Recently I had the privilege to organise a mother blessings for one of our local doulas who was pregnant.
A mother blessing is an alternative to the “baby shower” were friends of the pregnant mother gather to give her presents.
The big difference is that in the baby shower, all the presents are for the baby.
In the mother blessing, it is the mother who is the center of attention, and the gifts are for her, not for her baby.
It feels very important to me to facilitate such gatherings, because our culture focuses on the mother only has a vessel for the baby, and usually once the baby has been born, nobody focuses on the mother anymore.
Therefore with the mother blessing we can help start a cultural shift towards a more mother centered culture.
I have written before about what new mothers really need, and how much of a raw deal we get, once our baby has been born, our partner has returned to work, and we’re alone at home all day, trying to make sense of this new experience, whilst trying to understand the needs of this new life helpless being we have given birth to, whose needs come before ours, always. We’re not meant to be doing this without a support network.
Organising a mother blessing does not have to be complicated. It can be simple yet beautiful and powerful.
This is what we did for our doula sister:
We sat in a circle with her.
We sang to her
We gave her a bead each to have during her birth and the postnatal period, and we said good wishes as we gave her our bead.
We threaded the beads into a necklace, to remind her of her circle of sisters being there with her in spirit, holding her, through the birth of her baby and the early postpartum weeks.
We bound our wrists, in a circle, with some wool, then cut the thread, tied the individual bits around our wrists, and all agreed to keep our little wool bracelet until her baby was born.
We read poems about motherhood.
We massaged her hands and feet with gorgeous scented oils.
We gave her a candle and all took away little tealights to light when we would hear the news that her baby was soon to be born.
We gave her a goody bag of nurturing gifts.
And of course we shared some yummy food.
It was simple, yet magical and powerful. It was, like birth, an everyday extraordinary event.
She knew this was meaningful, and it was touching and special for her and all those involved.
We reminded her she could call upon us after the birth of her baby for support and companionship, and we also offered to gather around her to give her a closing the bones ceremony after the birth of her baby.
This is what Ceci wrote about her mother blessing
” Today my doula friends gave me a “mother blessing”, which is a day to share before the baby is born, like a baby shower but more focused on mum, with food to share, poems, songs, made me a necklace with beads and a wish of each one. They gave me a candle and they also got one each also for when I start labour. We also sat in cicrle, each one told me a few words and we were passing a thread that we all tied up on the wrist and that we will have until my daughter is born. They gave me massages and we laughed a lot! I am super grateful to have them and to have had this day for me”
I would like to see the tradition of mother blessings to replace that of baby showers, I sincerely hope that it will help place mothers back were they should never have left, at the centre of the circle of support, with the reverence they deserve for bringing new life into the world.