by Michelle Miller
Pregnancy and parenthood can be scary for expectant mothers, especially new moms.
"I was worried about how am I going to know what to do. I was worried and had a lot of doubts about becoming a mom and handling everything,” said first time mother Tera Ness.
A unique take on a baby shower changed everything.
“After this blessing way I’ve never felt more confident or supported. I’m not worried at all anymore,” Ness said.
Blessing ways began in the United States by Navaho Indians in the 70’s, as an alternative to baby showers. Important women in the mother’s life gathered, but they didn’t bring presents for the mother and child.
It’s “spirit-focused as opposed to materially focused. Baby showers tend to be about gifts,” explained Regina based- blessing way leader Marie Berwald.
Berwald has taught prenatal-yoga classes for more than six years and is also a hypnobirthing practitioner. Two years ago one of her clients was interested in having a blessing way, but didn’t know where to start. Berwald researched and offered to host one. She has been leading blessing ways ever since.
Blessing ways are set up a bit differently than the average shower. Instead of playing games or exchanging gifts, “women gather in a circle and each of them say their blessings. It might be a prayer, it might be a song, a poem or just something from the heart,” Berwald explained.
The women invited to the blessing way are each asked to bring a candle. They share their positive thoughts and energy with the mom while holding the candle. Then when the woman goes into labour, she lights all of their candles
and it symbolises the love and support she has from her friends and family.
“I feel like there is a gap in terms of recognising how large of a transition becoming a mother is. So often in our culture we have so many things that we have in our heart, that we never say out loud. We don’t often.. get a chance to express how much we truly appreciate the peoplein our lives and this is one of those nice times,” Berwald said
“It was completely the most worthwhile event ever. Wow. It’s something I’ll always remember,” Ness said.
Berwald charges $150 for each blessing way. Ness said it’s more than worth it. “If you compare it to a baby shower, a blessing way’s so much more meaningful and worthwhile. You’re really getting these people together and everybody’s sharing their most important events and stories of becoming a mother. It was beautiful.”
Blessing ways are supposed to help, “make the transition easier on the mother,” Berwald explained.
According to Ness, her blessing way did its job.
“I’m feeling really calm because I know everything is going to work out.”
Photo: Symbolic candlies lit by the mother during labour. Photo courtesy of Marie Berwald.