… and of course, take also care of your mothers, today.
This statement by Marianne Williamson is valid for every country on the planet:
…and how to heal from it
Text by By Anthea Thomas for hyonobirthing.com
You yourself may have experienced a difficult birth, and let’s face it, you only have to start talking to couples about their births, and the horrific stories start pouring out. Clearly the system around birth is not working, because it is not your body that is failing. Let’s look at how birth trauma is defined.
Birth trauma is defined as
- A loss of a sense of control
- Not feeling heard by health professionals
- Feeling isolated and alone
- Feeling anxious and afraid
- Fearing for your baby and your own life
What does it effect?
- Sense of self: when you believed you could birth, and you ended up feeling like a failure. It can have a profound effect on your self esteem
- Self-confidence: doubting your ability to be a good parent, good partner, doubting your ability to read your babies cues correctly
- Relationships: partner, family, friends, social groups, feeling withdrawn
- Bonding: don’t get the rush of hormones, affects bonding, let down, recovery, energy, ability to cope
- Future births: trauma stays with you, and you take that trauma and fear into the next birth
- Development of baby: staying inside, not interacting, no stimulation, lack of bonding, baby may then lack a sense of security which can lead to future mental health of the child and a delay in the child’s development
Can you ever forget?
Child Birth is a monumental and transformational event in a couple’s life, and whether it’s the most powerful, ecstatic, joyful experience or the most terrifying horrendous experience, the fact is that it is never really forgotten. Birth stories are written and videos are shared all over the internet, and no one birth experience is exactly like another. Every woman has a different journey. It is deeply personal and something she will carry always with her.
Can you heal? The great news is ‘Yes’!
Don’t suffer in silence, even if you don’t think that your birth was ‘bad’ enough to warrant getting help.
What we perceive as a great birth, can actually hold some deep trauma for women because of the way they were treated, or because of how they were feeling. In HypnoBirthing we teach that fears, beliefs and previous births experiences can have a profound effect on the way we give birth, and our couples go through a process of releasing the things that may get in the way of them having a positive birth. We see increasing numbers of women reaching out to us because they don’t want to experience another birth like their last. And the same techniques we use in HypnoBirthing can be used to heal your birth trauma, and help you find inner peace again. Doing that inner work is where it is at.
“Women need to know there is help and support out there if they have experienced a traumatic birth, and they all deserve the support. I believe even women who have had mostly positive births still need to debrief and process aspects of their birth as birth itself is such a huge process, physically, emotionally and spiritually!”
– Diana Fischer, Clinical Hypnotherapist & HypnoBirthing Educator
Top image: birth trauma tree by ‘unfold your wings’ in the UK. The roots represent some of the causes that may lead to trauma, and the leaves represent the symptoms you may feel. Bottom image: Sacred Healing, artist unknown
While medical interventions can and do save lives in a small percentage of births, the majority of labors can unfold as nature intended. As natural mamas, we need to take back this experience! Natural birth is a tremendous rite of passage, but you just may be surprised at how beneficial it is for baby and mama.
Written by Genevieve Howland (childbirth educator, bestselling author, breastfeeding advocate, mother of three)
Here are 14 benefits of having a natural childbirth.
1. Freedom during labor
Having an epidural, IVs or continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) usually means you will be confined to bed, unable to walk or change positions when it would be beneficial to do so. Many moms don’t realize that they’ll be given a catheter once the epidural is administered so forget laboring on the toilet!
Natural childbirth allows you to move freely and work with your body to birth your baby. Freedom of movement makes labor easier, and sometimes faster. Women who walk and change position during labor experience increased comfort, are more likely to give birth vaginally, and have a better sense of control over their experience.
Freedom to eat and drink during labor is another way that natural childbirth helps women have easier births. A woman who is well nourished and hydrated is a strong woman ready for the hard work of labor.
2. Avoid the cascade of interventions
Each unnecessary intervention has the potential to lead to more interventions, including c-section. When birth begins on its own and continues on its own time, mom is less likely to need these interventions.
For example, if you have an epidural, labor is likely to slow which may mean that your doctor will give you Pitocin to push labor along. Likewise, if labor is induced and your body and baby weren’t ready you will not produce natural oxytocin to begin contractions. You will then need Pitocin to get contractions going.
