Honoring the journey to motherhood with a blessingway
Looking for a special way to mark the transition into motherhood? One that focuses on internal preparation and the support of other women?
A blessingway may be just what you’re looking for.
We have some special blessingway photos to share with you from Motherlove founder and owner Kathryn Higgins! She had her own blessingway and participated in other moms’ ceremonies. Her wonderful photos are below.
“I believe that a blessingway is the best ‘baby shower’ you can give a mother. I had blessingways for many of my friends when we lived up in the canyon. There was a beautiful ceremonial spot in an upper meadow surrounded by rock outcroppings and wildflowers. We had a perfect place for a throne. We would gather around our friend and brush her hair with scented oil, adorn her head with a crown of flowers, and wash her feet with an herbal bath. Our gifts were songs and poems, beads and prayers. We laid our hands upon her belly, sending blessings and our love.”
To explain what a blessingway is and to hold one, we asked Barb Lucke, co-author of Mother Rising: The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood to answer a few questions:
How is a blessingway different from a baby shower?
The blessingway views the transition into motherhood as a rite of passage and one to be held in sacred ceremony. Many cultures still honor mothering in this way. However, in the United States and many of the first world countries, the concern is less on preparing the mother internally for her role as a mother and more externally with things. Somehow in our culture we have come to value obtained things for our baby as adequate preparation and have ignored the work of internal preparation. Women who are choosing to include blessingways as part of their journey into motherhood are saying yes to also preparing internally for the task ahead of birthing and mothering. They are encouraged to ponder what it means for them to become a mother, or a mother of two or three, and to identify their wants and goals for themselves and what might be in the way of reaching them. Most often what is in the way is a belief or fear. The blessing way is designed to help the mother identify these road blocks to having the birth she envisions as well as the road blocks that might be the way of becoming the mother she hopes to be. These road blocks are minimized or in some cases removed through sacred ceremony. She is filled back up with affirmations, pampering and the support she needs to reach her goals. Gifts given during a blessingway are more symbolic versus store bought.
Why do you think it’s important to have a ritual to mark the passage into motherhood?
I believe all women need to journey within to mentally prepare for childbirth and mothering by identifying and excavating fears, judgements, and beliefs. This mental preparation is as difficult as all of the work that goes into preparing to give birth physically, by going to prenatal visits, eating right, exercising taking your vitamins, etc. It is important and often overlooked. Women wonder why their birth plans or ideals for how they want to parent go flying so easily out the window. The work is challenging and warrants the time and energy a sacred ceremony promises as well as the support and from other women. There is some sort of magic that happens when you combine sacred ceremony with women coming together collectively to honor, witness and support another woman on her journey into motherhood. The combination works. If you just get a room full of women together and lack the sacred ceremony you will be missing a key piece to the recipe. And vice versa, if you sit alone in your home and create a beautiful sacred ceremony without the energy power, and support of other women, you will also not obtain the optimal results.
What are the major parts of a blessingway?
On page 25 of Mother Rising we map out elements recommended in a blessingway or sacred ceremony and feel it is really best to start there. I will also sum it up for you in my own words:
First and foremost you need to identify what the mother-to-be wants and what might be in the way of her getting what she wants. Each women will hold different wants, needs and concerns. You will want to invite a small group of women who will support her wants and needs. It might mean choosing women who you know will support her goals over inviting close friends and family. A blessingway is not to be viewed as a social event - that is what the baby shower is for. Once you have gathered everyone in ceremoniously prepared a sacred space, you will ask spirit in what ever form is comfortable to the mother-to-be to be present and tell spirit why you have gathered, and why you have devoted hours of planning and preparation to come together. We call this creating sacred space and inviting the divine to be present. Next we do the work of identifying and excavating unwanted beliefs and fears. After this is completed, this now leaves some space within the mother-to-be to be filled back up with new truths, affirmations and support. The ceremony will then focus on honoring, pampering adorning and gift giving. Next we collectively raise the energy to send to new mother-to-be’s intentions out into the world to be manifested. We close with a ritual element called weaving the web, where each women present wraps some yarn around her wrist and the yarn is tossed to each woman until a web is woven, each woman is asked to ponder her part is the formation of the web of support that has been created for the mother-to-be and the power of what can be accomplished when a room full of women share a common goal or intention. The yarn is cut and each woman is asked to wear the yarn to continue to hold the intention or blessing bestowed on the new mother-to-be until and when her goals are met. We end with a feast and sharing a meal to help ground and shift our energy back from sacred to social.
Our favorite symbolic gift is each guest present at the blessingway and even those who are not able to come, gift the mother-to-be a bead that holds some symbolic meaning related to her wants, wishes and goals. All the beads are then made into a piece of jewelry for her to wear to anchor her new intention, affirmation and collective support. Quilts have been made, mobiles, wreaths. The important piece is that often elements are brought together and collectively crafted into one symbolic gift. I often hear women state that their blessingway necklace is their most valued possession. It holds so much more depth, and meaning that a store bought present.