Why seems birth so easy to animals and so difficult for us humans? Why should we, who have been created as sexual beings that come together in love and joy, get pregnant and then have to give birth in a painful and stressful way? It just does not make sense. And why have women in some cultures gentle, pain-free childbirths and why do women with less educated and upscale backgrounds usually deal with birthing in such uncomplicated manner?
We’d like to share the most important facts about natural birthing as it reveals a whole new perspective on birthing (including a new, much gentler language for the process), which every woman – and man – should be introduced to. Natural birthing methods help to resolve limiting social norms and to recover a healthy confidence in the female body, in its natural instincts and in the harmonious orchestration of the mother’s and baby’s bodies at birth.Continue reading “Conscious Birthing: Re-introducing the Birth Process”→
Did you know that the undeniable urge to cover your baby in kisses serves a biological purpose?
When a mother kisses her baby, she samples the pathogens on baby’s face, which then travel to mom’s lymphatic system. Mom’s body then creates antibodies to fight those pathogens, which baby receives through breast milk. What?! Amazing, right?
“When my son and I both got H1N1 (he was 8-months-old), our physicians called us the poster people for breastfeeding. I was running near 105* temperatures and pretty much miserable; still I nursed. My little guy, on the other hand, had some explosive poops and a bit of a runny nose, but otherwise? Unscathed. They couldn’t believe how happy and jolly he was, but told me that it was a testament to the power of breastmilk and my antibodies protecting him.” Kristen Tea
A defining moment in my life was caught on camera; it was the moment my new-born son first stared contemplatively at my face, and I his. I realized he was filing away for the rest of his life, who this person holding him was, his entire world, if for a short time: MOTHER. That primitive bond of nurture, protection and comfort would come from this image now implanted in his brain...
Conscious Birthing implies conscious relationships and conscious living. Emotional maturity and response-ability are part of it. Sadly, many woman in India, whether they are aware of it or not, are in a relationship with an immature partner. Especially when married, a woman oftentimes does not only have to work, take care of the household and children, but also has to care of her husband, a “manchild”.
The manchild can operate the most complicated machines, can repair cars and fix electric equipment, but he is unable to deal with a dishwasher or washing machine. If confronted about his lack of contribution to the household and relationship, he becomes emotional like a child. Needless to say that a manchild is not the best support when it comes to reliably supporting and protecting your birthing experience. In fact, he might not even be the best partner to raise a child with, as he is still a child himself.
And what about the upcoming generation? How are you teaching your sons and daughters that house work is family work, not women’s work? How are you teaching your sons that it is not a woman thing. That women do not really like to or want to do all the care of the house. And above all, they do not want pick up after their man as if he is a child. Being pushed into a mommy role by a man is not conscious, not fair and not appropriate.
People who are emotionally immature sometimes have intense and dysfunctional relationships with their parents. For men, this can include how they relate to their mothers.
The unhealthy dynamic usually starts in childhood and is sometimes referred to as enmeshment. When a man is enmeshed with his mother, he might continue to rely on her to meet his emotional, social, practical, and financial needs (even when he is in a partnered adult relationship).
Instead of taking responsibility for their actions or behaviours that might have caused problems, a person who is immature is likely to blame others. People who lack emotional maturity tend to see and present themselves as always being an innocent victim. So an immature person might prefer to spend time with others who also lack emotional maturity, as these individuals are less likely to question, criticize, or challenge their behaviour.
You might find that you dislike many of your partner’s friends because of how they behave. You might even consider these friends to be a “bad influence” or worry that they are stoking your partner’s immature behaviour.
People who are immature often don’t have healthy ways to cope with stress. They tend to use consumption of alcohol, tobacco, food (substance abuse) as well as media (entertainment, video games, porn) to avoid their feelings, responsibilities or anything else that causes them stress. In contrast, an emotionally mature adult takes up a stress-relieving activities such as yoga, tai chi, jogging or swimming, confides in a friend, works with a therapist and basically has a solution-oriented approach to problems.
The manchild lacks a sense of responsibility for some of the more mundane aspects of adult life, like paying the bills or household tasks. He refuses to contribute to any of the cooking, household shopping, cleaning or laundry. If asked to help with chores, the manchild might respond with irritation. And he might need to be “bribed” for performing tasks that are simply a routine part of keeping a home and functioning as a responsible adult.
Menchildren who feel entitled to being treated a certain way by their partner might “act out” if they feel that their needs have not been met or have been ignored. Emotionally immature men who are parents might even feel threatened by their own children. For example, a man might be upset if his partner prioritises the kids’ needs before his (a behavior that is also common in narcissistic parents).
