What is a Mothers Blessing Ceremony?
A mothers blessing or as it should be named in today's society '
birthing parent's' blessing ceremony, is so much nicer than a baby shower in my view. A baby shower is a bit of fun for the mum and a few presents for the baby, it could be desrcibed as a last get togther with friends to celebrate the on coming birth of the baby. A parent's blessing is deeper, it is held in a sacred space, it focuses on support, prayers/ blessings, empowerment, spiritual support, and support from friends, family, and elder's who have given birth come to show their support to the expectant parent. It is about preparing the parent for birting their baby in a deeper way. It is a space in which the birthing parent can say their deepest prayers to enable an empowered birth.
Birth is a rite of passage of for a new soul entering the world, or reentering into a new life, and a rite of passage for the birthing parent to becoming a parent. When you see birth as a ceremony, and a rite of passage, birth takes on a new deeper feeling. All birth's, hospital, home, vaginal, assisted, ceasarean birth are all transformational for every birthing parent. Birth changes you. It isnt meant to be easy, just as no other rite of passage in life is easy. Birth isnt just bringing a new baby into the world it is birthing new parents too.
I read a native american view that said birth is a foundation for preparating the parent giving birth for parenthood. The tribe prepare the parent for birth in ceremonies, and she gives birth alone within this tradition. Birth is said to be the foundation for parenthood, if you can get through birth feeling empowered you can do anything and you can raise a child.
Within many cultures these ceremonies can take place through pregnancy, to offer prayer for and to protect the pregnancy.
In my experience and feeling because our lives in the western world are so busy, birthing parent blessing ceremonies are best within the final moon cycle of pregnancy, a time the expectant parents begin to focus fully on birth. My feeling on having a ceremony like this so close to birth is that it allows the birthing parent recent stronger memories of the support, prayers and strength from around her to carry her through her birth journey feeling empowered and not feeling alone.
Each mothers blessing I have attended and created has been different becasue each parent is different and different ideas and different ways for faciliating the ideas work for different people but the basics at the core of creating the blessing ceremony the same. Some women want a deeper spiritual experience, others a lighter gathering with a spiritual supportive essence.
I believe the majority of cultures around the world have had a ceremony similar to a mothers / parents blessing, because birth is such a big experience in life, a rite of passage to motherhood, and was until recently a potentially fatal experience too. To come through the experience and survive into the first month post birth was a special place to get to, a gift from mother earth.
There are references to the blessings in Caroline Hillyers work.
This song, 'First Blessing' is one I found in Caroline Hillyers beautiful book Sacred House.
''So I left the warm fields of my own maiden hood
and I followed the course of my restless years
I came to the place where my mothering stood
and this is the daughter that I found there;
she's the raw and the rhythm of all that I feel
the promise of grace newly born
she's the mystery of love in its wild poetry
my mirror and I am her door
she is my mirror and I am her door''
Perhaps take a moment to read that again....
If you want to create a mothers blessing there is so much information now on the internet.
One tradition to look to is Navajo, there are plenty of ideas on the internet to draw from. The Navajo call this ceremony a Mother's Blessingway, however we cannot coin the word Blessingway from Navajo culture here unless we have roots within it. I believe as western British women we can draw on our own inner wisdom to create the ceremony that feels right for us. Our ancestors would have no doubt hekd ceremonies like these! A prayer belt has been found and was displayed in the Ashmolean museum in Oxford.
As a celebrant I find that as I work with each expectant parent, the ideas that flow can be so individual and specific for the support the birthing parent needs. To create individual ceremonies that suit a mothers own desires, wishes, needs and combat her fears is an intuitive process. I weave in known ideas with ideas, ideas I have learnt from teachers, and inspiration that comes as i am writing the ceremony. Plus as with all ceremonies it is the love. prayers and support friends and family bring that make the ceremony what it is.
It is also known that women get together in gatherings/ circles, our brains produce Oxytocin, thus creating love, bonding, connection and relieving stress. Vitally important for a pregnant and birthing mother. (Reference 'The Invisible Sex, Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistoryby J. M. Adovasio, Olga Soffer, Jake Page). It is although this oxytocin that helps us remember deeply when we need to draw on the strength.
So when creating a mothers blessing ceremony the main objectives I feel to keep in mind are to ensure the birthing mother:
- will feel supported, loved, receive positive support,
- have sacred space to create and offer her own prayers,
- be able to step out of her busy life and focus soley on her birth,
- retain the feelings of the deep support, empowerment and love that surrounds her.
- remind her that she is part of a web of life in which so many women before her and after her will give birth, she is part of the divine feminie.
All of this to help her through her baby's birth feeling and knowing she can do this like many women before her. Because she can do this!!!
A mothers blessing ceremony really does work in providing love, empowerment, and support! However as I said before I find it works best to hold it in the final weeks as a perfect focus for the final preparation for birth.
If you want some ideas on creating a mothers blessing or guidance in holding space and creating ceremony you can send me a message. I can send you an outline with ideas for £8.
'I felt completely connected to myself and my baby during and after the mothers blessing circle. I loved the deep connection. The candle we created is still going strong 6 weeks after birth too, helping me through the tough times even now. I honestly believe I wouldn't have got through birth and these first weeks with my baby without the ceremony and feeling the love there'