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Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers

Celebrating Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood

by Shari Maser, CCE


This book is a bounty of inspiration!

Pam England, CNM, MA, midwife and author of Birthing From Within


Well-written, well-researched, wonderful...Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers is an important book for American women to read. The importance of having a Blessingway during pregnancy is to honor the woman and empower the woman. Stronger women are stronger mothers so babies also benefit. Blessingways are relevant to every pregnant and birthing woman, to every family expecting a child, to the relatives, friends and neighbors, to the local community in which the family lives, and to all society. Honoring pregnant women is the way forward to a stronger world.

Marsden Wagner MD, MS, Former Director of Women’s and Children’s Health, World Health Organization


Childbirth is a special time in life that needs to be acknowledged, and Shari Maser offers a thoughtful way to honor this momentous rite of passage. Whether a Blessingway is simple or more elaborate, she shows how to infuse the occasion with love, spirit, and caring support that the mother-to-be will carry with her long afterward.

Phyllis Klaus, MFT and Marshall Klaus, MD, co-authors of Bonding; The Doula Book; and Your Amazing Newborn


By the end of Blessingways I was moved to tears over and over again. I loved all the twists and turns of the possible choices and I loved the women's stories woven throughout the entire work.

Nan Koehler, midwife and author of Artemis Speaks: VBAC Stories and Natural Childbirth Information


With Blessingways, the history of human pregnancy is entering a new age. For several decades the focus has been on the need for information. The word “pregnancy” was suggestive of “classes.” Shari Maser has found an elegant and eloquent way to change the focus and to look back on the primary, universal and forgotten need of pregnant women to feel that they belong to a community of women.

Michel Odent, MD, obstetrician, author of Birth Reborn and founder/director of the Primal Health Research Centre


Blessingways reads like a full blessing in itself. This work embodies the grace of pregnancy through its inspiring and practical wisdom. It is now recommended reading for all students of midwifery at Hygieia College as well as my friendship circle. The ideal gift for any expectant family, Blessingways is an excellent resource for celebrating life's happiest, if most ordinary, miracle.

Jeannine Parvati Baker, midwife, author of Prenatal Yoga & Natural Childbirth and founder of Hygieia College


Pregnant women and their friends will find inspiration in Blessingways — a wonderful guide that synthesizes generations of experience with Blessingways. Practical and creative suggestions help anyone tailor the way an individual mother is honored. What a wonderful way to welcome a new life into this world!

Rahima Baldwin Dancy, midwife, author of Special Delivery and You Are Your Child’s First Teacher, and founder of Informed Family Life


Blessingways is terrific. It is both timeless and timely. The celebrations are imaginative and different. For those who want to produce a very special event, this book can give them all the creative ideas they need.

Mary Embree, mother of two


Blessingways is a must-have for any woman approaching birth and for those who are supporting her into motherhood. You can pick and choose the rituals which ring true to you from the myriad of possibilities, and easily create a beautiful and empowering ceremony.

Francine Krause, Pregnant BellyMask pioneer/artist


This magical book made me realize that the baby showers commonly held in American society are more focused on the baby than the mother; the gifts provided at such showers have the utilitarian function of giving the mother a full layette for the baby, but do not provide much space for honoring the woman herself as she makes her life-changing transition into motherhood. In contrast, the Blessingway as Maser describes it is specifically for the woman-becoming-mother, to honor not only her transition but also her entire life and her essential beingness. Blessingways is chock-full of examples of specific Blessingways, of how Blessingways can be tailored to the individual woman's particular characteristics and life circumstances, and of mothers' deep and heartfelt appreciation for the acknowledgement and empowerment these woman-designed and woman-centered rituals provide. Aware of the possibility of death at birth, Shari also offers guidelines for women who lose babies to adapt the Blessingway to honor their experiences of grief and loss, and to facilitate their adaptation to this unexpected and dreadful reality. As I read these enchanting pages, I wished that I myself had been honored as woman and becoming-mother in such extraordinarily empowering ways. And so it is my hope that this book will bring the Blessingway into wider social consciousness, and that every becoming mother might be so celebrated and so blessed.

Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage

Blessingways is a soulful resource for families as they await their baby. This nurturing guide is like a warm, welcoming embrace that provides fresh inspiration for an auspicious beginning for the new mother and her baby.

