My beloved cousin Myra, whom some of you know from our teaching together, wrote about her new grandson’s birth. Most women – even when there is access to good prenatal medical care and birthing – don’t have the opportunity to birth their babies surrounded by both spiritual wisdom and expert care. I wish this for all women everywhere, without exception! From Myra:
Elián Ruizquez-Goodman, was born late at night on January 30th. My daughter Marea gave birth in the comfort of her home, surrounded by loving, skilled support. She could see her birth altar, filled with welcome wishes and photos honoring her family’s ancestors—reminders of the strength of her lineage and participation in an ongoing cycle of life. As soon as he was born, Elián was embraced by his sister, Amada, and his brother, Feliciano.
Elián’s mothers, Marea and Andrea, are both home-birth midwives devoted to bringing respect and sacredness to the birth experience. They eased their son’s transition from womb to world by keeping him exclusively in their warm bedroom, shades drawn, during his first days of life. He was held skin-to-skin, covered only with soft blankets for warmth. Andrea explained that not only does skin-to-skin feel good, it helps regulate Elián’s temperature and respiration rate, and boosts his immune system. For Marea, this intimate contact helps to regulate her milk supply and prevent postpartum depression. Babies cared for in this way cry less and sleep better.
Marea and Andrea are following the “La Cuarentena” postpartum protocol—a long-standing custom in many Latin American countries where mothers devote at least a month to healing and bonding with their newborn. Friends and family help with cooking, cleaning and childcare for older siblings. Andrea and Marea planned very carefully. Instead of receiving visitors and working, Marea can spend this time with Elián in her arms—nursing him, stroking him, cherishing him. They have plenty of time to gaze into each other’s eyes and fall ever more deeply in love.
Watching my calm, happy grandson have the luxury to slowly grow more aware of the world from such a loving, well-protected cocoon has been profound and moving for me. Even having birthed two children, this is a beautiful process that I’ve never witnessed before.
I edited this for our InsightLA newsletter. To read Myra’s full account, click here: Birth