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Salem Lily 05-07-2010 11:51 PM

Does anyone have any ideas when it comes to having/giving a Birth Blessing/Mother Blessing?
One idea that I love is asking each guest to bring a cande to light during their blessing for the mother. Afterwards, each guest will take her candle home and light it when she hears the mother is in labor.

I've also heard of having each person bring a bead that they specifically picked out for the mother. At the blessing, string all the beads onto a cord for the mother to wear or focus on during labor.

momto9kidlets 05-07-2010 11:58 PM

When I do them I have people bring two beads that have meaning to them and then they share the meaning behind why they chose the ones they did.

I have also done belly casting at the blessingway. Each person takes turns applying the casting material. Of course this only works if the mom really knows all of the people very personally and doesn't mind them touching her.

I have also had people bring their words of wisdom to share with the mother and as they light their candle they share their words of wisdom with her.

I have never done this, but if you know how to weave flowers you could have everyone bring a flower and weave her a crown of fresh flowers.

kavamamakava 05-08-2010 12:08 AM

We did a foot bath for my sister with essential oils and flower petals and as her feet soaked, we went around the room telling birth stories while some of us braided her hair. This may or may not work for you. Those who had not yet had babies told of their own birth story as it had been told to them. I suppose this worked since we were pretty much all born at home.

Salem Lily 05-08-2010 01:16 AM

Thank you so much for sharing! I think this is such a special way to welcome a woman into motherhood.

Jenne 05-08-2010 01:43 AM

We will be doing a blessing for my BFF soon. Her friends, family, and ladies from our Sunday School class will attend. We will pray for her, for her baby, for her labor. We will annoint her with oil. We will eat yummy food and drink iced tea. We may or may not have gifts (she is still thinking on this). I'm excited for this opportunity to bless her.


karen1968 05-09-2010 08:18 PM

One thing that has been done at birth blessings I've attended is to pass around a ball of yarn or string - each guest winds it around her wrist as she names her mother/grandmothers/daughters (i.e., Martha, daughter of Mary, granddaughter of Eve, mother to Ava). It's a nice way to bring more feminine energy to the room. The ball stays intact, linking each woman in a circle, until it makes it back to the mom-to-be. Then the string is cut to an appropriate length, tied to each wrist, and the guests keep the "bracelets" on until the mom is laboring or asks for them to be cut.

BTW, IMO and IME, the term "blessingway" shouldn't really be used for these types of "baby showers". The term refers to a very particular ceremony of some Native American tribes, and would be akin to calling this a "birth Mass" or similar. I think "birth blessing" or simply "blessing" is a way to separate this special ceremony/party from a typical baby shower without offending an entire group of people.

Jenne 05-09-2010 11:22 PM

Karen1968- Thanks for saying that. I typed and retyped a paragraph re: blessingway vs. blessing/shower but couldn't come up with anything I liked. You were succinct and to the point without opening up the whole can of worms that can be associated with the topic. Way to go! Thank you!


babycounselor 05-11-2010 04:15 PM

I did readings at my Blessingway, lit a candle and handed out candles to all the guests to light when I was in labor...
We had beads in a basket- everyone chose one that was special for them and then added it to a string. It became my birth necklace and later my nursing necklace.
We planned to pain my belly cast but ran out of time!
This is the webpage

mountainborn 05-12-2010 12:02 AM

I was determined to have a "blessing time" but unsure about how to go about it - very few of the women I planned to invite were familiar with the idea. As a Jesus follower I also wanted to have a ritual that really connected with my faith and I wasn't finding any ideas other than everyone taking turns praying (also good but not exactly what I was looking for). I was looking at possible scripture to be read and somehow it all came together in a sort of call and response liturgy - I had three friends designated to read out different passages and then the whole circle of women responded together. It ended up being very beautiful and powerful. Any sort of call and response I think would have a similar feel - there is something amazing about everyone's voice speaking out together.

We also did a labor necklace and each woman shared a blessing - it was almost too wonderful for me to take in.

And we ate crepes with fruit and nutella. No intentional symbolism there, just deliciousness!

There are probably a million ways to create a ceremony like this - depending on what you feel you need most from it. I've heard of different rituals involving letting go of fears re: labor and birth as well, or sharing of birth stories.

BrooklynDoula 05-12-2010 03:00 PM

Lots of great ideas but I want to stress again that ideally you would choose different words to reference the ceremony that you are wanting to create.

hram 05-14-2010 12:12 PM

Originally Posted by BrooklynDoula View Post
Lots of great ideas but I want to stress again that ideally you would choose different words to reference the ceremony that you are wanting to create.
Can I ask why? I dont no anything about blessingway's.

karen1968 05-14-2010 04:35 PM

A Blessing Way is a sacred Navajo ceremony. The term has been adopted by the natural birth community in a way that some find offensive. As I stated above, it could be seen in the same light as using the term "birth mass" or "baby Seder".

