Post-Partum  Cerrada - a closing ceremony

A Cerrada ceremony is a closure to the cycle of pregnancy, labour and birth and can be done at any time after the mother has stopped bleeding after the birth whether that s a few weeks or a few years!  The ceremony comes from Mexico, it is to honour the new mother’s hard work of carrying her baby for 9 months, experiencing the process of labour and birth and the bringing forth of a new life. It is a celebration of her wonderful body and her journey into becoming a mother, [whether for the first time or after every birth]it is also to welcome her as a mother into the community.

How is it done ?

Traditionally the mother is cleansed with a herbal bath, dried and then wrapped and held with 2 people using Rebozos and it is often done by her midwives/doula and family members. A Rebozo is a long, wide, cotton cloth which can be used as a scarf/shawl, a traditional midwifery tool for labour and pregnancy and as a baby carrier too!

The closing ceremony is a way of honouring the mother’s hard work and it helps to physically and emotionally close her body after the opening of pregnancy and birth. A woman is opened spiritually, emotionally and physically by the process of labour and birth and is often left feeling very vulnerable and emotional. Everything about being pregnant, from your expanding belly, your growing baby to your pelvis and your uterus opening to release your baby is about opening up... After the intensity and hard work of labour to bring your baby into the world, traditional medicine and generations of wisdom say you need to close the body. Physically the Cerrada helps to ease the bones of the hips and the muscles of the abdomen and pelvis back into alignment. Emotionally the Cerrada ceremony helps women to feel nurtured and respected as mothers and helps them to begin to feel strong again after the intensity of labour and birth. This ends the cycle of pregnancy, birth and the initial postnatal recovery and helps women to have a more confident start to their journey into motherhood through nurturing and respect from their families and communities.

Why it's important to me

I am a birth and postnatal doula and a maternity massage practitioner and I use the rebozo during pregnancy and labour. I attended a Rebozo Workshop with Stacia Smales-Hill and Birthing Babies in Nov 2013 which was very interesting and has become useful in my doula work. Find out more about the history of the Rebozo here - http://www.debrapascalibonaro.com/the-history-of-the-rebozo-book/

Recently I went to Findhorn [ https://www.findhorn.org/aboutus/community/] in Scotland for the amazing and inspirational Healthy Birth, Healthy Earth conference in Sept 2016. As part of the conference we had the choice of many workshops every day, I chose to attend the wonderful rebozo workshop with Angelina Martinez – Miranda. Angelina is a traditional midwife who learned from her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who were all midwives practising for around 40 years each! We learned about the traditional uses of the rebozo and we were shown some techniques to help turn breech babies, relax a pregnant woman and how to perform a Cerrada ceremony. I’m keen to promote the Cerrada as a post-partum ritual as there is a need for more meaningful rituals to celebrate our rites of passage such as the start of menstruation, marriage, pregnancy, motherhood and baby naming ceremonies. Being pregnant, carrying and growing a new life, the huge physical and emotional challenges of being pregnant and giving birth, postnatal recovery whilst breastfeeding and looking after a new born baby, all deserve to be praised and honoured so every woman feels special, important and nurtured. 

Where ?

I am now offering the Cerrada ceremony to post natal women with the help of a couple of lovely doulas who are also trained and experienced in using rebozo techniques. It will depend on when you want to book your Cerrada which doula is available to come with me. If you would like the whole ceremony including bathing it will take approximately 2 hours and if you would like the ceremony without the bathing it takes approximately 1.5hours. You may of course wear a swimsuit if that makes you more comfortable when you are being bathed and washed. If you prefer you could ask your midwife/doula/sister/mother/friend to be part of this special ceremony instead of the second doula...

 Call or email Sue for more information and cost 07811 953 277 - souladoula@gmail.com

No matter what kind of labour you have had, the closing ceremony provides a wonderful experience to feel held and supported and to mark your journey. I felt cared for and appreciated for the hard work my body had done not only physically but also emotionally.
The ceremony took place with Sue and my sister in my home so I was very comfortable and at ease from the start. During the Rebozo holding and releasing I was able to meditate and focus on each part of my body, how it changed and grew to accommodate my growing baby, give birth to him and then adjust back. It helped me to let go of some of the difficult aspects of my labour.
Afterwards I had an overwhelming sense of peace, letting go and also felt stronger and more focused on my new role as a mother. It was a really wonderful, transformative experience and one that I hope many women can have to celebrate their pregnancy, birth and the strength of the female body
— Nataleigh Rene Oct 2016