Postnatal Recovery Scarf Binding
In all traditional cultures there is a deep understanding that new mothers need to be nurtured, honoured, revered, listened to and cared for as they recover from growing and birthing their baby. There is also frequently a ceremonial or ritual marking of the transition to motherhood and the changes that accompany it. All over the world, since the beginning of human history, mothers have been fed, bathed, held, massaged and supported for the first few months of their babies life. In modern societies these practices have become lost or distorted and new parents can feel abandoned and lost as a result.
Apart from the emotional need, many of these practices also fulfill a physical purpose. We know that during pregnancy a woman’s hips progressively widen and spread and that after the birth it is important to help her pelvis to close back to its pre-pregnancy width. Without this closure women can suffer from pelvic instability, hip problems and back pain. It is also vital that a woman’s uterus fully contracts back to its pre-pregnancy size and position and the bladder and bowel return to where they are supposed to be in her pelvis. The recovery of a woman’s body after having a baby is a complex process which can take many months if not years.
In traditional South American culture (notably, but not exclusively, in Equador and Mexico) Closing the Bones ceremonies are offered to all mothers within hours of the birth of their babies, and several more times over the first 40 days of the baby’s life. Mothers are bathed in special healing herbs, massaged and anointed with warming oils and finally wrapped tightly using traditional scarves (called manta in Ecuador, rebozo in Mexico)
I have adapted this practice in light of our evidence-based understanding of the way the pelvis works, the importance of the fascia and how tension is held in our connective tissue, the soothing power of deep pressure and rhythmic motion, as well as the impact of being both held and heard on new parents’ mental well being.
What does the session involve?
We will start with a relaxed, informal chat, in your own home, usually over a cup of tea. This will be an opportunity to get to know each other a bit and for me to understand what you need from the session and any particular concerns or issues you may have. I will also make sure that you understand the process and feel comfortable and able to ask me any questions you may have.
I will bring everything we need, all you need to provide is a safe, warm, quiet space, a kettle of hot water and someone else’s loving arms to hold your baby and, if you have them, entertain your older children for a while.
I will create an oasis of calm with a mat, blankets, candles, essential oils, all to your prearranged specifications. You will then lie on your back and begin to relax. We will start with a deep relaxation practice, connecting you to your body and bringing an awareness of gratitude and awe for what your body can do. I will then use a mexican rebozo scarf to hammock your hips and pelvis, rocking and “sifting” in a process which releases tension held in the psoas muscles of the pelvis and lower back, as well as the other muscles and tendons around your core and upper thighs. This motion is incredibly soothing and relaxing, tapping into our parasympathetic nervous system and initiating feelings of calm and wellbeing. We will then, when you are ready, proceed to the wrapping. I will use the rebozo to wrap your hips securely, encouraging the “closing” of your pelvis and taking pressure off the sacrum and lower back. You will then have the option of further wrapping of your head, shoulders, lower thighs and feet, any of which you can opt in or out of as you feel you need. Once wrapped I will cover you with a blanket and you will be able to able to chose to be silent in peace and calm with your own thoughts as you integrate the experience, or I can offer a mindfulness meditation if you prefer. Either way I will stay close and hold the space for you to experience your own physical and emotional closure. When you signal that you are ready, I will slowly unwrap you, finishing with the pelvis, and we can end with some more gentle sifting if that feels right. Throughout the whole process you will be in full control of the rhythm, pace, and intensity of the experience.
We will then share another hot drink if you want one and you will have the opportunity to talk about the experience and anything that it has caused to bubble up. I can show you some simple techniques for binding your own pelvis before I leave.
The session lasts for about 2 hours and costs £75 including all travel and expenses (within a 25 mile radius of Belper – please contact me if you live further afield and we can discuss mileage expenses)
Who might benefit from this ceremony?
The ritual is traditionally designed for mothers in the immediate postnatal period, when it can help to close the pubis symphisis, loosen the lower vertebrae and mobilise the pubic bone, stimulating the shrinkage of the uterus and helping to move the uterus and bladder into their pre-pregnancy position. However, this is a relaxing and nurturing ritual which is both restorative and meditative for anyone. It provides an opportunity to celebrate your body and reflect on the journey you have taken into parenthood. I will provide you with an environment of peace and stillness which can encourage a powerful release of emotions associated with birth, even many years after the birth itself. Maybe your babies were born decades ago and you have never felt quite right in your own skin since, or maybe you have suffered loss or tragedy, or never given birth at all.
I am happy to offer this service to anyone, of any gender, who thinks they might benefit from it, particularly if you have undergone any kind of physical transition. I provide a safe and nurturing space in which you have the opportunity to reflect on and release any stored emotions or trauma. Please do get in touch to discuss your needs and I can see how we can adapt the ritual to suit you.