birthofamama birthofamama

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Genevieve~Post Partum Doula  Becoming a MOTHER~how our ancestry, stories & culture shape ideas of mamahood (by Educator, Doula, Narrative Therapist)

....... I NEED HELP .... how often do we say that , how often do we hear our friends say that , does our husband or partner freely express ' I need help', did we grow up in a household with a mother who was clear when she needed help ? Every time I post an image of a new mama who seems at ease I'd love to be able to ask her and share with you ' who's helping you ?' ' what's your crew look like ?' ' who's there with you to make this happen' .... let's dispel the myth together that new mamas can do it all on their own ... love and Mama of two @witchgoddessmama shares, ' snuggling these babes in a bathtub in the jungle of molokai — I was only 6 weeks postpartum at the time, and just getting comfortable again in my own skin. Let’s talk this Saturday about postpartum healing, along with some other awesome mama tips I’ve picked up along the way! ( today , Saturday , connect with @witchgoddessmama for a Post Partum Discussion LIVE on her page @witchgoddessmama )

4/20-3 strikes-2 hearts by ~ Colonialism said that ‘extended’ breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby wearing and home birthing were primitive, for the poor and uneducated, tribal and dangerous so that the traditional birthing and mothering practices became illegal or if permitted by law were shunned and looked down upon……so indigenous, Native, African and all ‘ethnic’ peoples were forced to give up on these practices or were considered less than for practicing them ……… most women bought strollers, gave formula, birthed in hospitals, slept separately not out of medical need but cultural expectations to seem progressive, modern and correct ( no judgement to formula feeding or hospital birth whether out of necessity or choice) ………until voices within the dominant culture said that formula, strollers and separate beds are damaging, and that progressive mothers all breastfeed, cosleep and homebirth……and we all abandon the stroller for a sling……the point is it is the dominant and privileged ones make the rules and the rest of us play catch up……..rules maintain order and order benefits the ones with the most power in any situation, maybe the order is an infant sleep schedule that maintains predictability, ……Or maybe the order is a time limit on a pregnant woman during labor in hospital and declaring ‘failure to progress’ benefits the medical establishment in power …or maybe it’s making marijuana illegal because growth and use seem to be at odds within a for profit system that is concerned with worker productivity, needs taxable profits within registered businesses, and is dependent on a profit driven prison industrial system….. …..Weed and Pregnant women represent an intersection of autonomy and abuses of power quite like no other…..for most Western women who are not part of an ethnic group, meaning their identity is not collective but rather their core identity is very individual , just becoming pregnant and becoming a part of the collective narrative regarding what pregnant women ‘should do’ or how mothers ‘should feel’, can seem like an assault on autonomy and independence….but if you have always represented and been represented by an ethnic or

MOTHER NURTURE~ MOTHER NATURE ~ ( by photographer @ivetteivens )

ANCESTRAL ROOTS ~ TREE OF LIFE ~ ' I have a deep respect for the placenta. Every time I look at one or hold one in my hands, I am in awe. This beautiful, nurturing tree of life is a sacred organ. It brings us to life, our ancestors, our children and generations to come. Without the placenta we would not be here on Earth. in New Zealand, Māori follow incredibly beautiful traditions when it comes to handling the afterbirth, or Whenua.Before colonisation, Māori women birthed their Pepi (babies) at home. Between 1915 and 1940, 83% of Māori women birthed their Pepi at home on the Whenua (land). Māori are bringing beautiful traditional birthing practices back into the 21st century, including Karakia (prayer), special care of Pito (umbilical cord), Oriori (Sacred chants) and placenta burial openly .Māori connect the whenua (placenta) with the whenua (land). We come from Papatuanuku (earth mother) and when we pass away we return to Papatuanuku. The umbilical cord close to a baby’s body is the Pito (the one that is falling off a few days after birth leaving the baby’s belly button behind), the part nearest the placenta is the Rauru, and the central cord is the Iho. The umbilical cord is tied by Muka (white fibre inside harakeke) before the cutting of the cord. It is cut and scraped with a Kuku (shell) to reveal the Muka fibres inside the flax. After the strands have been cleaned from the green bits, they are twisted using a technique called Miro. For this sacred separation of baby and placenta some families still use a sharpened Pounamu (greenstone) or Tuhua (obsidian stone). A karakia of new life is performed when the baby is separated from the whenua. ( full article on Facebook page of @birthofamama written by Marta Willis of Luna Bloom ) Image by indigenous photographer Arabuna woman @aussieraven , indigenous couple are not Maori but First Nation Australian )

