The Blessingway Tradition

I have attended 2 blessingways now for clients whose births I have photographed, and both times have walked away feeling so proud to be a woman.  So proud that a community of women who lift each other up and support one another in love and encouragement exists!  You can’t help but feel connected after such a beautiful gathering.

Since not many people have heard of blessingways, I thought I’d share a few tidbits about them as well as pictures from blessingways  that I’ve attended.  All of my information came from HERE.

A blessingway is an old Navajo (native American) ceremony, which celebrates a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood. A westernised version of this is the ‘Mother Blessing’.  Which is good, since the Navajo people actually don’t approve of the term ‘blessingway’ being used outside of their culture.

Unlike a traditional baby shower, where gifts are purchased for the baby, a Mother’s Blessing is all about nurturing the mother-to-be and celebrating motherhood.  The focus is shifted from the new arrival of baby, to the mother –  by ‘filling her cup’ – so it overflows with love. A woman who is given lots of love has more love to give in return – and there is nothing like a circle of loving women to get that oxytocin (hormone of love) flowing!

A Mother Blessing is basically a beautiful and unique way to honour the mother, spend time with her, share stories, debrief fears and to instill confidence and strength.

You can take a lot of liberty with a Mother’s Blessing – there’s no particular agenda to follow.  In fact I’ve seen several different things done, some of which you will find pictured in the gallery below.

Have a nice dinner together – a nice warm meal can be prepared by the host or potluck style in honor of the mother.

Giving Mama-to-be your blessing – Traditionally, a blessing is done in the form of a prayer or poem. It’s a lovely idea for the guests to bring a poem or prayer they have found or personally written, to share with the mother-to-be. Someone could be in charge of collecting the blessings and collating them in a book/journal/scrapbook or other special place.

The cord ceremony – Binding everyone’s wrists with a single cord of red wool or some other yarn. Everyone then keeps the string around their wrists until they hear that the birth is happening – then they all cut the cord as a symbol of unity. Plus the cord is a nice way to remind others to be thinking of the prospective mother.

Giving “birth beads” – All the attendees bring a bead and read a meaningful poem, quote or traditional blessing for the mother and her upcoming labour. The beads can then be turned into a necklace or bracelet for the mother to wear or have within her sight during labor.

Light a candle – Some women make an agreement to the mother at Mother Blessings to light a candle (even say a prayer as well) in the mother’s honour, as soon as they hear that labour has begun.  The candle stays lit until baby in born.

Henna – There are loads of traditions associated with “mother” henna.  The goal is to make mother feel special, whether the guests make her a crown of flowers or bring in a henna artist to create art for her belly.  Sometimes the guests get to partake in the fun, too!

Mothering the mother – brushing her hair, washing her feet in warm water (essential oils are a nice touch – but first check they are safe for late pregnancy) or painting her toenails is a lovely way to nurture her.

I love this tradition and I hope it becomes more and more popular!  Enjoy some images from the Mother’s Blessings I’ve attended:

 

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