I have never been a great fan of attending baby showers, although I managed to survive my own. It helped tremendously when my niece made these super cupcakes and my sister promised not to let anyone play games guessing the size of my belly. I think it was actually the baby shower games that I disliked so much.
However, many people don’t really want baby showers. The good news is that you have an alternative. You can have a blessingway which is a hip, crunchy new way to say “Hey, I’m about to have a baby.”
The modern blessingway has a very, very tenuous connection to a Native American ritual called The Blessing Way which is associated with birth and many other events in a woman’s live in Native American culture. The current, popular blessingway ritual is not a Native American ritual.
The guest list for a blessingway varies. It is typically all women and can include mothers, sisters, friends, aunts or any other women the mother would like to include. The idea is to include women that provide support and not those that will cause stress. I suspect many an in-law is not invited.
I found a great description of a blessingway on Mothering.com. First, they started with introductions. Then they burnt sage around everyone and shook a rattle around each person. Then they had a fire in the middle, read poems about spirit animals representing each of the four directions and then burnt the cards. They massaged the mom’s feet with cornmeal, added beads to a birthing necklace, and each person gave her a blessing and put a string around their wrists to remind them of the mother for her upcoming birth. They closed with a hug circle and 3 oms. I would have given anything to be there.
Here are some activities that are recommended for blessingways:
- Share birth stories. This is not the time to tell the story about your son’s emergency vacuum extraction and how his head is still just a smidge dented. This is a time for inspiring birth stories. If you don’t have one, check mothering.com and steal one.
- Bless a bowl of water and pass it around so everyone can take a drink and say something symbolic into the water. Except for the herp faces. No drinks for you.
- Pamper the mother-to-be. This is always an excellent way for people around a pregnant woman to spend their time. Pamper her because she is going through a lot for the future of the human race. Buy her a massage. Give her sparkly things.
- Share food. What pregnant woman is not up for this?
- Everyone can paint your belly with henna because everyone knows pregnant women don’t get touched enough
- The group can create a gift for the mother. Depending on the group’s level of skill, this could be something as cool as a quilt. If it had been my family, they would have been lucky to turn out reasonable grade-school origami, but some groups are more skilled.
- You can hijack another culture’s traditions and make prayer flags.
Here are some additional activities for your blessingway that I came up with:
- You can perform a dance symbolizes your gratitude to the universe for the child, but I’d do it on a padded surface if I were you.
- Someone can read aloud from Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.
- You can do a belly mold which will show your baby what you were lugging around back in the day.
- Everyone can sing their favorite number from Hair.
This is far and away my favorite source for blessingways because it uses phrases like “hold the space” and recommends 3-9 hours for the event. 3-9 hours? 9 hours? I would for sure throw myself on a henna kit.
Photo via Flickr.