Three years ago this August my best friend gave birth to her first child. Towards the end of her pregnancy she and I got together and held a blessing way for her, just the two of us. It was an wonderful bonding experience and a special moment just for her. Now we tend to be pretty girls “earthy”, but lets face it: birth is a powerful, primal, force of nature! To honour that is to also honour your connection with every other mother out there. Birth is OURS. A blessing way allows a mother to claim power over her birth and her body, and to revel in all the glory that is creation. Really, its pretty earthy stuff.
A blessing way is typically comprised of 4 main parts: the blessing of the mother, painting the belly, making a blessing way necklace/bracelet, and of course FOOD! I will cover each in detail below.
Now what would an event like a blessing way be, without a blessing?! You are gathering after all to show support, love and encouragement to a woman you all love. BLESS HER! This can be in the form of prayer, reciting a poem, reading a passage from a book, or simply telling her how awesome and strong she is and how you love her big round beautiful belly. Traditionally candles and incense are lit while the words are said, this will help to set the stage and tone for the event. Water rituals are also popular, such as placing the womans sore, swollen, prego feet in a bowl of warm scented water with flowers floating in it.
Now its time to decorate, the belly that is! Because a blessing way is usually done in the last few weeks of pregnancy, you have a nice big, round, and tight canvas to work with. It is most common to use Henna as this is non-toxic and will leave a temporary tattoo effect on the skin of the pretty design your group comes up with. Here is an example:
The other idea is to use non-toxic childrens face paint. This is becoming more popular lately and you can get really cool vivid colours that wash off right away. Here is an example of my friends beautifully painted belly:
Each guest that attends is asked to bring a bead representing themselves, and their love for the mother to be. Once everyone is gathered the beads are all strung together (either in the form of a necklace or bracelet) to create a protective amulet for the woman to wear during labour. Some women wear it right away, and do not take it off until their babe is safely delivered into their arms. Others put it aside somewhere secret and safe to pull out the minute the first signs of labour appear. At any rate, this special piece of jewellery serves as a reminder of a circle of women,all coming together to offer love, advice,and support. It is a very special keepsake for any woman.
Now that all of the formalities are out of the way it is time to eat food, lots of it, and share advice, stories, and words of wisdom. You may also opt to have a guest book there for people to write down tips for the mom-to-be in. And of course remember to take plenty of photos!
This is a guest post I wrote for Pamplemousse1983 as part of her Blog Baby Shower. I thought I would re-post it here for those of you that didn't get a chance to read it....make sure you also stop by her blog and say hello. She is a dear friend and a fellow prego blogger due in June as well!!!!