Mama Blessing: Not Quite a Shower, but Still a Celebration

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My belly full of henna, a collaborative effort!

When I was pregnant with Delilah, my sister and mother threw me a beautiful baby shower. People came from near and far to shower my baby with love. There were lovely decorations, tons of food, silly games, and oodles and oodles of very generous gifts. The generosity my little family was shown that day was such that when we found out we were expecting again, there was very little in the way of "stuff" that we needed! (Especially after several friends with sons passed along many bags, boxes, and bins full of hand-me-downs!)

While I didn't want or need a "shower" this time around, I still longed for a celebration of some sort. Preparing for a HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean), I also longed to surround myself with positive, supportive energy, both for my upcoming birth, and for my transition to a mother of two.

Enter the Mama Blessing (also known as Mother Blessing, Birth Blessing, Belly Blessing, or Blessingway).

A Mama Blessing is a celebration based loosely on the Navajo Blessingway, a ritual used to mark various rites of passage, including the transition to motherhood. While unlike the traditional Navajo Blessingway, a modern Mama Blessing celebration will not take days to complete, the spirit of the ritual remains the same:

“The essence of this sacred ceremony is to promote spiritual, psychological, physical, and emotional harmony.”
Quote Source

A friend prepares henna while
my mama pampers me with a pedi!

While a Baby Shower is focused on celebrating the new baby, a Mama Blessing is focused on celebrating and supporting the mother as she prepares for her birth and her transition to motherhood. This was a time for my community of women to bond together in a circle of support for me and the journey I am embarking on, not only in giving birth to my son, but in my transition to a mother of two.


My daughter, sister, and mother making flags

While I was insistent that no one bring gifts, no one came empty-handed. My mother and sister brought most of the food and beverages and helped me get everything set up. Several other friends brought treats to share. My sister brought some meals for my freezer. One friend brought flowers. Another brought henna. Yet another brought some art supplies.

When everyone was settled, comfortable, and had something to eat or drink, I welcomed everyone. I wanted them to know that their presence there was very intentional on my part, that they were invited because I shared a special bond with them, and because I trusted them to bring only positive wishes and supportive thoughts for my birth. Each woman introduced herself to the group and shared how they had met me.

After introductions, everyone filled out Wishes for Baby cards and then read them out loud. Once we were all feeling nice and sentimental, my mom set to work pampering my tired feet with a pedicure while a friend prepared henna, and several other guests set to work creating blessing flags to hang in my birth space.


Receiving positive wishes
during the string ceremony

We did a string ceremony, in which a string was wound around each woman's left wrist by the woman to her left. As each was tied into the circle, she shared a positive wish or words of support for me. When the circle was complete, we cut the strings between us and each tied our strings onto our wrists as a bracelet. This ritual is symbolic of the connection that all women share and will help keep each woman tuned into me as I lead up to birth and reminds them to send me positive, loving energy until the baby is born. Once each guest has gotten news that I have gone into labor or have given birth, she will cut the string to release the supportive energy and can light a candle, say a prayer, or perform another brief ritual of support.

When Delilah and her daddy got home from their play date, about half the guests were still there working on blessing flags and decorating my belly with henna. They jumped right into the festivities, with Delilah creating blessing flags, and my husband enthusiastic to write on my belly with henna.

Daddy gets in on the belly henna

As my Mama blessing drew to a close, I truly felt blessed, honored, supported, and celebrated. I am fortunate to have such a loving and open- minded circle of women surrounding me, several of whom were stepping a bit out of their comfort zone to participate in this celebration. I will carry their love and support with me until I give birth and beyond.

For more ideas for Mama Blessing celebrations, check out this post from Code Name: Mama -- 30 Ideas for Mother Blessings

 

Originally published at Fine and Fair

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