Sunday, 22 May 2011


While D took the children to his sister's, I had the absolute pleasure of attending a friend's Blessingway today. I'll be honest, I hadn't been to one before and really didn't know what to expect. The invitation said... 
A blessingway is not a baby shower, but a rather more spiritual celebration of pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Blessingway has its roots in Navajo tradition, and we have borrowed and adapted this ancient custom. Today the blessingway is a small gathering of the close women family and friends of a pregnant woman, to inspire, nurture and celebrate her during the last weeks of pregnancy. 

Please bring ~  
  • a bead or two for a birthing necklace, 
  • a blessing in the form of a poem, song or simply a sentence,
  • an object, picture or symbol for my birthing altar
  • some food to share

...and this gave me some inkling as to the nature of the proceedings but I really didn't expect it would be quite so moving.

The preparation naturally brought to mind my own children's births - not something I like to think about too much as neither was a positive experience for anyone involved and both babies ended up in SCBU/NICU, but it felt that being a part of a more positive and celebratory ritual would redress some of that and it certainly seemed that way during the ceremony when I felt quite deeply moved by the words of the celebrant Keeley, and of the other women.

I wanted my beady gifts to be handmade, although I haven't ever made anything like this before so I opted for some very simple beads made from Fimo

(As is often the case with my crafting, it was a bit of a 'learn as I go' attempt and only AFTER I made them I found this great tutorial which would have been so much nicer, but it's given me inspiration for future projects!)

And for the poem I chose these words...

Birth Blessing by Natalie Evans
Close your eyes and breathe deep
Breathe in peace, breathe out pain
Imagine your feet
Toes curling into dirt
Think of yourself as rooted
Think of your place in the earth
How did you come to be here?
Through generations of women named
A maternal lineage
That brought you to this place
Think of their birth stories
What you know, what you believe to be true
Realize that their births carry deep wisdom
Some may carry the memory of joy and transcendence
Each birth is a powerful experience
Each birth traces down to you.
Just as you pass this knowledge on to your baby
Understand that your birth is your own
It will be different from all others
Like the swirls in your thumb
Your birth will have a unique pattern
Unfolding with each contraction
Rising and falling like a newborn’s chest
This birth belongs to you
This birth is an opening
This birth is the end and a beginning
May this blessing of birth come to you without fear
May this blessing of birth come to you with great understanding
My this blessing of birth make your heart soar
May this blessing of birth bring shouts of delight to your lips
Blessings to you and your birth.

Our friend's bump was painted with henna while she received a foot massage with essential oils, we each gave our wishes and blessings to her for her impending birth and the next phase in her mothering journey and there was a wrist binding ritual that symbolises the way we are all connected as women. We will each continue to wear the red thread on our wrists until the baby is born, and each have a candle to light whilst our friend is in labour. At the end we chatted over the food we had all brought.  It was very beautiful and touching to be a part of the ceremony, and also to be part of a circle of women sharing themselves in support of another - something that is probably still an integral part of many (tribal) societies but generally, and sadly, missing from ours. 

And now I'm home to a quiet contemplative evening of knitting in my Cwtch - the perfect end to a truly lovely day. 

I hope your Sunday has also been full of love and happiness xxxx


  1. What an amazing blessing. I love your poem xx

  2. That sounds wonderful.

    So many women don't get the opportunity to properly heal or debrief from awful birth experiences. I know I did lots of healing from my first baby's terrible hospital birth while preparing for my second baby's lovely homebirth eight years later. I'd been carrying all those emotions with me all that time.

  3. What an amazing idea! We've become so sanitized and institutionalized when it comes to birth. I wish I had had women such as yourselves to help me through the process. And a ceremony such as this is much more memorable than a diaper wipes warmer that you might get at a "traditional" baby shower!

  4. My goodness I love the sound of that - I should think it will make her stronger during the birth wearing the necklace knowing that she is not alone and has all her friends with her. Lovely poem too Sarah!

    I love it - off to google it =D

  5. That is beautiful! What an interesting way to celebrate.

  6. Simply beautiful and it is sad that this way of welcoming babies and supporting mothers is not more prevalent.


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