Pitocin has the potential to create intense and frequent contractions that don’t allow mom or baby rest, which can reduce the oxygen supply to baby. If baby becomes distressed many doctors will recommend a C-section.
3. Avoid Cesarean
Natural childbirth reduces the risk of cesarean delivery. Simply planning a natural childbirth with trained professional midwives reduces your risk of having a cesarean section from 30% to about 5%. Hiring a doula decreases your risk of a cesarean by 60-80%.
There have been a number of studies addressing whether epidurals cause higher risk of cesarean section and none have found a direct link. Unfortunately, these studies are flawed because they compare epidural anesthesia to narcotic pain relief rather than unmedicated labor. However, we do know that epidurals increase the risk for forceps or vacuum assisted births, which are related to higher risk for C-section.
We also know that, though continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) is not evidence based, even with high-risk moms, most OBs will require you to be continuously monitored while on an epidural (and in some other cases too). In a Cochrane review, continuous EFM was associated with an increase in pain medication use, cesarean sections and instrumental vaginal births including forceps and vacuum extraction.
4. Shorter, easier labor
In natural childbirth oxytocin signals the uterus to begin contracting and signals the brain to send endorphins, nature’s pain killer. It also signals the brain to continue sending oxytocin which will reach a peak during the pushing phase.
Epidurals interfere with this normal cascade of labor hormones and can slow labor significantly. Often Pitocin is recommended to get labor progressing.
When you have an epidural you can’t feel your lower body so you can’t change positions when it would be beneficial. Also, if you can’t feel your contractions you can’t push at the right time and with the right force to help baby out, resulting in a harder, longer labor.
5. Safer for baby
Epidural use can cause sudden blood pressure drop for mom which means less oxygen rich blood pumping to baby. This can result in fetal distress and many practitioners will recommend a C-section.
After an epidural, babies are less alert, less able to orient themselves, and have less organized movements for as long as a month after birth. Your body and the placenta help the baby to eliminate toxins while he is in your uterus. However, once he is born, his newborn liver will need to do it alone, which means it sometimes takes longer for babies to get rid of drugs and toxins in their system.
Narcotic pain relief medication can cause additional side effects in baby as well. These include:
- Central nervous system depression
- Respiratory depression
- Impaired early breastfeeding
- Altered neurological behavior
- Decreased ability to regulate body temperature
Because of these side effects, baby may need additional medications.
6. You’re present during natural childbirth
Narcotic pain relief can cause mom and baby to be groggy and “out of it.” Forgoing this kind of pain relief will help you to stay present during the birth of your baby. Even epidural pain relief can make you feel disconnected from your child’s birth. Though the medication may not make you feel groggy, the lack of sensation and connection to the physical act of giving birth may make you feel disconnected from the experience. Some moms have to be told when to push because they can’t feel the urge. Moms may also have an epidural “hangover” or feel itchy as the result of the procedure.
Unmedicated, natural childbirth, on the other hand, requires your full attention. Some women describe it as “other worldly” because of the connection between mind and body that has to occur during birth. With the rush of natural endorphins, some moms even enjoy giving birth rather than just suffering through it.
7. Natural childbirth is empowering
Natural childbirth supports the idea that childbirth is a rite of passage. Because of the blood, sweat and tears that you put into birth, there is something really transformational that happens. Some like to say that you go into birth as a maiden and come out the other end as mother. Natural childbirth advocates know that this journey to motherhood is a necessary one. They know that it is empowering for a woman to give birth on her own terms. To make choices for herself and her baby without coercion, guilt and ridicule. The mother needs to feel empowered and encourage as her birth unfolds.
8. Better breastfeeding right after delivery
A sleepy baby doesn’t breastfeed as well. The less he eats, the more sleepy he becomes and the less he will nurse. This can start off the nursing relationship with some bumps in the road. Pitocin can cause jaundice in some newborns, which makes babies lethargic and sleepy as well. Narcotic pain medication can also cause sleepiness in baby, while there is some evidence that epidurals are associated with reduced rates of breastfeeding success.
According to La Leche League International pain relievers or anesthesia can contribute to breastfeeding problems:
- The baby and/or mother may be sleepy or less alert and thus delay the first nursing.
- The baby’s ability to suck, swallow, and breathe may be disorganized.
- The baby’s rooting and sucking reflex may be delayed and depressed.
