For those who aren't having showers, are you going to have a Blessingway or something similar? Maybe a gender reveal party? Something else?
I'll probably have a blessingway as well. I think celebrating pre-birth is important, but we don't need much more baby stuff and it seems a little socially frowned upon to have a shower for the second without good reasons. The one thing I'm trying to decide is to do it co-ed or not. We did our shower for DD co-ed and it was really nice for DH to be part of it. Husbands/partners need the support too! But blessingways are a little more of a women thing I think, and it would make some sense for us to have separate celebrations like people do with bachelor/bachlorette parties...
i'll take a stab at this - a blessingway is like.. a ceremony/party/gathering focused around supporting and preparing a mother for birth.. there are books and websites out there on how to do them..
I can't picture being able to take a blessingway seriously with my husband there or other men there, mine was 2 weeks before my first natural birht/homebirth, it helped me to have other moms there who had given birth naturally - no horror stories, no 'you're crazy' all support .. etc.
I had a Blessingway with my youngest. My husband was included. That actually ended up being great because, I honestly think that had I had to drive myself, I'd have not been able to make it. My labor - that lasted over a week - actually started then. Some of it, he just kind of faded into the background, but they included him a little bit. After all, he had something to do with the reason we were there. LOLOL
I guess i should probably mention that i'm also not the type to have my husband around during labor... I don't want him there, and it just annoys me to have him around, until i'm pushing..
I also had my blessingway at my house, my friend hosted and planned everything, but i didn't have to go anywhere, which was nice.
I love the idea of a blessingway, especially for babies that are not firsts. The event seems to focus more on sending the mama blessings rather than giving her blankets and onesies (though baby gifts could certainly be included as well).
I've seen neat ideas where each guest brings a special bead and maybe gives some positive words with the bead or something special about her friendship with the mama. Then all beads are made into a bracelet and the bracelet, with all the bead-blessings, are worn during the birth.
Sometimes mamas have their bellies decorated with henna or do a belly cast. Maybe paint mamas toenails so they're pretty for the big day. :)
It's like a prenatal spa day! :) I love the idea of having it in your own home, too, if it accommodates multiple women (I have extremely limited parking at my home). I love gatherings that are just really relaxed and everyone can feel comfortable lounging and chatting.
My local Attachment Parenting community is big into Blessingways. I have two yarn bracelets on right now, waiting for my dear friends to birth their precious babies. We typically have a Feast (potluck), then the Web of Sisterhood (yarn bracelets), then we introduce ourselves in a circle--our name, how we met the mama, and provide our matrilineal heritage, then we all give a bead or two to the mom (dropping them into a pretty bowl as we talk about why we selected the one(s) we did, then one person makes them into a beautiful labor necklace), then we henna the mama's belly (or another body part if preferred, like hand/arm or foot). Some ceremonies include a flower wreath for her hair, a neck massage, a foot bath and/or massage, or other elements that the mama wants. sometimes guests are asked to print labor affirmations on cards to be made into a banner. One pregnant mama wants us all to do a crafty project. There is occasionally a candle ceremony where candles are lit, representing fears, then snuffed out to represent the extinguishing of the fears.
One woman in the group is asked to knit a baby cap and we present the mama with the cap. Otherwise, gifts are not exchanged.
It is a very oxytocin-filled day. :)
As an aside, my DH is a SAHD and one mama he sees at playgroup several times a week and is good friends with invited him as the first man ever to be invited to a Blessingway. After we all got over gasping, he decided to go and enjoyed it. The mamas were people he knew from playgroups and they were very kind to him, though, the ceremony was still pretty woman-centered. :)