Imagine you are pregnant, your baby due very soon and you are surrounded by your closest friends. They gather to honor you and the incredible rite of passage you are going through. They pamper you with a healing foot bath, massage your hands and feet, crown you with flowers, and offer you their blessings for your upcoming birth…
This is a blessingway, and I love the deep connection and affirmation that they provide. Blessingways originate in the Navajo tradition where they were used to “bless the one sung over”, and has evolved from a traditional ceremony through healing, creation, harmony and peace to a ritual of empowerment and faith. They have been gaining popularity among women seeking an alternative to the traditional baby shower, and looking for more meaning and ritual around the journey of birth. It is a celebration of life and love, pregnancy and motherhood. In appreciation for and honor of new mothers and their transition into this new role, the purpose is to give them strength and support while affirming that they will have a beautiful birth experience.
There are great resources available now for people looking for blessingway information, including the new book Mother Rising. There are kits that can be purchased and companies that will put a blessingway together for you, but many can put together a blessingway ceremony by reading more about it and making it their own. Ideas like floral crowns, poetry, candles, henna or yarn bracelets can all be part of the ceremony and process.
Gaby from This Little Port lives in Sydney, Australia with her Aussie husband and their baby girl, Clementine. She is a photographer and a yoga teacher.
“During my pregnancy I knew I wanted to do something to mark my passage into motherhood and celebrate the journey of pregnancy and birth, but I just couldn’t see myself having a baby shower. I can’t remember how or where I first heard about blessingways, but when I did I knew instantly that was what I wanted. I ordered myself Mother Rising: The Most Complete Guide to Blessingways and got thinking about the day – who to invite, what we should do, the gift debate etc.”
“In the end, I chose two friends to help organize the day: one friend helped with all of the planning (making invites, taking RSVP’s, buying flowers, cleaning my house and more) while the other would guide the blessingway. I gave each of them a copy of the book so they could plan it without me; the actual elements of the ritual should be a surprise to the mum to be on the day.”
“On a Sunday afternoon, at 38 weeks pregnant, we gathered in my home. My friend Katie guided us through a beautiful ritual that I will always remember. Afterword, we ate some of my favourite foods and sat on the floor and talked about life, babies, pregnancy, and friends. It sounds lame, but my heart felt so full and I felt so supported by my Sydney community. One week later I went into labour and text messages were sent – everyone who had come went home with a candle that they were to light when they heard I was in labour. It made me smile to think of everyones’ candles burning away while I worked so hard to have our baby.”
Photography: Belinda from Billy & August