Monday, April 11, 2011

Peace be the journey

My time to shine comes in 8 more days. On April 19th, the Board of WWHI, friends and major donors will gather to hear The Report. My Senegal experiences, observations, stories and pictures will have an audience. As I step to the plate, I feel the tremendous responsibility of sharing my recommendations and future project proposals. It feels like everything I've experienced in my life, my own births, rich partnerships, travels, this world school I move through, the music I'm drawn to, the love that fills me, every passion, every door that bids me to enter, everything, has brought me to this moment. I know things. I've seen things.
As our evening walks in the Khossanto village ended I felt overcome. My love and deep connection to the gracious sage femme, Oullimata and the women she serves did something powerful to my heart. I have the tools and the desire to make their world a little better. I can't let them down. Here's my challenge. I have 10 minutes to enlighten my audience to the benefits of birthing in one's own space. I cannot agree to the protocol of sending every woman to a health post for her birthing. It is not practical for one thing. No one owns cars, only a few have motorcycles. The road to the health post is dusty and bumpy and these efficient birthers would never make it. I know the importance of support, respect, connection with loved ones and safe space. I know the difference between birth in the squatting position and birth supine, legs in stirrups. I cannot let these women be drawn into birth practices circa USA 1960 in the name of African progress. I will be proposing that a team of 4 CPMs go into the 28 outlying villages of Khossanto to teach the birth attendants there how to make their already good, intuitive practices a little better, a little safer. They can be taught to recognize true risks and the importance of getting those mama/baby dyads to where they can be served best.
I made a call to my midwife sister in Burkina Faso to find out if she would be willing to join a teaching team. Her words, "To serve would be my pleasure." Many of you have shared the same sentiment. I am asking you to help me with Step 1: Presenting this vision appropriately, worthily and powerfully. Please come out of lurkdom my blog friends and post your own truth about the value of birthing at home. What makes it advantageous for a safe and empowering birth experience? If anyone needs empowerment it is our African sisters. And please, please, send your prayers and energy my way for wisdom, peace and the time to get this done in the most effective way.
Thanks y'all!

7 comments:

lovely lindsay said...

my babies came fast. i know that if my laboring time had been spent gathering my things and getting to the hospital i would have missed out on the sacred birthing empowerment that comes during natural laboring. cannot imagine contracting on a motorcycle. on a dirt road. will think on this for you...

Alisha Stamper said...

Will be back with thoughts also

Mama's Place said...

Cathy you are so amazing and your words truly touch my heart. My prayers will be with you on that day.

JJ said...

My babies came slowly. I had plenty of time to get to the hospital - where I went crazy with the waiting. Their space was not my space, and their time was way faster than my body wanted to go. So - lots of interventions, or lots of stress trying to ward off the interventions. I couldn't get the system to respect how well I do in my own way, so the last 4 babies (including a set of twins) came at home. Much better - much healthier - much more beautiful. I applaud you for championing this cause. A good midwife is a hero in my book! Feel free to contact me if you want any more stories at janmama7 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Kim said...

I'm praying. KNOW this.

Marilyn said...

It seems obvious to me (though Sam says it isn't obvious to our culture) that when a woman needs to be at her strongest, calmest, bravest, most relaxed, etc.---i.e. when she is bringing a baby to earth---that she needs to be surrounded by things that are HERS. She needs to be in a space she has created or where she is so deeply comfortable that her mind can be free to focus on a world beyond that space. At the hospital, everything is "is it ok if I go in here?" or "where is another pillow?" or "when can I move around again?" Nothing is your own so you feel helpless and apologetic. At home, you feel like you are surrounded by your own power and your own life and the things YOU think are beautiful (not generic hospital "art"). Home is where you made this baby. It's feels like the right place to meet the baby too. At least that was my experience. I wish I could hear your presentation---you will be great.

Sycamore Girl said...

I'm sorry I never responded to this. I want to hear all about your presentation.