Andrea Alban Gosline, author of Celebrating Motherhood, the Mother's Nature Calm and Confidence cards, and Little Moments of Peace


This unique book details the who, when, where, what, why, and how of mother-centered baby showers. The Blessingway is an intimate event and reading this book can be too as you read how women have celebrated their transition into motherhood. Blessingways will help you plan your Blessingway so that it is special and extraordinary to you.

Paulina (Polly) Perez, RN, MSN, FACCE, perinatal nurse, and author of The Nurturing Touch at Birth and Special Women: The Role of the Professional Labor Assistant


A must-read, must-do for every pregnant family...Blessingways speaks to the sacred nature of the pregnant woman, and allows us to remember the very important and somewhat neglected spiritual elements of birth. If all babies and their families were honored in this way, I believe we would see the evolution of a more nurtured, caring society.

Anna Kealoha, author of Songs of the Earth and Trust the Children


This thorough book is a welcome addition to my library, although I guarantee it will not sit on the shelf at all! Kudos and gratitude to Ms. Maser. She has understood and explained the value and the necessity of ritual and ceremony as it pertains to the passage of birth, and in doing so, has given birthing women an invaluable "remembering.”

Nancy Wainer, CPM, co-author of Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean and author of Open Season: A Survival Guide for Natural Childbirth


This book presents an important ritual to childbearing women of the 22nd century. Shari shows us how to celebrate one of life's greatest rites of passage with courage and an open heart. The women in this book support their community of expectant mothers by sharing their wisdoms, insights, compassion and victories. This knowledge helps the expectant mother to more readily meet birth head-on and fulfill for herself and her family the tremendous potential inherent in birth. I have practiced the ritual of Blessing Way into birth for more than 30 years, and I find that it is one of the best and sweetest lessons for preparing a woman to birth.

Raven Lang, midwife and Doctor of Oriental Medicine


Beautiful! Every pregnant woman and childbirth professional in America should add this gem to her library!

Mickey Sperlich, CPM, midwife


Shari Maser has woven together invaluable stories from countless women across the country and from many different traditions. In reading Blessingways, I felt like I was happily reliving the Blessingways I had attended, and re-experiencing the joy and connection to women through the ages. I can't wait to plan my next one!

Merilynne Rush, RN, BSN, Traditional Midwife and Board of Directors, Michigan Midwives Association


Since the early 1980's, when I was first taught the art and ritual of Blessingway by Jeannine Parvati Baker, I have led, participated in, and experienced Blessingways. Blessingway is a powerful tool for women's empowerment as we approach birth and motherhood. With the potential to ease fear, increase confidence, and surround the mother with the sense of support that has been shown to improve birth outcome for mothers and babies, the Blessingway should be considered an important part of prenatal care. Shari's book has provided a practical and beautiful tribute to Blessingway that will allow anyone interested to create this important celebration for their friends, family, or clients.

Aviva Romm, CPM, midwife, President of American Herbalists Guild and author of The Natural Pregnancy Book, Naturally Healthy Babies and Children, and Natural Health After Birth


Shari's Blessingways shines forth a clear and loving light for all mothers-to-be who crave something deeper than a traditional baby shower.  A lovely addition to the growing body of work that celebrates becoming a mother.

Jennifer Louden, author of The Pregnant Woman's Comfort Book and creator of


Blessingways: A guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers is a wonderful resource for women desiring to have several choices for their celebration of bringing a new life into the world.

Susanna Napierala, Licensed Midwife and author of Water Birth: A Midwife's Perspective


In our American culture, we have lost the traditions and wisdom about birth that used to be passed among the women of a family. Shari Maser has given us a way to reclaim some of the lost art of supporting mothers. "Blessingways" is the best book on how to make every mother feel special and loved, before her birth and passage into motherhood.  I personally will use this book as a reference and recommend it to every midwife and mother.  The song book at the back is my favorite part!!!

Barbara Harper, Founder/Director, Waterbirth International


Blessingways can have an enormously positive spiritual, emotional, and physical impact on women's childbearing experiences. This accessible introduction to Blessingways demonstrates how to give such a valuable gift to mothers-to-be.

