Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to be a part of a learning group focused on the sacred Navajo ceremony- the Blessing Way. It was trans-formative for me and falls deeply aligned with my personal views of birth as a rite of passage and the spiritual and powerful nature of motherhood. I decided to certify as a Mother Blessing Planner and I have been completing pieces of that process these last months.
I have loved each and every part and now I am ready to share with you. Isn't that a lovely bit of life? We gain truths and knowledge and then we turn to bless our fellow sisters and brothers with that abundance. I just don't see it mattering in any way unless it's shared as gift to edify all.
Please enjoy some tidbits about Mother Blessings and when you make it to the end of the post there's a fantastic offer for you there.
What is a Mother Blessing or Blessing Way? Is there a difference?
"A mother's blessing is an intimate party inspired by an ancient Navajo ceremony called a blessing way. The ceremony is held to prepare an expectant mother for her upcoming birth journey — to shower mom-to-be with love, support and encouragement. The act of birth is seen as a rite of passage for women, and this is meant to help a woman feel mentally, physically and emotionally ready to give birth. A mother's blessing is a modern ceremony that can give moms-to-be a similar sense of support and honor as Navajo mothers-to-be have received in traditional blessing ways." (Lara Carlos, The Barefoot Mamas Network)
So as not to crudely appropriate this sacred tradition we will always use the term 'Mother Blessing' when referring to this modern adaptation. We are looking to honor it, the past, and our future Motherhood when we gather in this way. A dear friend of mine once taught me about 'Sankofa' it means looking back or going back in order to go forward. There is wisdom in our ancestors and our ancient cultures, it is all around us.
What happens at a Mother Blessing?
A Mother Blessing is a ceremonial gathering of the most important women in the expectant mother's life. Surround and uplifted by these women, the mom gains confidence in the journey that lay before her.
"Surrounded by the most important women in her life, she gains a sense of power, confidence, and support that will help her gracefully enter the initiation of motherhood."
Each guest may bring a poem, scripture, quote, song that they wish to present to the mom and also a bead (of significant meaning) that will be made into a bracelet for mom to keep with her during her labor. There may also be a cleansing ritual with sage smudging, the telling of positive birth stories, henna tattoos, honoring mom with massage or foot baths, art, salt bowls, and so on. It is the preference of the mother, how she would like to commemorate her passage. There is usually also yummy food, tears, laughter, and of course, connection.
Is a Mother Blessing right for me?
Any woman who feels drawn to the divine and would appreciate an intimate gathering of "mother friends" while preparing to become a mother for the first or twelfth time can have a Mother Blessing. There is no specific religion, creed, spiritual path necessary. A Mother Blessing is not a "baby shower". Most women who choose Mother Blessings have a separate baby shower to gather more family and friends together and then she participates in the Mother Blessing with her closer circle of sisters (10-15 or less, usually).
What about traditional gifts?
Other than the bead for the Mother's bracelet, a poem, something of art made there and maybe a plate of food to share, there are no gifts given at Mother's Blessing. The memories and powerful connected-ness experienced there, along with the solidarity of that circle while mom is in labor is the gift we bestow upon her. As a participant, you may go home with a string bracelet, specially blessed bath salt, and/or candle to light when mom goes into labor.
When should you have your Mother Blessing?
A Mother Blessing is usually held toward the end of the pregnancy, 35 weeks - 40 weeks. It serves as a boost of good energy for the Mother and can help to resolve any outstanding fears or trepidation holding Mom back as she approaches her birthing day.
How can you plan or have a Mother Blessing?
It's not overly complicated to plan or host a Mother Blessing. It can be even simpler than a baby shower! You may do some internet and pinterest searching, blog reading, and hunting around in local stores to bring together a Mother Blessing for yourself or your expectant friend or family. You may also want to consider hiring a planner so that you and all other attendees can just be present and edified. Each woman who offers this service is usually also a doula, childbirth educator, midwife, Red Tent host, or otherwise enlightened individual. Their rates vary with the size of gathering and which elements the expectant mother would like. They can organize, handle invites, help you find a location, decorate your locale, find a henna tattoo artist, do your belly casting, bring all the supplies, call your sister circle when labor begins and some even handle food dishes!
