The birth of a baby is so important and wonderful, but the birth of a new mother is equally important and so is the role of the professionals supporting her.
So many cultures place great emphasis on mothering the new mother and welcoming, honouring, nurturing, nourishing, closing and celebrating her through lots of sacred ancient wisdom and traditions.
Unfortunately, a lot of these traditions have become or are slowly becoming extinct.
We need to change that together!
What women are saying
Closing the Bones in Morocco is known as (الشّد - Al Shedd - to close). Sometimes it is referred to as closing the nfissa (new mother) or closing of bones. It is the 5th stage of healing and a very important one.
It is a sacred, ancient and traditional ritual and ceremony, which is actually quite hard to put into words. It is not a 'massage' as we are now accustomed to, but it is a body work ritual performed with the use of a traditional cloth, worn and used by women until today. It is done by 1 or 2 women...it is much easier with two women.
The woman is 'swaddled' 'closed' 'pulled' using this cloth from head to toe. Starting from the head and going down, all parts of the body are closed, aiming to aid the bones, muscles, organs and everything to slowly go back to the pre-pregnancy state. After the full closing, the women lays on her side and her legs are massaged and rubbed strongly, her hips are squeezed down, her pubic bone is slightly pushed and then a belly binding is done using the same cloth. There is also another variation where the woman is also closed on her side and also massaged with olive oil on her legs, arms and stomach.
It is a sacred ritual and ceremony, which heals the new mother but also helps to close the pregnancy and birth phase which has ended. It is a physical, emotional and spiritual experience; usually prayers are made before starting. It is combined with other nourishing, nurturing and celebrative rituals, rather than a stand-alone affair.
It is commonly known to be used for postpartum women, however in Morocco, it was also previously used during the wars when Moroccan men would come back after a rigorous day and need to be 'closed' to recover and heal and go back to war again.
Being taught for the first time in Dubai for any woman who wants to offer this service to other women or just for knowledge.
Every woman that attends will be certified to offer these services and listed on our directory once certified.
What women are saying
Layla is extremely knowledgeable about the postpartum traditions in Morocco and was able to learn the inherent rituals and share them with the international community with passion and dedication. Her initiatives to help her homeland's keepers of birth such as the Qablas/Midwives and other women in her community allows us to learn without any appropriation risk. Closing of the bones ceremony is not only beneficial to the woman's body but nurtures her soul and allows her to recover spiritually. I've learned a lot and cannot wait to use it to celebrate women and heal them.
Thank you Layla for such an informative closing the bones training.
After having my bones closed by a fellow Doula I really hoped for the opportunity to offer this service to my own clients and so was really pleased when you announced this course. It was very interesting to see the similarities and variations between the Moroccan technique and other communities.
Can’t wait to get my cloths delivered and start offering this service.
I was fairly late to the party in attending Layla’s Morrocan Closing the Bones workshop but I am so glad that I had the privilege to attend. Layla’s passion for learning and sharing the practices and rituals from Morocco shines through and her commitment to restoring these things is admirable. I so enjoyed the entire afternoon - both the workshop and sharing it with lovely like-minded women was a treat indeed. The course itself was well-organised, very informative, yet informal and relaxed. I loved learning about the various postpartum rituals present in Morocco and the Closing itself was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Layla taught; ensuring that we were informed and knowledgeable about the Moroccan elements and what we should adhere to, however not so prescriptive in exactly how we should deliver it. I left feeling that I had learned a warm, comforting and healing ritual that I would feel confident in offering to women.
Joining me, Layla B, in London to discuss sacred traditional Moroccan postpartum wisdom, was 30 women in an Bedouin tent. For the first time ever, the wisdom of the traditional qablas (midwives), Rahma and Fatima, from Morocco was shared with the outside world, with their blessings and guidance of course.
Rahma is a traditional qabla and healer from Chefchouen; her mother in law passed down the sacred knowledge to her and they come from a lineage of about 4 generations of qablas and healers. Rahma's mother-in-law actually was the qabla of my grandmothers and some of my aunties.
Fatima is a 'part-time' traditional qabla in a village outside of Tangier. After my third birth, Fatima gave me a closing ceremony which consisted of a hamam, closing of the bones and belly bind. Her daughter, Nabila, also made us a delicious nourishing postpartum dish to enjoy together.