The most important time for establishing a breastfeeding relationship is in the minutes and hours just after birth. If mom and baby are sleepy, groggy or disoriented, they are much more likely to miss the opportunity to begin breastfeeding at the optimal time.
C-sections have also been associated with difficulty in breastfeeding (mostly because of hospital protocol getting in the way), and also with delayed onset of milk production due to the blunt in hormonal cascades that normally occur in natural birth.
9. Quicker recovery
Without the haze of drugs or the soreness of surgery, moms who experience natural childbirth are able to recover quickly and be present right after birth. Moms experience an oxytocin high which gives them a boost of energy to cuddle their baby and begin skin-to-skin touching, breastfeeding and eye contact, which in turn enhances the oxytocin cascade. Many moms are up and walking around shortly after natural birth.
10. Natural childbirth improves healthy gut flora
Natural childbirth benefits babies in their gut. Gut bacteria plays an important role in building and sustaining a strong immune system and proper digestion. Vaginally birthed babies have more diverse gut flora that they acquire in the birth canal.
Research has shown that babies who are born via cesarean delivery have less diverse gut flora and are more likely to have harmful skin bacteria like Staph and Strep that is usually present on the skin. This may be that babies born via c-section don’t come in contact with vaginal bacteria but instead gain their first colonization in the operating room from mom’s skin or the skin of practitioners.
Breastfeeding is another way that baby develops a healthy gut, so breastfeeding becomes even more important after a cesarean delivery.
11. Decreases risk of adult illness
As we mentioned, gut health is vital to overall wellness. Early healthy gut flora seems to be key in teaching an infants immune system what to attack and what to allow, meaning that autoimmunity is learned early.
Recent research, published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that c-section babies are more likely to develop obesity, asthma, and type 1 diabetes when they get older.
We also know that C-section babies are hospitalized more often for asthma, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorder, immune system defects, leukemia, and other tissue disorders during their lives. They also have a 20% higher risk of developing asthma and an approximately 40% greater risk of developing immune defects.
Though not directly linked to cesarean delivery, unhealthy gut flora has been linked to allergies, autoimmunity, vascular disease, some cancers, depression/anxiety, neurodegenerative disorders and type 2 diabetes, so it makes sense that early unhealthy gut flora could contribute to these diseases later in life.
All is not lost if a child has to be born via Cesarean. These medical interventions can save lives and are absolutely necessary in about 10% of births. A mother can optimize her surgery by electing for a Gentle Cesarean. This practice will help to boost the health of her newborn and create some of the positive benefits of a natural childbirth.
12. Better brain development
A team of researchers found that natural childbirth triggers the release of a protein in a newborn’s brain that improves brain development and function in adulthood. This protein (UCP2), which regulates behaviors related to memory, learning, spatial awareness and stress response, is released as the hippocampus is stimulated in the birth canal. Alternately, The brains of cesarean babies may have impaired expression of the same protein.
Additionally, the protein help cells metabolize fat, which is a main component of breast milk, suggesting that triggering of the UCP2 protein through vaginal birth may help newborns transition to breastfeeding. Therefore, the lack of this protein may also contribute to cesarean babies and moms struggling more with breastfeeding.
13. Better fine motor and social skills
As if lower risk for blood transfusion, anemia and low blood volume weren’t enough reason to demand delayed cord clamping, research has found that there is another, surprising benefit to this natural childbirth choice.
One study found that babies who experienced delayed cord clamping had better fine motor and social skills at age 4 than those that had early clamping. This was especially true for boys. Researchers speculate that girls are more protected by the high levels of estrogen in utero.
14. It’s Cheaper
With healthcare costs rising finding a way to save money isn’t a bad idea. Natural birth is far less expensive than a birth that has many interventions. Giving birth at a birth center or at home is also much less expensive than giving birth naturally at a hospital.
Original article posted on: mamanatural.com
In addition, 5 more benefits according to Sabrina Rogers-Anderson, writer / author
While there are certainly cases in which a cesarean is necessary for the safety of the mother or the child – such as prolonged labor, abnormal fetal heart rate and problems with the placenta – there are many more in which this major surgery could be avoided. If you have a low-risk pregnancy, your baby is in the head-down position and you’re at least 37 weeks pregnant, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends attempting a vaginal birth. Even women who have had a previous cesarean and those who are expecting twins are encouraged to try to deliver vaginally if the conditions are right and their obstetrician gives them the green light.
