Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Mother-Centered Shower

There's a new type of celebration taking the birth world by storm.

It's been referred to as a Blessingway, the Mother's Shower, or a Mother's Blessing Circle.  In an effort to respect the Native American term and to avoid cultural appropriation, we are going to avoid "blessingway" for the purposes of this blogpost. 

Honestly, part of me feels wrong to say that it's a new trend.  Honoring mothers in one way or another has been a part of most every culture. However, I believe that the difference is that somewhere along the way, American culture lost sight of the women who birthed its children

The rise of the Mother's Blessing Circle is the answering call to this missing piece.

"But wait!", you say. "Don't we already shower the expectant mother with gifts at a baby shower?"

Yes, we do. May I draw your attention to one small detail?

baby shower

It's not about the mom. Yes, we provide her with financial support in the form of gifts to help care for her child. But what about the emotional support?

The mother-centered shower covers this gap.
There is no easy way to describe what happens there. Each is as unique as the mother they cater to. But there are two elements that all of them carry.

1. Sisterhood

There is a strength that comes from knowing that you are not alone. Some mother-centered showers are filled with loved ones and longtime friends, while others are virtually strangers.  It doesn't matter though, because once a woman crosses the threshold into the room, she is there to love and support the mother. 
That support takes the shape of emotional vulnerability. Birth is a huge life-changing event in a woman's life. It can bring both joy and fear. The mother will feel supported and safe to sit in a room where other women nod knowingly and whisper a gentle "me too".  The emotional bonds that form during such brave truth sharing mean that while some attendants may arrive as strangers, they are able to leave as lifelong friends. 

2. Gifts

The gifts that are brought to a mother-centered shower are completely different than those brought to a baby shower. For starters, the hostess contacts the women(minus the mother) beforehand and tells them what to bring. 
it's never a baby blanket.
It's not even a wrapped gift for mom.
The gifts are usually free or inexpensive, and overflowing with meaning.

Here are some examples:
-a written blessing for mom's postpartum period
-a birth affirmation to string up into a banner
-a bead for a necklace
-herbs or flowers for an epsom salt bath
-a natural element to add to her birth space
-a rock with a single word written on it for inspiration during labor

There are many more gifts and activities that can be used for a mother-centered shower, but pinterest should hold you over for a more comprehensive list.

I believe in the mother-centered shower.

"Birth is a sacred space which should be honored, respected, and nurtured. Since the emotional state of a mother during pregnancy and birth carries into her mothering years, caring for her should be society's primary goal." ~Graceful Birthing mission statement

Our mother's are not alone. They should not be alone. To be human is to need connection. 

"By giving ourselves the grace to be women, we help to give birth to not just children, but to mothers as well." ~Graceful Birthing mission statement

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