Everywhere around the world, there used to be a period of about a month after birth during which the new mother was taken care of completely. Members of the family or the community used to take charge of the household (chores, older kids etc), make sure the mother rested, provided specific nourishing foods, and well as give or organise some postpartum specific bodywork. It was a ubiquitous practice in every continent (and still is in many parts of the world today). This used to be part of Western culture too.
I published my book, Why postnatal recovery matters, in order to start and support a movement towards returning to a nurturing postpartum. In my book I explain that a nurturing postpartum boils down to 4 pillars: social support, rest, food and bodywork.
I have become acutely aware that bodywork seems to be the most neglected part of the 4 elements of postpartum nurture. I have started working towards creating courses to rectify this. The first of these course is the rebozo massage and closing ritual online course.
Learning postpartum rituals such as the closing the bones massage was instrumental in my journey towards writing the book. I have given this massage to hundred of women since I first learnt it in 2013. I have also taught this massage in live workshops since 2014 and trained several hundred people in giving this ritual. I also co-created a new version of this massage, called the postnatal recovery massage, with an osteopath.
Prior to 2020 I was asked many times to teach this remotely, but I felt I couldn’t teach this ritual without being physically present because of the need to adjust position and pressure whilst doing the hands on part of the massage. With the 2020 lockdown and many teachings moving online, and the publication of my book, the number of requests intensified, but I still felt I couldn’t do it justice without being present.
Several events contributed to changing my mind. Firstly, as a doula, during 2020 I found myself having to teach rebozo techniques to couples via a mix of sharing video links and live zoom sessions. This taught me that it could be done quite well remotely. On several occasions, because partners restrictions meant that I couldn’t be in hospital with the couple I was supporting, the partner called me when there was a stall in labour. By suggesting positions and techniques, I found that several babies being born without obstetric interventions. These experiences showed me that remote learning could be very effective. Secondly, because of the isolation brought by lockdown, I saw new mothers suffer emotionally and physically more than ever before, with almost no access to support or physical therapists. Giving closing the bones to them showed me that this ritual was needed more than ever. Thirdly, I took part in trainings offering by other practitioners online which were only available face to face before, and in particular online rebozo training with Mexican Midwife Naoli Vinaver. I saw power in this, because, suddenly, I could learn from people anywhere in the world, and the learning was still powerful despite the remote aspect.
However, I still felt that I couldn’t teach the “hands on skin” massage part of the ritual remotely because it required precise observation and correction, so I had to create something new.
Over the last couple of years I have supported new mothers who struggled with pain post caesarean, and whose bellies were too tender to massage so soon post surgery. I adapted the massage and used rocking and wrapping techniques with the rebozo only rather than my hands to provide comfort and relaxation. I found that this was still a powerful and effective ritual.
The online course I have created, over a period of a year, is extremely extensive in content. I pre launched the course to a group of early adopters in 2021, and receiving feedback from them means that I have extensively refined the process (for example I reshot several videos based on what people told me that wanted to understand better, or when something wasn’t clear).
The course also contains much deeper content in terms of preparation, equipment, and creating ceremony than any live courses I have taught, because I wasn’t limited by timing. The course includes an entire module on creating ceremony, ritual and sacred space. This is one of the most beautiful and important aspects of the rebozo massage and closing ritual. What you get is based on my years of experience as well as years of listening to questions about it from live workshop trainees. This is he first time that I am teaching this aspect in such depth. You will learn how to be attuned to your intuition to hold space and allow whatever needs to be expressed. This is a creative and sacred process that adds much to the experience for both you and the mother.
I want to make sure that there is enough interest in this course before putting more energy into it starting it, and I also want to be able to run ideas via a group of early adopters as I develop the course, so I’m offering the future course as a pre-sale to early adopters for a discounted price.
Here is a video showing what the massage and ritual process looks like.