A friend of mine, is having a baby in a few weeks and had her baby shower about 2 weeks ago. I got an invitation for a blessingway however for her that was being held at a local yoga studio. I’m open minded and of course want to support her, so I made plans to go. I was asked to bring a bead and a vegetarian dish..easy enough
I had never been to a Mother’s blessing. I had never even heard of it.
Well we got there (I drove her and 2 other friends) and immediately I felt out of place haha. I was blessed with sage (I’m cool with that) before I went into the yoga studio, of course had to take off my boots (good thing my socks matched!). When I walked in they had strewn fabric onto the floor in a path that went into a coil. My friend was brought in blindfolded and we each took her hand and whispered something in her ear. I was at a loss of something powerful so I just told her I loved her. She was guided to the middle of the coil and then they played some chanting music and everybody sent vibes to her. Hands up in the air and chanting. Then the leader did a little dance and instructed us to face all directions as she danced about and chanted.
After that my friend was sat in a throne in the front of the room and everybody put something at her altar to give her strength for her delivery (cool). Then however we were asked to massage her, braid her hair, and write on her belly with henna. I passed and sat with my other two girlfriends, both of whom were hungover. I’m fine with having a friend give me a massage but I don’t think I could be comfortable with 6 people doing it to me at the same time, and especially so late in the pregnancy.
After some more chanting it was time to feast and we all dined on what we brought!
Pros: Wonderful sense of community among women..two mothers were breastfeeding throughout the whole thing, blessingway meals (which everyone signs up to be assigned a day to make food for the parents after baby is born)
Cons: Multiple massages with people I did not know.
You can read more about what a blessingway is here
Henna Belly picture taken by Mike Porcenaluk at Flickr CC
Article updated Oct 20th after recent discussions of the term Blessingway
“A mother blessing is NOT a blessing way. A blessing way is a Diné Navajo traditional ceremony that is deeply spiritual. To call what a modern mother blessing looks like now a ‘blessing way’ is cultural appropriation and is something MamaPixie strives hard to not be a part of. A women’s online group stated “1. In 2004, Native feminists wrote us to request that the term ‘Blessingway’ no longer be used to describe non-Navajo prenatal ceremonies such as the one described in this article. They explained that the term ‘Blessingway’ refers to a sacred spiritual ceremony performed by the Navajo people to celebrate rites of passage that occur throughout the entire life cycle, and not only the passage into motherhood. They suggested the term ‘Mother Blessing’ was a more appropriate term for a ceremony that was influenced, and respectful, of this tradition, but not practiced in accordance with the Navajo faith and culture.”” Taken with permission from Mama Pixie