Hosting a Mother Blessing

The Purpose of a Mother Blessing

A Mother Blessing ceremony helps mark a powerful transition in a woman’s life and prepare her mind, body and spirit for leaping into the unknown. Friends, family and loved ones, usually women, gather together to wrap the mother in love and positivity. A Mother Blessing should end with the expectant woman feeling empowered and embraced by the love and strength of her tribe. (Description adapted from Nancy Lucina)

The Roots of the Mother Blessing Ceremony

Navajo Dancer, Credit: Erin Ford
The Mother Blessing ceremony is an adaptation of an ancient Navajo ceremony called a Blessingway. Participants of a Blessingway honour, pamper, and prepare the pregnant mother for her journey through birth into motherhood. The Navajo use the Blessing Way Ceremony for many purposes, not just for pregnancy and birth.  It is a ceremony performed for any event or transition that is hoped to have a positive outcome, such as menstruation, menopause, or engagement.

To honour the traditions of the Navajo, it is recommended women don’t conduct a Blessingway unless they are of Native American decent. Instead, women can adapt the traditions into their own unique ceremony - many mothers choose to use the term “Mother Blessing Ceremony”.

There are many forms of Blessingway ceremonies, and you can adapt or create rituals to fit the mother's own spiritual beliefs and lifestyle. The ceremony can be short or long, incorporating many rituals or a few. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate a pregnancy.

Individualizing the Ceremony

Guest List

You should consider the guestlist carefully. Be sure to ask the mother who she would like to attend and who she would prefer did not. It’s important the experience is entirely uplifting for her. A Mother Blessing is an intimate and spiritual affair in comparison to a baby shower where a mother may feel obligated to invite a long list people she doesn't necessarily feel positively connected with. Guests who attend do so to honour the mother, to shower her with love and support. Each word spoken is positive and filled with love, joy, and compassion. It is a place void of gossip, judgement, or fear.


If the mother has older children discuss with her who she would like to look after her children for the day. She may prefer to keep her kids close and even have them participate in the ceremony but have someone help when needed.


Mother Blessing Space, Credit: Inken Arntzen
Ideally, a Mother Blessing is hosted somewhere other than the mother’s home. As a Mother Blessing is centered around honouring the mother, she should not feel pressured to prepare her home for or to serve guests. However, if mum is planning to have a home birth, she may want to infuse her home with the beautiful energy that the Mother Blessing brings. Speak to her and make sure to choose a location where she will feel comfortable.

Keep in mind that a Mother Blessing doesn't have to be at someone's home - a retreat or hotel room can be booked, or a beautiful park, reserve, or community garden can be utilized.

Create an Intimate Space

Create a beautiful, sacred space for guests to relax, share, and celebrate. Think about soft music the mother may appreciate, display candles, and place cushions, rugs, and blankets in an intimate circle for guests to sit. The circle is key to a Mother Blessing - it helps create a sense of unity and support.

Time Frame

Mother Blessings can last an hour, a couple of hours, or an entire day.  It depends on the preferences of the mother and the chosen activities - bellycasting or henna painting can take an hour or more. You may find guests are engaging well so decide to extend the ceremony to accommodate them. You could plan an afternoon Mother Blessing that ends with a potluck dinner, or begin with a lunch before delving into the ceremony.

A sample itinerary might look like this:

2.00pm - Guests arrive: guests choose a place to sit, provide refreshments & healthy nibbles
2.30pm - Open ceremony: welcome guests, state intentions, opening prayer, guests introduce themselves, light candles, create centrepiece
3.00pm - Pamper the mother: flower crown, pedicure, manicure, braid hair, massage
4.00pm - Gift giving
4.30pm - Creative time: beaded bracelet, affirmation stones
5.00pm - Sharing time: guests share written blessings, mothering wisdom, birth stories, create help list
6.00pm - Close ceremony: thank guests for coming, hand out candles, closing prayer
6.15pm - Dinner


This is likely an event the mother will want to remember. Find out if she would like to hire a professional photographer or if she has a friend with a talent for photography who can do the honours.


