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This is an amazing book, filled with valuable resources for those planning an alternative to the typical baby shower. For those of us who are uninterested (or ever faintly appalled at the ‘traditional’ baby shower) we’ve been at a loss to find alternatives that satisy. In Blessingways, Ms. Maser has done an incredible job of collecting traditions, ideas, rituals, music and stories from mothers and others who have planned and attended Blessingways.

A Blessingway is a baby showers that fosters community, support and connectedness for the mother-to-be. It is a woman-centered celebration placing primary focus on the strength, beauty, and metamorphosis of the female powers of the expectant mother, rather than the accumulation of presents. Throughout the book stories from women who planned or celebrated a Blessingway highlight how important and special these rituals can be for the women who are being celebrated. The women talk about how empowered they felt from the support of their family and friends, sharing their experiences with the reader.

From the very idea of what a Blessingway is to the completion of your ceremony, Ms. Maser walks you through all aspects. There is an outline of how to plan and host a mother-centered bonding ritual including suggestions for music, evocations, grooming (i.e., hairbrushing), wreath making, belly art, sharing circles, reaching out across long distance, and much more. Of especial note are the variations in response to adoption or grieving the loss of a baby. Black-and-white illustrations and simple music for the songs that can be sung round out this uplifting, meaningful guide to helping new mothers across a difficult yet fantastic journey. Remarkably, there is no one-sized fits all script. Everything here allows the reader make their Blessingway special and personal.

This is a great gift for a pregnant woman, their mothers, sisters, and friends. I would also think it would be a wonderful resource for professionals who work with pregnant and expecting couples, providing them with ideas on small touches they could add to their services which would enhance a couple's experience.

My sister is pregnant with the family’s first grandchild, and I’ll be giving my copy to my mother so that we can plan a lovely, celebratory gathering for her. Obviously, this book is highly recommended!

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author:  Shari Maser

Moondance Press, 2004

pp. 250, $14.95

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