On Saturday I spent the most fun, enjoyable and fascinating day learning all about the Rebozo. If you don't know what a rebozo is, you're not alone! Many of the midwives I work with have never heard of it.
So what is a rebozo?
Well it's a traditional piece of hand-woven fabric which originated in Mexico and Guatemala and has great significance in womanhood in those countries. For many generations the rebozo has been given to girls at menarche (when her first period arrives) and signifies her becoming a woman. The fabric is used as a garment, a scarf, a bag to carry or wrap things in, then when she becomes pregnant it is used for comfort techniques, wrapping around the abdomen or hips to provide relief from the discomforts of pregnancy. In labour the rebozo is used by traditional midwives to aid comfort and provide relief between surges and to provide a rocking massage which relaxes and aids the production of oxytocin. Traditional midwives are also skilled in using the rebozo to encourage babies in breech or back to back positions into more optimum positions for birth, although at present there is no concrete research evidence to prove this. After the baby is born the rebozo is used in baby-carrying as a sling, and many cultures incorporate the rebozo in postnatal rituals such as closing the bones and motherhood celebrations. And finally the woman is wrapped in her rebozo when she dies, thus making it a part of her whole life as a woman.
I found the whole story of the Rebozo incredibly beautiful and moving, a tradition which we in the West do not have.
So how can this Mexican tradition help you in your birth? Well, how many of you had a comfort blanket when you were little? A blankie that was soft, comforting and smelled of home? How about adopting that concept again now in pregnancy- find a lovely long scarf which you can wrap around yourself in pregnancy for comfort and warmth and which you can bring to hospital if you are birthing there, a little bit of home to bring comfort and familiarity. You could wrap it around your head to block out unwanted light, wrap it around you for warmth in labour and wrap it around you and your baby when having skin to skin. A wonderful addition to hypnobirthing techniques.
I will soon be including an element of rebozo techniques in my hypnobirthing courses. If you would like to know more please do get in touch.