Another Kind of Baby Shower

The Blessingway is a nice way to round out the “shower” experience for mom, and presents an opportunity for her nearest and dearest to offer more than just material support.

Note: In my last post (Stuff, Stuff, Stuff, Stuff, Stuff) I mentioned that glass is not a practical alternative for plastic baby bottles. Well, I was wrong! Turns out a number of companies offer glass bottles, including Dr. Browns and Evenflo.

I have now officially been to two baby showers, neither of them entirely conventional: April’s tequila-gifting extravaganza, and this weekend, a Blessingway. Believed to be a Native American tradition, the Blessingway is meant to spiritually, emotionally, and mentally prepare the mother-to-be for labor, delivery, and her new life as a parent. It’s a nice way to round out the “shower” experience for mom, and presents an opportunity for her nearest and dearest to offer more than just material support.

So whether you’re planning your own event, or planning one for an expectant friend, here are a few “rituals” to think about including if a Blessingway seems more appropriate than pin-the-binky-on-the-baby:

  • Pamper the mom-to-be by washing her feet and brushing her hair.
  • Make a plaster or paper mâché belly cast. This can also be done a few days before the Blessingway, and left out during the event so guests can paint it.
  • Lay out squares of fabric with fabric markers so that guests may make a personalized prayer flag. The finished squares can then be strung together and hung in the birthing room.
  • Ask guests to bring a charm, bead, or amulet for a “birthing necklace.” The mom-to-be can collect them in a formal ceremony at the event where guests may say a few encouraging words, or privately, whatever makes everyone most comfortable.
  • Guests can light a candle and say a quiet blessing for the new family.
  • Prepare a book that guests may write in, offering advice, inspiration, or well wishes.

A few other things to consider:

  • Like many baby showers, a Blessingway is often a female-only event. However, feel free to include whoever will offer significance to the event for you. My friend’s fiancé participated, and emphasis was placed on them as a new family rather than just her as a new mom-to-be.
  • Let people know what they’re getting into. In the invite, offer a brief explanation of a Blessingway, and maybe include some examples of what rituals they’ll be participating in at the event.
  • You’ll need a few things for your new addition, especially if it’s your first, so don’t feel you need to eschew gifts just because you’re having an alternative event. You may want to encourage guests not to wrap gifts, however, seeing as how all that paper ends up in the garbage.
  • Ask some guests to bring beverages, and others to bring food. That way, you can feed a bunch without breaking the bank (and minimize preparation for a very generous or very pregnant hostess).


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About This Blog

Shannon Gallagher

Shannon Gallagher
Rhinebeck, NY

Dutchess County native Shannon Gallagher is a contributing editor for Hudson Valley Magazine. An erstwhile thrill-seeker, these days she courts disaster of a different variety wrangling a spirited toddler, honing her vegan baking skills, and chasing the ever-elusive work-family balance. She teaches Pilates and does fascial bodywork, and lives in Rhinebeck with Coraline, a cat named Otie, and Sushi the Fish (named, of course, by the toddler).



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