"The ceremony was gentle and beautiful. I felt safe and loved. My body felt alive with a new energy stepping forward, something that hasn't yet left me. I would recommend this ceremony for any woman wishing to be loved and held - it's truly beautiful."
(full testimonial below)
also known as 'Closing the Bones'
Why a closing ceremony?
The purpose of a closing ceremony is as the name suggests, to close a cycle. It can be done to help bring completion to any period in one's life, at any age, for men and for women – an end of a relationship, leaving a place, a profession, a way of life, a bereavement, etc. However it is most commonly known for its use in closing the cycle of pregnancy and birth (including miscarriage and child loss).
The process of pregnancy and childbirth are clearly designed to open us – to open our bodies, hearts and minds to receive a whole new human being inside ourselves, and then to physically open our bodies to bring this new being into the world. What a process! The closing ceremony is therefore the antidote to this massive opening process. It is about physically closing the womb and the pelvis after childbirth, and about energetically, emotionally and psychologically coming back home to oneself - becoming contained, boundaried and grounded once again.
Where does it come from?
I received my training from traditional Mexican midwife, Angelina Miranda Martinez, whose skills and knowledge have been passed down from her great grandmother, her grandmother and her mother who were all midwives. Whilst this practice is best known in Mexico, a little research shows that the practice of wrapping and binding a new mother is (or was once) common practice all over the world.
How does it work?
Postnatally, the ceremony takes place any time after you have finished bleeding, following the birth of your child. It can happen ANY time. Some women in their 70s who never had one after childbirth still request it! However, as mentioned above, it is not exclusive to childbirth or even to women, it really is a universal practice. It can help to bring closure, reassurance, a sense of honour and respect, and an opportunity for deep rest, deep peace, and for giving thanks for the gifts received during that cycle.
The ceremony takes place in a warm, safe space of your choosing (usually your own home). Your feet will be bathed in warm water, and together we will speak your hopes or intentions for the ceremony. Traditionally, for new mothers, the ceremony would be held by their midwife or doula, and their mother or grandmother. However, you can choose whoever you would wish to be there for you. Somebody who loves you, and in whose presence you feel safe, relaxed and at peace. If you have a baby or children, they will need to be cared for during this time by someone they know and trust, so that you can fully relax into the process without worrying.
You will lie, usually on your back if this feels safe and comfortable, on a mattress with a series of woven fabrics laid in strips beneath you. One by one, each of the fabrics will be wrapped around your body, from head to toe. This creates a deep feeling of being held and cocooned that many people find very soothing and comforting. Some words may be spoken, a song may be sung, there may be complete silence. It is a deeply healing space. When the time comes, you will be gradually unwrapped and welcomed back with a warm drink and some nourishing food.
How long does it take and how much does it cost?
I will be with you for about 3 hours altogether. The longer you can take to rest afterwards the better, but I understand that for small babies it is not always easy to be away for so long. 2 hours should be plenty for your baby to be cared for by somebody else, and is free to join you afterwards while we eat and talk.
I wish that I could gift this ceremony to every mother free of charge, however I simply can not. It is my hope though that this ceremony can be gifted to you, the Mother, by your loved ones, family or friends – though you may have to ask!! I want this to feel like a big THANK YOU to you, a Mother of our world, from everyone in your close circle.
I offer a sliding scale rate of £50 - £80, paid in advance and fully transferable.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Poem Inspired by a new mother's Closing Ceremony
I am vast
I can carry you
I've got this.
Wrapped and tightly bound
I learn to realise the infinite space available
For me and my journey
For you and your needs
My breath and my heart can easily carry us both.
I feel the support and courage of my ancestors
Of other women now and from the past
Their experience reassures me
and I remember the river I drank from at your birth
After the birth of my youngest daughter of three, Laura and Alexandra facilitated a closing ceremony for me. I wasn't sure exactly what I needed from it, and couldn't put it into words when they asked me this; but I felt a deep longing to give back to myself.
The ceremony was gentle and beautiful. I felt safe and loved. From the bathing of my feet in salt and flowers while singing, to blessing all the parts of my body which had served me so well; gently wrapping me in several scarves and bringing it all together again.
After lying still in the lovely darkness for a while, I was unwrapped and offered something to eat and drink. I felt renewed! I wasn't sure what to expect for myself... I have witnessed a couple of closing ceremonies and the women had such a sense of relief and closure from it. For me, my body felt alive with a new energy stepping forward, something that hasn't yet left me. I would recommend this ceremony for any woman wishing to be loved and held, it's truly beautiful.