Here are 5 benefits of a vaginal birth for you and your baby:
1. Your baby will receive beneficial bacteria
As your baby passes through your birth canal, it ingests bacteria that contributes to its gut health and boosts its immune system. Although a baby’s microbiome – or collection of microbes – begins to form in the womb, vaginal delivery is an essential part of the process. Some studies have found that babies born by C-section who miss out on these crucial bacteria are more susceptible to health problems such as food allergies, asthma, hay fever and obesity later in life. Researchers from the Department of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine were successful in partially restoring the microbiome of C-section babies by exposing them to their mothers’ birth canal bacteria at birth, but it remains to be seen whether it will have a long-term impact on their health.
2. You’ll squeeze fluid out of your baby’s lungs
While your baby is in the womb, its lungs are filled with fluid. Hormonal changes that occur during labor start to clear the fluid and much of the rest is squeezed out as your baby passes through your birth canal. Any remaining fluid is coughed out after the birth or absorbed by your baby’s body. When fluid remains on the lungs or is cleared out too slowly – a condition known as transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN) – breathing problems can occur and oxygen might be required. Babies born via C-section are at higher risk for TTN.
3. Your hospital stay will be shorter and your recovery time will be faster
You should expect to stay in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery and two to four days after a cesarean. While you should avoid any strenuous activity for six weeks after a vaginal birth to allow your body to heal, you should be able to perform your regular daily tasks within a couple of days. Because a C-section is a major abdominal surgery, recovery is longer and more difficult. You should rest as much as possible and avoid any heavy lifting or driving a car for the first six weeks. It can take six to 10 weeks for your scar to fully heal.
4. You’ll avoid the risks of major surgery
All major surgeries carry risks, including a bad reaction to the anesthesia, infection, hemorrhaging and blood clots. There are also additional risks with a cesarean, such as inflammation of the uterus, surgical injury to the bowel or bladder, and amniotic fluid embolism (when amniotic fluid enters the mother’s bloodstream and can cause a serious reaction).
5. You’ll be less likely to have life-threatening complications in future pregnancies
A major review of 80 studies published in PLOS Medicine earlier this year found that women who gave birth via cesarean had an increased risk of serious complications in subsequent pregnancies, including miscarriage, stillbirth, problems with the placenta (placenta previa, placenta accreta and placental abruption) and uterine rupture (a tear in the wall of the uterus).
By Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova
“Limbic imprinting is the inborn capacity of the nervous system to absorb and memorize, on a cellular level, all of the information from its surrounding environment during the early formative period– the moment of conception through 9 months of gestation, birth, and the first few years of life. Every fluctuation of the mother’s hormonal, physical, emotional experiences are registered by the fetus and non-cognitively recorded in its developing nervous system. These early impressions and sensations remain with this person throughout their entire lifespan. Good news: If the original limbic imprint, or ‘basic settings’, were undesirable and painful, it is possible to consciously create an alternative later on in life.
To better understand the term “limbic imprint,” let’s look at the basic structure of our brain. At the tip of the spinal cord there is a segment called the reptilian brain, responsible purely for the physiological functions of the body. That’s the part of the brain that still remains functional when a person is in a coma, for example, in a “vegetable” state, – the basic physiology of the body is still going on, women even keep menstruating and can continue with gestation if they are pregnant.
Then there is the cortex, usually referred to as the “gray matter,” responsible for our mental activity. That’s what we routinely call “the brain”, – the part of the brain responsible for our cognitive functions: logic, calculating, planning…
And then we have the limbic system of the brain, responsible for our emotions, sensations and feelings.
Limbic imprinting happens in that part of the brain, which is not directly connected with the cortex, responsible for cognitive memory. During gestation, birth and early childhood, the limbic system registers all of our sensations and feelings, without translating it into the language of cortex, simply because it’s not developed yet. That memory lives in the body through out the rest of our life whether we know of it or not.
We come into this world wide-open to receive love. When we do receive it, as our first primal experience, our nervous system is limbically imprinted – “programmed” with the undeniable rightness of being. Being held in the mother’s loving arms, feeding from her breast and seeing the great joy in father’s eyes, provides us with the natural sense of bliss and security; it sets the world as the right place for us to be in.
