OK, so I might be pushing the friendship with these two related topics. Here we go..
I have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing pregnancy or child birth but I can’t wait until I do and I know it is one of the most important things I want in my life.
I am obviously completely unbiased to the options out there because I have not entered this world of building a family of my own…
I did however have my mind blown and a serious awakening to how beautiful and sometimes even organsmic (yuuup!!) childbirth can be if done in a gentle, nuturing and loving environment and way. Fingers crossed on that one!
I had the pleasure of visiting a natural birthing clinic in Ubud, Bali called Bumi Sehat run by Robin Lim (who in 2011 won the CNN Hero of the year). A by-donation village based organisation.
The clinic see 600 new babies born each year…often natural, water, lotus births. They bring babies into the world in a gentle and loving way. We watched (on DVD mind you!) several amazing natural, water, lotus births that had me completely sold on this whole experience.
There are many economical and social reasons behind why Bumi Sehat is needed and works so well in Indonesia.
They will assist and go on the birthing journey with anyone regardless of financial means, religious beliefs, social circumstances etc…it is a hub of love and new life. Everything from the nutrition and nurturing required during the pregnancy (yoga, meditation, nutrition, acupuncture) to the caring and calm environment created for the new life coming into the world (water birthing, drug free, no need for caesarean due to less complications, delayed cord cutting / Lotus birth, encouraged instant skin to skin contact and breast feeding), and then the support and guidance that is essential for both mum and bub after the birth.
Often Indonesian women can not take their babies home from the hospital if they can not afford the medical costs. Did you know that in the mothers absence they will feed the baby NESTLE baby formula (NESTLE sponsors most hospitals in Indonesia), therefore when it is time for the baby to bond and go home with its mother it does not take well to breastfeeding, and then the mother is left with no option but to buy and use the NESTLE formula she can NOT afford! Such an outrageous cycle of corporate greed, useless government policies and a country lacking in supportive community outreach programs.
THE ART OF BIRTHING
The art of Midwifery encourages a gentle natural birthing process. This has been ostracised and pushed underground for some time now but is slowly making a resurgence. We are very lucky to have such good medical care available to us in these western modern times. But alas, child birth can be traumatic and sometimes fatal and I think many of us know that fear and it is why we have been happy to resort to the procedure being done in more clinically supervised environments. As high as the mortality rate is in some indigenous cultures* we sure can learn a lot from them in regards to nuturing the child naturally when she/he arrives…
I found this most fascinating as I had NEVER heard of it, and either had a lot of my girlfriends. Many of them mothers too. A lotus birth (or nonseverance) is the act of leaving the baby and placenta attached after birth. Instead of clinically cutting the cord to suit our needs, it is left to remain and fall off naturally as done in early civilisation and tribal, indigenous cultures.
The placenta will naturally drop off within 3-10days (usually 5). The power of the placenta is still huge for the newborn. It still delivers the babies life force, vital nutrients, stem cells, antibodies, and even ‘extra’ intelligence to the baby after birth. It is also a gentle transition for the baby into this new and foreign environment. It can be a way of forcing the mother and baby to slow down in this important period too.
The custom is to wrap the placenta in cloth and place in a bowl (of flowers/herbs). Obviously you need to stick pretty close to this bowl. That is why it can slow you down!
In Aboriginal wisdom, the placenta is always buried once it has disconnected from the bambino – given back to the Earth, to let Her know, by its blood, that a baby has been born and is healthy and she knows who this baby is so it can be looked after.
Robin told us stories of still born babies, (and puppies too) being nurtured back to life by massaging the placenta and focussing on the important role it plays right up until the moment the baby decides it no longer requires the support of the placenta and is happy to go it alone. Fascinating stuff..
Then there is the topic of eating the Placenta to restore any nutrients lost to the mother during labour and birth. I’ll leave that for another day hey!
Just something to think about….
Please note: I wrote this in late 2012 so some information may have changed. Please also note, these are just my thoughts on something I consider AMAZING. I ain’t no expert!
*(90% of these deaths are preventable. The five major causes of maternal mortality are: hemorrhage , sepsis (infection), unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders, and obstructed labor. The five major causes of maternal mortality—hemorrhage (severe blood loss), sepsis (infection), unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders (pregnancy complications associated with high blood pressure, including preeclampsia and eclampsia), and obstructed labor. All treatable if the woman has access to trained healthcare workers at a well-equipped health facility.). Courtesy of www.everymothercounts.org