Most traditional, indigenous cultures are taught that as communities we have the responsibility to care for new mamas and through this, bring healing to their families and communities. The innate understanding of a new mother’s vulnerability is an essential part of her transformation from maidenhood to motherhood, and can help her recover from pregnancy and birth.
Innate postpartum care emphasizes the 5 pillars of postpartum wellness:
There are many culturally unique practices which assist in a new mother’s health and wellness. Many include a 40 day laying in period, warming food and drinks that help replenish and nourish a new mother and her baby, and bodywork specifically geared toward women in their postpartum time.
the Closing of the Bones ceremony is one way to honor a mother, and make space for the enormous shift in not only our physical but our mental and emotional state. Our physical body has undergone change-through a widening of hips and feet, displaced pelvic organs, swollen breasts, and the psyche is altered by the right of passage to conceive, carry and birth our child.
The Closing of the Bones ceremony acknowledges the immense changes a woman has undergone in pregnancy and childbirth and assists in bringing her spirit back into her own body. Physically, it guides her bones back into place, helps her pelvic organs shift and her uterus to shrink back down, and stimulates blood flow. Women who are honored in this way experience a sense of calm and grounding, re-establishing her sense of self.
In a warm and quiet room,a sacred healing space is created for this ceremony. Lights are dimmed if possible, a mat and some blankets are placed on the floor, there is soft music playing.When the woman to be blessed is ready, we start with some energy cleansing and then she lies on a mat on the floor.
With the help of a rebozo, the hips of the woman that have widened and open to accommodate the growing baby and to give birth are gently rocked and pulled back into place. The gentle rocking movement has a soothing effect. We are also honoring the work these hips had to go through to bring a new life into the world.
Some warm oil is applied all over the skin of the belly and a gentle massage begins. The movements are rhythmic and relaxing, bringing the energy of the woman back to her center. We are lovingly taking care of this area where a baby grew. Both giver and receiver acknowledge this great achievement.
For the last part of the ceremony, a woman’s body is tightly wrapped using five rebozos.We wrap and honor different parts of her body—feet, knees, hips, shoulders, head. The woman is then left to rest as we hold this sacred space for her. Some energy work can be done to bring her back to center, balance her energy and relax her.
Closing the Bones is a practice that can be transformational for any postpartum mama–whether you are 3 days or 30 years postpartum–who is looking to find more peace within. We have found it to be a profoundly powerful tool. Our hope is that more women through community can learn about and participate in a Closing the Bones ritual after birthing.