Depending on which activities you decide you’d like to do, you may decide to ask your guests to bring certain things in the invite. These may include:
  • A written note for a Blessing Box
  • An object for a centerpiece
  • A special bead for a bracelet or necklace
  • A beautiful flower for a floral crown
  • A gift for to include in a care package
  • A plate of healthy, nourishing food to share - depending on whether you're choosing to cater yourself, hire caterers, or have a pot luck
You'll also want to include a short description of the purpose of a Mother Blessing for guests who are unaware. The wording in an invite might look something like this:

As a cherished friend of Sarah please join­­ us for a Mother Blessing
Evolving from a traditional Navajo ceremony, a Mother Blessing is a sacred gathering celebrating the upcoming birth of an expectant mother. A close group of female family and friends gather to pamper, support, and empower the mother with wisdom and confidence in preparation for childbirth and motherhood.
Graciously bring...
A beautiful flower. This will be used to create a floral crown for Sarah to wear during the ceremony.
A medium sized bead. This will be be used to create a bracelet for Sarah to wear during her labour to remind her of your support.
A blessing of love and encouragement written on the enclosed card. This can be something you've written or sourced from another author. It can be in the form a verse, prayer, special wish, quote, poem, or song lyric. We will share the blessings with Sarah during the ceremony then place them in a Blessing Box for the her to cherish.
A healthy dish to share.
If you are unable to attend the ceremony but would like to offer your support for Sarah please send your bead and written blessing to [address of host] before [date of ceremony].
Mother Blessing hosted with love by [the host]
Please RSVP to [contact details of host] by [one week before ceremony]

Mother Blessing Invitation, Credit: Green Door Handmade

Opening the Ceremony

Welcome Your Guests and State Your Intentions

Like any ceremony or gathering you should have an opening, body, and a closing. Mother Blessings are usually conducted with participants seated in a circle which symbolizes strength and unity and so that everyone can participate equally.

The ceremony should start with a welcome greeting from the host. If your guests are new to Mother Blessings, explain what your ceremony is and what you will be doing. Explain that it is meant to support the mother and positively prepare her for labor. Sample introduction:

“Welcome everyone and thank you for coming to Sarah’s Mother Blessing Ceremony."
"For those of you who don’t know what a Mother Blessing is, it is a ceremony adapted from the ancient Navajo Native American Blessingway ceremony. It involves honoring, pampering, and preparing the pregnant mother for her journey through birth into motherhood, and involves the participation of everyone."
"First we will be performing an opening ritual, after which we will be pampering Sarah by creating a flower headdress for her, giving her a pedicure, manicure, braiding her hair, and giving her a massage. Next we will each give her the gifts we have brought. After that we will be doing a range of activities, these include creating a beaded bracelet and affirmation stones. Next will be a time are sharing, we'll be sharing our blessings, prayers, poems, quotes, or affirmations we have brought for Sarah and collate them in the Blessing Box. We will be writing our pearls of wisdom in the Mothers Book of Wisdom, and sharing  the things we most loved about our own births. Lastly we'll be creating a Help List for Sarah."
"Before we get started, I’d like to ask you to join hands in prayer."

Cast the Circle

The circle is meant to be a safe confidential space that allows guests to open themselves to each other. To cast the circle any form of prayer is fine, but one way you can do this is to hold hands and say together:

“Let us form this circle with clear thoughts, wise words, and kind hearts.” (Adapted from Karina Robinson)


Each guest should have a turn to introduce themselves. A nice touch to add would be to have each guest also “introduce” her mother, grandmothers, and children by sharing their names with the group.

Lighting Candles

Credit: Vicki Hobbs
Provide a candle for each guest and have them light their candle from the central candle (the mother’s candle), then place their candle next to the mother’s as a symbol of support for the mother and their inclusion in the ceremony.

