With so many women missing out on their baby showers and their blessings ways while we have to be socially distant during Covid-19, there are still ways to support them and create unforgettable experiences that all pregancies deserve. In this blog post, I have created a step by step plan for a blessing way that you can create for the special pregnant women in your life.
What is a Blessing Way
A Blessing Way is a ceremony to celebrate a woman and her pregnancy and to help her prepare for childbirth. While a Baby Shower focuses on gifting a baby, a Blessing Way focuses on gifting the mother to be. It is a time when her closest female friends gather to adorn her in love and massage and guidance for preparing for her journey into birth. In my opinion, it is one of the most special experiences you get to go through as a pregnant woman.
Childbirth is an immense journey and birthing people need emotional support more than ever. When fear is used as propaganda for birth, it lowers human consciousness and women start to make decisions based on fear and misinformation about birth and their bodies. But when women come together, we can counter that. Hosting a Blessing Way for your birthing friend can give her the positive support she needs.
During my last pregnancy with Echo, my dear friend Elise Nicole Kirkpatrick hosted and wrote a blessing way ceremony for me and its something I will always cherish and never forget.
How To Host a Blessing Way
Who to invite:
You want to start a few weeks in advance. The birthing woman needs to tell you which closest friends and family members she wants there. Traditionally a blessing way is small and intimate, only the closest women in her life. This is not like a baby shower to invite your whole community.
I made a watercolor for my friend Ashley and used it as an invitation image. If you want to you can create a little image on canva.com with the time, date, where (which will be on zoom or FaceTime if you have to be socially distant due to the Corona Virus pandemic), and I also requested that everyone wear white. Email the invite with the zoom link in your email to make it easy for everyone to log on to the call.
birth altar and birthing bracelets:
"A Birth Altar is a space that will become a power symbol of your birth. You can choose a small table, dresser, or windowsill. You can add candles, things collected from nature or objects that are meaningful to you. It's a place to keep your collection of strength." - Earth Mother News
Birth Altars are special to have towards the end of your pregnancy. I shared my birth altar that we created at my blessing way in this Blog Post. Gifts for the altar may include crystals, affirmation decks, candles and candle holders, postcards with empowering feminine imagery, beads, palo santo, sage, and incense.
For virtual ceremonies: Ask your guests to please send gifts to contribute to a birth altar to your address. You will be in charge of gathering the gifts and delivering them to the birthing woman's house the day of the blessing way. You also are in charge of sending each guest a birthing bracelet. I use colored thread. Cut the thread to be big enough to make a bracelet, and when you send them, tell the guests to put it on right before the blessing way begins and they will get further instructions during the ceremony.
Birthing bracelets are cut as soon as the birthing person goes into labor. The group collectively cut their bracelets and hold space for their friend. You will explain this in your ceremony. Decide who the birthing person is going to contact when labor starts and then that person is in charge of telling the rest of your group.
Other Special Details and Gift Ideas for the birthing person:
Bessing ways are intended to gift the pregnant woman, so gifts are specifically for her and not for the baby. Here is what we gave Ashley:
Flower Crown (So she can wear it during the ceremony) and fresh sage bundle. My girlfriend Lauren from the Feng Shui Collective made these the day of the ceremony
Hand painted shells
A Mothersun tumbler + reusable straw to take with her to the hospital and also to drink fluids during postpartum
The First Forty Days book (This is a must for every birthing person!)
Hand Cream (So her partner can massage her hands during the blessing way ceremony)
A feng shui consultation for clearing clutter and energy in the home by the Feng Shui Collective, perfect for bringing baby into their new environment
a template for the actual ceremony:
Another step is to write the ceremony. I included specific parts like having everyone introduce themselves, encouraging words about labor, empowering words about how strong she is, asking the partner to give her a hand massage during parts of the ceremony, and having each guest speak. Here is my ceremony in case you want to use it or in case it can give you an idea or an outline. Sidenote, if this is during the quarantine, I suggest to invite the partner in so that he can provide the flower petal foot bath for her and also be a part of the honoring:
"We are here to celebrate this mother to be, to honor her, to support her, and to prepare her for her enormous journey into becoming a mother. Today we also honor this father to be. May he feel so incredibly supported by this tribe as he prepares for his enormous journey into becoming a father. Birth is not an easy journey for either woman or man. Your strengths will be pushed to the limit and your minds will go places they’ve never been before. But together as a unit and a partnership, you will move gracefully from this chapter into a bright and beautiful new chapter as mother and father.
