May 19, 2014

Moo, Baa, La, La, La

In the old days, and I do mean "old days," the older women, the grandmothers and great grandmothers would council young mothers, mothers-to-be, in fact, mothers in general.

Women would meet and tell the young women what herbs to use to prevent conception and which ones to use to ease the pain of childbirth. Grandmothers would teach new mothers things like burping a crying baby before nursing so that air is not trapped under the milk causing colic or spitting up.

Grandmothers would take a crying baby from mother and encourage new mother to nap. Older women who have helped a hundred babies know to hold a baby with gas on it's tummy over your forearm. Baby straddles your arm, it's head in the palm of your hand and it's little tush near your elbow. Hold baby's head just a little lower than your elbow, tushie higher than head, while you gently rub the baby's tummy with your other hand. Gas, colic and crying will be gone in seconds.

The older women would have a woman in labor walk and squat, walk and squat, not lie in a bed hooked to tubes and monitors. A laboring woman does not need to see a graph with zig-zag lines off the chart to know how strong her contractions are. Lying on her back, strapped to a monitor makes labor last longer, is bad for baby and very, very uncomfortable for mom.

Older women, midwives and village healers did not  do emergency cesarean sections because it was convenient ( so they could get to that golf tournament or have the weekend off or because insurance pays more for C-section than natural delivery ).

Gatherings were on-going, all the elder women were available in the village at any time, night or day.

We've reduced the takes-a-village concept of community and dummied it down to a two hour baby shower. Five generations of women; women who have been there, eating cake and oh-how-cute-ing!

Not once did I hear someone tell either of the expectant moms how to prepare her nipples for the new baby nor did anyone share with them great positions to get into to help the uterus to fall back in place.

I totally enjoyed the shower. Good visits, good food, and the joy on the Mom-to-be's face was priceless. The baby has clothes for a year and diapers to last until baby buys her first car and needs the old rags to wash the car windows. But I missed the reverence for the event coming up, not just the birth of a baby and new mommy and new daddy but the introduction of a new human being and a new little family and the promise of  support from a community of people who will be there for them.

Over fifty women, young and old, sitting on hundreds of hours of wisdom and experience, sipping tea and talking about the weather, the rodeo and how long they were in labor and how big their babies were.

Wouldn't it be nice if experienced mom's invited young mom's to gatherings to share and nurture and support?

Damn! Great-grandchild #1 coming in a month and I just realized that I threw out all 32 of our sippy cups and thermo-spoons! At least I still have my Sandra Boyton books:

Moo, Baa, La La La
 "A cow says moo,  a sheep says baa. 
Three singing pigs say, la, la, la. 

No, No, you say, that isn't right!
Pigs say oink, all day and night.

Rhinoceroses snort and snuff,
And little dogs go ruff, ruff, ruff.

Some other dogs go, bow wow wow,
And cats and kittens say meow!

Quack says the duck, A horse says neigh,
Its quiet now....What do YOU say?"

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