With my second child being so close behind my first, I didn’t want to necessarily have a traditional baby shower. So I did a little research on other ways to celebrate a new baby that wasn’t very material/consumer driven but still a way to celebrate the new life and the transition as a woman. With the help of friends, social media and a few of the moms from Holistic Moms Network, I was introduced to the idea of having a Blessingway or Blessing Circle celebration.
I mentioned it to my family a couple months ago but things got really crazy and next thing we noticed I was 9 months pregnant and no planning had been done. With my family being as great as they are, (yeah I’m bragging a bit here😜) they put together a Blessingway in less than 1 week, well actually in 2 days. LOL
My original list was about 25 women who have meant a lot to me as I’ve transitioned into a wife and mother. By the time we got to Wednesday, July 3rd no invitations had been sent and it was a holiday weekend AND my family was still trying to figure out what this Blessingway thing they were planning was all about. By the 4th of July still no invites so we decided to cut the list and keep the celebration extremely intimate and with family only. At first I was nervous about what others would think or how they would feel about not being invited. But then I was reminded that a Blessingway is more of a spiritual celebration and people would understand.
So here’s a little info about this celebration. From what I’ve read a Blessigway originated from a Native American celebration during which mothers of a particular group surround a mom-to-be as she enters the world of motherhood. During this time many spiritual rituals were performed as a way of blessing the mother, stories were told to inform the mom of what to expect and gifts with a history were passed on to the new mom. Many cultures around the world have traditional celebrations and rituals to pull from during a blessingway. That’s one of the great things about being in America, we have access to many people from all over and when planning a blessingway you can pull from these other cultures to make yours unique to your family.
So on Saturday, July 6, 2013, I was surrounded by 9 women in my family. As people arrived we blessed the food that was brought from Madiba’s, a South African restaurant with food from my other home, Botswana. My favorite was Pap (stiff grits) and chakalaka (a type of salsa with beans, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes), there was also South African sausage, vegetable samosas, curried rice and some spicy chicken.
After eating we gathered in the living room in a circular formation. Stories of birth, childhood and parenting were shared with tons of laughs and a few tears. My mom washed my feet as a symbol of washing my fears and worries away. (The water had a bit of lavender oil and rose petals in it, looked beautiful and smelled amazing.) We then made a web of womanhood by wrapping the wrists of each woman with a piece of burgundy ribbon creating a web. This was a sign of our connection to each other as women and mothers. The ribbon was cut and we each walked away with a thin burgundy bracelet that will be worn until the baby arrives. The last bit of fun was creating a bracelet. A bowl of beads was passed around the circle and each person chose a bead to bless and gave a bit of encouragement to me or shared a story about what I’ve meant to them as they strung the beads to make a bracelet for me that I am wearing until I give birth.
Guests were asked to bring 20 notes of inspiration as their “gift” and they were added to a Blessings Jar. Throughout the celebration more notes were added. The idea behind this jar is that I’ll have 365 notes and will be able to read one a day for the first year of the baby’s life. I can’t wait!!
I loved the celebration and the fact that the focus was not on materials but on being a woman, a mom and part of a village. I was so excited about the celebration the morning of that I woke up and wrote personal thank yous to each of the people who were invited. As favors, they were given candles to light when they receive a text that I’ve begun the labor process.
Everyone was given an opportunity to “throw” someone or something in the circle that they wanted people to pray for in which ever way they pray. I left feeling very blessed and excited about giving birth and being a woman. The release of emotions, prayers, encouragement, stories and love was kind of overwhelming. I would recommend this celebration for anyone thinking about an alternative or an additional celebration to keep a mama-to-be’s spirits high towards the end of her journey as a pregnant woman. I’m sure the experience will help me get through my labor with positive thoughts as I visualize, reflect and remember the support and love my baby will be joining!!
I LOVE WOMANHOOD, BEING A MOM AND MY FAMILY!! I am counting my blessings through to good and not so good times. Come on baby, we are ready to receive and nurture you!!😍
Does your family have any traditional/cultural ways of celebrating a new life?