By Jackie Scrivanich
New life is always a blessing.
Recently I gave birth to my third child, who also happened to be my third boy. What a blessing! It was a perfect homebirth. He is so perfect. God knows exactly who our family needs. This little guy fits in just perfectly with our family.
I did a lot of things to prepare for this birth and for this little boy. My family and friends came along side me to assist where they were able.
Often times we focus on the baby and not on the mom. The one whose body is changing. The one whose whole world is changing. The one who has back pain and swollen feet. The one who has to go through the contractions and the intensity of labor. The one who partners with God to usher new life into the world. Mom needs some love too.
This time, instead of a baby shower, I chose to have a Mother's Blessing. I originally planned on hosting myself and having everyone come to my home and praying over me and the birthing space. But then a friend offered to host and I was forever grateful. Instead of having to clean and deal with the stress of hosting, I was able to simply be a participant and enjoy the event and it truly was a blessing.
So what is a Mother's Blessing? A Mother Blessing is a celebration of the new life that is growing in a mother's womb. It is based on a Native tradition but shifts its focus to the Christian God. It is a celebration of all things pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. It is a way of giving thanks to our amazing Creator for allowing us to partake in His creation as He has blessed us with this new little life. A Mother's Blessing focuses on the spiritual experience of birth with a gathering of our female friends and family to show support, encouragement and love. The goal is to pray over the mother, the baby, and the upcoming birth and transition while providing emotional support by surrounding her with love and fellowship. It's honestly something that was missing from my first two baby showers. Less people, less presents (we asked people to bring beads and a dish to share or a freezer meal), but more intimacy and more support. I plan on having one for any additional pregnancies that God blesses me with. The love and support I felt during the gathering was tremendous.
What do you do at a Mother's Blessing?
What happens at a Mother's Blessing is up to you and the host. The awesome thing about this type of gathering is that it is completely customizable. Just like every mother and every birth is unique, every Mother's Blessing should be unique.
Here are some things that we did and variations that you can do:
Welcome Introduction on what a Mother's Blessing is and what to expect through the gathering. During this time I talked about myself and my previous births and what my plans are for this birth. Speaking positivity on the upcoming birth. We ate while we talked.
Introductions We went around the room and each of my friends and family took time to tell us about themselves and they shared their birth stories. Other options include discussing how the guest knows the mother; sharing a story about how the mother has touched them in some way. Our guests then shared a scripture or affirmation that they brought for me for the birth. It was encouraged that whatever they read be encouraging and supportive and written down so I could have it to read leading up to the birth, for the birth itself, or even to add to a scrap book.
The Birth Necklace This was one of my favorite parts. Even people who were not able to come gave me beads. I even had friends and family from another country mail me beads for this part of the Mother's Blessing. Each guest was invited to bring a bead or a charm that they prayed over. We added each of these beads to a necklace that I had during the birth. It was too heavy to wear during labor but I had it hanging on the wall where I could see it.
Belly Painting My mother-in-law painted a beautiful tree on my big, super pregnant belly during the party. She painted a tree because I was a tad obsessed with the tree of life during this pregnancy. Other options could include allowing each guest to paint a portion of the belly or even have a henna tattoo done on her belly. All are fun options to commemorate the day.
Tie Dye Onesies Just like it sounds, have guests tie dye a onesie for the baby. We actually ran out of time to do this, which was a disappointment. But my husband and kids and I did it another day. It was a blast.
Prayer Circle All of my friends and family laid hands on me and the host (my best friend) prayed over me, my family, and the upcoming birth. It was as beautiful as it sounds. During the prayer circle, everyone gets in a circle and prays and lifts the mother and her baby up to God's will for her birth. If the father and rest of her children (if she has other children) are around they can be prayed for too.
Everyone should have a Mother's Blessing.
My Mother's Blessing was exactly that, a blessing. The people, the love, the support. It was amazing to have everyone together to love on me and pray over me as I prepared to have my third child. I truly feel sad that I did not have this sort of gathering for the previous two pregnancies.
The support from this event got me through the next few weeks to the end of my pregnancy. You know, the end, when you don't want to do anything and you're pretty sure you will be the first woman to be pregnant forever? Knowing I had people praying for me and supporting our family helped get me through the tough times.
I went on to have my best birth yet. I have never felt closer to God than during this birth. I truly felt His hand on me during every contraction. I strongly believe it was because I focused so much on Him this pregnancy, all the way down to the way we chose to celebrate new life through the Mother's Blessing.
Have you had or attended a Mother's Blessing before?