At first, his behavior might have been fun and entertaining. Perhaps you were drawn to him because you felt that he was a “challenge” or someone that you could “fix” or change. His childlike behavior might have made you feel like you needed to take care of him, dote on him, or guide him.
What to do?
Initially, you might have felt attracted to and enjoyed these aspects of your partner’s personality. As your relationship progressed (perhaps even to marriage), however, you might have become exhausted by, or even resentful of, your partner’s immature behaviour.
The first step is to ask yourself how you might be enabling your partner’s behaviour. It might be that there are certain aspects of your personality and life experiences that have influenced how you relate to your partner.
Think back to your childhood. Do you feel that you had to grow up fast? Were you overly responsible because you had to care for siblings or a parent? Is it possible that you are continuing to perform the caretaker role in your adult relationships?
While it is important and necessary for you toe stablish healthy boundaries it will not necessarily “cure” your partner of their immature behavior. These boundaries are for your health and well-being. You can also work on changing yourself. If you have been enabling your partner’s behavior, the changes you make (such as letting go of or shedding the caretaker role) will help both you and your partner move forward.
Throughout this process, you and your partner might benefit from working with an experienced holistic therapist to understand your behaviour patterns and work on changing them. A therapist can help someone identify the underlying reason for their behavior. Emotional immaturity can sometimes be a sign that a person has a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder (BPD).
In this context, we would like to mention The Great Indian Kitchen (2021). A movie that examines the drudgery of housework through the experiences of a recently married woman. The wife’s physical and emotional labour is invisible to her family, especially her insensitive husband. The film points out typically Indian male entitlement.“Traditional producers, in Kerala at least, would never touch a movie like this,” Baby pointed out. “That’s why we produced the film ourselves along with our friends on a roughly two-crore budget.”
Beautiful documentary series – and a must watch. The Other Side of the Glass started the conversation about a man’s experience at his baby’s birth and his need to be seen as having his own experience as the father, a partner, and a witness. Men across the US shared their experiences of birthing their babies as “like being in a war zone” and being powerless – on “the other side of the glass” even if present.
“We need to be talking about our entry into this world – and be outraged that it is so capitalistic and weaponised. Drugs – Epidural – with Fentanyl are normal now. Caesarean is routine… Ritualised separation of baby from mother has become the norm, and so have fast cord cutting and a variety of unnecessary interventions. This is traumatic and the rootcause of war within, and in the world. We need to talk about such militarised births and their impacts on the babies’ brains and bodies as well as the mothers’ bodies, psyches and lives. We should be outraged.” – unknown
Human breast milk contains many known antimicrobial and immunomodulatory molecules, including immunoglobulins, antimicrobial peptides, and fatty acids. In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers investigated a small molecule called glycerol monolaurate (GML) in human milk versus cows’ milk and infant formula for antimicrobial and antiinflammatory activities: human milk contained 3,000 µg/ml of GML, compared to 150 μg/ml in cows’ milk and none in infant formula; for bacteria tested (Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli), human milk was more antimicrobial than cows’ milk and infant formula.
Grandparents are important and needed allover the world. What is your relationship with your grandparents? What is your relationship with your grandchildren like?
“…in Dagara life, the first few years of a child’s life is spent with the grandparents, not the parents. What the grandparents and grandchildren share together … that the parents do not … is their close proximity to the cosmos. Grandparents will soon return to where the grandchildren came from, so therefore the grandchild is the bearer of news the grandparents need. The grandparents must get this information before the child forgets.” ~ Malidoma Patrice Some in “Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life”
The campaign and short film#wombstories shows the “beautiful complexity” of the female body and cycles. It busts potential taboos and brings awareness to a broader audience as the ad covers many aspects such as pregnancy, period, lovemaking, hormonal injections, miscarriage (woman on the bathroom floor), menopause (woman with hot flashes), laparoscopy (woman with scars). Powerful.
Reviewed Title: Soul Trek – Meeting Our Children On the Way to Birth Reviewed Author: Elisabeth Hallett
“In this revolutionary book, author Elisabeth Hallett shares with us the results of nine years of listening patiently to first-hand accounts of contacts initiated by babies not yet conceived with their parents-tobe. Her stories came from 180 mothers and fathers, siblings, grandparents, relatives and close friends who experienced what they described as a compelling vision, dream, visitation, inner voice, or subtle “knowing.” For each, the experience was felt as a powerful spiritual connection with the child-to-be. Continue reading “Book Review: Soul Trek – Meeting Our Children On the Way to Birth”→
With every step, the shackles fall off. With every word & thought, the truth is resounding- Revealing itself and shaking the atmosphere. And if it rocks you, there’s a reason: An unresolved pain, We can only heal and transcend by looking, Even if it’s heavy.