If our first impressions of being in the body are anything less than loving (painful, frightening, lonely…), then that “anything” imprints as a valid experience of love. It is immediately coded into our nervous system as a “comfort zone,” acting as a surrogate for the love and nurturing, regardless of how painful, frustrating and undesirable it actually was.
And in the future, as adults, we will unconsciously, automatically re-create the conditions that were imprinted at birth and through our early childhood.
Research done by the pioneers of prenatal psychology, such as: dr.Thomas Verny, dr. David Chamberlain, dr. William Emerson shows that an overwhelming amount of physical conditions and behavioral disorders in are the direct result of traumatic gestation time and complications during delivery, including unnecessary mechanical interventions and an overdose of anesthesia.
Also, it turns out, on top of the devastating effect of trauma during the actual birth, what happens after it,- like routine impersonal postpartum care,- is also a source of trouble: lack of immediate warm, soft and nurturing contact with the mother, premature cutting of the cord, rude handling, circumcision, needles, bright lights, startling noises… all this sensory overload becomes instantly wired into the newborn’s nervous systems as the new “comfort zone”, against all logic. As logic resides in a different part of the brain, which is not quite developed yet. So that person will continue unconsciously recreate/attract the same repeated situation of abuse and/or become abusive. Even if later on in life his or hers rational mind/cortex will recognize this as pattern of “abuse,” the imprinting had already happened in a different part of the brain, which doesn’t have the skill to stop the pattern.
We can make an effort to heal our own birth trauma and embrace the opportunity of creating a masterpiece of our lives. We can recognize that however rude our beginning was, we do have a choice as adults to change our basic settings, to reprogram our limbic imprint and transmute our suffering and helplessness during birth into the love and joy of being born on this planet. We can regain our authentic power, clear the pain of our ancestors from our system, and set the stage for our children to step into their lives as peaceful, empowered guardians of Earth. I invite you to envision the possibilities that would open up for humankind if women fully claimed their original capacity that all mammals have – to give birth and raise our young without trauma.
Call me naïve, but I truly believe that we can improve the quality of our species in just one generation by allowing our kind to enter into this world without being ‘programmed’ on suffering and pain. I envision the new generation coming into the world of safety, compassion and common sense. Please, join me in this vision.”
Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova speaks about ‘Spiraling’:
“When asked directly about why the Birth Into Being Method has such a staggering display of efficiency, I would always limit myself by saying something like ‘one of the main factors is that all of our processes are experienced by participants in a slightly altered states, achieved by a few very specific types of movement alternating with a few very specific types of breathing’. That was the most revealing statement about my work that I was open to sharing publically, feeling that I can’t properly introduce this deeply mystical experience in a brief intro and do it justice by giving out only a fraction of information. But at this point, it feels right to start sharing more openly. So, in this interview, you can see a short version of the First type of movement, necessary to gently ascend the group of people into that proverbial slightly altered state, up into the vortex of the Birthing Field, the very source of our creativity and sexuality, into the pre-cognitive space ‘beyond the Story’, in which they can easily access and activate their Free Will. Done properly, it goes with very deep breathing in the rhythm of waves rolling on a seashore. Do try this at home. It feels incredibly healing, recharging, rejuvenating. Let your body flow like a piece of seaweed on a bottom of a shallow lagoon, completely at the mercy of the pulse of Life Force that charges and moves the water around it! Allow yourself to experience in real time that level of surrender, support, and mercy, all at the same time… Sending you so much sweet longing for more of THAT in your Life, that will inevitably bring you more… It all starts with us knowing what we want and what we don’t want. Lots of Love and Blessings, Elena”
Conscious birthing is as much about conscious conception and parenting, as it is about the actual natural birthing process. Given India’s rich yoga and ayurveda traditions one would expect this country to have holistic doctors and natural birthing facilities available en masse – but the reality is far from it. When searching for clinics for water birthing, midwives for home birthing and experienced, holistically thinking gynaecologists in the state of Uttarakhand (North East India), there are NONE to find.
While Mumbai and Hyderabad offer already some good alternatives to the standardised allopathic birthing procedures, the region between Delhi and Dehradun is way behind.
India, the largest democracy on the planet with more than 1 billion people, is going through big changes. While ambition and strength are needed for the country’s development and expansion, balance, attention and discernment are equally crucial.
