Mother Blessing Ceremony Ideas
A twist on traditional baby showers
Original article published on codenamemama.com Author: Dionna
A mother’s blessing is an intimate party inspired by an ancient Navajo ceremony called a blessing way. The ceremony is held to prepare an expectant mother for her upcoming birth journey—to shower mom-to-be with love, support and encouragement.
Many of us have attended or helped plan a traditional baby shower complete with silly games, gifts straight from the newborn registry, and cutesy decorations. But more and more expectant mothers and hosts are opting for alternative ceremonies to commemorate the mother’s passage into motherhood.
There is no right or wrong way to host a Mother Blessing, and there are a wide variety of activities you can choose from to celebrate the mama and her pregnancy. Many of them are appropriate if you have a group of friends who cannot meet in person but want to support their friend – virtually or through a meaningful gift that can be mailed.
Birth Bead Necklaces: Have every women in the pregnant mama’s support circle send or bring a bead. The beads can be strung into a necklace or other design. As you string each bead, the woman who contributed it can share a prayer, a thought, or simply the meaning behind why she chose the bead for the expecting mother. The mother can then keep the beads close – during pregnancy, labor, and beyond – to remind her of her support circle.
Birth Bead Knitting Stitch Markers: If your expecting friend is a knitter, turn the birth beads into stitch holders instead of a necklace. She can cherish them for years to come each time she knits.
PowerPoint Blessings: Especially good for friends who cannot come to an in person ceremony, gather photos of the pregnant mama (during pregnancy, with friends, etc.) and put them together with special words of love from the mama’s support system. Add in an appropriate piece of music, and you have a beautiful keepsake.
Memory Box: Buy or re-purpose a wooden box. Decorate the box (the hostess could do this beforehand, or you could allow other mothers at the ceremony to help) and give it to the expecting mama to keep newborn keepsakes and/or trinkets from the mother blessing.
Wish Tree: Create a miniature tree from a branch and plate it in a pretty pot. Have each woman write a wish for the new mama using decorative paper. Tie the wishes to the tree as “leaves.”
Nature Mobile: Every woman brings something from nature (a branch, a dried flower, cyrstals, etc.). Create a simple mobile to hang – it can grace the mama’s birthing space and/or can be enjoyed by the new baby.
Nature Wreath: You can also choose to incorporate the gifts from nature into a wreath. Guests can also choose to tie small gifts to the wreath.
Anointing with Oil: Give each woman attending a slip of paper that tells them a specific body part to anoint. In the example I read on Mothering’s forum, the women read blessings such as “I anoint your head for all of the decisions you will make in the coming years.” “I anoint your hands for all the times they will cradle your baby.” “I anoint your knees for all the times they will kneel to tend to children.” You can anoint hips (for easy birthing), breasts (for abundant milk), etc.
Natural Centerpiece #1: Ask each guest to bring a flower. Gather all of the flowers for a centerpiece; the mama can dry them and enjoy them for months to come.
Natural Centerpiece #2: As an alternative idea, each guest can bring a stone or some other piece of nature that can be incorporated into an arrangement.
Candle Ceremony #1: Give each guest a candle and have a large candle that will go home with the pregnant mama. With everyone gathered in a circle, light the candle of the woman standing next to the pregnant mama (this can be her own mother, best friend, etc.). As each woman’s candle is lit, the person can say a blessing or a few words about what she wishes for the mother to be. When she is finished speaking, she lights the candle of the woman standing to the left of her; it continues around the circle until it reaches the expecting mother, who is holding the large candle. The expecting mama can then light the large candle when she goes into labor, and her friends can light their own candles in support.
Candle Ceremony #2: Another idea is to have each guest choose a color of embroidery floss to tie onto the large candle. The large candle will be beautifully decorated with many different colors. The guests can tie the same color to their own candles, or you can choose not to give guests their own candles.
Plant a Garden: For the pregnant mama who loves plants, have each guest bring a small perennial plant she can keep in her house or plant at her leisure.
Modge Podged Candle Jars: Using colorful tissue paper, have each guest modge podge a jar (guests can bring jars from home to make them more personal). Candles can be lit in the jars during labor to create a beautiful glow.
Braided Bracelet #1: Using one or more long pieces of embroidery floss or yarn, have women stand in a circle and braid the pieces of yarn together, wrapping them in one continuous piece around each woman’s wrist. When everyone has joined the circle, you may have each person say something supportive to the mother as each woman cuts her own bracelet and ties it onto her wrist. The women can wear the bracelets until the expecting mama gives birth as a showing of support. (Some women choose blue and red strings to symbolize the vessels of the umbilical cord, but you can use any colors that have meaning for the mother.)
Braided Bracelet #2: Alternatively, as each woman wraps the yarn around her wrist, she names her mother, grandmothers, and/or daughters (I am Dionna, daughter of Ruth, granddaughter of Genevieve and Irish).
Feed the Freezer: This is not exclusive to mama blessing ceremonies, but it would be a great time to organize one. Each guest brings a frozen meal that the mama can put in her deep freeze. This saves her the time and energy to prepare healthy meals after baby arrives. Just be sure she’ll have adequate freezer space.
Embroidered Blanket: Ask guests to write short notes or simply sign a simple blanket with fabric markers. Then someone with a talent for embroidery can embroider over each message to keep the notes intact.
Create a Quilt: Ask each guest to bring a square for a quilt. Have a specific size in mind for each square, and let the guests know how finished to make the squares. Someone will need to volunteer to finish the quilt. The pregnant mama can cherish it for years to come.
Labor/Motherhood CD: Ask each guest to send a special song that will be burned onto a CD that the pregnant mama can listen to (during labor if appropriate). Each guest can share why she chose the song.