We talk about being the first woman in our family to go to college , or first woman to hold a professional title , or first to breastfeed that we know, but what about being the first woman in our family to fully accept ourselves .... ( image via @guerrillafeminism )

Birthing Across Cultures ~ by @alegraally of @wildbornproject ( longer version of birthing video than you may have seen)~ Himba women regard birth as a community, social, and spiritual act.
To have the opportunity to give birth in a supportive, natural way is a life – enhancing event. Childbirth in many indigenous cultures is preformed in a communal way, where several women gather together to help support and nurture the woman giving birth. Himba women have learned the sacredness of midwifery by their ancestral mothers. This innate knowledge has been passed on from generation to generation. Himba midwives have mastered the skill of eliciting normal birth, an art form that is acquired through apprenticeship and intuitive experience. They have the capacity to wait for nature. In this video Himba midwives have created a communal sacred and a supportive space where they continuously and unconditionally nurtured Katjtindi. They used laughter to release some tension, rubbed her belly, massaged her with essential oils and herb mixtures which they specially prepared, they used positioning and movement during labour to allow her to tap into her natural ability to give birth. She gave herself completely into the hands of the wise women.

In a small mud hut in the Kaokoland region of Namibia, baby Lahja was born with the care of two traditional Himba midwives. In this photo several minutes after the delivery of the placenta, Tjambiru (midwife) cut the the umbilical cord and performed a burial ritual in the soil outside the hut. Later she rubbed the baby with soft soil, and first fed her with goat milk, before her mother Katjindi breastfed her. @alegraally of @wildbornproject

WEAVING MOTHERS~ by @woman.rising + @spiritweavers ' There is an energetic cord tying each of us to our Mothers. And that thread keeps us tethered to this woman. To this relationship. And to the desire to heal what has happened in the past.
Your relationship with your Mother is intricate. She is the woman through whom you arrived to this Earth. She is the one who tended to your needs. She is the woman who modeled to you how to live and love in this world. And sadly, she may not have shown up well for you. She may not have been able to offer you the Love or Mothering that you wanted or needed.
It is a deep longing to want your relationship with your Mother to be better.
And so the journey of healing the Mother-Daughter wound begins.My mom and I had a challenging relationship for most of my young life. I felt so much anger towards her for various reasons. I closed off to her. I couldn’t share with her. I couldn’t be around her. AND, at my core, I wanted to feel close to her, but I was afraid. Flower Essences opened the gates for my own healing. They offered me a way to dive into my shadows and see where my hurts were informing choices that perpetuated my pain. Yes, our Mothers have work to do and apologies to make. But, we need to work with our trauma or nothing will ever shift. Connect with
@woman.rising for this course , I was able to meet her at the Spirit Weavers Gathering @spiritweavers where she taught this course and I gave a @birthofamama Workshop. The women I met there continue to be interwoven in my life years later , read more below on this gathering created by Mea @daughterofthesun_ ( in the image ) whose vision created this transformative Women's gathering .
BIRTH & MOTHERING✨With the birth of a baby, there is also the Birth of a Mother. This realization helps to bring tenderness to all, especially those who are unfolding into their new role as Mother. Spirit Weavers holds the Mothers of our Community close to heart. Education surrounding Birth and Mothering is so very important to us and we are happy to have a circle of seasoned sisters sharing about their experiences and knowledge surrounding these topics.

CHOOSING MOTHERHOOD OR YOUR CALLING ~ HOW TO MIDWIFE A LIFE: by @tinyandbrave "As many of you know or may not, in 2016 I moved to Texas to pursue midwifery & it has been an extremely lonely almost two years. Many times I just want to do what I think is best & move back to Philadelphia & be amongst of my community vs trying to make a living in a state where there is a lack of all our needs. I feel like I’m suffering alone. And the more I pursue this calling the more alone I feel. Recently I had to let go of my employment at the birthing center bc the schedule was affecting my daughter’s behavior in school & at home. So I had to walk away from my role to pick up consist employment to make sure I provide for the both of us. Having support & community; I could of focus on my education and career while focusing on my daughter like I did when pursuing my master’s in counseling back in Philadelphia, PA. But then folks have the audacity to say, “why don’t you wait a few years when she’s older to pursue midwifery.” And my reply would be “has there ever been something you know you're called to that if you didn’t fulfill it you felt a part of you would die?” And their reply would always be yes & my reply is “that’s the same with me & midwifery.” If I don’t become a midwife what do I have to show my daughter & what does it say to her if I said I couldn’t pursue it bc you came into the picture? Yes it was my choice to become a mother. It was my choice to pursue my dreams. It was my choice to relocate to make it happen. But what I wrestle with the most is, is my daughter getting her optimal experience in her development as her mother and her day to day existence. You shouldn't have to choose between motherhood & your calling. I want to say have your children & continue to crush your dreams, but I can totally understand now how our mothers & grandmothers chose to shelf their desires for their child(ren). I had to detour my journey 4X so far bc of the lack of resources (finances and child care). But in these couple of days my virtual community of women, mothers & birthworkers showed up to support ! ( support @tinyandbrave & order this shirt, link in her bio)

