casting a plaster mould of the mother’s belly. Everyone places a strip on the mothers abdomen.
- The mother is given a foot bath or massage. Each person takes a turn washing the mothers feet, or massaging. This helps the soon-to-be new mother feel relaxed and cared for.
- Everyone brings a bead to string onto a special birth necklace for the mother. She can wear the necklace, hold it, or use it as a focal point in labor. It can be a reminder of all the people who are thinking of her and praying during her labor.
- A candle is given to each guest to light when the mother goes into labor. The candle is a reminder to send positive manifestations to the birthing mother.
My Mother’s Blessing Activities
After learning about all the different ways people love on the pregnant mother, I had a few idea’s of what would work for my situation. Mother’s Blessing’s are geared towards small groups of woman, and the rituals are very intimate. However I didn’t want to celebrate with a small group of people. My desire was all my female friends and family in one room to socialize and celebrate with, one last time. The rituals I chose had to be applicable to a large group of people.
I have always been touched by words. The idea of asking people to bring notes of encouragement and love for me to read really spoke to me. So I included this in the invitation: “Please bring: A prayer, letter, poem, song lyrics, or quote to support Melanie with love and strength. These will be gathered in a special book”.
The second thing I asked people to bring was a bead. This was in the invitation: “Please bring a bead that reminds you of Melanie, yourself, and your caring feelings for her”.
The bead is supposed to remind the person choosing it, of me, themselves and positive, loving thoughts. The beads were strung in the order that they were given to me. Guests had the choice to read me their notes at the time of handing over their bead, or for me to read later.
A Beautiful Reminder
A few people came over and said some words to me when giving me their bead. One friend’s words stood out and she said – handing me a little yellow bead with a smiley face on it- “I chose this so that you always remember how strong you are”. It really touched me, and in my mind, is exactly the reason for these ceremonies; to be reminded of your power along with being blessed with love and positive energy.
Another friend came up to me as people were leaving and explained why she picked the quote she had. Her quote was one I have come across many times, but never truly knew the full weight of it.
“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”Elizabeth Stone
She, already a mother herself, couldn’t have picked a better quote. I still think this is the best explanation of motherhood!
Positive Candle Energy
When the day was over, guests were given a candle. My beautiful friend, who organized the Mother’s Blessing with all my wishes, had everyone’s e-mail addresses. When I went into labor, she emailed out a short message telling everyone to light their candle and say a prayer or send well wishes.
A word of advice if you choose to do the candle prayer…send another email when baby is here. Even if it is just stating the safe arrival of baby earthside. We realized after that we should have done this as there were a lot of people wondering if all was okay!
And in the End…
After the celebration, my cup was so full. It was such a lovely, pleasant, time spent with close friends and family. I had a beautiful birth necklace to wear and loving words to read and encourage me.
My birth (read my birth story here) was intense, but quick, 6 hours from the onset of active labor to baby’s birth. The birth necklace was packed in the baby’s bag, but I never did get it out. If the labor had been a little slower to progress I probably would have got it out to hold and help remind me of my power and strength. But I didn’t need to, maybe it was all the people sending positive energy to me!
Thank you to all my friends and family who supported me, still gave generous gifts, and attended my Mother’s Blessing. I think back on this day often and how beautiful it was. And thank you to my beautiful friend who worked so hard at organizing and planning it. I couldn’t have asked for a better celebration!
Did you do a Mother’s Blessing? What activities did you partake in? I’d love to know! Leave a comment below.