Beloved women, mothers, daughters and grandmothers of South Africa.
I have sat on this letter for four years now...
Why? I think I was afraid! Yet I feel a passionate calling to remind us of our incredible powerful selves, being women. I have a feeling that our beloved South Africa and world could only benefit from a feminine awakening. This is not a conversation about a right way of doing life or birth. Its meant to be a reminder to choose love. I have only one agenda and that is to create more space for more love and light and to push fear to the back seat. I love sharing my story and learning because I know we are all connected and I love your story, my story, our story, this life...so here goes. All I had to say 4 years ago...
I visited our beloved South Africa in July 2012 to doula for my sister's transition into motherhood. I was so blessed to witness the birth of their baby boy. Off course nothing went as planned but I was witness of her strength, the strength each woman carries within and was humbled and astounded by it once again.
In the five weeks that I stayed with her I visited with my dear friends and met some beautiful new people. Traveling between Johannesburg and Capetown my passion for how we allow ourselves to be women grew and I was incredibly saddened and shocked by what the women in South Africa is choosing to believe about themselves.
Vusi Mahlasela wrote in a song, the "Red Song"( it makes me laugh with tears every time I hear it),"I want to sing my song of love For that woman who jumped fences pregnant and gave birth To a healthy child, Softly I walk into this embrace of this fire That will ignite my love song, my song of life"
It is a reminder of where I come from, the soil I was born a part of, I grew up on, is in my soul and in my bones.
It is a reminder that when we are healthy pregnant women, we are our strongest selves, that can fight of the worst enemy and we can surely birth our babies, allowing ourselves the opportunity to be all we can be.
The fear that we as women have allowed ourselves to rule our innate being is a fear we have to befriend again and not give it the right to deprive us of the beautiful act of giving birth. No-one delivers our babies. We give birth to them and in the process we give birth to ourselves as mothers.
It's a business, it's the business of birth that has warped your minds into believing that you cannot withstand the pressure or intensity of a surge or contraction, the incredible work of the uterus and your baby. Why are you so quick to trust that you cannot do it? It absolutely left me flabbergasted that any women would choose a Caesarean birth when she is healthy and deny herself and her baby the transition; birth at its own pace allows for both mother and baby.
Who made you believe that it's so painful that you cannot withstand it? It's not a lasting pain, it's a pain with a purpose and when the mind is prepared and couched appropriately it might not be perceived as pain at all. Yes this takes work and time spent educating yourself and surrounding yourself with love and support.
An example: We become so easily obsessed with a wedding, we will prepare for this one day, this transition, for almost a year, some will even go for extensive marriage counseling before entering into this life long relationship. It's a big day that celebrates a huge transformation in our lives, but for the birth of our babies we don't want to prepare and acknowledge the power of the birthday? I just don't understand.
I spoke to many women over the course of my 5 weeks in SA, only one other than my sister was more afraid of serious major abdominal surgery than having a vaginal birth. Every other woman acknowledged that it's probably better for her and baby to go "natural", but that given the choice they would choose a C-SECTION??? Why?? Because they did not think they could handle the pain or the idea of pushing the baby out was too frightening!! "Woman!" I wanted to shout, "don't you understand how perfectly nature has designed your body to do this, that technology could never catch up to the incredible science of the human body. Your body knows how to do this, educate your mind to come along for the ride and for once be your primal self and allow yourself to experience the power of your truest nature." Read positive birth stories, go to my library and go look for those books. Watch "The Business of Being Born" and "More Business of Being Born"-4 separate episodes. You will marvel at the information and the logic and the truth of it. Not scary just educational.
South Africa's Caesarean rate is becoming inhumane, a c-section rate of 70% is crazy, and means our community is not supporting women and babies. Because if they were the rate should be under 15%, especially in a place like South Africa, where women are strong and have endured so much, why shy away from something so rewarding and healthy.
Please believe that birth is an initiation not a punishment. When did we allow fear or the belief that birth is women's punishment to take over our minds and bodies and ruin what is one of the most creative miracles of life? Think about it.... and when you realize and learn when that was, you will very readily take back the power of your birthing body.
Start believing that Birth Matters, it matters in the long run! How we allow women to feel during pregnancy, the birth and as mothers, create our society and the way we treat each other. It has a long-term effect, understand this and if you listen with your heart you will hear that it's true. You cannot deny the impact the birth of our children have on our society and world, and remember with every baby born a mother is born too.
Trust your body.
This is an emotional letter, this is me trying to speak from my heart to your heart. There is so much science and incredible stories you can find all over the net, in many amazing books and films, if you are only willing to hear the other side of it. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Fromwombtoworld.com (Anna Verwaal)
Ted talk by Anna Verwaal, who I had the privilege to do a workshop with.
WOMBS (Women Offering Mothers Birth Support)
If you are with your midwife/doctor/care-provider; ask WHY? a million times if you have to, make sure you truly understand. Ask about the BENEFITS? Ask about the RISKS? Ask about ALTERNATIVES? Listen to your INTUITION! Finally always try to buy time. Ask does it have to happen NOW? Could it be to the benefit of the system, the doctor, the hospital policy, the nurses or your is it to save and help your baby????? And then YOU decide.
Okay I think I am done for now. I did not know how I was going to start this conversation, I just know that I have to. I hope to have more conversation with you. If nothing else please know that you deserve to experience the birth of your baby and be there from the first moment of your child's life. Believe that WHEN and HOW you birth your baby, matters.
I want to re-iterate that I do not believe that there is a right way to give birth. I believe that babies, people, choose their birth-way, and some intuitively and necessarily choose a cesarean or medicated or assisted entrance/birth. I believe in a woman's intuition as the truest guide. Maybe when we, the mothers, care-providers and society can step out-of-the-way, with our fear in our pockets, trusting love as the guide, babies choice would more likely be honored.
With Love and Light
"If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic."
-Hazel Henderson (1981)
chorus) Halala ho hom (x4) I might break into a song Like the blues man or troubadour And in from long distance in no blues club I might say, baby baby baby Should I now stop singing about love Now that my memory is surrounded by blood Sister, why or why do we at times mistake a pimple for a cancer So who are they who say no more love poems now? I want to sing my song of love For that woman who jumped fences pregnant and gave birth To a healthy child Softly I walk into this embrace of this fire That will ignite my love song my song of life (chorus) My song of love My song of life (x4) Oh when I try to run away from song I heard the persistent voice more powerful then the enemy bombs Demanding the song that washed our lives in rains of our blood (chorus) My song of love My song of life