At the end of the Mother Blessing, extinguish the candles and have each guest take their candle home. When the mother goes into labour, message the guests so they can light the candle in her honor, keeping it burning until the baby is born.

Collective Centerpiece 

Centerpieces can be made with flowers, stones, crystals, or other pieces of nature. Guests can also bring objects that are sacred or special to them for use in the centerpiece for the day. Ask each guest to bring an item and gather them together to form a centerpiece for the ceremony. 

The Body of a Mother Blessing

Transition into your Mother Blessing ritual activities. There is no set order for conducting each ritual, so you can do them in whatever order makes sense to you. You may wish to first tell your guests which rituals you will be performing. You can play music or sing songs during each activity.

Credit: Grace Ceremonies


Typically, grooming of the expecting mother is done first. You may choose to wash the mother's feet in warm water gently scented by essential oils, brush and braid her hair, give her a manicure, pedicure, facial, or massage.

Anointing with Oil

This is a beautiful way to endow confidence in a mother. Give each guest a slip of paper that tells them a specific body part to anoint. An example:

"I anoint your head, may your intuition guide the decisions you will make in the coming years. I anoint your chest, may your heart be filled with love, acceptance, compassion and forgiveness. I anoint your breasts, may they produce abundant milk for your baby. I anoint your hips, may they allow for an easy and empowering birth. I anoint your hands, may they cradle your baby with divine love. I anoint your feet, may they ground you and keep you centered."

Laying of Hands

Laying of hands is an especially unifying and supportive ritual - the power of touch is unmistakable. Have each guest place their hands on the pregnant woman’s belly (if she is comfortable with this) and say a blessing, prayer, affirmation, or sing a song in unison.
Laying of Hands, Credit: Brigid's Grove


After the mother is feeling completely indulged, guests can present her with gifts.


There are a multitude of activities to choose from! You may choose to create a birthing bracelet, birthing wreath, belly cast, belly painting, affirmation stones or whatever activities you have prepared for the Mother Blessing (for a full list of activities see further down the post). You do not need to do all of these! Choose the ones that appeal the most to the expecting mother and fit into the allotted time frame. But, if you have all day, by all means try them all! “Wrist binding” can be a very nice way to end the main part of the ceremony as everyone is joined together and then cut apart.

Closing a Blessingway

Once the expecting mother has been showered with Mother Blessing rituals, you can close the ceremony by first making sure that each guest has had a chance to share what they wanted to share with the expecting mother.

To close the ceremony, a song, poem, affirmation, or prayer sung/read together while holding hands can be a nice way to bring the group together one last time. The Bracelet Binding ritual is also a lovely ritual to do at end of the ceremony (see details towards the bottom of the post).

Thank your guests for coming and for the positive energy they imbued on the celebration. If you are giving favors - such as a candle for the candle ritual - make sure to remind your guests to take one. If you are doing the candle and bracelet binding rituals also be sure to collect everyone's contact details to let them know when the mother is in labour and when the baby is born.

Open the Circle

Lastly, to open the circle ask your guests to hold hands and say together:

“Our circle is now open, but remains unbroken.”

Time to Feast

Sharing food together is traditionally a central part of the Mother Blessing. You may choose to hire caterers, cater yourself, or have each guest bring a plate of healthy, nourishing food.
Credit: The Organic Kitchen

Blessingway Activities

Make a Crown of Flowers

This is a delightful way to help the mother feel beautiful and honored. Ask each guest to bring a flower and weave the flowers into a crown using additional foliage, florist wire, and florist tape. For instructions see this post from Flowers Across Melbourne florist blog.
Flower Crown, Credit: Adelaideup

Beaded Bracelet

This is a favourite for many mothers and a nice way to get everyone - not just those attending the event -  involved in supporting the mother. Have each guest bring or send a bead they have picked for the mother. The bead should be something the guest has picked with the mother in mind. At the Mother Blessing pass a piece of jewelry thread around the circle, allowing each guest to say a blessing to the mother before threading her bead. Once each guest has threaded their own bead, have them continue around the circle by threading the beads and reading the blessings of any loved ones who couldn't attend the ceremony.

