Last weekend, we traveled out of town to help a dear friend celebrate the pending arrival of her new baby girl. Seeing as this will be her second baby, she already has most of the material things she’ll need to get by, so rather than throw her a traditional American baby shower, we opted to host an intimate Mother Blessing instead.
The differences between a shower and a blessing are stark. While most showers nowadays focus on the baby, baby gifts, and general silliness (poopy diaper game, anyone?), “the Mother Blessing’s focus is positive energy to prepare the mother and her birth partner for the birth.” They can be spiritual/religious in nature, or not, depending on the mom’s beliefs and emotional needs. And they can be large or small, though most often trend toward small-and-intimate in order to keep them manageable and inspiring (rather than stressful as mom feels obligated to spend the entire event mingling around a room full of people).
We invited a small number of the mom’s closest girlfriends, planned a couple of activities, and asked people to shop ahead and bring a bead or trinket to contribute to a birth necklace. We also reached out to her family and friends back home in the Midwest and invited them to contribute a bead via snail mail as well.
When the event arrived, it went off just as we’d hoped. About five of her girlfriends were able to make it and we spent the afternoon getting to know each other, talking about our own labors and births, and offering up love and inspiration to the mama-to-be. Considering the stress she’s been under as she’s had to unexpectedly shuffle providers and drastically alter her birth plans in her mid-third trimester, the blessing doesn’t seem like it could’ve come at a better time.
At the end of the day, I was really impressed by all of the guests. Everyone took the bead task really seriously and mama’s birth necklace is now filled with thoughtful trinkets full of meaning and intention (some even handmade!); we lit candles and offered a prayer up to mom and babe for a smooth, easy, healthy labor and birth; and mom now has a beautiful henna design decorating her growing bump.
We ran out of time to do a couple of other things I’d hoped to get in – a belly cast and decorating prayer flags – but it was ok. The afternoon overflowed with love and support and belly cast or not, I think it was just what the doctor midwife ordered.
How did you (or do you plan to) celebrate the arrival of your babe? Are they are special rituals or activities you’ve done to get ready?