Sierra Hillebrand, CPM, midwife, doula, childbirth educator


This is an inspiring book that has the good grace to honor the origins of the word Blessingway.  It's a great how-to guide for planning any kind of mother blessing.  I was especially delighted to find the section with words and music for some simple but beautiful songs and chants suitable for mother blessings, labor and birth, and any kind of centering time.

Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, midwife


So much more than the traditional baby shower, Blessingways celebrates a woman's transformation through pregnancy and childbirth, using ritual to honor this rite of passage and to affirm that in her family and friends she will find the support she needs.  Reading this unique book you will find yourself looking for opportunities to share the many variations it describes with the expectant mothers in your life.

Marian Tompson, co-founder of La Leche League International


An indispensable guidebook for the pregnant or adoptive mother as she celebrates her transition into motherhood. This book is filled with ideas to support and empower women in their quest to honor themselves and each other as they give birth to our future generations.

Barbara Brookens-Harvey, MSW, CSW, prenatal yoga instructor


A baby shower is a wonderful way to welcome a new child. But a Blessingway honors the mother and the many roles she plays. This is a much-needed paradigm shift. With its accessible introduction to the Blessingway concept and its applications in today's world, Blessingways will benefit every woman who reads it.            

                                     — Sarah Hamil Bajc, CEO of Kideapolis and mother of three


 Blessingways has so many excellent ideas of how to honor new mothers and it’s a very sweet book.  I’ll definitely share it with our students and add it to our booklist.

                                     — Pamela Hunt, The Farm Midwifery Workshops



Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers

Celebrating Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood

by Shari Maser, CCE


 Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers is an...uplifting, meaningful guide to helping new mothers across a difficult yet fantastic journey. (*****)

            — Small Press Bookwatch, Volume 3, Number 10, October 2004


It is truly a special book with a special purpose and is like no other book on pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

          — Coryn Briggs, Independent Publisher

(Blessingways was listed as a Highlighted Title on Independent Publisher Online, October 2004.  This is an honor awarded for "exhibiting superior levels of creativity, originality, high standards of design and superior production quality.)


Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby filled with interesting, creative ideas on how to turn this special event into an even more special event!

          — Alan Caruba,, October 2004


This is an inspiring book that has the good grace to honor the origins of the word Blessingway.  It's a great how-to guide for planning any kind of mother blessing.  I was especially delighted to find the section with words and music for some simple but beautiful songs and chants suitable for mother blessings, labor and birth, and any kind of centering time.

          Ronnie Falcao, LM MS,, September 2004


Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers has wide appeal for families to whom the idea of alternative ceremonies is new. It gently takes the raw beginner in hand and offers many ideas to tailor the Blessingway for the individual desires of all involved.

          Jeannine Parvati Baker,, September 2004


    Here is a wonderful tool for planning a really personalized baby shower! This book is great for those wanting to plan a different kind of baby-shower for the pregnant woman in your life. It has so many wonderful ideas and suggestions to make any baby related event meaningful and fun for all involved. It is easy to follow, engaging and fun to look at, and filled with suggestions you can draw from. I have even modified ideas from this book to create an event around other life changes such as for a friend who was moving away and a graduation of a daughter. It really has a lot to offer.

    The book also makes a great gift for a pregnant woman. Blessingways is packed with great ideas which a pregnant woman may want to take advantage of on her own. Pregnancy is such a short time and I tell the pregnant women I work with to be intentional about what they want from these 9 months. This book is a great place to go to get some ideas to be sure you make the most of your nine months pregnant with this child.

    Finally the book is a good 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. I highly recommend it!

        — Christine Johnson D’Amico, co-author of The Pregnant Woman’s       Companion,, October 2004 (*****)


    If you've ever tried to find information on Blessingways for pregnancy or babies, you've probably figured out that the information wasn't very easy to find or complete. Shari Maser has done an awesome job of collecting traditions, ideas, rituals, music and stories from mothers and other who have planned and attended Blessingways.

    From the very idea of what a Blessingway is to the completion of your ceremony, Ms. Maser walks you through. She shows you some of the many options available, without providing a one-sized fits all script. This is what will help you make your Blessingway special and personal.

