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Life with Lavendar in London town

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Circle of Trust

Once upon a time (or so I'm told), women giving birth were guided through this rite of passage by an extended social network of relatives and other women. Birthing rituals and practices were handed down from generations prior and were an integrated part of the social infrastructure. Cross culturally, these birthing practices had in common the aim of ensuring a safe passage for the arrival of the baby and the eventual recovery and re-integration of the new mother into society. Whether it be smoke signals, songs or sardines, all cultures have their birthing beliefs.

It helps to have a few spare hands


As the time draws closer for me to experience birth, I find myself straddling multiple pregnancy worlds. The western, first world approach to birth where birthing wisdom is primarily attributed to medical institutions. Within this are alternatives such as doulas, alternative health practitioners and the internet. Then there is my Chinese heritage which means that I must not wash my hair or eat or drink cold foods, amongst other traditions for the first month post birth.  Then there is the expat world I've chosen which means I am going through this experience far away from my family as well as my oldest and closest friends.

Although I do not have those old support structures close to hand, I am lucky to be priviledged enough to create other ones. I have a network of new friends; both parents and non-parents who have shown immense generosity and support throughout my pregnancy. I have sought and  found wise women who have helped and grounded me through their various areas of expertise. This roll call includes acupuncturist Alison Courtney; pregnancy yoga teacher Lisa Askem and doula Amity Reed.

However the pregnancy phenomena I like most is that irrespective of space, time or distance, your loved ones gather about you; boosting you through this period of immense challenge and change. Whether it be in person, the phone, email or telepathy, I feel their support. 

The fact that this age old trend remains undiminished is reassuring in its testiment to humanity. As well as a source of joy to me and the baby within.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

love it and feel all gooey inside-city