The Blessing Way is one half of the major Navajo song ceremonial complexes, the other half being the Enemy Way. The rites and prayers in the Blessing Way are concerned with healing, creation, harmony and peace. The song cycles recount the elaborate Navajo mythology related to the rites contained within the Blessing Way.

mamato3cherubs 05-14-2010 08:18 PM

Reguardless of terminology, great ideas have been given, I have been to a couple, but the one I gave for a close friend was so beautiful. She has a large family and the women of the family all came. It was very moving for her and her mother's relationship as her mother was able to share in joys from her own birth experiences. Prayer was said.
We lit candles and took them home as mentioned above. We all did the string around the wrist and the nameing was great energy too. And the beads were really special, they were strung as we went around the circle, and everyone shared their wishes for her and we all cried and laughed alot.
It is a very special gift you are going to give. Think about it that way, don't plan it like you would a shower or a party, realize that it is a ceremony to prepare her for this rite of passage in her life.

hram 05-15-2010 10:36 AM

Thanks. I plan on giving my best friend some sort of ceremony this summer. She is having her first baby in July. I have just been calling it a blessingway because I have never heard it called anything else. I guess Ill just call it a blessing ceremony or mother blessing because birth mass and some of the other names I have heard dont sound very appealing to me. But its definately not a shower by any means, I want it to be a focus on mom and give her encouragement and support. Im kind of happy I will be out of town for her babyshower. I hate going to them. I plan to do prayers, making a necklace, lighting the candles, birth stories and a foot bath if there is time.

robin3 05-15-2010 02:27 PM

This is how we do a birth blessing (most of my group of friends are Pagan but I have done something similar for non Pagan friends):
We gather in a circle and light candles on a central table/altar to honor the elements and our ancestors. Sometimes we burn sage.
We take turns massaging the mama to be's hands and feet with lavendar oil. We braid her hair or change it in some way to symbolize the change happening in her life. We often include flowers.
We use henna to paint on her pregnant belly. This is a lot of fun and incredibly beautiful! It last up to two weeks after and is a wonderful reminder for the mom.
We have a large candle for the mom and everyone has a smaller candle. We start at the left of mom and light the candle. This is usually the woman that is closest to the mom to be, her BF or her mom or her doula. This woman says a blessing for the new mom, what she wishes for her for her labor and her parenting experience to come. Then she lights the candle of the woman to her left who says a blessing and it continues around the circle until it gets to the large candle for mom to be and all of those blessings pass to her candle with the fire. The candles are put out and the large candle is lit when mom goes into labor.
We also do the red string around everyone's wrists. These are kept on until after baby is born and then burned, buried or placed in running water. We use cotton string!
We usually give gifts that are just for mom. Sometimes it's poem someone shares. Or a song. Bath oils, candles, jewelry etc. We sometimes do the bead necklace with a blessing.
This can take a long time but it is beautiful and very meaningful.
We also, of course, eat really good potluck and cake!!

DoulaVallere 05-16-2010 02:22 PM

We always call ours "Belly Blessings" and I've been involved in quite a few! We almost always light 3 candles (especially for us Christian moms) to symbolize the Trinity, as well as the generations (I'm a woman, mother, and daughter). Each person in attendace lights a tealight off of those candles and declares her generations (Vallere, daughter of Monette, mother of ...etc). Then the expectant mother gets a crown of flowers (usually we pick flowers with specific meanings) and a footbath with EOs and fragrant herbs.

We'll also anoint her with oil, and it's very detailed. Each person gets a slip of paper that tells them a specific body part to anoint...for example "I anoint your head for all of the decisions you will make in the coming years." "I anoint your hands for all the times they will cradle your baby." "I anoint your knees for all the times they will kneel to tend to children." etc...usually we do about 8-10 different parts, including hips for easy birthing and breasts for abundant milk!

At some I've been to, everyone is asked to bring a bead with meaning to them, and we go around and share all the meanings, then either make a necklace, or bracelet for mom out of them. At the last one I was at, mom has Native American herritage, so they wove the beads into a dreamcatcher for her!

At others, we've asked everyone to bring a scripture or poem about motherhood and then we all read them and place them in a little memory book.

At another I found some gorgeous fabric and decopaged a wooden box with it, and then we had it as a memory box for mom to put all the trinkets from the Belly Blessing in, as well as all the newborn keepsakes.

Sometimes we do henna, sometimes a belly cast. Then we all pray over the mother and have refreshements! (usually lots of chocolate and fresh fruit LOL!)

My Belly Blessing is one of my most treasured memories! And I can't wait for the one I have coming up for this baby!

Salem Lily 05-17-2010 02:14 AM

Thank you for clarifying the meaning of the word Blessingway. I have never heard it referred to as anything else and would never want to offend anyone. I will definitely be passing this information on!

mountainborn 05-20-2010 10:50 AM

Originally Posted by DoulaVallere View Post
We'll also anoint her with oil, and it's very detailed. Each person gets a slip of paper that tells them a specific body part to anoint...for example "I anoint your head for all of the decisions you will make in the coming years." "I anoint your hands for all the times they will cradle your baby." "I anoint your knees for all the times they will kneel to tend to children." etc...usually we do about 8-10 different parts, including hips for easy birthing and breasts for abundant milk!
I love this! The part about cradling the baby just made me cry...I'm so pregnant...

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