    Blessingways is an amazing book. It is filled with so many valuable resources for those planning an alternative to the modern baby shower. It is a must have for anyone who has friends or family of childbearing age. It also makes a great gift.   (*****)

          — Robin Elise Weiss, Your Pregnancy Guide,


Using simple language and effective organizing..., it’s a great book that gives helpful stories, ideas and perspectives on the whys and hows of a Blessingway ceremony.

          — Barrett Lauck, Special Delivery (A.L.A.C.E.), Winter 2004   (Vol. 27, No. 4)


As pregnancy is more and more regarded as an inconvenience and birth as something to get through with a minimum of effort, the soul cries out for something larger, deeper, more meaningful. Shari Maser offers readers every means imaginable to celebrate the potentially magical passage of pregnancy, birth and motherhood in the company of women: ceremonies, feasting, songs, amulets, storytelling, meditation, massage, and quilting, to name a few. This is a beautiful testimony to women’s traditions of love and support. It takes us away from the cerebral approach to birth and returns us to the heart.

          — Cheryl Mikkola, Midwifery Today, Winter 2004


This book is a wonderful resource for anyone planning a blessingway, regardless of one’s ceremonial experience...As I read through the chapters, I began to feel like I was present at a blessingway, or even the guest of honor...This book belongs on every childbirth-professional’s bookshelf; I have already put it to use by borrowing ideas for an upcoming ceremony I’m planning.

          — Joan-e Rapine, BirthWorks International Newsletter,
October 2004 (Vol. 5 Issue 4)


A highly recommended book.

          — The Crazy Wisdom Community Journal,
January - April 2005  (Issue    No. 29)


This book is the definitive how-to guide for creating a spiritual and emotionally fulfilling alternative to the usual baby shower.  Never before has one source had so much to offer: a brief history of woman-centered blessingways, celebration ideas, invitation ideas, "scripts" and how to do "run throughs" so it all goes smoothly, plus gift, food and song ideas.  Ms. Maser has given us the recipe for the new baby shower!

          — Connie Livingston, Perinatal Education Associates, Inc.,, March 2005


Blessingways certainly makes a very good case for a Blessingway instead of, or in addition to, a traditional baby shower, and seems to include just about everything to consider when planning one.  I only wish I had read it five years ago; I might have asked for one.

          — Robin Martin, Mothers’ Support Network, Summer 2005


It’s said that you are what you eat.  But how about You are what you read?  The way we see the world is influenced by the ideas we ingest; if you’re like me, you want only what provides the best nutrition -- what enriches your life.  And when it comes to parenting, there’s a lot of junk food on the market...At Mothering, we read labels; we check out the contents of a book before putting it on our media menu.  In Blessingways, Shari Maser, CCE, offers ideas on how to create a meaningful ritual for a mother-to-be — from footbaths to birth necklaces, from belly casting to fine feasting... 

          — Melissa Chianta, Mothering, July/August 2005


Blessingways celebrates all mothers and their transition into motherhood. This book describes Blessingways as special mother-focused gatherings that give friends and family a unique way to honor, support, nurture and encourage mothers-to-be. The book teaches how to personalize a "mother shower," as opposed to the mainstream "baby showers" western society is so used to.  You learn creative invitation ideas, unique celebrations, and you can read inspiring stories and thoughts from women who have taken part in such events.  There are also ideas for men and children as well!  It is a beautifully illustrated book, that is filled with stunning ideas that focus on the woman/mother, which I think is too easily forgotten in today's baby-centered world.  There are wonderful songs as well you can try out in your own celebrations.  A great book...

          —, October 2005


Pregnancy parties!  For a fresh, mother-focused take on baby showers, check out the creative party ideas in Blessingways

          — Working Mother, November 2005


     Blessingways is a guidebook that explores many ways to honor pregnant women and families. The author’s...research and observations of the ways that others have celebrated pregnancy, birth and motherhood are fascinating.

     The book is laid out so that you can pick and choose from many different formats for what would be most appropriate for the woman you are honoring. 

     Ms. Maser has thoroughly thought out these ceremonies. She gives advice for every step of the way. She starts with planning — who, when, where, what, why, and how. Then she takes you through the invitations with many samples to inspire you.

     She helps you think through the progression and options available for the ceremony. She weaves her ideas together like a quiltmaker piecing a quilt. She lists many different possible activities, including ideas for traditional and alternative religious rituals as well as non-religious ideas such as singing, storytelling, sharing food, using symbols for connecting women together, and much more. Ms. Maser has an idea for a long-distance blessing. There is a section for variations on the blessingway, including ideas that might even be appropriate for adoption and even one for grieving.

