Closing the Bones
During labour we have to open. It is simple, really. However the baby comes into the world, as women, we literally must divide ourselves in half to release the life inside us into the world. It is the ultimate act of creation. Energetically this opening is down our center. For women who have caesareans, the opening is also across the center, perpendicular to the first opening. All of our petals unfolded, our delicate centres exposed, beautiful, intense and so very open. Then, after all the work of opening we are presented with our baby. The daily spin of feeding, nappies and care begins.
In Western cultures, some women go back to work immediately, some may stay home but their partners must work so the burden of care falls solely on the new mother. We are still open. Most of us do not have the support needed to spend a month being cared for as in other cultures around the world. We are still open. A month spent eating nutrient rich foods specifically intended to build blood and strength. A month spent resting, recovering and yes, closing.
Closing what? Well, energetically, we are closing back together the center channels. It is that energetic space at our core, the one in which we grew a tiny human, and shared with a tiny human for over nine months. Until the baby is born, we are sharing an energy system. Once the baby is born, our bodies now must rebalance, as what was full is empty, what was shared is now free to find its own rhythms again. Our petals must begin the inhalation now, folding inward, gently spooling our energy back into our hearts and cores. Closing what was so open, precious and intimate. The transition does not always go smoothly.
In Chinese Medicine, pregnancy is called a gateway of change because it offers an opportunity for the body to shift dramatically. This shift can be positive, with old longstanding patterns of illness shifted into new healthy ones. Especially if the mother eats well, rests well and keeps active during pregnancy. And after—and that is the key. The increasing rates of bladder prolapse and hip replacement in older women are just two of a growing number of patterns of illness experienced by women in later life. It is critical that we take time and energy to close effectively after baby is born. Not only do we need that energy for ourselves to meet the demands of daily life, but our physical bodies need the support and structure of bones back together.
So how do we do this? We return to our community of sisters. As women we need to do this for each other, as part of the standard, routine care of postnatal women. It can be done many ways: with massage, with rebozo, with belly wrapping, with energy work. One of the easiest and most approachable is with a rebozo, that indispensible woven cloth that can be used for anything from a scarf, to a sling, to a labour aid. It can also be used to wrap the hips and literally bring the bones back together. And by bringing the bones back together, we bring our energy back into our center, back to our core. The alternative is our energy leaking out, slowly depleting ourselves.
Most important is the gift to ourselves of acknowledging both that we have been open and that now we are closing with intention. The clear message to ourselves is that we care enough to give our energy back to ourselves; we love ourselves enough to put ourselves back together, to honour our vessel. We love ourselves enough to become our shining whole again. Of course once we do this for ourselves, we find that we have much deeper reserves to meet the needs of all those others we love in lives.