Becoming a mother is for most of us one of the biggest experiences and lessons life can offer. Yet in recent years in western culture it is one life achievement that we celebrate less and has less of a focus. We celebrate the life of the baby by having baby showers and naming ceremonies or christenings, but we often don’t acknowledge the transformation for the woman from maiden to mother.
Having researched into ceremony and rites around childbirth I have noted many cultures have baby ceremonies but it seems rare to find one’s that honour just the woman’s rite in becoming a mother.
A mother’s blessing ceremony focuses much more on the rite of passage that is becoming a mother, as well as bringing support and empowerment, as this woman’s life is about to change in so many ways.
Tribal cultures that do have the tradition of a mother’s ceremony do so to show community support and help empower the mother to be, one of the main tribes still marking and honouring this life experience for women by creating mother’s ceremonies are the Navajo in America. The Navajo call it a Blessingway, it is a ceremony deeply rooted within their culture. Western culture has in recent years began looking towards more spiritual meaning in our lives and many women create their own blessings are taking ideas from the Navajo traditions as well as others. The ceremony is known in western culture as a Mother’s Blessing.
During a Mothers Blessing there are many traditions from other cultures we can learn from, and it is highly likely our own culture in Britain honoured mothers ceremonies and rites until recent centuries.
Some rituals include painting positive affirmations on stones for the mother to be to look at in labour for encouragement. Beads can be thread on string with wise words given to the mum as they are each thread from her female elders and female friends who have birthed before her, so when the mother looks at each bead she is reminded of those words of encouragement and love. Or each woman brings a flower to thread into a crown for the mum to wear, each flower will be brought with the mother to be in mind and will be thread on the crown with wise words and encouragement. Body art ritual is lovely too, whereby each person draws a part of a mandala on the mother pregnant belly (although you’d have to be pretty good at henna for this, I’ve tried and failed a few times).
My favourite ritual is one where where the mum’s friends and family form a circle around her, and pass a piece of string to the person opposite, passing the mother to be each time, as it is doing so it is signifying the web of life she is contributing to by having this baby, as it passes each member they wrap it around their wrist. Once all women have a piece of string around their wrist the mother is in the centre of a beautiful web. The string can then be cut and tied, it will remain on their wrist to represent their support to the mother to be, once the birth begins it is cut free and the power of positive thought is sent to the mum to aid support to her.
These are just a few of many rituals taken from traditions around the world. I have to say having experienced a Mothers Blessing it definitely beats eating baby food at a baby shower any day.
I love bringing spirituality into childbirth and honouring it with ceremony to empower women and form a special memory as I feel spirituality and ceremony in many ways feels to be an important part of life, it bonds us in ways many of us have lost in western culture. I honoured my own pregnancy with ceremony and have since created one with my sister. It really does enable you as you become a mother to feel so much more connected to your pregnancy and the support around you in a way that not much else can.
If you want to look into Blessingways and Mothers Blessings there is so much information out there on the interweb, I can thoroughly recommend creating one.
The power women can create when they get together to support each other really is truly amazing.