May 1, 2011

Baby Shower Alternative: Blessing(God's)Way

A BlessingWay or Mother Blessing, is a concept that was started in the 1970's by Midwives who looked to the Navajo Indians as they celebrated BlessingWay's before a major life event. They did this to bring the women of the tribe into a community or sisterhood of support for the woman about to experience something life changing. As this ceremony has gained popularity, some Christian woman have loved the idea and turned it into a Blessing [God's] Way. Instead of praising false Idols like goddesess, ourselves, the Earth, birth or our own bodies, the focus shifts onto God and the mother. Supporting her with Prayer and Fellowship as she gets ready to enter into a new phase of her life.

I think we have baby showers because it is 'what we do', but unintentionally don't see that they only focus on material objects and on the baby. Forgetting to give support to the mother in her birth and motherhood -- which is really what is most important. Onesies can wait, lets make sure that she is spiritually prepared for this enormous life changing event! (whether this is baby number one or baby number ten!).

When I was pregnant with our third baby (just this last year), I started researching BlessingWay's and found very very little information or ideas. So in preparing for my own, I was lead to look to scriptures and the Spirit for inspiration. (which is the best place to find it anyways). I came up with some pretty neat ideas and a good structure of 'how' to have a BlessingWay -- so I have compiled all of that and want to share it with you!! If you have ideas of your own (from your own BlessingWays or just off the top of your head, go ahead and share in a comment!).  BlessingWay's take a lot of 'physical' things and add Spiritual significance to them, as you will soon see; but remember that our hope, support, prayers, etc. are not on those things themselves, but what they represent through Christ. Just as Jesus took the physical bread and wine, and put a Spiritual significance on it at the Last Supper.

What is a BlessingWay? 

            A Mother Blessing is a celebration for a new life. It celebrates pregnancy, birth and motherhood; and thanks our amazing Father who has blessed us with new life. It focuses on the deeply spiritual experience of birth with a gathering of female friends and family as support, encouragement and love. The emphasis is on providing emotional strength and harmony to the mother by surrounding her with love and fellowship.

{ Birth- Love- Sisterhood- Support-in Christ  }


     This is a time to appreciate and experience the truth of the female body; that we were created to give birth and that if birth is allowed to happen the way it was made to; it is one of the most wonderful experiences you’ll ever have. No horror labor or birth stories are shared here; only positive and uplifting messages of dedication and praise. 

"Just as a tree grows best when anchored firmly in the earth, so can a pregnant mother feel strong and capable when supported by a sisterhood of nurturing friends.” 
 -April Lussier

Events in a BlessingWay

These are a few ideas for events to take place at the Blessing Way. They can be changed according to your own preference, with things taken out or added in. Blessing Ways can have a similar structure to each other but should be as unique as the mother they are hosted for. 
Welcome: Intro on BlessingWays and talk a little about the Mother and her previous children, this child, plans for birth, etc.

 Introductions: Guests tell about themselves, who their children are. They read a poem or scripture that they brought for the mother to be blessed by. Something that is significant, encouraging, supportive. The poem/scripture can be brought on a piece of paper that they will give to her. She can put it in the baby book, a book for her blessing way, tape it on the wall, etc. 

Foot Bath: The mother's Midwife, her own mother, her sister or someone else of great importance to her does a foot soak/bath for her swollen feet. During this time the beauty of God's design of birth can be discussed or another subject relating to God and birth of the mother's choice. 

The Birth Bracelet: Each guest brings a bead or a charm that will be put on a birth bracelet or necklace for the mother. The bead usually is symbolic of a virtue or scripture that the mother can think about before and during the birth of her baby. Guests can bring the virtue/scripture for the bead on a piece of paper and the mother can put it into a baby book, blessingway book or on the wall during the birth (or whatever creative way she wants to use it).  Someone of significance to the mother can string or braid the necklace/bracelet or the mother can do it herself. 

Sisterhood: Guests write down well wishes for the mother in a blessingway book, baby book, quilt piece, paper, picture, tag, note card, etc. They can take a candle and write down their name and number for a "Birth Prayer Team". (they will be called by a selected person when the mother is in labor, light their candle and pray for her). At this time everyone could get together and have a piece of leather, rope or ribbon (etc), tied onto their wrist. Usually it is one long piece that everyone ties onto together and then once everyone has a piece around their wrist they are cut apart. This is significant that we are all sisters in Christ, we are all a part of eachother. The bracelet is then usually worn by everyone until after the birth; reminding them to pray and think of the mother often. 

BellyCasting or Henna painting: A belly cast could be done of the mother. You could have the guests help paint it, write on it -- or just be there as it is done and have the mother or another artist paint it during the blessing or at a later date. The mother could have a henna tattoo done on her belly while she talks with guests.

Prayer circle: everyone gets in a circle and prays and lifts the mother and her baby up to God's will for her birth. The father and rest of her family (if she has other children) can be prayed for too. 

Worship: A time of worshipping God could be included. Either lead by a worship leader or not. Dancing, singing, playing instruments -- whatever works for the mother and her guests!

Belly painting:  a specific artist, or the whole community of women there could paint on the mother's belly.

Shower: the typical gift giving that you find at a baby shower is always welcome at a blessingway too. Gifts can be given and opened later, or opened while guests watch or eat. 

Food: At the end of the blessing, usually their is some type of food, depending on the time of day. 

Other things that guests can bring: a flower stem of their choice to be put into a large vase. Anything supportive of the couples' spiritual walk during their birth. 

There are so many more ideas that can be added! Do you have any??

Quotes/Scriptures for the Blessing

"The parallels between making love and giving birth are clear, not only in terms of passion and love, but also because we need essentially the same conditions for both experiences: privacy and safety." ~Sarah Buckley 

{ Lord, you know our fears. You know our first impulse is to run away from that which frightens us. Make us brave. Give us strength to prepare for labor even though we may fear the work. }

Malachi 4:6} “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers . . . “

Genesis 4:1} Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said,
"With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man."

Christian Childbirth Principles:
Stewardship. Love. Contentment. Wise Counsel. Purity.  

As mothers we must learn to be flexible, for the rigid tree breaks in the windstorms of life. In birth we are utterly taken apart. In this way God guarantees that we emerge anew. This is how Mother Nature builds a new mother, by first burning down our pre-existing lives. The survival of this precious being you hold close today depends upon your undoing."~Robin Lim via Harmony Miller

 Psalm 22:9-10}    Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

To Mother, from Father
By: David Dessner

You'll never know how it warms my heart
to see the glow you wear
from the seed we planted deep in you
is the unborn child you bear

It brings a tear of joy to me
and fills my heart with pride
when I put my ear to you
and hear the life inside

A life made up of loving care
a miracle to be
a precious gift of love we share
from God, to you and me

(have ideas of your own? please share!)

Blessingway Beads

I actually make and sell Blessingway beads!! :) 

Click HERE to visit the Etsy shop! 

No comments: