Discover a new way to celebrate mom by throwing her a blessingway ceremony that honors and celebrates her as she enters motherhood. I discuss ideas and tips and share about my very own mother blessing thrown for me just weeks ago.
My mom just hosted a mother blessing ceremony for me. I am due to have my first baby in the month of November, and I had always dreamed of having one of these events. It went off without a hitch.
I have been seeing snippets in online spaces of women being celebrated and supported through this ceremony for years and absolutely love the idea and meaning behind it.
To me, it feels like a celebratory event that is not consumerism driven, nor too showy.
It is also an intimate event, usually with a range of 10-15 women who are closest to the mother. As an introvert, this is exactly what I knew I wanted from the beginning of pregnancy.
No sitting in front of 30+ guests for over an hour opening gift after gift; no silly, embarrassing, or boring shower games; and no obligation to have a set theme or overindulge in all pink or all blue decor for the sake of “traditions” that no longer appeal to most modern women (because folks, it’s 2023 and babies can wear more than pink or blue).
Not to harp on traditional baby showers too much because I know women appreciate the gifts and other women enjoy giving gifts to help set the new parents up… But it gets so overdone, expensive, and materialistic these days. And honestly, most women I know do not enjoy sitting through them—although they would never admit that for the sake of good manners.
I prefer a simple setting with good food, a few small meaningful activities, and good conversation with my closest family. The mother blessing was my answer to all of that.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a Baby-Q hosted for both my husband and I, and I loved having all our friends, family, and my husband’s coworkers involved. We never had a traditional big wedding and so we wanted to make a big deal over the baby celebration. We were so grateful to have this, and I was so happy my husband got some attention too. He is more sociable than I am and loves a good party.
We didn’t do any crazy baby games or sit in a circle opening gifts. Instead we had an open house display shower where gifts were left unwrapped, so we had time to visit with everyone instead. We had cookout food and good drinks. Both men and women (and children) were welcome to attend—it was very inclusive. Lawn games, a handful of activities, and good company were the focus. It was very casual and fun.
But at the end of the day, I had envisioned something smaller, just for a few women and myself.
So we did BOTH. And I’m so glad we did.
If you’ve been craving the same thing, here are some ideas + a few details about my special day during my mother blessing ceremony… I think you’ll see why I loved it so much.
What is a blessingway ceremony (mother blessing)?
A Mother Blessing is a special ceremony to celebrate the transition of a woman into motherhood.
Traditionally, the Navajo culture celebrated these spiritual ceremonies (called “Blessingways”) with intimate groups of women close to the mother who would share their wisdom, celebrate her womanhood, and pamper her before the arrival of her child.
Today in our modern culture this event is now called a “Mother Blessing.” The woman is blessed before she enters motherhood.
While a baby shower is typically focused on celebrating the baby and showering the parents with gifts, a Mother Blessing is a ceremony to celebrate the physical, emotional, and spiritual evolution of the woman into motherhood.
Gifts are not usually customary, but if you prefer to bring one be sure it is a gift for mom. Babies already get plenty of attention and are showered with plenty of gifts in preparation for entering into their new world.
There are usually activities during the Mother Blessing, but not typical baby shower games. These usually focus on pampering her, giving her special blessings, or helping her mentally and emotionally prepare for baby’s arrival.
The mother usually does not choose a theme or have lavish decorations set up for the event, as this is an intimate, uplifting spiritual celebration. However, the decor usually does include flowers and a somewhat bohemian style—though this is usually pretty subtle.
Food and drinks are usually either provided or a request may be made for each guest to bring a dish to share potluck style.
Why throw a mother blessing?
The mother, the woman who has grown this life inside her womb for nine months, will both love and struggle to raise her new child. Oftentimes, she gets left in the dust of all the “oohs” and “ahhs” of the new, cute little baby. Well, it’s time to start celebrating moms, too.
We need to lift and support women so they can mother.
As an American society, we need to do better as a whole in supporting parents if we want to focus on the family. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in our social system and government, but we can start this shift on an individual level now.
