Let Me Show You A New Way Of Celebrating Your Transition To Parent!
A mother blessing is an alternative to a baby shower that brings together a group of people to celebrate your journey through birth & beyond
Last month I logged onto a work shop that has just filled me with excitement and anticipation. I have something new to offer all the wonderful clients and families that I work with.
My doula buddy Kat and I attended a workshop focused on developing a deeper understanding of how to facilitate the ceremony of Mother Blessings.
We were guided through this process by Emma Ashworth; doula, breastfeeding counsellor, celebrant and author of The AIMS Guide to Your Rights in Pregnancy and Birth.
If you want to know more about what happens at a Mother Blessing and how to book either Kat or myself to facilitate one for you head over to our Doula Magic page.
Here I am going tell why I think they are a great addition to the services we offer.
I’m really excited, Mother Blessings are about:
- Celebrating transitions, changes and growth.
- Building communities, developing support networks, encouraging a focus on postnatal life.
- A way to ensure no one has to cope alone with the challenges of being a new parent.
- Sharing love, strength, knowledge and wisdom.
A little bit of personal history
When my first child was born people would bring gifts; beautiful outfits for the baby, toys, gadgets, nappies, baby books. It was all appreciated but one gift stood out; my best friend gave me non judgemental companionship and 4 hours of sleep.
We’d had a few challenging days at first but things had settled down. The night my friend arrived my baby would not settle, cried, screamed unless at the breast. I was exhausted.
My friend sat by my side in my messy bedroom; we watched endless movies that we’d never normally watch (the one that really sticks in all our minds is The Cassandra Crossing, all about a deadly disease on a speedy train).
She kept me fed and watered as I fed my baby.
When my baby finally settled down, my friend took her and held her, walked with her and soothed her so we could get some well deserved rest.
That sleep put everything into perspective, allowed us to regroup and feel so much more balanced.
What my friend gave me here was pure unconditional love and space to acknowledge things were difficult. She laughed with us as we tried to understand what our tiny human wanted. She held that space as we made mistakes and did not judge. I see now, she was in a way my doula; even though neither of us had even heard of doulas back then.
So why a Mother Blessing?
Firstly let me say that Mother Blessing is a term that describes the ceremony, and it’s intentions.
But, this ceremony is for anyone who is on the transition to parent; it’s a way of honouring the journey and celebrating all that is to come.
The term Mother Blessing is derived from some of the first people of North America, specifically the Navajo people; who are credited for the term and practice of the Blessingway. The practice of a Mother Blessing, in varying forms are found in many cultures all over the world.
Sophie Messager recently wrote a wonderful book called “Why Postnatal Recovery Matters“. She talks eloquently about the decline in postnatal support for new families, a lack of focus on postnatal recovery. Sophie also discusses how traditional postnatal rituals and practices are declining. She identifies that we can reclaim these principles through the 4 pillars of postnatal recovery:
- Social Support
- Body work
As a doula I have skills this support these 4 pillars, facilitating rest and recuperation, postnatal recovery massage (and some excellent postnatal yoga and women’s health practitioners to signpost to), I can help out round the house and with older children, cook you a meal and make sure you’ve eaten.
Social support is by far the most important; as a doula I’m there when arranged and as you need me. When I am not there, that’s when social support becomes really important.
Barclay et al (1997) said that three factors influenced women’s experience of new motherhood:
- The nature of the baby and the mother’s reactions to her baby’s behaviour
- Prior experience with other people’s babies
- The nature of social support available to women
As a doula I can help families understand their baby’s behaviour, support them as they develop their parenting skills and knowledge, share ideas and evidence.
I can be a part of their social support network.
But, by helping them to build a wider social support network through postnatal planning I can help them to develop resilience, and confidence.
Mother Blessings – creating your social support network
A mother blessing brings together a group of people with a common focus of celebrating your journey through birth and beyond. This celebration helps build a social support network that will be there for a parent through pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Through the course of the ceremony we share words of encouragement, strength wisdom and love. Crafting keepsakes and tokens that will guide you through your baby’s birth; giving you strength, connecting you with your special people.
We make promises of support for the future, these might be holding your baby whilst you shower or sleep, holding space for you to release emotions, putting a few tasty meals in the freezer.
Unlike a baby shower which focuses on the baby, a Mother Blessing focuses in the parents experience, encouraging friends and family to think about what that person really needs, how they can support them to feel confident, cared for and valued.
A Mother Blessing shapes social support, moulds it into something that nurtures and empowers parents.
To to facilitate this as a doula is a wonderful extension of my role. The ceremony develops a culture of shifting the focus to social support, enhancing the connections between people….Well just the thought of it is exciting and fills me with oxytocin.
What is my role as a Mother Blessing Celebrant?
A mother blessing can be whatever you want it to be, it can encompass any elements or themes that are important to you.
As your celebrant I will guide you through the planning process, exploring things that are really important to you, crafting a ceremony that will be really special.
Taking on board some of the admin, and coordinating with your circle of friends and family in relation to anything they may have to prepare in advance.
On the day I’ll be there to help set up the space, and guide everyone through the ceremony.
As part of the preparation I will craft readings and rituals that will bring your group together building a wonderfully empowering and nurturing celebration.
Mother blessings are currently being offered at a special introductory price of £120. If you would like both Kat and I to attend, which allows for more activities and elements to be facilitated then our introductory offer price is £170. More info at Doula Magic.