elisa james nsw

What is a Mother Blessing Ceremony?

A Mother Blessing is a women’s circle ceremony held for a mother-to-be, usually during their third trimester from 34-38 weeks pregnant. 

Mother Blessings bring the mothers community of friends and family together. It is a chance for her to feel deeply held, heard and seen by women in her life who are really important and special to her. It’s an opportunity to witness her through the transformation and rite of passage into motherhood. 

It doesn’t matter if the mother is having her first, or fifth baby, each and every pregnancy and birth is a new experience filled with highs and lows and deserves celebration. 

A Mother Blessing typically goes between two hours and four hours, depending on the inclusions and how many women are involved. They’re usually women-only events, and they can have as few as 3 women to larger style gatherings. The biggest blessing I have ever facilitated had 25 women, which was lively and beautiful. 

Unlike baby showers, a mother blessing is more focused on the mother, her preparation for birth and motherhood, including her identity shift and experience of matrescence, vs fully focusing on the excitement of a new baby. 

These ceremonies are for all mothers, regardless of their birth choices or where they’re planning to birth. It does not matter if they are birthing under fairy lights in a birth pool at home, or birthing under bright lights in an operating theater having a planned cesarean, all birth is sacred and special, and every birth is a rite of passage.

Every blessing will be different, depending on the activities that are included, however they typically include some grounding in practices such as a meditation or guided visualisation, rituals such as the red thread ceremony, or women gifting the mother a symbolic birth altar item, or sharing a birth or motherhood blessing. This is where attendees will read out either borrowed or written words that focus on the positives and strength of birth and motherhood, and how much they love and admire the mother. 

The group may then create birth affirmation flags together, painting and drawing as a group, create goddess birth sculptures, play or sing music, or invite the mother to receive a massage from the circle, as a way to recognise her growing and changing body.

These circles are for the mother to carve out time to receive support and love, and to talk about the need for ongoing connection, once her baby has been born. 

These ceremonies are meaningful and impactful. I have had two pregnancies myself, and during my first, I decided to have a huge baby shower with 80 guests, fully catered with food and booze. It was more like a party and I remember being exhausted at the end of it.

Whereas, in my second pregnancy, I had a Mother Blessing with 10 women. My friends brought a plate of food to share, they set up the circle, all I had to do was arrive and then receive love. I was told how powerful I was. They read affirming messages about labour, birth and being able to handle the pain of contractions. As I was having a homebirth, this was really important for me to hear, as I did hold fear that I wouldn’t be able to cope. I received a foot soak in rose petals, had a flower crown placed upon my head, laid down to be given a massage, while the women sang and drummed over my body.

I remember when I reached 40 weeks pregnant, I would get out their letters and read them every day, until I gave birth 2.5 weeks later. It was one of the most beautiful days of my life and the ongoing effects of that ceremony rippled through to my pregnancy and postpartum.

My dream is that every mother is honoured this way!

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