One small way to initiate this idea is to focus on the mother—not just the baby—during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
Throwing a woman a mother blessing is an amazing way to show how honored she is and how powerful she is entering into this new role of her life. She is leaving her role as maiden for the role of mother.
Mother Blessing | Blessingway Ceremony
Food and drinks | Blessingway Ceremony
A gathering wouldn’t be a gathering without food. I think we can all agree on that. Now, how you go about this and what exactly you serve is where we may differ. However, I am all about simplicity when it comes to food at gatherings. Unless it’s a Thanksgiving feast, it doesn’t need to all be homemade, elaborate, or a huge spread.
You can still serve a variety of delicious foods on a budget, if you’re short on time, or if you just plain old don’t like to cook and clean up a big mess.
Here’s some of my favorite ideas for gatherings like this:
Charcuterie board – I have a vegetarian charcuterie board post HEREthat talks all about building the perfect board everyone will love. These are SO EASY, but look so elaborate. They have a little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy. This is exactly what we did at my Mother Blessing. Cheeses, crackers, nuts, olives, cookies, fruits, veggies, dips, mini quiche, and a dessert were perfect for an afternoon lunch.
Pizza party – Okay, hear me out. This may sound too casual for a special get-together, but if mom is on-board, why not? Do you know how easy it is to order a few boxes of pizza and maybe a salad or breadsticks?! Just because pizza is a favorite among kids, doesn’t mean the adults can’t love it too. If you prefer something fancier and have the ability, make some dough ahead of time, get all the toppings out and have guests each make their own mini artisan pizzas to bake once they arrive. This could be a fun, interactive twist on a traditional pizza party.
Brunch – I love a good breakfast or brunch meal any time of day, especially for parties. These are so simple. Serve eggs or quiche, fruits, a pancake or waffle bar with lots of toppings, yogurt and granola, and juice, and pretty much everyone will be happy.
Pasta bar – Provide some cooked pasta, a couple of sauces, and lots of different toppings for guests to build their own pasta bowls. Everyone wins because they get exactly what they want. Some french bread and salad on the side will round out the entire meal.
Ethnic meal – If the mother loves Indian, Mexican, or Greek food, why not recreate her favorite meal, buffet style? A taco bar would be so easy and fun, as would a pita sandwich station. Veggies, rice, and beans/lentils are great, easy sides. I am all about flavor and spice when it comes to parties.
Potluck style – Does the host have plenty of helping hands from guests who want to chip in and bring a dish? Let them. That is one less thing you have to mess with as a host. Sometimes the best menus are a mish-mash of this and that, not the carefully planned ones. You can even request people bring only healthy dishes, gluten-free, or plant-based recipes if the mother has a special diet. You want her to be able to enjoy all the foods and not be restricted on her day.
Mocktail Station – Slice fruits and provide an array of sparkling water, fruit juices, and other flavorings along with ice for some fun DIY mocktail drinks everyone can enjoy.
Activities/Rituals | Blessingway Ceremony
There are lots of fun activities a mom may choose to do at her mother blessing. Many of them include pampering the new mom, blessing her with well wishes and sharing wisdom, or doing something that is fun and interactive. The goal is to make her feel empowered and supported.
Beaded bracelet/necklace – This was one of my favorite activities from my ceremony. Each guest was asked ahead of time to bring a special bead with some sort of symbolism or meaning that could empower me during birth. They each shared their intention with their bead and we made one bracelet for me to later wear during labor to serve as a reminder of the support I had and to empower me through it.
Readings for Mom – Have each guest print out a prayer, poem, or song either they wrote or found somewhere and have them bring it to the gathering. Have everyone come together and each guest read theirs, or, if they prefer, hand it to the mother for her to read privately. These are meant to be inspirational and supportive for the new, blossoming mother.