I can feel the weight of generations of women Strapped to beds, drugged and cut open. Yelling “No! Stop! I do not consent!” Or led to believe their bodies can not achieve birthing the old way. I can feel the sharp cuts Of a baby hurried along In a cold sterile room.
Original article written by Jayashree Narayanan, New Delhi
While conventional labour delivery involves routine interventions which can be painful to the mother, like episiotomy (a surgical cut made near the vagina), in water birth, the mother spends the final stages of labour in a birthing pool which allows for a more relaxing, comfortable, and less complex delivery process.
In India, while childbirth and motherhood are commonly projected as the most gratifying experiences for a woman, scare-mongering, tales of excruciating labour pains and births gone wrong are often extensively told and re-told. Added to it is the “mechanical approach at hospitals” which is driving women to look for a more personalised and curated prenatal care and childbirth, turning the focus on concepts of natural and even home births.
Back in 2008, after the birth of her first child, Shivani Sharma realised how childbirth is viewed as a ‘suffering’ due to gruelling labour pains rather than ‘celebrated’ as a wonderful moment that carries glory with it. “I was disappointed when I saw how my friends and cousins who were giving birth came to imbibe the idea that child birth is plain suffering. After my daughter was born through a normal delivery, I started looking for more safer and gentler options for child birth and stumbled upon water birth delivery,” recollects the 41-year-old…. Continue reading:
This week Amber Price, the Chief Operating Officer at TriStar Centennial Medical Center, posted the above photo on Facebook with this caption: “Celebrating Nashville’s first baby born via CS with delayed cord clamping, and placed directly on mom via a window in the drape.
Hamilton, ON (August 8, 2019) – A large international study led by McMaster University shows that low risk pregnant women who intend to give birth at home have no increased chance of the baby’s perinatal or neonatal death compared to other low risk women who intend to give birth in a hospital.
Long awaited winds of change are blowing through India.
Thanks to years of advocacy, the Government of India and various state governments in the country have now acknowledged the urgent need to promote normal birth and eliminate unnecessary surgical intervention. Continue reading “Winds of change in India”→
In view of the current situation in North India – lack of awareness amongst pregnant parents and medical professionals as well as a lack of facilities – we have decided to move forward with a hands-on-approach: we ask for donations. The money that reaches us will be immediately used for awareness campaigns, networking & research, website maintenance AND eventually for funding the implementation of a holistic birthing sanctuary near Dehradun (Uttarakhand).
Here we go, once again, a pregnant lady from Rishikesh contacted us, asking for a place and a doctor that would allow her a natural birthing experience. And once again, I have no one to recommend in this region! Once again I directed a pregnant woman towards South India: Kerala and Hyderabad.
It is exasperating, infuriating even, that women cannot get any holistic support for their birth planning in Uttarakhand. Forget homebirths and waterbirths. There are just no midwives / doulas around, and even if one can be found, there are no doctors / ob-gyns as back up, who have the necessary holistic view, the commitment and integrity. Because even if doctors say they support zero/minimal intervention, they tend to change their minds last minute. Usually, money is the reason, as they can charge much more for c -sections etc. Standardised clinical birthing is also time efficient (‘cookie cutter principle’) and fairly foreseeable in terms of risks. And although women might be able to get the natural birth with no epidural, they still get episiotomy and made to stay in the bed in one position… Continue reading “Birthing Dilemma in Dehradun”→
“I call on the next generation of young women to be the mothers of the Compassionate Revolution that this century so desperately needs. You have a special role to play in creating a better world. It is often thought that women are more empathic and sensitive, and more receptive to the feelings of others. These are qualities that are embodied by mothers. In this sense, women are models of humanity.” ~ His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama
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. Continue reading “The Truth about Birth Trauma…”→
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)
When it comes to health policy, India often strangely lunges at the mistakes of the US, ignoring insights and better approaches from Europe.
India has an irrational fear of midwives. To some, it is a reminder of ancient times with their unhygienic practices and unscientific opinions. Understandably, therefore, many women are unsure of the quality of care they might receive from a midwife, compared to a doctor.
But there is growing evidence that trained midwives are as good as doctors in taking care of pregnant women and in overseeing uncomplicated births. In the United Kingdom, for instance, there is a recognition that “all women need a midwife, and some need a doctor too.” Continue reading “India’s Maternity Mess”→
When it comes to new research aimed at saving people’s life, none elicits more conflicting opinions than the stem cell controversy. More specifically, the use of umbilical cord blood has generated numerous heated debates: to cut or not to cut and when to cut? Conflicting information has added pressure on pregnant couples: who is right? Doctors favor cutting the cord within seconds of the baby’s birth, whereas midwives have always delayed cord clamping until it stops pulsating – an average of fifteen minutes – and some even advocate to wait a couple of hours after the delivery of the placenta. Cord blood banks have been growing like mushrooms in the past twenty years and advocate freezing the cord blood for possible later use.
