Ever been so pregnant you just. Can't. Stop. Crying? Me too. It was such a day as this that brought about plans for my Blessingway.
At 39 weeks pregnant I found I really needed some moral support and while my friends had offered to organise a baby shower for me it for some reason just didn't feel right. My doula had mentioned a Blessingway to me during our first meet. I had shrugged it off as a slightly too 'out there' for me, but when I found myself needing some woman to woman support it popped back up as an idea. After a short internet nosey (and a whole day of emotional just-because-I'm-pregnant crying), I had some ideas of how to customise my own Blessingway.
I love the idea of a circle of women strengthening each other. I kept the invite to my closest friends and family only. This was my way of reaching out for help. With only one official week of pregnancy left it was last minute notice but my friends and family came through, putting off other things and squishing it between appointments so that they could offer their support. They brought beautifully written poems and prayers for me, beads to thread on a necklace and food to share. It was the most spiritually restorative afternoon I have ever had. Thank God for good friends. We shared our birth stories and food and it lifted me up so much.
Here's my essential tick list for organising your Blessingway:
- Keep it to close friends and family only and don't feel bad about it!
- Customize it to suit yourself. Mine had a Christian focus, my friends gave me scriptures to encourage me. This is what worked for me, do whatever works for you.
- Keep it really relaxed. Hosting can be stressful, which is the last thing you need when you're pregnant. Either keep it really informal or maybe ask a friend to organise/host it for you.
- Don't be afraid to open up to your friends; it's the only way they can really support you (see 1st point)
- Remember that the point of a Blessingway is female peer support. If you want to celebrate the baby too, consider doing a separate baby shower, or a get together once baby has arrived.
- Email out a short memo of what a Blessingway is in case your guests have never been to one. Like this one:
There's loads of ideas out there about what to include in a Blessingway as they are becoming increasingly popular, here's a few I particularly liked...
- Ask your guests to bring a written piece about birth or parenthood. They can be referred to whenever you need a pick-me-up and it's so nice seeing the different handwriting.
- Each bring a bead and thread a necklace with them. Each person says what the bead represents (e.g. strength, motherhood, patience) this can be worn or hung up in the house to remind you of your circle of support.
- String game - throw a ball of wool to each other in a haphazard pattern to create a sort of web across the room. This is to symbolise how our lives all cross and inter weave. Wrap the wool 3 times around each person's wrist and cut and tie into a bracelet. This can be cut when the baby is born. This is another nice physical reminder of your support network.
- Sharing birth stories.
- Henna or a massage for mum-to-be or belly casting.
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