Thursday, July 27, 2017

a blessing way

Last month, I had the honour of hosting a Blessing Way for my most cherished and beautiful friend, Stephanie. Because Steph was pregnant with her second babe, we wanted to do something special to commemorate that, but a traditional shower didn't feel quite right. So we decided on a Blessing Way.

If you have never heard of a Blessing Way, you are not alone. Much google searching was conducted on my end before this special event took shape. In short, a Blessing Way it is a celebration of life and love, pregnancy and motherhood, in a tranquil, sacred and love-filled space. It has evolved from First Nations traditions centered around healing, creation, harmony, and peace, in appreciation for and in honour of the Mother-to-be. 

The purpose of this Blessing Way was to nourish, nurture, support and encourage Steph while affirming her wish for a beautiful, gentle and peaceful birth experience.

It took me some time to compile all the bits and pieces for this special day - scouring the depths of the Internet and pulling what I felt was the best of everything shared. And so, I figured I would compile all the bits and pieces here on my blog in case planning a Blessing Way may be in your near future.


In lieu of traditional gifts, we asked guests to bring the following items:
  • A crystal, gem or stone that is special to them, reminds them of Steph, or is symbolic of the birthing journey.
  • A handwritten prayer, letter, poem, song lyric, affirmation or inspirational quote. For those who felt comfortable, we took turns sharing our words of love with the group and collected each sentiment afterward to be held in Steph's keepsake box.
  • Something little for Steph's Nurture Basket (ie: bath goodies, candles, tea, a journal, comforting clothing (slippers, soft socks, a wrap around scarf...) lotions, body oils etc...)

We opted to have the Blessing Way over brunch. Delicious, nourishing food is a large symbolic part of the ceremony, so we choose items that were known to be comforting for Stephanie, and kept the menu entirely vegan and gluten-free to accommodate any food sensitivities.

We served:
  • cinnamon buns
  • fruit skewers
  • spinach, mushroom and potato tart with plant-based feta
  • guacamole and tortilla chips
  • quinoa salad
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • fresh squeezed orange juice
  • a kombucha tasting bar with a variety of kombucha from local brewers in Vancouver and Calgary.

Because I live in Vancouver, and Steph is in Calgary, we decided to have the blessing at her home. In most cases, this is likely not the most ideal venue as it can cause the mama-to-be unnecessary stress of having to clean up before/after, but I made sure to be available to take care of that, and tried my hardest to stop Steph from doing too much (though she was not a very good listener on that front. ;) ). That said, some women may feel more calm or comfortable in their own homes- ultimately, it's a personal choice, but one to navigate and explore with courtesy.

Below is the script we used, outlining the purpose and rituals performed throughout the ceremony.

PURPOSE || It is estimated that globally, 255 babies are born every minute. That’s 4.3 women becoming mothers; bringing their babies earthside every second of every day. To acknowledge and name that power and flow of energy is to become part of it.

And so, the purpose of this Blessing Way is to weave an intricate web of connection, joining us altogether beyondthis days events. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, we are rallying our
collective energy around Steph, sharing unconditional love, nurturing and support to guide her
through this next transition, while affirming her wish for a beautiful, gentle and peaceful birth.

Each of the rituals we will participate in were rooted in the power sisterhood- we are stronger
together, and our connection and love will be with Stephanie and this new babe from this day

We began by forming a circle – creating a contained space of support for Steph.

RITUAL || feather crown – the crown symbolizes the physical transformation that takes place in pregnancy, birth and motherhood, and marks Stephanie as a sacred vessel. Jen made a beautiful crown that Steph wore throughout the ceremony.

RITUAL || foot soak – cleansing for the transition – washing away the burdens felt or any fears or anxieties the mother may be experiencing about birth and motherhood. The foot soak was made up of dried herbs and flowers, Himalayan bath salts, and mild essential oils.

RITUAL || blessing – Weaving the web of love and support through positive affirmation.

Sharing – Those that felt comfortable shared their prayer, letter, poem, or affirmation out loud to Steph while she soaked her feet

Wishes for the baby – everyone filled out a well wishes card for the new babe, and the group shared any wishes that really spoke to them. (You can download a PDF version of the card I made HERE)

RITUAL || binding bracelet – a way to symbolically show the mother that she is supported and always connected. That she is in the thoughts of her closest friends and family as she prepares to bring her baby earth side.

We wrapped the tread around each guests writs twice, starting with the mother and then passing it along to next guest. When it got around the group, we cut the thread and each person tied the thread to their wrist.

Everyone wore the bracelet until after Steph gave birth, Each time we saw the bracelet, we used it as a reminder to send extra love and positive light Stephanie's way.

RITUAL | | candle ceremony – Stephs candle was lit and passed around the circle. Each of us offered a word we wished for her (eg. “strength” or “endurance”) - when the candle got back around to Steph, she blew it out. When she went into labour, the candle was relit and each of the encourage words we had captured in the candle was released back to her.

We also each took a candle home that we lit when we heard that Stephanie had gone into labour. This symbolized our support and collective energy for Steph during this sacred journey bringing babe earthside.

I was so grateful to have the help of one of Steph's dearest friends, Jen, to help coordinate all of this. In addition to being a completely incredible human being and an amazing cook, she is also a very talented photographer that captured all of the beautiful photos shared in this post. I couldn't have done it without her, and I was so thankful on MANY occasions to have her as a soundboard when my brain was spiraling.

Thank you SO much, Jen! xx

Baby Max was born gently at home on May 6, 2017 at 7:48am. Weighing in at 9lbs 13oz, Steph confirmed her status as Warrior Goddess as she delivered this little chunk. Although I was not able to physically be with Steph this time around (you can read my version of Myles' birth story here), having this deep spiritual connection from the Blessing Way was truly the next best thing. And Steph's mom texting me every 10 minutes throughout the night helped too ;)

I am beyond humbled and so very proud of you, Steph. You continue to inspire me with your dedication to being the most incredible mother to your sweet boys. I am thankful every single day that I have you and now Myles and Max to fill my whole heart. Thank you for giving me that. xx