Mother Blessings (or Blessingways) are a ceremonial gathering around an expectant mother designed to bolster and encourage her with the support of other women as she approaches the birth of her child. As far as anyone can tell, the practice is borrowed and evolved from some native american groups.
I was introduced to the concept before the birth of my first baby in 2011. My sister-in-law Lisa from Pittsburgh had a doula-friend who offered one to her before the birth of her first born. She came to visit several weeks before my birth and asked if she could host a mother blessing for me, too. Armed with a simple liturgy filled with prayers and affirmations, some embroidery floss, and small candles, she led me and a group of my closest women friends through one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had. Because I loved it so much, I wanted all my friends to have the same thing!
Over time I’ve tweaked the liturgy Lisa first offered to me, making it more closely fit my own style and in response to seeing what has worked and what hasn’t worked among my mostly Jesus-following peer group here in Grand Rapids. But the heart is the same: that every woman should have safe and sacred space to air out her fears, receive the wisdom of other women, and to participate in symbolic actions that remind her how connected and supported she is.
I’m happy to say that as I’ve offered mother blessings to my friends, they have turned around to offer it to their friends, too, and it has been spreading in many directions around here.
If you’re interested in hosting one for someone you love, please feel free to help yourself to the liturgy I use by downloading the PDF below. Use it as is, or as a launching pad for something that fits you and the women you’ll be using it for.