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Honoring Motherhood Prayers, Ceremonies, and Blessings

Skylight Paths Publishing, 2008
RRP $29.95

Reviewed by Nicole Hams, congregation secretary at St Paul’s Uniting Church in Mackay and coordinator of St Paul’s MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group

Honoring Motherhood explores the seasons of motherhood via a collection of writings from various faith traditions and cultures, interspersed with anecdotes, prose, and prayers.
Quotations are taken from Biblical scripture, as well as Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish writings, among many others.
The prayers and blessings are mostly Christian, with others which could be used by those of other religions or no religion.
Honoring Motherhood shows that mothering is considered important and that mothers are respected in many cultures and faith traditions around the globe.
However, it is impossible to ignore the American origins of the book, with chapter introductions reflecting on aspects of nature and locations which would be unfamiliar to many Australians.
In addition, a significant proportion of material comes from the writings and traditions of Native Americans, which while interesting, may have less relevance to Australian readers.
The writings are organised into chapters focusing on various seasons of mothering.
The first three chapters focus on Maternal Ancestors, Expectant Mothers and Birth, and the Mother/Child Relationship.
The fourth section contains ceremonies and blessings to cover many situations.
Together with other chapters, there are prayers and blessings for the expectant mother and child, adoptive parents and birth parents, single parents, grandparents, welcoming children at birth or adoption, miscarriage, and the death of a child.
The fifth chapter deals with loss, while the sixth section focuses on the Divine Mother and is dominated by references to Mother Earth.
The last section however is my favourite.
It explores how being a mother equips us and affects how we relate to the rest of the world, “loving the world with the love cultivated in motherhood”.
That insight alone made Honoring Motherhood worthwhile for me.