     The  book is deep with ideas so that people can use it to create a ceremony of their own even if they don’t agree with all of the ideas given. It would be a good book for anyone that is working closely with birthing families. It can be a wonderful book to loan out to clients or to incorporate some type of blessingway in the services that you offer.

          — International Doula (DONA), Volume 13, Issue 4, 2005


     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 satisfy. 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 shower 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-size fits all script. Everything here allows the reader to 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!

          — The Beltane Papers, July 2006


     If you are seeking a way to enliven your childbirth classes or expand your classes, you will want to check out Blessingways.  Blessingways provides the reader with extensive direction for creating meaningful gatherings that feed the expectant mother’s soul, reduce her fear, and give her strength and courage to approach birth as the normal life event it is.

     Blessingways — also called “birth blessings” or “mother blessings” — are women-centered ceremonies that use “ritual to celebrate the mother-to-be, to acknowledge the momentous impact of bringing a new baby into her family and to support her through this transition.” Rooted in a Native American fertility rite, today’s blessingways are individualized to the woman’s needs and belief system. Unlike baby showers, which center on clothing and caring for the baby, blessingways seek to empower the mother on her journey into motherhood. 

     The author, Shari Maser, uses the analogy of making an heirloom quilt to describe creating and facilitating a blessingway. The chapter titled “A Blanket of Love” introduces the reader to the concept. “Selecting the Pattern: Planning a Blessingway” addresses the “who, when, where, what, why, and how” of the event, the framework from which will spring the actual rituals and ceremonies. Creativity and personalization are key elements in this step. But “Piecing the Quilt Together: Rituals and Ceremonies” contains the riches of the book — an abundance of memorable activities and rituals to choose for your personalized ceremony. I literally devoured this section, my excitement building with each page, like a child wandering through a candy store. The “Scraps and Threads” chapter is just that — insights, songs, and readings. Everything you need is all wrapped up in this quilt (book). The entire quilt is sewn throughout with beautiful stories from women who were blessed by their blessingways.

     Lamaze childbirth educators wanting to walk the walk of supporting “a world of confident women choosing normal birth” might consider including some of the rituals described in the book to reduce fear and increase confidence. For example, just moving through yoga moon salutations will increase body awareness, encourage healthy exercise, increase endorphin release, and reduce catecholamines. Or perhaps educators can encourage the women in their classes to decorate a birthing power shirt to wear in labor.  Doulas who want to expand emotional support beyond the labor room could facilitate blessingways for their clients; friends and family may enjoy showering the mother-to-be in a novel and nurturing way.

          — Lamaze International’s Journal of Perinatal Education,           Fall 2006


A big 250 pages of wonderful blessingway information and ideas. There is a recommended readings section, as well as songs, recipes, pictures, craft/project ideas and so much more. This is a must-have book for any woman. I can't recommend it highly enough. 

          — Attachments Catalog,, 2006


Packed with wonderful ideas, stories, and suggestions for you to help celebrate a woman's transition to motherhood.

          — Barbara Behrmann, Breastfeeding Cafe, December 2006


A terrific book...A holistic, multi-cultural, deeply traditional and thoroughly modern resource.

          — Karen Kullgren, Washington Woman, July 2007


Blessingways is a wonderful guide to creating a Blessingway – traditional or all your own – for a mother-to-be in your life. It's chock full of ideas for making a meaningful and special ceremony. I was impressed and very refreshed by the mother-centered approach the book takes.


Author Shari Maser pulls from the experiences of hundreds of women, numerous cultural traditions, and deliberate ceremony to create a guidebook that will serve you well. I love the quotes she sprinkles liberally throughout the text. She quotes mothers, grandmothers, midwives, caring friends, and including information from other books and papers on Blessingways along with input from individual women really makes her book a lovely work of art drawing from so many places.


There are ideas that will suit any and every Blessingway, regardless of background, culture, or religion. Blessingways includes some ideas for special Blessingway ceremonies such as for adoption and loss of a baby.


This is a great book and will be a wealth of information for you!

          — Kristen Burgess, Natural Birth and Baby Care, 2008 

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