Whenever a baby is born, a mother is also born. In our society, we celebrate the baby’s upcoming arrival with a baby shower, but often we forget to honor the important life transition that the mother-to-be is about to embark upon.
A Mother Blessing ceremony is a traditional rite of passage for women on the cusp of entering motherhood, inspired by Native American and African traditions. This ceremony is called a Blessingway by the Navajo (Dine) people, and out of respect for their culture, we call it a Mother Blessing when used by non-native peoples.
A Mother Blessing focuses on honoring the mother-to-be, providing her with empowering support from her loved ones. Traditionally, it is a gathering of women only, but you can invite whoever you like. In contrast to the commercial gift-giving nature of most baby showers, a Mother Blessing is primarily about giving acts of service, guidance, and emotional support to the mother, in a sacred sharing space.
Each Mother Blessing celebration is completely unique, customized to the mother-to-be’s individual preferences. A Mother Blessing is compatible with any religion or belief system, and oftentimes religious families will ask their clergyperson to attend the ceremony as well to provide their blessing.
Common activities at a Mother Blessing Ceremony may include:
Giving beads – Each guest gives a bead to the mother, and shares a story, prayer, or blessing. The beads are combined to form a necklace that the mother will wear when she gives birth.
Hair braiding – A guest, traditionally the mother-to-be’s grandmother, braids the mother-to-be’s hair.
Floral crown – Each guest brings a flower, which are combined to make a crown of flowers for the mother to wear.
Foot washing/massage – The mother’s feet are washed in a bowl of water, often containing rose petals, essential oils, and a foot scrub.
Candles – Each guest brings or receives a candle. The candles are lit during the ceremony, and afterward the guests take their candles home with them, to be re-lit when the mother is in labor.
Storytelling – Each guest tells the story of their own birth experiences (positive stories only!)
Henna – The mother’s belly may be decorated with a beautiful henna design, or the guests may each get a henna design placed on their hand.
Belly casting – The mother may have a belly casting made during the ceremony, or a previously made cast may be decorated by the guests.
Affirmation banner – Each guest decorates a piece of paper or fabric, writing a word or prayer that they wish for the mother during her birth journey, like “Strength” or “Peace”. These are combined on a piece of string so that they form a banner, which the mother can hang in her birthing room.
Birthing gifts – Each guest may give the mother a gift of something they found helpful during their own birth experiences, or during the postpartum period.
Feast – The ceremony typically concludes with a feast. This can be potluck, provided by the host of the ceremony, or catered.
Samm’s Mother Blessing Ceremony
“The thought of having a traditional baby shower was never very exciting to me & although I did have one and am grateful for all of the friends and family that came, it was far from an intimate experience. I had heard about having a Blessingway Ceremony before and the concept of it was exactly what I wanted! Marcy did an amazing job not only planning, but facilitating the ceremony. Everything about it was wonderful… So much more than I could have ever expected! There were lots of laughs and some tears, and just an overall amazing, positive experience. Women do not know what they are missing out on. If you or someone you know is pregnant I would definitely recommend throwing a blessingway! Such a fun and loving way to honor the mama to be. It can be as hippy/crunch or as conservative as you’d like, either way it’s a beautiful thing to have women supporting women. I can’t thank Marcy enough!!”
As a Mother Blessing Ceremony Planner and Facilitator, I work closely with the mother-to-be and/or hosts to create a celebration that truly reflects her personality and wishes for her birth.
Mother Blessing Planning Services – $175
My planning services include:
One 2-hour planning consultation (phone or in-person) to brainstorm ideas, decide on guest list, activities, food options, and more
Creation of list of activities and items needed
Personalized email invitations for everyone on your guest list
Mother Blessing Facilitating Services – $500
My facilitating services include all of the planning services listed above, plus:
Ongoing communication with host and guests
Purchase of all items on item list (I will provide receipt for you to reimburse)
Set-up prior to ceremony
Beautiful printed programs for attendees
Personal facilitating of ceremony and all activities (4 hours attendance)
Introductions and explaining what a Mother Blessing is
Creating sacred space, and closing sacred space at the end of the ceremony
Henna body art or belly casting
Photos taken during the event, so that guests can just enjoy participating in the experience
Interested in having a Mother Blessing Ceremony? Contact me!
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