Giving birth is all about opening; physically, mentally and emotionally. After the work of labor, women can feel raw and open. Once a woman has crossed the threshold from Maiden to Mother, she is discovering new aspects of herself on her journey through motherhood.
A ceremony or process that helps close and honor the mother is very beneficial for her healing. My intention is to create a space to nurture the mother and support healing on these many levels. This ritual is a simple and lovely act of attending both to a woman’s spirit and her recovering body. It is included in my birth doula services.
A “Closing the Bones” ceremony is a Mexican tradition in which the mother is massaged, given an herbal bath (or vaginal steam), and gently wrapped with a rebozo to guide the bones back together. The ritual closes and restores the mother both physically and energetically.
The hot bath counterbalances the “cold” caused by loss of blood during birth. It can also increase milk flow, improve milk let-down, prevent “cold” breastmilk, and help with muscle fatigue, heaviness in the limbs, edema, appetite loss and constipation.
In general hot baths positively influence several body systems: cardiovascular, hormonal, immune, musculoskeletal and respiratory. The herbs for the postpartum bath are compiled to stimulate circulation, energize the body, fight infection, and recover vital heat and moisture. The essential oils released by the herbs affect recuperation, balance, and relaxation.
We begin the Restorative Postpartum Visit with an herbal tea, crafted to promote closing for the mother, while we discuss the birth, breastfeeding, newborn care, or anything else that comes up. Next is a 30-minute postpartum massage, followed by a hot, herbal bath. After the bath, the mama dresses in warm clothes to promote healing. We finish with the Closing the Bones Ceremony, and the mother is given time and space to reflect, meditate, rest or snuggle with her family.
It is recommended that the mother spend the rest of the day in bed, or at least taking it easy. This is a special time of recovery and healing, and the mother should take advantage of this convalescent time.