This is me seven months along in my first pregnancy. I am at my baby shower. My mother-in-law graciously and lovingly planned and put it on for me. Family, friends, and acquaintances came, ate, played games, talked about womanly things, and ultimately showered me and my baby girl with beautiful and much needed gifts. It was a lovely day, and for my first pregnancy was a great way to celebrate my baby.
For my second birth, two years later, I didn’t really need any large baby items. I kept everything I needed from my first daughter. No baby showers were planned. However, by this time I had a community of awesome women around me who encouraged me to celebrate my upcoming birth with a gathering. My doula and friend, Susan Linville, planned a blessingway for me, and we invited close friends and family – those who would come to celebrate birth as an integral part of life. A group blessingway was also prepared for me and other mothers-to-be at my daughter’s parent/child school. There was no need for gifts, just a presence and positive support, but I received some nice things to pamper myself with and to encourage me in my birthing. It was an intimate ceremony where I connected with the women around me, and we celebrated the process of birth as much as we celebrated the presence of my baby.
When planning a celebration for the pregnancy you are experiencing and the birth you are about to experience, there are so many different things you can do. The most important thing to remember is to create a celebration along with your family and friends that will meet your needs and help prepare you for birth and your new baby – and above all else will be joyful and fun. Below, I will list the characteristics of both a baby shower and a blessingway, along with ideas for each. You may find that you would like to have both types of celebrations for yourself and your growing family – one open and formal, and one with close friends and family that is informal and ceremonial.
A Baby Shower:
- Baby showers are usually held in neutral locations like a church fellowship hall, a friend’s backyard, or a banquet hall – a place where the mother-to-be doesn’t have to be the one worried about preparations and clean-up.
- The location is decorated, often with a theme of the mother’s and/or father’s choice. (My brother and sister-in-law chose a University of Kentucky basketball theme for their recent shower. They are expecting a boy in August. :))
- Games are planned for entertainment. i.e. baby bingo, toilet paper streamers to guess the size of mama’s belly, door prizes, word games/finds, etc…
- Food is prepared. Some will choose to have a whole lunch/supper for the shower, others will opt for finger foods. A nice cake is made.
- The mother typically registers at one or more department and/or specialty stores that are her favorite for gifts she would like to receive. The place of registration is made known in the invitation so guests can select their gifts from the registry.
- The guest list can include as many people as the mother and family would like to invite. Those who are close as well as those who are acquaintances. Men are becoming more and more common at baby showers as daddies are asking to be present and inviting their friends as well.
More information on planning a baby shower!
- A blessingway is typically held in a location special to the mother and where she will be completely comfortable, be it her home, place of worship, the home of a close friend or relative, or a nice, private outdoor location.
- The guest list includes close friends and family members who will be supportive of the mother’s birthing choices and will celebrate with her the process of birth. While daddies/men are now present at many baby showers, blessingways are often reserved for women only. However, that choice is the mother’s to make.
- Blessingways are more like informal ceremonies than parties. Many of the activities included are to help the mother to release fears, feel supported, and to simply celebrate birth. i.e. bead ceremonies (Guests bring a bead of their choice for a birthing necklace or bracelet for the mother, and present the bead to her along with a wish or prayer they have for her birth.), burning fears (fears or worries are written on slips of paper and burned in a small fire to be released), supporting song (guests place hands on the mother while a song of celebration plays to show their support and thoughts/prayers are with the mother), birth bracelets are given to all guests to wear until they hear of the baby’s arrival (usually simple in nature as a piece of nice yarn). A blessingway is often very spiritual.
- For food you may again choose a whole meal or finger foods.
- You may or may not choose to decorate the location.
- Asking guests to bring gifts for you and/or the baby is optional as the focus is more on blessing the mother than material gifts. If you choose to ask for gifts, be sure to include a registry on the invitation.
More information on planning a blessingway!
Whatever celebration you choose, I wish you a lovely day! Make it your own. 🙂 Please share in the comments ideas or fun things you have experienced for baby showers and blessingways.
Many happy days to you and yours!