The mother can then keep the beads close - during pregnancy, labor, and beyond - to remind her of her support circle. Many mothers have said that these birth beads give them strength and focus during labor.
Mother Blessing Beads, Credit: Loving a Glutenfree Life

Prayers, Poems, and Blessings

Ask each guest to bring or send something they've found or written for the mother. This can be a thought, quote, poem, song lyric, blessing, or prayer - something that endows positivity and support for the mother. In your wording you may want to consider the mothers specific circumstances. Is she a first time mother? Is she still healing from a previous miscarriage or difficult birth? Is she planning on a VBAC? Has she expressed specific concerns about birth or motherhood? You can compile the written notes into a small, beautiful Blessing Book or Blessing Box for the mother. Friends and family unable to attend can send their written messages via mail, electronically, or send audio or video recordings. You can find a great collection of birth poems here and here.

Credit: Homebirth Aotearoa

Book of Mothering Wisdom

Have mothering friends write or send gentle mothering wisdom for the pregnant mother. This could be in the form of a thought, quote, poem, song lyric, blessing, or prayer - whatever each mother wants to contribute. Have each mother take turns reading her contribution before adding it to a book. Friends and family unable to attend can send their written messages via mail, electronically, or send audio or video recordings.
Credit: Ann Landers

Share Positive Birth Experiences

Empower the mother-to-be by sharing positive birth experiences with her. Take turns going around the room telling what you most enjoyed about your births.
Credit:  Maria Shytova

Centering the Mother

Help refill the mothers spiritual cup by each expressing what qualities you love about her or recounting a sweet or fun story about her.
"Blessings" by Veronica Petrie

Releasing Fear

This ritual is best done at the beginning of the Mother Blessing so that guests may release their fears and feel free to focus on the ceremony.

"The purpose of the ceremony is to identify and symbolically release old hurts, grudges, resentments, regrets, sufferings, mistakes… to release the past letting go of any thoughts,  feelings or behaviors that might be holding you back." - The Compassionate Gardener

For this ritual ask each guest write down their fear on a piece of paper, then starting with the mother, each participant puts their piece of paper in a "burning bowl" where they're safely burnt. You can end the ritual by saying:

“By burning these things, we release our fears. May we now be free to focus our minds and hearts upon the present moment.”
Burning Bowl Ceremony, Credit: Michael Woods

Birthing Flags

Have guests decorate a small fabric flag with an inspirational image, phrase, affirmation, or design that relates to birthing or feeling empowered. The guests then bring or send the flags to the Mother Blessing, where they read or explain the meaning behind their flag, before connecting each piece of fabric with a cord. The expecting mother can hang the flags in her birthing space.
Credit: Hourglass Photography

Wishing Tree

This is a sweet activity commonly done at baby showers, birthdays, engagements, and weddings and which would fit in well at a Mother Blessing. Create a miniature tree from a branch and place it in a pretty pot. Have each guest write a wish for the new mother using decorative paper/cards. Tie the wishes to the tree as “leaves.” The wishes can later be collected for the mother and cherished in a "Wish Book" or "Wish Box".

Wishing Tree, Credit: Project Nursery

River Stones

Provide each guest with a smooth river stone. Ask the guests to think of a word they would like the pregnant mother to focus on before and during labor. Each guest should write her word on the stone, then everyone can share why they chose their word.
Credit: Breathe Doula Care, Portland

Belly Cast

A belly cast is a slightly messy and light-hearted activity that will bring smiles all around. It's actually fairly straight forward and each guest can take turns applying the plaster bandage. It also gives the mother a lovely keepsake of her pregnant body. Alternatively the mother can bring her premade belly cast and each participant can paint/write an affirmation or design.
Credit: Mother & Baby UK

