One the newer ceremonies offered by civil celebrants to celebrate becoming pregnant and the coming new member of a family is called The Blessing Way Ceremony
Wendy Haynes, North Coast Celebrant and Author and TCN member, shares her thoughts about this wonderful ceremony.
The Blessing Way Ceremony
The healing and supportive ritual of the blessing way ceremony honours the pregnant woman and the upcoming birth of her child.
This ceremony is thought to have originated with the Native American Navajo people, although many other cultures offer similar rituals for expectant mothers. In our western culture the blessing way is beginning to replace the more commercial ‘baby shower’. It was traditionally held with only women present although at the blessing way ceremonies I have conducted men have been in attendance, especially the father of the child.
Pregnancy is an amazing time in a woman’s life – touched by wonder, fear, excitement, hesitation and of course, many changes at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
The blessing way ceremony is usually held in the latter stage of the pregnancy and is an opportunity to provide the expectant mother with support, resources and strength at this time of transition, opening the way for a healthy pregnancy, an empowering birth experience and a restful recovery.
The ceremony is aimed at helping to reduce any anxiety or fear the expectant mother holds, and to inspire her sense of inner strength and courage to face the challenges involved with childbirth. It can also be time for a bit of fun and celebrate the sheer joy of being pregnant.
This sacred time also serves to pay respect to the miracle of birth and of life itself. Furthermore, it will strengthen the connection between invited guests creating a much needed community of support that will last after the child is born.
The ceremony can include guidance and support from other mothers who have experienced birth and parenting thereby honouring the wisdom within the community. The importance of passing skills and knowledge from one generation to another is a great gift and was often conducted while carrying out the daily chores - preparing food, weaving baskets and other tasks that brought women together – this aspect of the gathering cannot be underestimated.
When planning and creating a blessing way ceremony allow enough time for these riches to be explored and shared.
Having a celebrant conduct the blessing way ceremony allows the expectant mother to be the honoured guest and to soak up the gifts that the rituals bring without worrying about time or the outline to be followed. As the celebrant it is our role to keep the blessing way ceremony focused, flowing and yet with enough space to allow for spontaneity and natural wisdom to emerge. It is very different to conducting a structured wedding ceremony and requires a sensitivity to a more fluid approach.
North Coast Celebrant and Author
Visit Wendy's website
TCN Members can access an example of a Blessing Way ceremony in the Members Only section.