Paint a Belly Cast: Using a premade belly cast, allow each guest to paint/write an affirmation or design. Obviously you would need to have the express permission of the pregnant mama, as she might have other plans for her belly cast.
Henna: Allow each guest to contribute to a henna design on the pregnant mama (her belly, hands, or some other body part).
Decorate Baby Clothes: Ask guests to bring onesies or other plain cotton baby clothing to decorate. You can use freezer stencils, applique (check out these applique ideas too), fabric markers, or any other simple craft ideas.
River Stones: Provide each woman with a smooth river stone. Ask the women to think of a word you would like the pregnant mama to have before and during labor. Each woman should write her word on the stone, then everyone can share why they chose their word.
Share Positive Birth Experiences: Empower the mother-to-be by sharing positive birth experiences with her. Take turns going around the room telling what you most enjoyed about your births.
Stuff a Baby Blanket: Make a no-sew fleece tie blanket, but before finishing it ask the women to write a special message to the mother-to-be and/or baby on small pieces of light colored fabric. Take pictures of all the messages, then insert them into the blanket before tying it up. The blanket can be big enough for mama, or a smaller blanket can be a soft toy for the baby.
Make a Crown of Flowers: Ask each guest to bring a flower. Weave the flowers into a crown for the mama-to-be.
Birthing Flag: Have guests decorate a fabric flag with an inspirational image, phrase, affirmation, or design that relates to birthing or feeling empowered (the messages can be written in person or mailed). Connect the pieces of fabric with a cord or piece of yarn, and the expecting mama can hang it in her birthing space.
Book of Mothering Wisdom: Have mothering friends (near and far) record gentle mothering wisdom for the pregnant mama. This could include wisdom pertinent to labor, to being a mother or partner, meaningful poems, whatever each mother wanted to contribute. One person could turn the notes into a keepsake book. If you hold an in-person ceremony, each mother could take turns reading her contribution before adding it to a book.
Record Personal Messages: For our pregnant friends who live far away, friends and family could record themselves (audio and/or video) giving the mother blessings, well wishes, affirmations, or other messages of support and love.
Lean for life: 5 ways to lose it for good
It’s easy enough to lose a few pounds for a short period of time, only to gain it back. It’s much harder to achieve long-term fat loss.
However, you know people who appear to be permanently in beach-ready shape, so it is possible to be lean for life. This begs the question: how can you lose the weight for good?
The answer to this quandary is not found in a single habit or action, but rather in the following 5 Lean for Life Habits…
Lean for Life Habit #1: Reimagine Yourself
Up until now you’ve accepted the shape that you are in, and even if you hate it, you’re comfortable with it. Read that again to make sure it sinks in. You are comfortable with the body that you have right now, and until you decide it’s no longer comfortable then you’ll be stuck in the shape that you currently have.
Now spend time reimagining yourself leaner. Really let that new image sink in until you’re more comfortable with it than you are with the image of your current body. Rinse and repeat. The clearer you can see and feel and imagine yourself in a lean body, the more urgency and desire you will create to achieve and maintain it.
Lean for Life Habit #2: Break Up With Sugar
Look, Sugar, we have to break up. It’s not you; it’s me. Sure, we’ve had some good times. You’ve tickled my sweet tooth and pleased my taste buds, but loving you is a double-edged sword that leaves me heavy and out of shape. So this is it, we are through!
As silly as that sounded, your relationship with sugar is holding you back from living in a lean for life body. It’s not only refined sugar that is messing with your body composition; in order to be lean for life you’ll also need to manage your intake of natural sugars.
The good news is that every day spent without sugar will make the next day that much easier and your cravings will become that much weaker. Stay strong and soon you’ll be more than happy with the occasional sweet treat rather than the all-day sugar drip that’s sabotaging your swimsuit dreams.
Lean for Life Habit #3: Forget Dieting
Going on a “diet” implies a start and end date, but if you really want to change your body composition for good then there is no end to your healthy lifestyle. It’s a marathon of adapting to healthier (and healthier!) habits to maintain for the rest of your life. The day that you stop trying is the day that your body reverts to it’s old (less svelte) shape.
Don’t worry, the more time that you get under your belt with healthy living, the easier it becomes. Soon your lean for life habits will feel like a normal day – just as your current habits feel like a normal day now. The key is to stick with it until the habits fully stick, and to vigorously fight the urge to give up.
Lean for Life Habit #4: Plan Your Cheats
Being lean for life doesn’t mean swearing off pizza and ice cream for the rest of your days. (Thank goodness!) On the contrary, you’ll find that planned cheat meals of your favorite foods are more enjoyable than ever before. The key is that you will be planning your cheat meals in advance and containing the excitement to one sitting each week.
The fun thing about enjoying a cheat meal while living a lean lifestyle is that there is absolutely zero guilt associated with the pleasure. Most of us experience twinges of guilt associated with most of our meals, because in the back of our mind is the thought that we should really be eating healthier in order to lose the weight that we have yet to lose. Once you’ve lost the fat and are actively living a lean life those cheat meals will be 100% pleasure!
Lean for Life Habit #5: Be Part of a Fitness Family
Belonging to a group of fellow fitness enthusiasts is key to making and maintaining your body transformation. Being fit is easier achieved in a supportive and encouraging group, rather than alone. The accountability provided from your fitness peers will save you from missing workouts and will get you to push yourself to try harder.
One of the most gratifying parts of being in a fitness family is the day when your support makes an impact on a new member. To give the encouragement that was given to you is a special moment that will stick with you, and will recommit you to your fitness lifestyle.