Archive for September, 2007

Would you please get up and go eat your food in the toilet.

I’d be quite taken aback. Wouldn’t you? I mean that is pretty revolting but it seems that our society doesn’t think twice when expecting a breastfeeding mom to do just that: feed her baby in a toilet.

Ever noticed in a shopping mall how there are clear signs for spaces to bottle feeding  your baby but no indication where a nursing mother should go.


I think it is time that we raise awareness and start getting some change done. Every public place should have a room for lactating mom’s with a clear international symbol  illustrated for all to see. The alternative otherwise is to ask others eating in public to please take their food and  go eat in the toilet!

International Breastfeeding symbol



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1. Childbirth is a profound rite of passage, not a medical event (even when medical care is part of the birth).

2. The essence of childbirth preparation is self-discovery, not assimilating obstetric information.

3. The teacher is “midwife” to the parents’ discovery process, not the expert from whom wisdom flows.

4. Childbirth preparation is a continually evolving process (for parents and teachers), not a static structure of techniques and knowledge.

5. Parents’ individual needs and differences determine class content.

6. Active, creative self-expression is critical to childbirth preparation.

7. The purpose of childbirth preparation is to prepare mothers to give birth-in-awareness, not to achieve a specific birth outcome.

8. Pregnancy and birth outcome are influenced by a variety of factors, but can’t be controlled by planning.

9. In order to help parents mobilize their coping resources, it is critical for childbirth classes to acknowledge that unexpected, unwelcome events may happen during labour.

10. Parents deserve support for any birth option which might be right for them (whether it is drugs, technology, home birth, or bottle- feeding).

11. Pain is an inevitable part of childbirth, yet much can be done to ease suffering.

12. Pain coping techniques work best when integrated into daily life, rather than “dusted off” for labour.

13. Fathers help best as birth guardians or loving partners, not as coaches; they also need support.

14. For parents, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum is a time of continuous learning and adjustment; holistic support and education should be available throughout that period.

15. Childbirth preparation is also parent preparation.

 For further information please contact Rosalia 082 780-8965 or email rosalia@birthing.co.za

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Here is a song I learnt while out in New Mexico with Pam England, author of the book Birthing From Within.
I sing it whilst with women in antenatal classes but most especially in labour.

I am opening up to the sweet surrender,
to the luminous love light of my child.
I am opening up to the sweet surrender,
to the luminous love light of my child.
I am opening, I am opening.
I am opening, I am opening.

It is such a sweet tune and the words help mother’s remember to open up to the love of their children but also to open their bodies for birthing. It creates an awesome feeling of connection to the baby and to other women who are labouring at the same time.

Try it now while you are still pregnant. If you sing it daily the baby will become familiar to it and then when you sing it in labour it will be soothing. Some sing it when welcoming the baby into the world.  Imagine the baby hearing the song out in the open after it has heard it for so long through the protective filter of the womb.

The tune can be made up otherwise call me up and I’ll teach it to you 😉 

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Way back when there were no electric lights and transportation consisted of a cart pulled by an animal, there was a strange concept about a village. We no longer think of villages unless we think of some remote place away from civilization. The demise of the village from our lives takes with it so much more than just a small group of people.In modern day, our village consists of our own nuclear family with perhaps a small portion of elected extended family members subject of course to approval.  We have lost the benefits of having a village. The support that goes with it is also lost. The related experiences that are told in the form of folklore or myth that assist in making sense of what is happening in our lives has become some gift that few can tell. This is a dear price to pay indeed and I’m not just talking about birthing mothers. We all suffer from this loss.An interesting note is how in little villages, which provide support in all areas of life, there is less crime. Each person knows his neighbour and interacts with him on a daily basis. This is probably true for all the members of the village; everyone would know everyone else whereas today in our mega-metropolis we seldom know our neighbours let alone those in the complex where we live. So where do we find our support?Tough one. Even if you have a large group of friends you will be hard pressed to find a buddy that would support you in the deepest, darkest moments of your life. It would be a true friend that would be with you as you flounder in the sea of bankruptcy or something equally trying. The same is true when it comes to providing support after you have birthed your precious child. I don’t see many friends cueing up to provide shopping assistance for the new family or laundry services. What about cleaning? We all just assume that everyone has a maid. Not true. There are still those that clean up after themselves and do their own laundry and ironing.Having a baby should be a community affair. People should all be supporting and encouraging these new parents-to-be. Support before the baby is born can be provided in many ways.
Here are some tips how to help someone you know is having a baby:

  • Provide accurate and positive information about birth and parenthood (no birth horrors, please)
  • List things that were truly useful for you if you’ve had a baby. There is so much that really isn’t needed.
  • Invite the couple out once in a while to still enjoy activities such as eating out at a restaurant, going to a movie etc.
  • Prepare meals that can be frozen so that the mom-to-be can just take them out of the freezer when she is having a slow day. (Pregnant women have some really low days where everything seems too big an effort).
  • Celebrate the mother’s journey into motherhood with a Blessingway instead of a baby shower. Presents are showered on the mother in honour of her transition in this rite of passage.
  • Do not call her three times a day to ask her if she has had the baby yet. The new parents will be the first to let everyone know when the baby is born. Have faith in this, it has worked every time.
  • Avoid asking her if she has popped yet. She is not a pimple but a human giving birth to her baby.

 Support for during labour:

  • Light a prayer candle in honour of her journey.
  • Sms or call another person she knows to let them know that labour has begun and that they should light a candle foe her and call someone else to do the same.
  • Prepare more meals for the new family so that they can babymoon for a week or two after their precious baby has arrived and not worry about cooking.
  • Do not call for updates; no-one will be answering anyway.
  • Buy a newspaper of the day the baby was born as a sweet memory of what was happening in the world that day.

Tips for after the birth:

  • Volunteer to take care of some aspect of daily life, i.e. cleaning, laundry, shopping, babysitting older children etc.
  • Prepare a baby welcoming ceremony to give presents to baby this time. Now everyone will be sure whether it is a boy or girl.
  • Do not ask what you can do for them, just do it. They will never want to bother you but if you spontaneously rock up at the door with a casserole you can bet your boots that they won’t turn you away.
  • Do not forget them as the months go by. They may have their hands full and not get a chance to go out. Organise a trip to the movies for them in the morning when there is less likelihood of a baby crying interrupting others viewing pleasure otherwise it will be years before they go to the movies again.

Of course support can be extending to the actual birth itself. A doula is an amazing support for both mom and dads in labour. Consider paying for a doula as a blessingway present.Now, as it was probably never said, go out and be supportive.

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What you think about you bring about.
Your thoughts become your actions.
             and my favourite…
Positive thoughts produce positive results.

 Well, is this true? I believe so but hey that’s just me. Think on it a sec…

…how many people approach you when you are pregnant with a positive birth story? Not many huh?
How about your doctor’s approach to birth? Is your doctor supporting you actively and enthusiastically with positive encouragement or are you getting the usual run of the mill about all those wierd and obscure things that could go wrong if you were dilerious enough to try and attempt the natural birth you want?

Imagine focusing all your attention on one single outcome. If you are trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) and all everyone is saying to you is “uterine rupture” what do you think your greatest fear would be? Uterine rupture! Why is everyone focusing on that when there are other things that could also possibly go wrong. Well it sounds big, bad and ugly doesn’t it, all the better to scare you with, my dear!

How about turning that around and saying that your chances are greater at achieving a natural birth. After all, that is generally what happens. Why do we focus on the negative?

I’ve been discussing this with women lately and I’ve reach the conclusion that we need to do some spinning (any of you see the movie ‘Thank you for not smoking’ all about how to spin an argument in your favour) and start entraining others to voice the positive outcomes which are generally greater than the negative ones.

So this is for all of you positive thinkers out there. You’re not alone.

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