It saddens me that women preparing for motherhood generally feel quite alone, unsupported and disempowered. Perhaps the shift away from communities to everyone keeping themselves to themselves and the stresses of life has contributed to this.
I remember having a “baby shower” with our first daughter in 2010. It was of course a lovely afternoon, but it was simply another excuse to gossip, eat food and share gifts. There were no moments of enlightenment or holding of space to really honour the mother in a spiritual and emotional sense.
Fast forward 8 years and nearing the end of my pregnancy with our second child, a beautiful friend approached me and asked if she could organise a “blessingway” for me. My instant response was a “what way?” I hadn’t heard of this tradition but I was open to the idea and trusted her completely.
A blessingway is a healing ceremony rooted in Navajo tradition. It is a highly spiritual and private ceremony designed to avert misfortune, protect the home and even bless a pregnancy while also celebrating, honouring and supporting the mother to be as she prepares to welcome a new life into the world.
I went into the experience with no expectations but found it to be so much more meaningful, memorable and moving than the traditional baby shower I had experienced before.
We gathered in a circle on cushions around a beautiful display of sentimental ornaments, candles, flowers, feathers, crystals and a sage stick.
To enhance the blessing way, I diffused the following essential oils in my diffuser:
CEDARWOOD – the oil of community
FRANKINCENSE – the oil of truth and enlightenment
GERANIUM – the oil of love & trust
LAVENDER – the oil of communication and expression
The sage stick is traditionally used by native Americans who believed when lit that it purifies and cleanses the home of negative energy.
Each of the women brought a flower that was beautifully made into a crown and placed on my head.
As we sat in the circle, the host opened up with a guided meditation followed by each woman in the circle taking it in turns to introduce themselves and say how they came to know me. It was very touching as quite often you don’t allow yourself to see any other perspective of yourself other than your own which isn’t always positive.
Next we all wrote on a piece of paper our personal fears and took it in turns to share them out loud and then let them go by ripping up the paper and speaking an affirmation to release them. The flood gates certainly opened up at this point and tissues were passed around.
Next each women contributed a bead or few to a birthing necklace. They each shared what the bead meant and why they had picked it specifically for me.
Then we all wrapped red wool around our wrists to signify the circle of women and the circle of life and finally cut it off and tied it round our wrists. Each woman will keep the wool around her wrist until the baby is born, sending love and well wishes whenever she looks at it.
And finally each woman made some sort of commitment to me to help and support after the baby is born with things like home cooked meals and whatever else I may need to give me the space to truly be present with this new life.
Afterwards we shared nourishing food and conversation; it truly was a magical morning and a huge blessing that left me feeling so loved and special.
I wish every pregnant woman could experience this; it’s one step closer to feeling like a village and the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is certainly true.
If you know someone who is pregnant, they would truly love this experience, I can’t recommend it enough to support those close to you.