Some cultures even practice Lotus Birth – leaving the placenta attached to the baby until the cord falls off days later – as a meaningful spiritual practice. Thus, if we want to improve the health of future generations we absolutely must start at the beginning of life and seriously investigate the risks/benefits of early vs. delayed cord clamping. Continue reading “The Umbilical Cord Blood Controversy”→
“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. Continue reading “Deciding factor: Limbic Imprinting”→
See baby being pulled out by the neck? That’s a typical c-section, with the doctor pulling baby through an incision in mom’s abdomen. Those pulling forces are experienced by baby in most births, vaginal or cesarean, and cause a subtle shift in the top bone of the neck. And this can cause a variety of issues for the child. Since the nervous system controls and coordinates everything in the body, including development and healing, we have to make sure that a child’s nervous system is working properly. And the spine is the most common place in the body that can interfere with the nervous system, disrupting the amazing power that made the body.
Disgruntled with the way the hospital machinery functions, more and more couples in India are looking at other (happier) ways of bringing their babies into this world… And more certified independent midwives for one-on-one care are needed!
The above illustration (currently circulating on social media platforms) shows that the egg that created you was formed inside of your mother’s fetus while she was inside of your grandmother’s womb. So the way your grandmother and your mother lived their lives, affects you in the now…
“There’s something important parents need to know about that moment when the umbilical cord is clamped. And that is that at the moment a baby’s born, 1/3 of their blood, the blood that’s been going through them for all of pregnancy, is still outside their body. And what happened for all of human history is that after the baby is born, the cord would pump. It would pulse. It would push blood into the baby. They’d get 30% more blood. They get 60% more blood cells. They get iron to last them through their first year. They would get white blood cells to fight infection. They would get antibodies. They would get stem cells to help repair their body. But what happened in the 20th century is we got the idea to immediately put a clamp on the cord. To clamp it, cut it, and lock out the oxygen, lock out the iron, lock out all those wonderful things. If you wait just an extra 90 seconds or so, you get all the good stuff in your baby. Immediate clamped kids are 10x more likely to get iron deficient in the first year, which can affect their brain. So the campaign’s called TICC-TOCC Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping to Optimal Cord Clamping.” – Dr. Alan Greene
Conscious birthing embraces also the understanding that not every woman (and every couple) has to procreate. To be fertile and to consciously give birth can also mean to bring something other than a baby to the world: writing a book, expressions in art and music or any other project and venture that comes from your heart… there are so many ways to bring love, life and aliveness onto this planet, to people, animals and nature.
This post is an invitation to rigorously and ruthlessly check your self before ‘making a baby’. Below some inspiration for your investigations. After all, a child is a 20 years + project. Are you and your partner prepared for and integrated to it? Do you have the energy and commitment? Are you sure it serves your soul’s calling? Continue reading “To have children, or not to have children?”→
News Release, 15 February 2018, Geneva: The WHO has issued new recommendations to establish global care standards for healthy pregnant women and reduce unnecessary medical interventions.
Worldwide, an estimated 140 million births take place every year. Most of these occur without complications for women and their babies. Yet, over the past 20 years, practitioners have increased the use of interventions that were previously only used to avoid risks or treat complications, such as oxytocin infusion to speed up labour or caesarean sections. Continue reading “Individualised care is key”→
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.
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 creatingsustainable 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.
Given that in India the average marriage-age for men is 26 and 22 for women*, and in rural regions even earlier, the median age at first pregnancy is 20. In Western countries the average age for women to have their first baby has risen to 29 and above – and with that an increase in books, blogs and other media featuring women getting pregnant in their 40s can be observed. In contrast to India: the fact that women can have healthy happy babies also at a later stage in their lives seems doomed unrealistic (by most doctors) and undesirable. BUT once a 40+ woman is pregnant or once the baby is delivered, hardly anybody raises an eyebrow. Pregnant women and mothers are adored and honoured in India.
Ina May Gaskin is the famous midwife who founded The Farm, an inspiration to birthing women worldwide, and an advocate for normal birth. She is the author of several books: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding, and Spiritual Midwifery.
Lotus Birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut, so that the baby remains attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates from the navel, 3-10 days after birth. Please research this process yourself to make an informed decision. There is a lot of material available on YouTube, blogs, websites and in books.