Today, a super special group of people are here in support and pure love. I’d like everyone to introduce yourselves starting with _____ and I will go last.
Not only are you both birthing your child, but you both are birthing a new you as well. You will never again be the same person as you are now. This person will be gone forever, and a brand new woman and man will stand before each other. You will get to know each other all over again, with your little soulmate sandwiched in between the two of you. It will be harmonious, it will also test you. Remember you are a team, an equal partnership, and by knowing this, you will be able to navigate this ship smoothly and gracefully.
Ashley, our job here today is to help you prepare as your body begins to enter the birthing realm. Folklore says that a few weeks before you go into labor, your body actually moves in between two worlds; this world and the birthing world. When things are quiet, you truly feel like you are not of this world anymore. Your body is transitioning into the moment when your cervix will start to soften and open and your son will begin his journey down from the stars. Acknowledge this time, for it is unlike anything else in life. You can truly feel your entire being prepare itself. Sit quietly with yourself and feel this transition into labor. You are a part of the most immense natural phenomena of a lifetime. You are a woman. The most powerful being. No one else can do what the Woman does here on Earth. You are the portal. You have the strength.
Your job when labor begins is to ride the waves. Please close your eyes. Imagine floating in a blue lagoon. The birthing waves begin to roll in slowly. Keep breathing. As the waves become stronger, longer, more consistent, and closer together, keep breathing. You are getting closer. There is a sphincter in the back of your throat that is directly connected to the sphincter in your cervix. If you can keep your throat open, it will help open your cervix. Remember that with each contraction, you are closer to meeting your son. Embrace every wave because you know its getting you closer to the marathon finish line. A mantra for you: Ride the Waves. Ride the Waves. You can open your eyes now.
You are completely capable. Your body knows exactly what to do. It is in our DNA. It is what the woman is here on Earth to do. To give life. She knows what to do. Please trust your body. Please know that when its time, she will begin the process. No one can tell her how to do her job. No one can tell her how to begin her opening. No one can tell her how and when to push. She knows. She is more intelligent than our culture gives her credit for. Trust your body. While your body is doing the work, your mind is what will get you through labor. You will find all of your strength in your mind. This is a time when mind and body become separate. The body separates from the mind and each have to work together to get through birth. It truly is Mind over Matter. Your mind will travel to the universe and beyond, channeling our ancestors who gave birth before us. You will find your primal self, you will be stripped down to your core, releasing all levels and layers of your soul. Your mind is strong and she is who will guide you past fear, past pain, past hesitation, past apprehension.
And then, in the blink of a moment, your son will be here, birth will all be over, and you will have done it. And you and your fiancee will rejoice. He will look at you humbly. He will see strength in you like he has never seen before. He will see a powerful goddess before him. He will be in awe of you forever. He will never forget what you did to bring your baby down. You will now be the mother of his son, a prestigious role. And parenthood will begin.
We continue this ceremony for you Ashley, with your feet soaking in your flower bath that your partner so sweetly made for you. Soak up that tenderness through your toes and into your feet and into the rest of your body. After our ceremony, I ask you Rich, please gift Ashley a body massage with her pregnancy oil. That will be the perfect ending to this evening’s blessing to her. You also have a beautiful flower crown on your head made by Lauren. Please let your mind soak in this sun kissed gift, let the energy seep into your head and down throughout your body. Next, we have brought you this basket of gifts so that you two can put together a birthing altar. Please feel free to bring any of these gifts with you to the hospital so that you bring in this tender energy into your birthing room. We are each going to share with you what we included and why, followed by some gentle encouraging words from each of us. While we share, Rich can you please massage Ashley’s hands with the lotion I have provided in the basket?
Next, there is an envelope with thread for a birthing bracelet for each of you. And guess what, we all have ours on now! Can everyone show Ashley their bracelets? Ashley and Rich, can you please tie the thread around each other’s wrists so that your birthing bracelets are on you now. We will all collectively cut our birthing bracelets and hold space for you while you ease into labor (then decide who is going to let everyone know when the mother goes into labor). Ashley and Rich, you can cut your bracelets after your son arrives and you are home again.
Ashley to close out the ceremony, I would like to give you a chance to talk out loud about anything regarding your pregnancy and or birth that you feel like you need to say while we are all gathered here together…"
If you have any questions regarding hosting a Blessing Way, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org