Given the speed in which India’s population is growing, the provision of an environment where babies, Indian society’s future members, can enter life naturally, in peace and calm, without time pressure and trauma, should be amongst the top priorities.
Short and longterm implications for mums and children after stressful, hurried, medicated and invasive births are well documented.
With media under a rather strong Western influence, Indian women who were used to natural births (for example Garhwali women in Uttarakhand), started believing that it is unfashionable to do so. They have to be encouraged to return to their natural ways, which might take a generation of education and training.
In this fast paced world it is more urgent than ever to ensure the fullfillment of the basic needs of women giving birth. To become aware and understand their physiological and psychological processes, and to give women knowledge and the freedom of choice.
Vision for Uttarakhand:
- To have a reliable network of holistic birthing professionals and experienced midwives for home- and hospital births in Uttarakhand.
- To have reliable support from committed staff in well-equipped hospitals.
- To ultimately establish a holistic integrative birthing sanctuary in Uttarakhand – between Rishikesh and Dehradun – with skilled midwives and doctors (trained under international standards incl. alternative medicine), facilities for natural birthing (e.g. water pools, private rooms, calm atmosphere) and a state of the art ob/gyn department for emergency interventions. To have the space and facilities for parents to stay well in advance of the due date, and stay as long as needed. Focus: Treat expectant mothers with respect, acknowledge their individual needs and allow them to experience birthing without time pressure and enforcement of medicine or invasions. This sanctuary would balance the best of all worlds – mum’s and baby’s body wisdom, naturopathy, spiritual science and healing modalities as well as conventional medicine.
If you are interested in supporting the realisation of such a sacred birthing home, please get in touch.
“Being from Europe where natural birthing, home births, waterbirths and trained nurses have long ago started to be widely available – just check Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland–, I see a massive lack of such options in India. The caesarean rate is 98%, presence of midwives maybe 2%. And even if clinical doctors promise to support expectant parents in their natural birthing process, they more often than not change their minds last minute because higher hospital fees can be charged for c-sections.”
HypnoBirthing Practitioner, 2014
Conscious ‘conception-birthing-parenting’ are part of conscious living. What about conscious city planning and landscaping? Shouldn’t this also be an integral part of our considerations and social responsibility, in order to prepare the ground not only for the well-being of our children but also for creating sustainable infrastructures for generations to come? Increasing traffic, the related bad air quality, noise and lack of safety are major concerns that need to be addressed – urgently and wholeheartedly.
I am German and love India. In fact, I also live in this magnificent country with my beloved (who is Indian). One of the things I really do miss here though, is an environment that allows an exploration of land and cities by foot with ease.
It is impressive how people have adapted to the apparent road chaos and creatively move around (remarkable how accepting citizens are), but I have also observed how challenging it is to go for a walk in public, without risking health and life. There’s no denying that the traffic situation, services and facilities, are characterised by a significant neglect and attitude of indifference.
The below videos show the situation in Rishikesh (Tapovan/ Laxman Jhula) for example, and unfortunately it is emblematic for many roads in the country. Just see for yourself in the second film how a mother shields her son from all the speedy traffic. But then, the parked motorbikes force her to step on the road…
A simple stroll turns into an unnecessarily risky adventure. The current infrastructure is frustrating and worrisome – not only for mothers and fathers with their kids, pregnant women and dog owners, but for everybody who wants to go for a walk, or must walk in order to get from A to B.
Where is the walking space? How to navigate a walk when there is no pedestrian and footpath? Buses, trucks, cars, autorikshas and motorbikes have taken over. Vehicles pop up from all directions, oftentimes super speedy. Rubbish, stones, loose bricks, gravel, dog poo, cow poo and what not, create additional obstacles on the narrow sidewalks.
Feeling safe and comfortable while walking in the street is naturally given in almost any other country. In India it’s a dream and one wonders where the responsible street and city planners are. There seem absolutely no regulations for protection of public space. Least concern for pedestrian safety.
I do not even dare to wish for public parks and green areas for doing sports, walking, socialising or to simply enjoying mother Earth, although such facility is an indisputable must have in most cities on the planet. Here instead, the main focus seems on commercial spaces which pop up by the minute. The city landscape tends to be a mess and eyesore. Big old trees get ruthlessly cut and supposed height limits for buildings are blatantly ignored. And it pains me even more, when I notice the lack of maintenance of India’s ancient spiritual treasures and sacred powerspots like Rishikesh. An Indian friend also pointed out that the open loos for men and garbage dumps are a violation against public hygiene and global efforts for environmental sustainability.
