As an expectant mother stands in the light of the sun, her baby is bathed in a golden rose-colored, energizing, and soothing light. It is as if the sun above is telling the baby how beautiful this life will be. The sun communicates warmth and, as the mother smiles, the baby receives her bliss. Flowers communicate with the language of aroma. When a mother, pregnant with promise, sniffs a frangipani, she communicates her pleasure to baby.
When first I met Te Kaha, he arrived on a typically busy day at Bumi Sehat. Acupuncture clinicians, allopathic nurses, and doctors were working together to give optimal free care to many dozens of sick and injured people. Two pairs of mothers and fathers were laboring, and three newborn mothers/babies/families were resting in the postpartum rooms, breastfeeding and bonding. Midwife Ibu Dewa Rutini and I had just finished teaching a class of over 40 young midwives from Kalimantan about gentle birth. The entryway of Bumi Sehat was chock-a-block full of slippers and shoes when this complete stranger appeared, looking completely strange!
Mothers worldwide are crying out for respectful, gentle maternal health services. The nightmare of “prenatal scare” instead of prenatal care has mothers-to-be crying after visits with the Ob/Gyn. Clearly, it is time for an awakening in birth. This is what so many of us birthkeepers are holding in our hearts. We devote our days and nights to supporting individual women to have choices in childbirth, while working on the broader, global front of human rights in childbirth.
The fourth stage of labor, the time after the baby has been born (second stage) and after the placenta is safely delivered (third stage) has been defined medically as one to two hours postpartum. Culturally, I define it as the first 42 days following childbirth. I believe the fourth stage never really ends, as a postpartum woman is forever transformed by the significant rite of passage of childbirth.
A gorgeous tale from Indonesia that weaves language, music and birth.
In this update from non-profit Bumi Sehat, author Robin Lim describes their work with a group of village midwives in Aceh, Indonesia. These traditional midwives provide an invaluable service to local villagers, survivors of the 2005 Tsunami.