INCLUSIVITY IN BIRTH ~ INCLUSIVITY IN LIFE ~ April is Cesarean Birth Awareness Month and when I think of how much the dialogue has shifted around Cesareans I think of the advocacy of @katievigos founder of @empoweredbirthproject who shared of the cesarean birth video, "Woman centered cesarean, gentle cesarean, family centered cesarean... call it what you want, I'm just glad to see this happening more often.' ( .... I can tell you as a doula one of my most profound and powerful births as far as truly understanding what ' holding space ' was supporting a woman during her cesarean birth of twins , I was able to hold her hand as tears streamed down her face and explain some of what was happening as this was a birth that was also a surgery and quite complex with two placentas with the twins , I will never forget the moment the birthing mother saw her babies for the first time , truly the miracle of life , all birth is beautiful , love )

SUSTAINABLE MOTHERHOOD by @ripsnorter // "I lost my temper earlier this evening. I lost my temper & I wanted to stop parenting & be alone. I started menstruating this morning, have been feeling exhausted all day & didn’t make the time for ritual or rest. I yelled at my daughter for something absolutely unworthy of such a reaction. Then I sat on the couch, looked at the back of her little body + head still sitting by herself at the kitchen table, still a baby in so many ways + I burst into tears. I got up, sat opposite her & tried to explain in words how much I love her, tried to explain how my mood wasn’t about her & I had no right to speak to her in such a way. She said please don’t cry mummy or I will too. So that’s what we both did, we both cried and hugged + cried. She told me I am the best mama in the whole universe, I told her she is the best daughter I could have ever wished for. We talked about how wonderful it is to cry sometimes & how lucky we are to have eachother so we can feel all types of different feelings together. I explained that during menstruation I believe the veil between conscious & unconscious mind is thinner, we feel things differently, sense things differently, that our bodies are regenerating, we can be heavy, our moods less stable. I told her that in the past menstruation would be a time of rest & reflection in which we had other women to care for us, cook for us, other women to hold the space while we released & processed what we needed to - but these days the show goes on. We work & study & run errands & cook dinners & look after kids & don’t get enough sleep + sometimes it becomes too much. We snap || It made me think how many of us just mindlessly forge through it, how it’s become such a hindrance. How sad it is that such an integral part of human existence is so often wished away, hidden away - reduced to the status of “monthly nuisance” because there’s simply not. enough. time. Not enough understanding or support to allow women the space to bleed || I am so grateful to have a daughter, to raise a future woman, to share these moments with her. Be humble for her. To know that she will be much free-er, much ( via @mindful_mamas )

GIVING BIRTH TO LIGHT ~ if life means anything it is a journey in self awareness , ultimately revealing the essence of love, because the more self aware we are the less harm we cause and the more love we give and receive , giving birth is a gateway to self awareness , and no matter how birth enfolds we learn more about ourselves , our values, our dreams , our beliefs ... maybe this is why giving birth is referred to as giving light in so many languages , with love , ( photographer @elisfreitasfotografias 💕)

THE CHALLENGE OF MODERN MOTHERHOOD IS ISOLATION ~ THE SOLUTION IS COMMUNITY and thankfully after about thirty years of 'communal' mothering without community support ... meaning attachment parenting that was not offering mothers a NEW way of parenting rather a return to Indigenous and communal Women's wisdom practices and traditions passed from generation to generation for thousands of years ... but leaving out the only thing that would make this sustainable, a supportive village to care for the new mama as she cared for baby .... there is an understanding that along with post Partum remedies , foods, exercises the most important ingredient is a supportive community , and with this awareness creating a community is possible for every mama , remember , WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER , love ( image by photographer @trinacaryphotography )

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