So you have found out that you are pregnant and in the midst of all of your excitement, there are many people suddenly asking you about throwing a baby shower. What do you do if the idea of a conventional shower sounds like pulling teeth to you? Are there any alternatives to baby showers that still carry a similar level of tradition and well wishes for the mother and child? The answer is yes!
A new trend in honoring an expecting mother and child is known as the Mother’s Blessing. This is one of the sweetest, simplest, and oftentimes most spiritual ways for you and your loved ones to celebrate the impending birth of your baby without all of the rigmarole of a traditional shower. They are also relatively easy to plan, helping to create a low-stress event for you and your loved ones.
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What Is a Mother’s Blessing?
A Mother’s Blessing is an event meant to celebrate the pregnancy journey of the expecting mother. It is meant to encourage and inspire her as she prepares to bring her child into the world. Guests will often be asked to bring a meaningful piece of literature–be it a poem, quote, scripture, etc.–and there are normally only 10-20 of the mother’s closest friends and family present. They might also bring with them a beautiful bead to symbolize fertility and love.
The Mother’s Blessing is a very spiritual event, and your guests should be made aware of this ahead of time. There will be an altar or special space set up where the guests will gather around the mom-to-be, as the event is meant to honor her. Often there are candles lit or incense burning to create ambiance while the guests take turns reading their meaningful passages. Participants will also take turns stringing their beads onto a cord or string for the mother to wear or keep near her during labor and delivery. Labor can be difficult–one of the hardest things a woman does–and the beads are meant to function as a reminder of all of the love and support she has behind her.
A Mother’s Blessing is also a more common tradition for mothers who already have children, as they will not need much more to prepare themselves for another child.
How Is a Mothers Blessing Different From a Blessingway?
In researching about Mother’s Blessings, you may have run across the term “Blessingway” which is often used interchangeably. A Blessingway is very similar to a Mother’s Blessing, mostly because the Mother’s Blessing is a modern interpretation of the Blessingway. However, the Blessingway is originally an ancient Navajo tradition. It is a specific ceremony held by the Navajo in order to honor and prepare the mother for her upcoming labor journey.
Much like a Mother’s Blessing, a Blessingway is held to shower the expecting mother with love and support and to help usher her into the next phase of her life as a mother. This is a highly private and intimate ceremony and is a rite of passage for the woman undergoing the blessing. Many people will interchange the term, but out of respect for the Navajo people, we will use the term Mother’s Blessing, as the modern celebration does not truly reflect the beliefs and spirituality of the Navajo tradition and is instead simply inspired by it.
What About Gifts?
To most women, the beauty of a Mother’s Blessing is that there are no gifts! The main point is to have an event that does not focus solely on the baby, but instead helps to empower a pregnant woman before her labor, especially if she is preparing for a natural labor. Also, the memories created during the Mother’s Blessing and the thoughtful poems and writings the mother receives will oftentimes mean much more for her.
Timing the Blessing
With all this in mind, when should you host a Mother’s Blessing? A baby shower is traditionally held between five to eight months, but what about the Blessing? Since the Blessing is designed to help prepare the mother for labor and delivery, you can actually hold this event later in the pregnancy. Some people hold it as late as 38 weeks so that the expecting mother can bask in the full effects of the Blessing.
Planning the Blessing
Planning the Blessing should be relatively simple, but there are several different things you can incorporate into it in order to really make it a memorable experience.
Pamper the Mom: Since this Blessing is all about the mother, including some activities that help pamper the mom can be a great idea. You can give her an aromatherapy foot bath by mixing some essential oils–like lavender--into the water to help her relax.
1. Prepare Food
- This event is all about sharing love for the mother, so why not share food as well! Have everyone bring their favorite dish to the blessing and then share in conversation while eating.
2. Prayer Quilt or Stones
- Have the guests of the Blessing each decorate a piece of fabric with encouragement and well wishes for hr journey into motherhood. These can later be turned into a quilt for the mom. If quilting is not possible, you can also have the guests each paint a stone with encouragements. These can be placed around the mother’s house to encourage and inspire her. These stones can also make for a worry item to be rubbed during labor.
3. Ribbon Ceremony
- For those groups that are more spiritual and focused on prayer, this ceremony can be a nice choice. Each guest will take a small piece of ribbon and tie it around their wrists until the child is born. That way, every time they see the ribbon they can send a prayer for the strength and health of the mother until delivery. After the child has been born, the women can cut their ribbons off at the same time in solidarity, after receiving a group notification of some sort.
4. Painting the Belly
- As a way to remind the mother how beautiful her body is, your guests can paint her pregnant belly. Some women may also opt for Henna, but as henna is tied to many cultures spiritual practices, please be cautious of causing offense and using henna for something that may not reflect those beliefs.