Of course you guessed from the beginning that something amazing would happen here at the end--probably because I said so up there! :) Well here it is-
I am looking for a mother birthing in the months of January to April 2017 who is interested in a Mother Blessing.
To complete my certification as a planner, I must plan and carry out one entire Blessing. This is not so much a "giveaway" as it is an offer and blessed gift from me to you, to participate in this vital and powerful ceremony for your upcoming passage from Maiden to Mother.
UPDATE- MAMA FOUND and BLESSING HAPPENING NEXT MONTH!!
Please contact me if this speaks to your soul and you are my 'mother'. You can comment below, email email@example.com, or call me directly at 832-518-7879. I would love to hear from you and help you have the sacred experience that you deserve.
Love and Light- Katrina
The Gift of Giving Life (Essay on Mother-Centered Baby Showers, Robyn Allgood)
Sacred Essence- Mother Blessings 2016, Jessica Booth and Jessica Smithson
*If you enjoyed reading and learning about Mother Blessings, please comment and let me know! And consider sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and connect with me online!
The picture up above is OUT OF DATE, but it already shows that a lot of birth has happened in my family! I include it to give you an idea of the legacy my mama and papa are creating. I'm so grateful they have followed their intuition and kept that spirit in our home and family. It is the same I am trying to instill in my family. Our family narratives are a wonderful (birthday) gift. :)
Actually, I don't have access to the conscious memory of my birth. Some do, they have been able to reach that portion of their brain through hypnosis, regression work, or simply by triggers of muscle memory. I think that it can be a beautiful thing, healing for many.
I do, however, have knowledge of my birth as my own mother has recounted it to me several times throughout my childhood and even a little bit today as we spoke on the phone. (Today is my birthday.) She is actually writing up my birth as she remembers it and I'll share that with you soon.
For now here is what I remember:
-my mother's first child was stillborn and she still has an emptiness and longing for this beautiful baby boy, Anthony.
-she had three children after that, one boy and two girls. (my awesome older brother and rad sisters!)
-that she and my father were firmly done having children after my older sister was born.
-one day when she was vacuuming she heard a voice, completely clear as if someone was physically standing in the room with her.
-the voice told her that she was to have another baby.
-she didn't believe it as first, or at least she wasn't totally sure that it was a good idea.
-(i think) my dad came home that day and said that he had a similar impression.
-they followed their intuition, spiritual prompting, from the messenger (I'm obviously glad that they did).
-i was small and came a little early, but healthy.
-my birth was the only one where my mother had an epidural (it was not available prior to that), she loved it.
-immediately following that she had an emergency hysterectomy because her ovaries were covered in tumors.
-that surgery has affected much of the rest of her life as have the births of her children.
-when I talk to her about her experiences in labor she's calm, she has nothing but love for all her babies and considers them to be great blessings in her life.
Birth can truly be beautiful in ALL its forms. I'm so glad my mom was able to have healing birth experiences, bond with us, and access that connection to the cosmos and feel apart of something bigger than us all- creation and miracle of life.
Blessings and Happy Birthing Ya'll!
References and Sources-
"As more of humanity practices heart-based living it will qualify the 'rite of passage' into the next level of consciousness. Using our heart's intuitive guidance, will become common sense- based on practical intelligence." -Doc Childre, Founder of HeartMath
First off- I must acknowledge the transformative weekend I had. I was witness to some of the most sacred knowledge and culture I will ever experience. I DO NOT say this lightly or to exaggerate. Our society is good at that- exaggerating and desensitizing poignant words. I will not.
Gena Kirby of the Progressive Parenting Network is truly an enlightened individual. Her work and vision are one from the cosmos. It's difficult even to explain the ways in which I feel changed -in my work with birth families and HypnoBirthing classes of course, but also in my calling as a mom to two precious boys, and in my life as a spiritual being sharing this mortal state with all of you. I will share a little bit of my enlightenment with you on what I thought was going to be in the very least a great birth workshop--turned into something so much more.