Hand or foot massage, hair styling, or other spa treatment pampering for Mom – I’m not going to lie, it felt weird for me to request my family give me massages or style my hair at a gathering. It felt a little demanding and would have been hard to give everyone a part in this activity. However, if you have a really close group of girlfriends who don’t mind pampering you, go for it! I considered providing some sort of hand/face/foot masks for everyone to use on themselves so we could all enjoy some spa time at home, but we felt it would be too much to prepare and clean up afterward. However, if you have the means, this could be a great way to get everyone involved and relaxed for the afternoon.
Henna belly tattoo, belly cast, or belly painting – I love this idea, but do be prepared for a bit of a mess and have an extra pair of clothing you don’t mind getting dirty. You can do a belly cast, get a henna temporary tattoo on your bump, or have guests simply paint something pretty on your belly for a fun way to end the day.
DIY sugar body scrubs or bath oils – If you want a fun activity where guests get to take a small gift home, this is perfect. Set up a station for women to make their very own sugar scrubs or body oils. This is great for them to pamper themselves later and the mother will have her own now too. Provide essential oils, carrier oils, granulated sugar, small jars, and dried herbs or flowers so each guest can customize theirs.
Making birth affirmation flags – We didn’t make flags at my party, but I had chosen some birth affirmations I wanted for labor and birth. So I requested that guests help me make cards with empowering one-liners written on them. They were each decorated and I later had them laminated and plan to place them around the room when I’m laboring. I plan to read them in between contractions when resting or for my husband to remind me of these powerful words during intense rushes.
Flower crown making – Guests all make flower crowns together for this activity. They can choose their favorite florals to make something simple or elaborate and wear it during the ceremony or take it with them for later. I chose to instead make one for myself to wear beforehand, so I could wear it during the entire event. I wasn’t convinced my family members would be keen on wearing them or even keeping them, so felt this was the better option for me. My baby’s breath crown looked beautiful.
Decor and attire | Blessingway Ceremony
The only time I would let guests know about attire would be if you happen to live somewhere close to a beach and/or plan on being outside for part or most of the Mother Blessing ceremony. Guests need to be prepared if that’s the case. Otherwise, there is no dress code for a Mother Blessing. If you have a bohemian style theme and want women to embrace their femininity for this empowering event and the weather is gorgeous where you live, you could lightly make suggestions to wear dresses or something that makes them feel feminine. But I would say this highly depends on your group of women. In general, most women do not want to be told specifics on how to dress.
Decor is usually kept to a minimum at a blessingway ceremony. Since it is a spiritual event and less consumerist by nature, it’s not necessary to dream up a theme and go overboard on decorating. However, adding a few small, simple touches can go a long way for hosting a small group of gals.
Here are some pieces you can add into your home to spruce it up for the big day:
Bouquets of fresh flowers
A few pastel or neutral colored balloons
Wicker throne chair for Mama
Dried edible flowers sprinkled on desserts or scattered on tabletops as part of a tablescape
It is especially helpful and necessary to prepare guests for what exactly to expect for a Mother Blessing Ceremony. Each one can be vastly different and most women I know have either never heard of one or never attended one.
Send out an invitation 4-6 weeks in advance with some notes explaining what a Mother Blessing is and some additional notes on what to expect. Add details about food, the overall meaning of the event, activities, etc. You won’t want anyone surprised and uncomfortable.
Be sure to be very clear on requests to bring anything whether it’s food, gifts, beads/trinkets, or prayers/songs/poems. Let guests know to reach out to the host personally with any questions. You also may want to make special notes on requests for no gifts at all–or alternatively, that any gifts be simple/homemade/relate to postpartum care for mama.
Gift ideas | Blessingway Ceremony
Although gifts aren’t necessary for a blessingway ceremony, they are still always appreciated. Some guests insist on spoiling the guest of honor. If you are interested in gifting the mother-to-be something special/useful, here are a few ideas.
Handmade quilt, sweater, scarf, or something similar
Herbal/dried flower sugar body scrubs
A book for her to read postpartum or during the wait for baby to arrive
Spa day or dinner out
Anything thoughtful that holds special meaning to her