Your body

Bless­ing­way

Your Pregnancy - - Contents -

HOLD­ING AND NUR­TUR­ING a body and soul inside your own body is not only phys­i­cal and emo­tional, but also spir­i­tual. Con­nect­ing with the lit­tle soul inside of you is some­thing that I en­cour­age all moth­ers to do from the minute their preg­nancy is con­firmed. The woman you start out as on your preg­nancy jour­ney is very dif­fer­ent to the woman you’ll be­come at the end of your preg­nancy. Your un­born baby has al­ready changed you in so many ways. While your body gets ready to birth and nour­ish your baby once born, your spirit may take some time to catch up with what’s go­ing to hap­pen in your heart. This is where a bless­ing­way can make such a dif­fer­ence.

WHAT IS A BLESS­ING­WAY?

A bless­ing­way is a woman-fo­cused cel­e­bra­tion, where the em­pha­sis is on the ex­pec­tant mother. It’s the com­ing to­gether of im­por­tant women in the ex­pec­tant mother’s life, who know her strengths, beauty, courage, dig­nity, and fem­i­nin­ity, and sup­port her through her meta­mor­pho­sis as she ap­proaches the day of go­ing through the process of birth and bring­ing a new life into the world. A bless­ing­way is about cel­e­brat­ing and hon­our­ing the mother and her jour­ney to moth­er­hood, rather than pre­par­ing the layette and the place in her home where her baby will be. Bless­ing­ways pre­pare a mother for the place her baby will take in her heart. The bless­ing­way orig­i­nates in a Na­tive Amer­i­can (Navajo) tra­di­tion. It’s a sa­cred fer­til­ity rite. There are no rules on how you should con­duct a bless­ing­way. They can be re­li­gious or sec­u­lar, mul­ti­cul­tural or spe­cific to a mother’s her­itage, sim­ple or elab­o­rate, struc­tured or re­laxed. As long as the fo­cus is on hon­our­ing the mother and her spirit and her trans­for­ma­tion to moth­er­hood, you’re on the right track.

WHAT TO DO AT A BLESS­ING­WAY

There are some rit­u­als in­volved in bless­ing­ways. Th­ese would in­clude mak­ing beaded bracelets or a neck­lace for the mother to wear dur­ing labour. The act of mak­ing the neck­lace would serve as a strong sym­bol of the strength we have as women com­ing to­gether for this one spe­cial woman who is about to be­come a mother. Each woman at the cer­e­mony would of­fer up a bead with per­haps a bless­ing or a wish for the mother. Braid­ing the mother’s hair with flow­ers is com­monly done. Wash­ing her feet with warm wa­ter that has es­sen­tial oils added to it may be done. Burn­ing sage, shar­ing birth sto­ries by other moth­ers in the group, and giv­ing gifts to the mother is part of the process. An­other nice idea is light­ing a large can­dle. Each woman passes her bless­ing or wish for the new mother as the can­dle is lit. This can­dle could serve as a fo­cal point and a sym­bol for the mother dur­ing her labour – the words of her fe­male friends and fam­ily would be in her mind and heart through the chal­lenges that labour and birth will bring upon her. Other ideas in­clude of­fer­ing up prayers or po­ems that the mother can put in front of her as a way to stay em­pow­ered through labour; or to keep as a me­mento from the birth of her baby. Belling danc­ing, which is tra­di­tion­ally a dance by women for women, is a won­der­ful way for all to get in touch with their fem­i­nin­ity and power. Mak­ing a belly cast is fun, as all the spe­cial women can leave their mark in the cast be­fore it dries. Hand drums, bells and singing can be part of a bless­ing­way. As one mother, Emily, put it, “For me, a baby shower is like a McDon­alds Happy Meal. It’s fun, it fills a need and you get to keep a gift af­ter­wards. But a bless­ing­way is even bet­ter. It’s like a ro­man­tic date at a five-star restau­rant – some­how all the per­fect elements are com­bined so that it nour­ishes both the body and the soul.” Adapted from the book Bless­ing­ways by Shari Maser

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