Of all the rites of passage I've experienced, both formal and informal, my blessingway stands out as the most significant, and perhaps the most powerful. I was so grateful to have six of the dearest women in my life, including my mother and sister, come together to bless my journey into motherhood just 11 days, it would turn out, before I gave birth.
I specifically requested touch; birth is, if nothing else, a physical experience and I wanted to honor that in the blessingway. The woman decided to take turns massaging my belly with lavender oil while offering their blessings to my soon-to-be-born daughter.
They also included a fear release exercise from "The Pregnant Woman’s Comfort Book," adapted slightly by TalkBirth. One idea she suggests for a blessingway ritual is to circle around the pregnant woman holding hands and then read the following together:
You will be enough. You are strong enough.
Remember mother blessings can be anything from an intricate, scripted ceremony to a few women gathering together with the simple intention to bless the mother-to-be. One element that was particularly meaningful from my own blessingway were the readings and poems my mother, sister and oldest friend shared with me.
It wasn't until after I gave birth that I fully understood their powerful beauty and truth. I hope you treasure these words as much as I have.
In India, red or yellow string bracelets called mauli are worn when performing puja or attending prayer ceremonies. Worn for protection and well-being, it symbolizes goodwill when one person gives mauli to another. And just like a string tied around your finger, the bracelets are an everyday reminder of mother and baby.
writes, "Birth is a key life passage for women. But modern culture has become preoccupied with the arrival of the baby-to-be and has lost touch with birth's profound impact on the expectant mother."
As we strive for ever more "both/and" in our society, I hope we celebrate not only the wonderful new person being born (including showering the family with gifts to help them prepare) but the important opportunity to pause: to attend to the sacred within everyday experience, and to nurture our connection to ourselves and each other.
Poetry and Musings of an Interfaith Minister on the Journey of a Lifetime.