The Blessingway is a Navajo ritual that marks a woman’s emergence as mother. It is typically performed in the last weeks of pregnancy as she is literally on the threshold between worlds. Midwives were once called the first shamans, as they helped usher souls from one world to the next. If that is true, then what is the woman bearing child? Blooming in all her glory, about to embark on the greatest climb, holding within her life in pure form yet untouched by this world and all its projections… It is incredible we don’t bow to pregnant woman on the subway… let alone give up our seat!
When we are with child we are full of concentrated hope. Cast upon us often is great fear, sometimes by those that love us most. Birth is dramatic, we are told. Birth is gruesome. We are told stories of emergency and panic and broken waters. This is not helpful. This is not thoughtful speech. This does not hold the woman on the threshold tenderly, supporting her. What can we do to counteract fear with love and overwhelm with support?
Unlike the western ritual of a baby shower, a Blessingway is centered around the mother: the woman she has been, is in this moment, and will emerge as, once her child is in her arms. It recognizes the power within her and allows space to cast fears aside, shed skins and doubt, and be surrounded by support and love. Typically the Blessingway is a private affair for one expectant mother and her nearest and dearest female circle. Erica and I are offer traditional Blessingways as a private service and take great joy in planning and carrying these out.
As postpartum doulas we see the Blessingway not only as a spiritual recognition of the mother and that which she will undertake, but also a potentially practical tool for planning her life postpartum. Surrounded by her community we discuss what is in her heart and together we can make real coping strategies to meet her needs and soothe her fears. Not only can we exalt the goddess within, but we can construct a meal train that will feed her as she heals. We can braid her hair and meditate together, but also we can create a web of support that will remind us to hold this woman and her dimensional shift in the forefront of our minds.
Blessingways are still relatively unheard of and although it is our hope that one day it will be customary to have both a baby shower and a blessingway, we want to spread the word and connect the women around us who are about to become mothers. Enter- the Community Blessingway.
We hold them seasonally!
On Saturday February 7th we will gather at Caribou Baby in Greenpoint at 4PM. There will be feasting and song, meditation and a whole lotta laughs. We invite mothers in their 3rd trimester to join us and bring a female friend (or sister, or mother) who plans to support your journey (you can bring more than 1! Just let us know numbers in advance). Adopting mamas and same sex couples are welcome with open arms. It is a great way to celebrate yourself, your pregnancy and the journey you are on. It is also an opportunity to connect with other expectant women in your community and to ask real questions and receive support from two postpartum doulas.
RSVP on EventBrite here
For questions email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 917.331.0549
See you there!