About the Cerrada Ceremony
Cerrada- a closing ceremony
A Cerrada ceremony marks the closure of the cycle of conception, pregnancy and birth and can be done any time after the mother has stopped bleeding post birth. Many mothers will book a Cerrada in the early postnatal weeks but some women will come a year or more after giving birth as they have just discovered it or it has been recommended to them… In Mexico, where the ceremony originates, the purpose is to honour the new mother’s hard work of carrying her baby, the intense process of labour and birth and the bringing forth of new life. It is a celebration of her wonderful body and her journey into becoming a mother, whether for the first time or each time she gives birth, it is also welcoming her into the community as a mother
The ritual begins with a hot bath infused with healing herbs and oils to calm and centre the mother. She is invited to talk about any aspect of her birth experience or her new role as a mother that she wants to discuss, process or resolve. Then she is wrapped in towels or a blanket and taken to the warm candlelit space that has been prepared for her, then she is massaged, wrapped and held with rebozos by two women, traditionally by her midwife and a female relative. Here the ceremony is often performed by the woman’s doula, a close friend, family member and a massage practitioner /doula etc. When the ceremony is complete, the mother is encouraged to lie quietly to fully integrate her experience. During this time everyone acknowledges the beauty, power and strength that her body and soul has given to growing and birthing her baby
A rebozo is a long piece of woven cloth often worn by Mexican women and a traditional Mexican/Latin American midwifery tool for pregnancy, labour and post-partum. Using a rebozo during late pregnancy & labour can encourage a baby to move into a better position, can provide comfort & relaxation for the heavily pregnant or labouring woman and it an essential component of the Cerrada ceremony.
The Cerrada is a wonderfully nurturing way of honoring the mother’s hard work and it helps to physically and emotionally close her body. A woman is opened spiritually, emotionally and physically by the process of pregnancy and birth and can be left feeling very vulnerable, tired and emotional. Everything about being pregnant, from your expanding belly, your growing baby, your focus and intentions, 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 advice a closing of the body and mind. 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 feel strong again after the intensity of birth.
I attended a Rebozo Workshop with Stacia Smales-Hill and Birthing Babies in Nov 2013 which was really interesting and I found that a rebozo became very useful in my doula work. I went to Findhorn 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 and I attended the wonderful Rebozo workshop with Angelina Martinez–Miranda. Angelina is a traditional Mexican midwife who learned from her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who were all midwives practicing for around 40 years each! We learned about the traditional uses of the rebozo and we were shown [and practised] how to perform a Cerrada ceremony.
I’ve been offering the ceremony since being at Findhorn and everyone loves it ! I usually work with another doula or my colleague Annalisa Blake who is a Massage Practitioner, Homeopath and Healer, see www.annalisablake.com. The ceremony is performed in the comfort of your own home, if you wish a friend or family member can also participate and whenever possible have someone to look after your baby during the process. All you need to provide is a warm space and something comfortable to lie on and a couple of towels or blankets. We will bring the music, herbs, massage oil, rebozos and lots of feminine energy and love…
“My Cerrada was a very emotional and spiritual experience, a calming and peaceful time to reflect on what my body had achieved. It was a celebration of my two pregnancies and births, I was suprised how sad I felt that I would ’t go through that again. I would recommend it to any mother. there is so little support and reflection postpartum”
Rachel Crozier 2018