Facilitating blessingway ceremonies is a wonderful way that doulas, birth educators and other childbirth professionals can serve pregnant women.
Blessingways originate from Native American culture and were used to mark transitions in the life of women. Unlike baby showers that often focus on gift giving, blessingways focus on honoring the expecting mother.
The expecting mother is surrounded by women that are very close to her. These women participate in pampering the mother:
- Soaking her feet in rose petals
- Applying henna to her belly and hands
- Creating and decorating a belly cast
- Brushing her hair and decorating with flowers
- Giving her a foot and body massage
Another important part of a blessingway is to include rituals that show the mother that her community of women friends will be with her in spirit through her labor and birth. A variety of ways can show this:
Beads – Each participant brings a bead and shares something positive and affirming to mother. The beads create a bracelet or necklace for her to wear through her labor reminding her of love and support.
Candles – Each guest lights a candle and shares about her connection to the mother and what they love about her. The candles are then taken home by the guests and lit when she goes into labor sending her positive energy until birth.
String – A long continuous piece of string or yarn is woven around the wrists of all the women present symbolizing the power of the group. Then the strings are cut and tied creating bracelets that are worn until the mother has given birth. This shows the continuous love and support of her group.
Blessingways also include time to eat and connect. If gifts are given they are mother focused and include giving her frozen meals, signing up to help with household chores, doula gift certificates, pajamas, baths salts, etc. The goal is to let her know that she will be given help, love, and support through birth and the postpartum period by her friends and family.
A blessingway facilitator meets with the expecting mother or someone extremely close to her to plan and make sure the ceremony reflects her personal preferences, as there are many ways to honor and celebrate a woman during a blessingway.