My name is Sophie Messager and I am on a mission to revolutionise the postpartum.
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 2020 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.
Since publishing my book I have done further research and I have become acutely aware that bodywork seems to be the most “forgotten” part of the 4 elements of postpartum nurture. I have started working towards creating several courses to rectify this. One of these courses 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 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 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. At first I still felt that I couldn’t teach this online.
Several events contributed to changing my mind. First, as a doula, during lockdown I found myself having to teach rebozo techniques to couples via a mix of sharing video links and/or live zoom sessions. This taught me that it could be done remotely when I used to think this wasn’t possible. On several occasions, because partners restrictions meant that I couldn’t be in hospital with the couple, the father called me when there was a stall in labour, and suggesting positions and techniques helped 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 manual 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. I saw power in this, because, suddenly, I could learn from people in Australia or Mexico, 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.
In 2020 I supported new mothers who struggled with pain post caesarean, and whose bellies were too tender to massage it was too soon post surgery. So 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, and very much needed.
I have decided to share this postnatal rebozo massage and closing ritual as an online course. I am already some way into creating the course content, including having already shot the tutorial videos and written the course plan.
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.