I’m 34 weeks pregnant now - feeling pretty HUGE, tired, yet hopeful. Her frequent hiccups and elbow jabs make me smile throughout the day and I’m in awe of this entire process.
Before I take a hiatus to delve into this big shift and focus on nurturing this new life - I wanted to share my thoughts on having a Mother’s Blessing. Many of you asked about it after I previously shared. If you're interested in having one or hosting one, I highly recommend it! I encourage you to create a memorable event that marks the transition from woman to mother - one that is personal, intimate and celebrates your family lineage and culture.
When I first asked my friends if they were willing to plan a Mother’s Blessing in lieu of a Baby Shower, I wasn’t quite sure what I was wanting or what it would evolve into. I was inspired by the Navajo tradition called a Blessingway which is a sacred pre-birth ceremony and I had also recently attended a Dia de Los Muertos ceremony to honor my relatives. What I did know for sure is that I didn’t want all the material gifts and the stuff to be the focus of our gathering. I wanted to create a reflective, reverent space where I could hear my friends and family’s thoughts on motherhood, openly ask for their support during this transition, and glean every piece of wisdom and insight I could from all these incredible women in one room.
And I have to tell you this: having all the women in your life show up in one space, in one room, with open hearts and ready to contribute themselves to you genuinely, purely, vulnerably - it can create something so palpable and ELECTRIC. I really still can’t find accurate words to describe it.
All I know is that we need more of these gatherings everywhere and I hope you get to experience it, too - whether or not it's centered around motherhood.
My other intention for this gathering was to honor the legacy and lives of the women that have come before me - calling for their wisdom and support to guide me in this journey. I wanted to sit still enough to feel my mom’s presence, her mother’s presence, and my great-grandmother’s presence. At the blessing, their photos were displayed similar to Dia de Los Muertos tradition. My friends found ways to incorporate my heritage in special ways through the food we served - Mexican, Italian, Polish which made everything come full circle for me in celebrating where we’ve come from - generations of families with dreams - generations of tenacious women who lived and mothered the best way they knew how. I will lift them up in gratitude for every single opportunity they afforded me in my life now. And in my daughter’s life.
In her poem “Our Grandmothers”, Maya Angelou wrote “I come as one but I stand as ten thousand” which sums up everything for me. We gain courage and conviction from the voices of those who've come before us.
The event consisted of small bites, drinks and casual conversation at the beginning, then after about 30-45 minutes we moved into another room where we sat on pillows in a circle, an array of candles and flowers at the center. I had asked each guest via the invite to bring a poem, quote, or memory they wanted to share about motherhood. There was no pressure for each person to share aloud, but everyone did, including my 13 year old niece Kaitlyn, which resulted in full on water work tears for the majority of the time! Everyone shared such sincere, raw stories of their own mothers or those who mothered them - all while acknowledging that motherhood is never perfect - it is messy, tumultuous and a different experience for everyone. My dear friend Frances spoke powerfully about a greater divine mother's love that is available to each and everyone of us - one that can provide us solace during the imperfect, trying moments.
Thank you to my beautiful friends and family who joined me in an occasion I will never forget.
Other details of the event:
- Small votive candles with Mother Mary were handed out. Each guest was encouraged to light their candle when they receive news that I'm in labor.
- Journal where each guest wrote small love note, left their poem or words of advice or whatever token they wanted to impart.
- Flower crowns were made for me and each of the family members in attendance.
Other resources on Mother's Blessings:
(book) The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou.