Have you heard of or attended a Mother Blessing or Blessingway ceremony? Kersti and I have had the honor of attending, and more recently of hosting, a Mother Blessing. These gatherings are loosely based on the Native American tradition of women gathering to bless the mother as she embarks on the journey of motherhood. There are numerous ways to personalize and customize a Mother Blessing to suit your faith tradition and the mother you are honoring. A quick Google or Pinterest search will turn up lots of ideas. If you like the idea of gathering trusted female friends to gift the expectant mother with gifts of the heart, this might be a tradition that you would enjoy.
Kersti is expecting her second child. I wanted to do something meaningful and special for her, so I hosted a Mother Blessing. I chose some themes and some symbolic ways to bless our guests and our mother-to-be. I’ll share more about this below; however, the most important choice was the guest list, because the women who give their time, their hearts, and their blessings will bring the spirit of the ceremony. It’s important that the guests are women that the expectant mother chooses to be her inner circle – not necessarily the women who think they “should be there.” Who are the women she trusts implicitly, who she feels fully support her (and her birthing/mothering choices), women who she respects and whose blessing she wants and values? These are your honored guests. Size of the group is not important. You could do this with two trusted friends.
For our Mother Blessing we chose themes and then ways we wanted to express/represent those themes at our gathering. Choose themes and activities that resonate with your expectant mother. Your activities (or decorations) can be symbolic of these themes. A few well-considered choices will be more meaningful than trying to do too much. Here are some ideas (many of these overlap):
Here is a picture of some of our choices and how we symbolized them:
It’s customary for guests to bring a token of some kind… a bead, a flower, a button, a ribbon, etc. and to share a verbal blessing. At our Mother Blessing each woman gave a personal blessing to Kersti and they were as unique as the guests themselves. Here is an excerpt from mine:
May you look always to God to guide you AND may you find the Divine within yourself – We gather today to honor the transformative power, the hard work, and the raw beauty of birthing and motherhood and all things life-giving… and we honor you, Kersti, as you take part in birthing, mothering, and giving life. In so doing, we don’t ignore the despair of infertility, the sorrow of loneliness and the grief of death. In fact, I think, at our best, we hold a perfect tension of it all, within us… connected to it, acknowledging it all, accepting it all. This is the ampersand experience of life… the whole of it. It is holding space for the AND, even when we struggle with part of the equation. And it is what makes celebrations like today that much sweeter. So, today I bless with you with an ampersand.
To celebrate and connect we chose to have a henna artist come and do a beautiful belly design for Kersti – and then each of the guests also received a henna stain on their hand or arm. This was beautiful, unique and a lot of fun. Robyn Jean did an absolutely amazing job and we heartily recommend her! www.healinghenna.com
Ultimately, the vision was to gift our expectant mother with the solidarity and power of symbolically encircling her with our love and support as she approached the journey of bringing a new life earth-side and continues the evolving and transformative journey that is motherhood. If honoring life, birth and motherhood in meaningful ways, whilst eating yummy food and hanging with your best pals sounds like fun to you, a Mother Blessing might be an old tradition made new that you and your circle would enjoy.