What is a Mother Blessing?
A mother blessing is a unique and sacred ceremony for a mother-to-be. It stems from the indigenous traditions of blessing way ceremonies, which historically were held for warriors descending to the journey of battle, as well as women who were embarking on the journey of birth. A journey can take form in many ways.
The ceremony was designed to bless the way with song and dance for one on their passage.
As a birth doula, it makes total sense that these two events were set as parallel in their equality of magnitude and importance and I am a firm believer that mothers setting out on their journey through the world of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum deserve the highest honor equivalent to that of a warrior.
Being conscious of mind, we strive to not appropriate other cultures and be sensitive to their sacred traditions. This is why within our community we hold this event in our own modified version, not using the same exact title, and making sure to always acknowledge the heart of where this ceremony rooted.
How is it different than a baby shower?
A mother blessing is similar to a baby shower in that it is a gathering of close female friends and relatives, however there is a great difference between the two. The difference lies in whom the focus is set on, a baby shower is full of gifts for the new life coming earth side, whereas a mother blessing is focused on the remarkable transformation a womxn is making when dedicating their mind, body, and soul to the journey from maidenhood to motherhood.
The ceremony focuses much more on the emotional and spiritual aspects of the birth journey, than it does the physical or monetary gift giving aspects of a traditional baby shower.
Gifts for mother, child, and family are always welcome at a Mother Blessing, but do not expect to sit through the normal scheduled gift opening aspect of a baby shower.
What goes on during the ceremony?
Instead of spending an hour or two opening gifts, this time is allotted for a much more important spiritual purpose for the mother-to-be and their family. A mother blessing traditionally opens with honoring each and everyone’s birthing ancestors and the journeys they embarked upon for each womxn to be present at the ceremony that day. This time is nice for each member to get to know one another and become close like family, if not already. This event is very intimate and perhaps is not something you would invite your third cousin twice removed to. Think closest girlfriends, strongest sisters, and the wisdom of your feminine elders. The ones who will be there for you through thick and thin.
The ceremony may seem emotional at times, so be prepared and bring tissues. A fear release session is usually incorporated in for the mother-to-be to express her deepest worries to her closest comrades. We build her up and help her work through her fears, leave them behind, and prepare for her deep journey to the stars to retrieve the soul of her child and bring them safely earth side.
Group activities can be incorporated as well such as belly bump painting, creating birth affirmation flags, crafting special items for a birth altar, making flower crowns, drawing a sacred foot bath or offering foot massages, or any massages to the mother. Anything to make her feel like an empowered queen ready for her battle.
At the end, the group comes together to set all of our intentions into the positive. The core of the mother blessing is the actual blessing circle. This can take many forms, as a facilitator I enjoy working closely with mothers and family members ahead of time to perhaps incorporate any of their family traditions, values, or spiritual beliefs into this circle practice. A blessing to the mother can take shape in many forms, but the heart of it is to bless the way for the new mother on her journey.
One example is blessing water and creating our own Holy Mother water, set and filled with intentions of love, support, and positivity. The blessed water can be prayed to during labor, drank during labor, poured into a bath during birth, or used to bathe the new child. It can be used for any instance where light and positivity may be needed for the mother to gain her strength and complete her journey of sacred love.
How does it work during social distancing and COVID 19?
Times are different with social distancing and COVID 19, these issues must be taken into consideration when gathering a group of friends or family for any cause or purpose. Therefore, the same considerations must be taken when facilitating a mother blessing. The final decision of preferences is up to the family and the facilitator to agree upon what meets both of their levels of comforts.
As a ceremony organizer myself, I am open to hosting open air mother blessings where perhaps individuals can sit six feet apart and not need masks, or wear masks if it is requested. In situations where no open space is available and the family is not comfortable indoors, a virtual circle can be created to have a mother blessing and include family and friends from close and far. Whatever the mother needs and wishes for, is what we do. That is the essence of the entire mother blessing and we ALWAYS respect our mothers, because they deserve it!