On May 4th, I arrived in Tangier, Morocco for the Tribal Sisterhood Retreat. I attended the retreat to learn Moroccan postpartum rituals. I was excited to participate and to learn the wisdom from traditional midwives and elder healers. My life’s work is to heal trauma and bring spirituality back full circle in birth, by connecting birth and postpartum rituals to the African diaspora. The Tribal Sisterhood Retreat provided me an intimate look at postpartum rituals, while drinking delicious Moroccan mint tea.
The Moroccan Midwife
I loved the presentation given by the traditional midwife. It was so real and down to earth. She shared her personal story of becoming a midwife and how she provides postpartum care to mothers in their homes.
After the midwife’s presentation, she demonstrated the postpartum bath on a volunteer. It was beautiful, spiritual and a sacred ceremony. They had the volunteer sit on a small stool. Under the stool was a bowl or plate of steaming herbs to heal the birth area. These herbs are used for the postpartum time. The midwife and her daughter washed the volunteer with special soaps and prayed over her during the bathing ceremony.
Closing the Bones
After the bathing, they covered the volunteer from head to toe to keep her warm. Next, they laid her on a nice rug for the closing of the bones. The closing of the bones is very different than Mexico Rebozo bone closing. It consists of a heavier cloth, and there are two ways that it can be done. And it always follows by some squeezing, massaging and gentle pushing of the hips and bones. The goal is to help the bones and organs return to their right position. It is a skill that one must be trained for by the Moroccan women. The midwives completed the closing of the bones ceremony and put the volunteer to bed. Once in bed the midwife fed her dates and gave her hot tea to drink. What I observed in Morocco for postpartum care, is that it involves patience, nurturing, prayer, and plenty of loving touch.
“I felt such love during the bathing,” she said with tears in her eyes. “Every new mother deserves to feel like this.”
The Postpartum Party
The final postpartum tradition was attending the new mother’s party, that is put on for her and her baby. There are plenty of sweets, Moroccan tea, special food dishes, singing and belly dancing. In Moroccan culture, there is much honor, love, and prayers for the new mother and her baby.
I am inspired by the common thread of postpartum traditions within the African diaspora. These traditions include: nurturing, beautifying, celebrating, praying and singing; all to protect the new mother so she can heal, love, and care for her baby.
The Ritual of Love
Being loved is the ultimate postpartum ritual for healing. The Moroccan postpartum tradition displayed loved in the work, love for God, and love for the women, babies, and families.
The retreat experience was amazing: the venue breath taking, the people, beautiful and welcoming. I enjoyed walking past the cows, who were walking on the other side of the road, while passing a grove of eucalyptus trees. The tradition of drinking delicious Moroccan mint tea was soothing. It helped me to experience a true Moroccan tradition. I loved the impromptu evening belly dancing parties, that were led by an American and Moroccan attendee. A true cross cultural exchange. Being cared for with authentic traditional Moroccan dishes, left me feeling full and really special. Everyday, I had the opportunity to learn, reflect, socialize and relax. It was a truly amazing retreat.
Layla B., is the sponsor of Tribal Sisterhood Retreat. She is an amazing organizer and gracious hostess.
This sounds like such an amazing experience to have been a part of! Let the healing continue as we share the power of love! Thank you for sharing your observations and experience!
Hi Deirdre, Thank you for your comment. We often look for scientific solutions to improve the postpartum experience. At the end the day, mothers want quality care, respect and to feel loved. A simple concept but often challenging to translate into care. The more we discuss the needs of new mothers to the masses, I believe the sooner people will know how to support new mothers/people after birth.
Wow. So glad you had the opportunity to participate in this and thank you for sharing some of what you learned.
Thank you for your comment. It was very interesting to participate in such a hands on training. I was able to practice many of the postpartum ritual under the directions of the traditional midwives and healers. I will be adding portion of my learning to my postpartum work with mothers, and in my SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training.
I would love to learn more.
Hi Rose, Thank you for commenting on my Blog. My goal is to share what I learned with additional Blogs, webinars, Facebook Live, and through the SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training. It was such a beautiful experience. If you have the opportunity to travel with Tribal Sisterhood Retreat, I recommend it.
What a wonderful experience this had to have been! Thank you for sharing the experience and knowledge gained from this retreat!
Hi Que, Thank you for reading my Blog and commenting. The knowledge gained I will add to my personal midwifery and doula service. I will also add it to the SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training. What I shared can be experienced by all, in the areas of patience, celebration and love.
Sounds amazing. In so many cultures there in emphasis on pregnancy and birth but breastfeeding and postnatal is not celebrated. It sounds like a beautiful gathering and love , prayers, music and comfort measures for the new mum. I love to sit and learn from the local midwives in different cultures I lived. What a wonderful experience you had.
Hi Lin, thank you for reading and commenting on my Blog. Along with the amazing training with the traditional midwives, definitely creating sisterhood among the attendees was very powerful.
Are you singing and playing music at the births that you attend?
This is absolutely beautiful and incredible. What an amazing experience ?
Hi Vallin, Thank you for commenting on my Blog. It was incredible experience. I learned new information, but I loved that it also reinforced, the centerto quality postpartum care. And that is the nurturing, the celebration and the love, for the new mother.
What an amazing experience and beautiful insight into African postpartum care. The postpartum party sounds like a great time to nurture and affirm the new mother.
Hi Alisa, Thank you for reading and commenting on my Blog. It was indeed a beautiful experience. I was pleased that Morocco connected the dots to the long tradition of African postpartum care; and that many of the traditions can be seen in the legacy of the 20th Century African American midwives. I am excited to add this information to the SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training. The party was very beautiful. The Moroccan party attire is gorgeous.
I felt the beauty of this ritual just reading of your experience. I would like to attend a birth retreat. Thank you for sharing ?❣
Hi Tracey, Thank you for reading my Blog and commenting. I am glad that you could feel my experience in the writing. I encourage you to take a birth retreat with Layla B. when you can. And if I can be of help, please let me know.
Thank you for sharing your experience. This article just strengthened passion for pursuing Doula work that much more! Much love to you for the work you do! ?
Hi Charlisha, Thank you reading my Blog and commenting. The Moroccan Postpartum Retreat was amazing. And what a beautiful country. I am adding what I learned to my midwife/doula practice. I will also update the SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training with rituals that I learned from my Moroccan postpartum care training. It’s very exciting. I am glad you are considering becoming a doula. Let me know if I can help.
This sounds like an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing it with us!!
Hi Shanna, Thank you for your comments. It was an amazing experience, to learn first hand from the local midwives was very empowering. I will be sharing more details of specifics of the training in future blogs.
Hello! I must attend this event in July! I would like to know who to contact to get the process started….
Thank you soooo much! With love, Jenne’!