Just shortly after recording the above videos, I saw a car from Delhi bumping into a woman holding a baby in her arms. She walked on the stingy path beside a busy road. The driver caught her from behind, just laughed (!) and drove away. Supported by family members, she was ok, but shock and disbelief stood on her face. While it is hardly possible to control the driving behaviour of individuals, it is possible to control the development of road structures.
Time to take a strategic approach and bring awakened consciousness, humanity, sustainability and beauty into public space-planning and infrastructure implementation.
In the following 2 mins. recording, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev eloquently describes that a new attitude is indeed needed to secure India’s development and survival (original: “Sadhguru & Baba Ramdev at Rally for Rivers event at Haridwar” on YouTube):
So called modern societies have dramatically disturbed women during the child birth process and these days we seem to have not only a lack of an appropriate cultural model for childbirth but also a lack of time, patience and trust in a woman’s body, and the natural orchestration of mother and baby during birthing.
It seems standard to replace natural oxytocin with drips of synthetic oxytocin and natural endorphins by epidural anaesthesia. So most women give birth without relying on the release of their own natural hormones. The downside of the readily available synthetic hormones is, that they do not have the same behavioural effects as the natural ones. Synthetic oxytocin for example inhibits the release of natural oxytocin from the woman’s pituitary gland. The artifical drug will be effective at stimulating uterine contractions, but it will not reach the brain, meaning it will not have the ‘bonding effect’ as the natural hormone.
Mechanised, rushed birthing ‘appointments’ really have a vast array of side effects. To name a few: physical and emotional trauma (in mother and baby, as well as father), mothers’ and fathers’ sense of disempowerment, mums’ struggle with depression and feelings of disconnection towards their babies. And a baby’s anesthetised body which is forced to exit from the womb has manifold implications as therapy work with adults reveals again and again.
Last but not least, there is a the spiritual side to childbirth. This is rarely featured in mainstream media although even scientific research shows that hormones of love and transcendence are released in peak doses during labor, birth and breastfeeding.
Now, this raises several big questions:
What effect has birthing on a baby’s life and the individual relationship of mother and child?
How will humanity evolve over generations of women giving birth under unnatural conditions? And where does it leave the father?
And how will women ever get back their sense of ease, grace and ownership for childbirth, and her their own bodies?
It is more urgent than ever to become aware and understand women’s physiological processes and emotional needs, to ensure the fullfillment of (at least) the basic requirements of women giving birth and to give them more knowledge and freedom of choice.
“How a baby is born and how well a woman is treated when she gives birth sets the tone and is the matrix from which a child will grow into a future we have not yet imagined. (…) f each pregnant woman were well nourished and supported in her community, each birth was attended by a skilled and loving attendant and each child had an enriched loving environment, we could change our world into a world of peace, not war.” – Marianne Littlejohn (professional nurse and midwife, and ambassador for natural birth)
Similar to fast food, fast birth is neither nourishing, empowering nor sustainable in the long term.
“As a reaction to industrial agriculture and food marketing, the Slow Food and locavore movements have recently been born. If de-escalation of our food production practices is healthier or more humane, why is intensification of our child production practices better than sustainable childbirth? I’m waiting for the birth of the revolution, or at least, the revolution of birth. Will women who are interested in Slow Food or cage-free eggs find their way to a Slow Childbirth movement? Imagine: educated upper-middle-class women who buy songbird-certified organic coffee and worry about their carbon footprint, just saying no to the quick-fix cesarean culture. If they’re not part of the problem, maybe they can be part of the solution. But the impetus must come from women themselves. Do we really believe that industrial obstetrics is the best model for ourselves and our children? We must clearly understand that real autonomy does not mean cesarean on request, but instead a spectrum of birth options that honor women’s authentic choices. Real autonomy also means, to borrow a sentiment from Gandhi, that women should bring forth the change they wish to see in the world.” – Excerpt from “Mommy, What Did You Do in the Industrial Revolution? Meditations on the Rising Cesarean Rate” by Lauren A. Plante