BLESSINGWAY: Ceremony—Event where the woman is celebrated and glorified through the different stages of life: puberty, pregnancy, marriage, menopause, etc. Of Navajo Native American origins, it’s rites and rituals are centred around open-mindedness and spirituality.
While pregnant with baby number 2, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Blessingway instead of the traditional baby shower. I treasured the moment as much as the people who were there. It generally isn’t an event organized by the mom-to-be, but since it’s not a very popular ritual here yet, I took the initiative to plan it myself!
THE BLESSINGWAY (OR MOTHER BLESSING) IN NORTH AMERICA:
This ceremony is celebrated here slightly differently than in its original way, but its goal remains the same: women gathering among themselves to celebrate and honour the future mother towards the end of her pregnancy on both physical and emotional aspects. Support is shown to the woman as she slides into motherhood, being her first baby, or not, for every time a woman gives birth, she is herself reborn as a mother. To share experiences regarding pregnancy, labour and maternity, in general, is a part of the process that is often greatly appreciated during the process.
Typically, the organization is taken care of by a person close to the mother-to-be. However, many Doulas offer to organize the event. It’s an option to consider as it allows the women participating to enjoy the event fully and to give their 100% as they support the mother instead of focusing their energy on the successful completion of the ceremony.
As much as there are pregnant women on Earth, there are ways of conducting this ceremony. I believe the essence of it is simply to take the time to listen to the future mom and to consider her tastes. For example, no foot baths for a mother who hates having her feet touched!
The goal is mainly to keep in mind that the ceremony calls for privacy, open-mindedness, and great empathy toward the celebrated, who is a mother-to-be in this case, and between the women.
Generally, it begins with an opening ritual: each woman enters the event room (a red tent or a warm and cozy room) and soaks her hands in a bowl filled with a mix of regular water and rose water, letting it flow softly through her fingers as of letting go of her daily life, to connect with the present moment. Then, she sits at a designated spot and lights the candle in front of her. Once every participant is seated, the activities may begin:
- Everyone tells what they admire the most about the future mother;
- Recite poems, songs that are childbirth-oriented;
- Create positive statement posters for childbirth;
- Create a custom bead necklace for the mother;
- Celebration of the mother’s belly: henna, belly painting, belly molding;
- Massages and relaxing care for the mother: hands, feet, head, shoulders, etc.;
- Sharing pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood stories;
- Depending on the believes; prayers, tarot, goddess invocation, etc.
Generally, the ceremony always ends with a red thread being wrapped around every invited women’s wrists to seal the ritual. The red thread must be kept wrapped around their wrist or ankle until the mother gives birth.
Then, you can gather around a potluck to close the event.
As I experienced the whole thing for my current pregnancy, I can guaranty magic moments filled with tears of laughter as much as emotional tears! I stood taller after the event, but I especially felt that my heart was filled with love for the women accompanying me. I have the that when I give birth to my child, they will be there with me, no matter how far physically!
P.S.: Finally, baby’s here!! Couldn’t wait for that little one! When I got into labour, I told the women that were at my blessingway me so they could light their candles… As my transition to the second stage started (the hardest part of childbirth), as my confidence was replaced by discouragement, I had the feeling my beautiful friends were there with me, supporting and encouraging me to continue. That simple thought gave me the courage I needed to face the last stages of labour and to deliver my baby!
This post was translated from French to English by:
My name is Sophie, a passionate language learner, and a full-time dog mom. Long walks, soothing cups of tea, Japanese learning and the search for beauty are my everyday life. Slowly but surely is how I do things, contemplating the peaceful ways of time and the enchanting notion of living the moment.