What women are saying
It was a real privilege to attend the Sacred Postpartum Wisdom workshop with Layla. As a Postnatal Doula it was fascinating to get a glimpse of how women in Morocco are traditionally cared for during the postnatal period. Simply wonderful to sit in circle with so many inspiring women and realise how much more unites than divides us. I really hope I can learn more from Layla and the women of Morocco one day. Thank you Layla.
― LUCY BAENA
Lovely wonderful Layla!! Thank you so much for yesterday. I cannot explain how much yesterday’s gathering filled my soul. Your work is so beautiful, important and necessary, you are truly blessed and a blessing. So thank you very much. I am so hopeful for our futures as mothers and birth keepers and changing maybe not the whole world but someone’s world and that for me would be more than enough.
An annual sisterhood retreat in the Moroccan sunshine paired with a traditional postpartum certification training!
2018 was a journey of a lifetime with 12 women from across the globe, lots of Moroccan tea, sightseeing, dancing, celebrating, cooking class, shopping, discussing, immersing in the culture and traditions, hamam, and so much more!
What women are saying
In 2015, Layla B., founded the Natural Birth and Breastfeeding Conference and retreats under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi.
It is the first event of its kind in the UAE and GCC region bringing together local and international speakers and participants, sponsors, exhibitors to provide lectures, trainings and workshops for professionals.
In 2015 the headline speakers were Ina May Gaskin and Dr. Jack Newman, with MP. Victoria Dondez (from Argentina) as a key VIP guest. In 2016 the headline speakers were Janet Balaskas, Sheena Byrom and Nancy Mohrbacher.
We have also arranged hypnobirthing training for professionals, Spinning babies workshops, childbirth education and doula training and now our own closing the bones (the Moroccan way) workshops.
We have had almost 1,000 women participate in these events, with women coming from Uganda, Australia, USA, UK, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, the Netherlands and many more.
What women are saying
Layla, thank you so so much for the amazing opportunity today. It was a dream come true to meet Ina May! Thank you again so much, I know you put so much work into this conference, and it showed. It was very professional and a great joy to attend! God bless!
― KATIE - 2015 PARTICIPANT
I had a wonderful time attending the retreat with Ina May Gaskin. I was looking forward to listening to her talks about her insights and experiences of natural birth throughout her career and also enjoyed the company of an amazing group of passionate and driven women of different backgrounds based in the Middle East and working in the birth domain as midwives, doulas and CBE’s. The location itself really was a beautiful retreat hidden away in the desert and we had the full 5* treatment. The desert safari was a “must do” experience! I was honoured to have been able to attend the 1st GCC Natural Birth Conference organised by Nature’s Way. Everything was superbly organised and all the talks were thoroughly enjoyable particularly those presented by Ina May Gaskin and Dr Jack Newman. I learned so much about breastfeeding and am looking forward to the next conference.
― UMM IBRAHIM - 2015 PARTICIPANT
I was lucky enough to attend the Natural Birth and Breastfeeding Conference in Sharjah along with the retreat and I am still bursting with excitement. It was such a huge privilege to be able to listen to speakers such as Janet Balaskas, Sheena Byron and Nancy Mohrbacher and especially to spend such an intimate time with both Janet and Sheena at the retreat. I really did learn so much. I also loved the range of speakers from across our very own region, great to see we have so many passionate experts here in the Middle East. I so enjoyed meeting and chatting to ladies from literally all over the world, so many interesting stories and an amazing wealth of knowledge. Both the conference and retreat were beautifully organised by Layla. They were well structured, perfectly timed and very welcoming to us all. Thank you Layla for giving us all the opportunity to learn so much and for all your hard work, I know it is appreciated by so many.
― NICKY LANGLEY - 2016 PARTICIPANT
So thankful to have a visionary like Layla who brings together amazing speakers and amazing birth workers to share and spread our knowledge. We are all committed to restoring normality to birth, but we cannot do it alone. The workshops, retreats and conferences organised by Layla and Natures Way, enable us to meet and work together to make the changes possible. So wonderful to meet ordinary women doing extraordinary things, to be inspired and to add essential skills, tools and wisdom to our birth work. Thank you for making it possible.
― KAREN WILMOT - 2016 PARTICIPANT