How to Host a Blessingway: Preparing for a Sacred Birth

“Whatever happens here on Earth, must first be dreamed.” – Navajo saying

Incorporating meaningful rituals to honor our rites of passages throughout life was always something our ancestors did. These rituals help us to mark powerful transitions and prepare our mind, body and spirit for leaping into the unknown. Women around the world are beginning to recognize the importance of honoring these transitions, and “Blessingways” are beginning to replace traditional baby showers.

Rooted in Dine Navajo tradition, a Blessingway or Mother Blessing, as it is called for modern purposes, honors a woman’s passage from maiden to mother and refills her spiritual cup in preparation for her upcoming birth.

Whether the mother to be is desiring a natural birth, unmedicated birth, sacred birth, home birth or birth in a hospital, she deserves to have a space where she can be encouraged to make this huge leap from maiden to mother.

Friends, family and loved ones, usually women, gather together to wrap the mother-to-be in love and positivity.

If you’re hosting for a pregnant loved one, be sure to ask her who she would like to attend and who she would prefer did not attend. It’s important the experience is entirely uplifting for her. A blessingway is different from a baby shower in which you may invite many people. A blessingway has a spiritual component to it and is designed to focus heavily on the mother so that she can have a chance to release her fears or worries about her upcoming birth. 

Food should always be incorporated whether you, the host, prepares a variety of treats or you invite guests to bring something delicious and nourishing to eat along with their positive stories and blessings for the guest of honor.

Ideally, the Mother Blessing is hosted somewhere other than the Mother-to-be’s home. She should not feel pressured to prepare her home for guests. However, if mom is planning to have a home birth, she may want to infuse her home with the beautiful energy that the mother blessing brings.  Speak to her and make sure to choose a location where she will be comfortable and that every guest will feel safe sharing their stories and wishes for her.

Create a sacred space for the guests: soft music, candles, cushions and blankets and cozy places to gather. Guests can remove their shoes upon arrival to keep them grounded. Invite them to sit in a circle, in unity with the Mother-to-be and other guests. You may want to say an opening prayer, call on the 4 directions and invite any other guides into the space that resonate with the mother. 

There are many ways to host a Mother Blessing and activities that can be enjoyed. Staying focused on the Mother-to-be you and your guests can:

* Brush her hair and make her a flower crown to honor her inner Goddess.

* Massage her feet with heavenly essential oils such as lavender.

* Have her sit in the center of the circle and express to everyone what her dream birth would look like. As everyone is listening, have them hold that as an intention for her. This is also a great time for her to be encouraged to express any fears or doubts she may have while the other women witness her and hold her in tenderness.

* Bring beads for a necklace or bracelet she can wear during labor to help her envision being wrapped in the positive intentions and love of her friends and family.  Pass the beads around the circle and have each guest give a blessing while stringing the bead on the necklace or bracelet.

* Sit in a sharing circle and offer positive wishes, stories and blessings for the mother. You can also pass around a bowl of water while the guests speak their blessing into the water and then use the water to wash the mother’s feet.

* Hire a henna artist or purchase a kit to create henna art on the Mother-to-be’s belly and the hands and feet of everyone attending or purchase non-toxic face paint and paint her belly with fun designs.

* Bring candles filled with strength and love to be burned during birth (or make candles and fill them with those good vibes!) She can then light these candles when she goes into labor to remember her strength.

* Create artistic birth affirmation images for her with paints and pencils and other craft materials or color ones that already exist such as these. She can then bring these with her to hang up in her laboring room.

A Mother Blessing should end with the expectant woman feeling empowered and embraced by the love and strength of her tribe. The purpose of a Mother Blessing is to share the collective wisdom and strength of the women in her life so that she goes into childbirth feeling confident.

Nancy Lucina

Nancy Lucina

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