Physically, emotionally, energetically 'closing' the body following any ending in life, particularly pregnancy.
Deeply soothing & restorative, an essential part of my work
I contacted Laura to help me overcome my grief of losing my baby during pregnancy. After the closing ceremony, I left feeling like I was walking on air. I came home to my family and everything glowed. I carry the peace with me in my heart and in my life with my family and all the chaos entwined with a healed heart. Heartfelt thanks to you Laura and everything you do. I wish everyone could have the experience I had with you.
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. However, it is most commonly known for its use in closing the cycle of pregnancy and birth, including miscarriage and child loss.
In Western culture we are quite good at beginnings – we celebrate new life, new homes, new relationships, but the endings get somewhat swept under the carpet. This is an opportunity to pause, to acknowledge the loss, the grief, the relief, or liberation that might accompany a significant ending in one's life. It is a time to honour the body, the psyche and Life itself for the gifts and the challenges of what has been and gone.
What happens in a Closing Ceremony?
The ceremony takes place in a warm, safe space of your choosing (usually your own home). Traditionally in Mexico, it is performed by the Midwife with another person present to assist. This person would be somebody of your choosing, who loves you, and in whose presence you feel safe, relaxed and at peace. You don't have to invite anybody else to be part of it, it can be just the two of us. 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.
Depending on circumstances and your preference, you will either have your feet bathed in a warm herbal infusion or you will have a full immersion herbal bath. You will then 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 drink and something light to eat.
Where does this practice come from?
I received my training from traditional Mexican midwife, Angelina Miranda Martinez, whose skills and knowledge have been passed down through her mother line over several generations of midwives. The practice here in the UK and Europe is commonly known as Closing the Bones, however Angelina had never heard of the 'bones' part! In her region, it is simply called 'una Cerrada' – a Closing. I have added the word Ceremony as I feel it is a symbolic yet tangible honouring and acknowledgement of a significant threshold in life - an ending.
I buy all of my rebozos (woven cotton fabrics) directly from Mexico, supporting village industries where the practice originates, and I donate a percentage of my earnings each year to further the work of Angelina to educate new midwives and keep the ancient art of Midwifery and the Rebozo alive as she knows and practices it.
Who is it for?
Literally for anyone who has experienced an ending or a loss. The majority of my experience has been with mothers who have recently given birth or those who have experienced miscarriage or pregnancy loss. I have also offered it to women at the 'empty nest' stage of life and to people following relationship breakup. It is a versatile therapy open to anyone who feels drawn to it.
It is suitable from 6 weeks postpartum or once you are no longer bleeding following birth or miscarriage. It can also be done many years after the actual birth or loss has taken place, there is no time restriction.
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 if you have a baby or other children that it is not always easy to be away from them for so long.
I ask £75 to cover my time and my travel to your home.
Is this a stand alone practice?
Traditionally in Mexico the Closing is only one part of the process... Then comes the Opening! Whether opening to a new phase of life or motherhood, opening to one's fertility or to a new relationship; the two practices can be done together, or many months or years apart. You may book an Opening with me at any time following your Closing Ceremony.
I have also recently begun to offer the Closing together with Birth Debriefing sessions, as so often there is still much processing and integration needed following a birth or a loss before one is fully ready to release and let go.
I asked Laura for a closing ceremony as I had quite a traumatic birth and felt the need to try bring some sort of closure to it. I also yearned for being held and listened to….giving birth at the start of a pandemic felt lonelier than I had imagined my early days of motherhood to be. Lying in a steaming hot bath then being wrapped by Laura as she sang beautiful words over me really allowed me to feel gratitude for my birthing body, especially with the warmth of her presence. I think it is a beautiful ritual and so beneficial to the recovery process. I think all mothers need to take the time out to be nurtured, as birth is such an open experience, this felt like a giant warm hug.
I used the ritual to help me let go of a relationship i'd broken up from 3 months ago and I did not expect the effect to be so powerful. I really felt my body and soul release into safety during the binding, touch, song and unbinding of the procedure. Today, the next day, I feel freer than since I can remember, like the past is complete and i'm relaxed and trusting in the present to create a future of my design, on a blank canvas. I did not expect it to be that powerful. What a blessing this thing that you offer is! Thank you!