My friends did something really amazing for me during my pregnancy: they gave me a Blessing Way. If you want to support a future mother this is the way to do it.
A Blessing Way focuses on the mother. It is a gathering of women, but can include men close to her as well. Mine did.
Everyone that attends comes with offers of love and support. This can take whatever form you desire! For those of you that have trouble with the subtle, this is not the party that you invite anyone that the mom to be finds stressful or annoying or whatever other negative emotion you can think of. If you are going to do this for a close friend, view yourself as a curator, inviting only people that are interested in fully supporting the mom in her coming role.
The heart of a Blessing Way is just that – heart. The goal is to create a way to remind the mom that she is supported. When I read about a Blessing Way online many people have set up all these rules for them like don’t give the mom baby gifts. THROW OUT THE RULES leaving only one: focus on the mom. My friends did and it was a joyful day.
What did they do? Thanks for asking….
First they created a Blessing Way necklace. Each person that attended brought beads that were meaningful to them and they were all strung together to create a necklace.
It has become one of my prized possessions. I took it into the delivery room with me and its now hanging in my baby’s room. I look at it often when the baby is really fussy and I need a source of strength when no one is around. The necklace makes me feel like my friends are watching over me and the baby at times. Its a true comfort to me.
The other joy of this necklace is the history behind each bead. The stories. It reminds me that for centuries women have been passing myths and objects down through their families to celebrate life.
My necklace has some of these ideals threaded through it. There are mexican frogs that are meant to protect newborns, coral that has been passed down from generation to generation upon the birth of a child, and well worn bodhi prayer beads. Many people brought different kinds of hearts for the necklace from swarovski crystals to rose quartz. An Iranian friend brought an evil eye bead to ward away darkness.
I could go on and on because there is such a richness here – and that is the point. This necklace weaves together everyone’s stories and traditions and offers them all together. Its powerful.
Second, everyone offered a written blessing for my daughter and me. These talked of love, safety, and the grace of my coming birth. It was so powerful to have them with me at the hospital. I could have threaded these together and hung them up while at the hospital, but I knew I would be moving around to different floor after the baby arrived so I kept them with me in an envelope.
Finally, someone made bracelets with a simple bead for everyone that was part of the event. By wearing these during my last months of pregnancy everyone was reminded of what was unfolding for me. This was really powerful, to have someone say “I still have my bracelet on and am thinking of you.” One person’s bracelet fell off the morning of the day the baby was born!
We say it takes a village to raise a child. I think it takes a village to raise a mother.
Skip the standard shower. Dive into deep compassion. Offer the future mom real support.