The Blessing Circle
This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a dear friend’s Blessing Circle. And while it is her story to tell, I will say that it was an extremely special and beautiful occasion, planned to mark the upcoming arrival of her sweet baby.
Different from a baby shower, a Blessing Circle or Blessingway is a time to celebrate the mother as she prepares for her birth. It has roots in the Navajo tradition, and includes specific symbolism to mark the significance of the birth and the mother’s role in it. The event was hosted by my friend’s midwife, and all of us who came were mothers. We all love our friend deeply, and we understand the importance of birth, both in our lives and in hers.
For me, it was an incredibly moving experience and I cried through most of it. We first introduced ourselves, filling in the blanks, as, “Daughter of (Deborah), mother to (James and Rhys),” and then we watched as our friend’s feet were washed in herbs and roses. This was to teach her to let others care for her, which, for most women, is a hard lesson to learn. We then took turns offering words of encouragement to our friend, and some women passed, because they were so openly moved to tears. I was one of them, of course, but I shared this poem and this one by Carl Sandburg with my friend.
After that, the midwife sang a beautiful and empowering song, as her young daughter accompanied her. And my friend’s doula told us that, each day, 300,000 women give birth around the world. That was such a comforting thought to me.
At the end of the ceremony, we passed around yarn, which was wrapped around each of our wrists like a bracelet, linking us to our pregnant friend, so we can support her through the final weeks of her pregnancy.
It was such a beautiful and memorable day, and I was honored to be a part of it.