Organising a baby shower or blessing can be overwhelming and often connection can get lost in all the unnecessary details. Recently we asked our dear friend and Birth Doula, Nathalie Soliz how to really celebrate mother and baby in a special way that is meaningful. Here she shares her wisdom and experience with us...

Instead of having a baby shower consider organising a ‘Blessingway’ (or ‘Mother’s Blessing’) for the pregnant mother around 36-38 weeks of pregnancy.

This is a meaningful ritual to honour the rite of passage that is birth and motherhood. It’s focused on empowering mum and letting her experience the support of the women gathering around her as she traverses the threshold into motherhood. Many doulas offer to facilitate Blessingways or you can find articles and books online to learn how to facilitate one. Any mum who has ever received a Blessingway will attest to the power of this ritual and the strength felt after receiving such beautiful and holistic support by her innermost circle of friends.

Create a ‘birth altar’ for mum: let each person bring a special object that symbolises birth, motherhood, transformation or power to them.
This is a great opportunity to remind the mother of her strengths and really let her feel the support of the women around her. While the object is being presented to mum you can share a little ‘blessing’ with her, a wish for her birth journey or something you feel called to share as she embarks on this journey into motherhood. Objects for her altar can include things such as crystals, poems, pictures or photos, or other meaningful small objects. Once the altar is created mum can set it up in her home if that is where she will give birth or she can take it to her place of birth (ie. hospital, birth centre) when the time comes. During labour a birth altar can be a source of strength and give mum something beautiful to focus on as well as provide a little bit of distraction from the intensity of the contractions.

As part of the baby shower or blessingway consider creating a birth necklace. 
Each participant brings a special bead or shell which then will be strung together to make a necklace for the mother. This necklace can be placed on mum’s birth altar or be worn during labour to make her feel strong and supported.

Belly Painting with henna or non-toxic body paint.
To conclude the baby shower or blessingway each participant can create a handprint on mum’s belly or simply paint something beautiful on her belly. This will make for a lovely group photo and beautiful pictures of her round belly which she will cherish for years to come and which one day she can share with her child!

Unconventional (and more sustainable) gift ideas for new mothers.
The most useful gifts after birth are often not material in nature. Consider organising a meal train for the new mother so that in the weeks following the birth of the baby friends and family can drop home cooked meals off at the family’s home. This is one of the most helpful ways to support parents as they care for their newborn baby (and tend to their older children). It will free them up to have space for bonding with baby and as a family rather than having to take care of grocery shopping, preparing and cooking meals (and preparing lunchboxes for school). When parents’ time and energy is scarce friends and family can show their support by providing nourishing foods instead of material gifts (which are often much less useful). makes it very easy to organise this kind of support.

You can also consider giving the mother one big group present rather than individual gifts from each person. Useful gift ideas include pregnancy massage vouchers, postpartum doula support packages, a voucher for a ‘closing the bones’ ceremony after birth, postpartum craniosacral therapy sessions for mum and/ or baby, postpartum pamper packages (ie. sitz bath herbs, peri bottle, nipple cream, breastfeeding tea, nourishing snacks for those many hours spent breastfeeding).

Words by Nathalie Soliz, Holistic Doula & Childbirth Educator.
See more of Nathalie's amazing work here