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Closing the Circle of Birth

Birthing our babies is a pivotal moment in our life, it is one of our greatest rites of passage and a time to be celebrated, honoured and nurtured by those around us. It is a time when we open ourselves up physically, emotionally and energetically and surrender a part of our old self to embrace our new role as mothers and parents. However, after our baby is born the focus quickly shifts from us to our baby and there is nothing to celebrate the huge transformation we have just made.

‘Sealing’ ceremonies are practiced in many cultures around the world and are a beautiful way to close the circle of birth. They help us to restore, rebalance and heal the body that has carried our babies from their home in our womb to their place in the world.

These ‘Closing’ rituals (often referred to as Closing the Bones) would usually happen during the sacred first 40 days after the birth of a baby, as soon as 6 hours after birth and often many more times during that period. Women of the community would come together to bless, massage, wrap the new mother and nourish her with food.

Sadly, in our culture this way of honouring birth and the post-partum period has been lost or diminished over time. I would love to see the return of these traditions and find a way to celebrate our ‘matresence’ – our transition into motherhood.

The benefits


My first experience of Closing the Bones was on a one day workshop in Cornwall, but I felt that I wanted to deepen my learning. In 2019, I spent two wonderful days with Dr Rocio Alarcon, a Curandera and ethnobotanist from Ecuador who generously shared healing techniques with us from her maternal line. I am grateful to now be able to practice these in Cornwall and support women and birthing people on their healing journey.

Rocio says that hip and pelvic issues are so prevalent in our society because our hips are not closed after the birth of our babies. When we are pregnant our hips widen to allow our babies to pass through our pelvis during birth. The rejuvenating massage techniques she shares help to stimulate blood flow, move our womb and bladder to their pre-pregnancy place and adjust the centres of energy in our hip and abdomen area ‘closing’ them both physically and energetically. The techniques can be used after any kind of birth, but special care is taken after a Caesarean birth to ensure that the body is given a little more time to heal.

“Physically, I have felt very different since. I have a long history of hip problems, but they have never felt more comfortable than they did after Jo did my Closing the Bones Ceremony.”

Celia, Sealing Ceremony Client
Lovingly Wrapped

During the ceremony time is spent listening to and witnessing your story in a safe and gentle space. So often after the birth of our babies we are not given the time or space to do that, or if we have been able to tell our story, sometimes our more negative or traumatic experiences are made light of if we have a healthy baby. Being seen and truly heard is a simple, but powerful thing and a big part of the healing process.

The ceremony can also help us to release any unwanted tension and trauma that we may be holding onto after the birth of our babies. It is not unusual for tears to flow as we talk, yield and let go physically and emotionally. If we are feeling lost or fractured after our experiences, the ritual can help us to feel ‘whole’ again.

There is also a spiritual or energetic aspect to this work. The massage works on our physical organs, but also on our energetic Womb centre which is present regardless of whether we have a physical or fertile womb or not. In my experience the work we do together can help us to (re)connect with our womb centre and our inner wisdom.

My offering

Fresh Herbs for Limpia Ceremony

The full Sealing Ceremony I offer takes around 3 hours and is usually held in the comfort of your own home, but it can also be held in mine. I am used to working in the midst of wonderful post-partum chaos with nursing new babies present so simply adapt what I do to create a calm and sacred space.

When I hold your ceremony, I like to have plenty of time for us to get to know each other and connect beforehand. To begin with we will drink tea together (usually an herbal blend I like to bring) and just talk. I listen deeply and hold space for you while you share as much or as little of your story as you need to. I explain the ceremony to you and check in to see that you are comfortable with each part. Wherever practical, I start with a Limpia cleansing ritual using fresh aromatic herbs to clear negative energies. This is usually held outside.

For the massage ceremony, I will begin by softly rocking your hips with my manta (scarf) and as we do this swaying dance together, your hips and lower back loosen and relax. I then gently massage your abdomen with oil using the techniques shared with me by Rocio. This is followed by more massage techniques with my manta.

Mother wrapping (shoulders and hips)

To finish I reverently wrap your head, shoulders, hips, calves and feet and hold you at each point. Being gently held by the scarves has a very nurturing and almost womb-like feeling. I also like to sing a blessing to you during this part of the ceremony.

Whilst you are wrapped in your warm cocoon, I can drum for you to close the ceremony. The healing sound of the sacred drum can help mother and baby go into a deep state of relaxation. I sit with you quietly, often in meditation until you are ready to slowly come back into your body.

Beyond birth

A certain kind of alchemy happens during the ceremonies I hold and the more I do this healing work, the more I realise that the ceremony does not just benefit new mothers. It is so nurturing that the benefits can be felt at any time post-partum, even years after!

I have also supported women who do not have children and those who have experienced the heartbreak of the baby loss, hysterectomy and fertility issues. They too have found the ceremony profoundly healing, again sometimes many years after their experiences.

“…6 years of IVF treatments, egg donations, a miscarriage, having a baby induced left me feeling I needed closure and it’s many years down the line for me. I think matter how much time has passed need a ritual, a sacred space, a ceremony that enables them to re-honour their bodies and to bring back together parts of them that feel absent or fractured.”

Lisa, Sealing Ceremony Client

It is such a gentle and nurturing practice that it would also make a beautiful celebration of life’s other milestones including menarche and menopause. 

Jo Kidman is a mother of three children and lives in beautiful rural North Cornwall. She works as a birth and postnatal doula supporting families across Cornwall and the Devon border. For more information about her offerings, please take a look at Jo’s Doula Services. You can also find Jo on Doula UK Jo Kidman – Doula UK and Facebook Jo Kidman Doula Cornwall.

It is an honour for me to walk with you on your healing journey and to be able to share this ancient wisdom. If you feel drawn to the ceremony and would like to find out more, I would love to hear from you.

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