"Don't wish me happiness I don't expect to be happy all the time....It's gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Primitive Birthing

In traditional Sioux culture woman birthed alone or with a woman friend in a tipi. They squatted holding onto a cottonwood stick emersed in the earth. The baby was born on a tanned deerhide. They would cut the umbilical cord and put puffball powder on the baby's navel.

In Lakota Woman, Mary Crow Dog, a single mother chooses to birth her first born son with several older experienced Sioux women attending her. This is amidst the firefights going on between her people and the US government at Wounded Knee.

She refuses to go to the white man's hospital and finds courage to birth among her people. When the tiny cry is hear, "the women gave the high-pitched, trembling brave-heart yell. I looked out the window and I could see them, women and men standing there with their fists raised in the air, and I thought I had accomplished something for my people." pg. 163.

It's a moving account of a woman who birthed the way she wanted to. In all the traditional aboriginal accounts I have read woman birthed alone or with an older experienced woman. By our "modern current day" cultural expectation that "normal" means having the father present is this the right path for all woman? Is there a connection that as we have moved further from an earth-centred existence that we have lost something valuable that could be gained by claiming our own passage alone through rites such as birth?

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