On Saturday, we started with our Rebozo workshop (which is SO much more than a piece of fabric) here I write on Birth Heart and Intuition. It's going to be a journey but I can promise that if your heart and mind are open you will begin to envision the sanctity as I did and you can capture the importance of the heart and intuition.
Ok ready? Here we go!
Did you know that your heart emits electromagnetic pulses? Some of you might be saying, "Uh... yes, Katrina, that's a heart beat!" Of course you are right! This sounds simplistic, but I don't think you've ever thought about it quite like this:
You have the spiky bumps, you know, the super tall ones (that's the scientific name, of course) to indicate the BEEP! Or the beat of your heart. Have you ever thought about the the space in between the spikes? Those are your emotions!! Your heart and your brain send signals back and forth to code one another with the activity they should pursue. Brain can tell heart to speed up- stress, exercise, etc. Or slow down- meditation, sleep, etc. Heart can signal back to brain and so on. They are good buddies.
Well, the electromagnetic pulses and what's going on in spaces in between those beats are not contained within your body alone. Check out this video to see how that works and why it's important! The scientists at The Institute of HeartMath are not messing around-
Did you watch it? Did you SEE? Did you catch the vision of this? We can affect the environment around us just with our thoughts, emotions, intuition, and intent! This is one reason why you can:
-tell something is wrong with someone even when they say that they are fine.
-feel the weird-ish feeling in the air when there's tension, or sadness even if you just arrived.
-get super jazzed/"high" in a group with a collective goal = synergy
-look into someone's eye and just know, just understand one another without words =empathy
-hug someone to make them feel better, feel your warmth and love for them
-be uncomfortable somewhere and can't exactly explain why
-note the change in a group of strangers after they've gotten to know one another a bit, just by "holding space" and feeling it. (Need to know what I mean by "holding space"? Check this out- Nurture Birth Services)
The list goes on and on!
We are all connected. There are others of our brothers and sisters who need to draw upon our pulses; we need to give and receive these pulses to provide our life with that essential connectivity and meaning we are all striving for. Imagine and embrace the possibilities with me!
What does any this all have to do with birth? Sure-- a birth worker must only be blogging about birth! lol. The same applications apply in any area! In class one of HypnoBirthing we discuss this principle at length. This is encompasses nearly all of the Laws of the Mind, what we think is what we get, our habits are our life, don't breed negative thoughts, reactions must be managed, attitude of gratitude, every thought causes a physical reaction! (I will be writing more about these in the coming time) This is THE THING. The thing that the families I work with wish that their families, friends, care providers, other supporters and random grocery store strangers would understand!
If we as birth workers (educators, doulas, midwives, doctors, nurses, family/friends of the expectant couple and so on) carry our own baggage around emitting this tainted frequency we are inadvertently imprinting it on others! Even our own "successful" stories of others' good births may, for some, do harm in providing an expectation that our clients' inner-consciousness cannot live up to.
Think of the damage we could do!
Think of the support, empathy, and witness we could provide instead!
When we are working with families expecting a new life, it's NOT about us. We must manage our intentions. If you have had a negative experience, as a doula and need to heal from that do so, before it's projected onto someone else!
It's NOT about us.
I know this concept isn't tangible in the way that some of you would like it to be. Some of the most important things and feelings and experiences of this life are not. Some of us are more in-tune with these types of pulses (from our own hearts or others'). But we can all imagine what outcome we could have by being responsible for what we send out by way of our heart! Maybe you think this sounds too "woo" or "fuzzy-lovey"? Learn to access your heart's intentions, learn to control them, put it to the test and then tell me. I'd love to know what affects you have on others and what you learn and feel as you do this.
As my parting manifesto- We must cleanse ourselves and sync up our mind and heart and access vital humility to let the families we work with follow their intuition. Our job is supporter, and witness only. Witness to THE miracle. What an honor that should be that these families are inviting us to witness their deeply intimate miracle.
In further musings we will explore more of the WHY this is really so important for laboring moms and the HOW to accomplish it with yourself and on behalf of the families with whom we work.
Stay tuned for more in which we investigate "Quantum Midwifery" and the Holistic Stages of Birth as shared by The Matrona.
References and Sources-