“With birth comes power, both my births have made me realise the immense power and strength I hold within me”. – Mansi Ashta, India (who inspired this post)
By Lina Duncan (Photo credit: @BornInBombay)
I have witnessed many extremes of backgrounds: prenatal care versus little or none, well fed women versus malnourished, safe housing and secure relationships versus homelessness and domestic violence, “longed for” versus unwanted pregnancies, choice and consent versus silence and abuse. Although history and circumstance will influence the physical, emotional and spiritual health of the MotherBaby, simple practices to enhance kindness, bonding, no separation, dignity and respect can turn negative situations into a positive, with even life-long effects.
That’s the reason for this poem I share with you today. That’s why it’s time to shout #ENOUGH, that’s why there’s a ROAR behind the silence. Women are demanding change in dysfunctional systems. Voices are rising, worldwide, for the rights of women and their unborn, and birthing babies. It’s time to engage our BRAIN – what are the Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Information required in each situation, “Now or Never” timings? Are we questioning why we do what we do? Are we doing reviews on births and asking our women for feedback?
I wrote my poem because this is my ideal. Unless medically contraindicated, or the parents don’t want to, I believe all babies should be skin-to-skin with their mother, and if not, their father. Benefits are numerous. The mother’s skin will heat up to warm her baby if it’s cold, a blanket (preferably from home to enhance the microbiome) can be placed over the baby. Breastfeeding is easily initiated, therefore the placenta can birth physiologically, the microbiome of the mother will be in contact with baby. If the mother has a cesarean, then it’s even more important to get the baby in skin-to-skin. It’s her reward. Baby needs that bacterial flora (microbiome), colostrum, and to feel safe. Incidentally the “hour of power” ultimately should spin on into at least four hours, and days of enjoying skin-to-skin care. After months of connection, humans are the only mammals that separate at birth. This is a man made injunction. Its not natural, normal or necessary. Keeping MotherBaby together is a human rights issue. It’s a concern for the future of mankind. Could gentler beginnings generate a kinder society? The world needs a dose of love instead of hate. I give you my poem to inspire you and to share.
Lina Duncan is a global midwife, trained in the USA/Philippines and has been working as a midwife in Asia since 1998. She set up a company in India in 2008 and has been attending births in different settings including homebirths, water births, birth centre and hospital births. Check out www.mumbaimidwife.com @MumbaiMidwife. Lina’s journey as a midwife, doula, and childbirth educator is always a work in progress. Lina says, “There is something to learn from every experience and with so much information available with a tap or a click, resources are unending. As a childbirth educator facilitating women to birth in different settings I find my role increasingly challenging.” Today Lina shares about those challenges and what inspired the special poem she wrote, featured here today.