Belly Painting

Another fun activity is to paint the mother's belly. You can use henna paints or any non-toxic (preferably natural) body paints. The mother may have a design she would like, something of special significance. You can talk it over with the mother beforehand and decide what she would like. Henna paint may work especially well because it could last until the birth, if the mother wants. A nice touch would be to henna each hand of the guests as well, symbolically connecting each participant in the circle.
Mother Blessing Henna, Credit: Healing Henna

Candle Jars

There are a multitude of beautiful ways to decorate candle jars. You may choose to use glass paint, gold leaf, colorful or patterned tissue paper, glitter, lace, ribbon etc. You can have each participant bring jars from home or provide them for your guests. If having a homebirth, candles can be lit in the jars during labor to create a beautiful glow and remind the mother of her support circle. You can find instructions for the below jars here.
Decorated Candle Jars, Credit: Rach Speed

Nature Mobile or Wreath

Ask each guest to bring something from nature (a dried flower, a crystal, foliage etc.). Incorporate the objects into a simple wreath or mobile  – it can grace the mother’s birthing space and/or can be enjoyed by the new baby. Guests can also choose to tie small gifts or affirmations to the wreath.
Wreath, Credit: Terrain

Plant a Garden

For the pregnant mother who loves plants, ask each guest to bring a small perennial plant the mother can keep in her house or plant at her leisure.
Credit: El Jardin De Gaia

Embroidered Blanket

Ask each guest to write a short note or design on a plain blanket with fabric markers. Then someone with a talent for embroidery can embroider over the marker to keep the notes and designs intact.
Credit: Celeste Johnston

Decorate Baby Clothes

Ask each guest to bring a onesie or other plain cotton baby clothing to decorate. You can use freezer stencils, appliqué fabric markers, or any other simple craft ideas.

Labor/Motherhood CD

Ask each guest to send a special song that will be burned onto a CD that the mother can listen to (during labor if appropriate). Each guest can share why she chose the song. You can find a beautiful album specifically made for Mother Blessing ceremonies here (pictured below).
Blessingway Songs,by Copperwoman &
the 2005 Esalen Midwives Retreat Choir

Online or Powerpoint Blessingway

Especially good for friends who cannot come to an in person ceremony, gather photos of the pregnant mother during pregnancy, with friends, etc and put them together with special words of love from the mother’s support system. Add in an appropriate piece of music, and you have a beautiful keepsake.

Care Package

Ask each guest to bring a gift to include in a care package. This could be nipple ointment, body butter, facial masks, hair oil, essential oils, scented heat pack, a selection of teas, bath salts, a voucher for a massage or manicure etc.
New Mother Care Package
Credit: Sweet Gum Botanicals

Help List

Sign up each guest for a period of housework, childcare of other siblings, and other chores in the days after the baby is born. Consider having each participant write down a meal that they are committed to bringing for the mother after her baby is born. Alternately each participant can bring a pre-made frozen meal, if the mother has space in her freezer. You or another participant can also take responsibility for organizing and overseeing the help. The mother shouldn't have to do anything. At the Mother Blessing tell her of your plans and assure her you have it all taken care of.
Freezer Meal Ideas, Credit: New Leaf Wellness

Binding Bracelet

This is a wonderful way to close the circle and to symbolize to the mother that she is supported and connected to the women in the circle. One at a time starting with the mother, a ball of yarn or cord (usually red) is wrapped around each participants wrist twice and then passed on to the woman next to her who does the same. Once all participants have bound their wrists some words can be spoken about the web of connectivity and support within the mothers circle of loved ones. An example:

"We are the flow, we are the ebb, we are the weavers, we are the web."

Each woman then takes a turn to cut the strings of the woman next to her and ties it to her wrist. The bracelets stays on until the mother births her baby.
Binding Bracelet, Credit: Paper Bluejay

How To Conduct A Blessingway
Blessingway Ceremonies
Planning A Blessingway
Blessingway Sample Ceremony
30 Ideas for Mother Blessing Ceremonies
Positive Birth Group-Davis County: Mother Blessing Ceremonies
What is a Blessingway Ceremony?
Mother Blessing Ceremony

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