I have been thinking so much in the last weeks about the meaning of EcoBirth. Whenever I mention the word to others, I see a reaction- whether curiosity, amazement, intensity? their eyes widen and their brows crinkle and they want to know what it is, they want a definition.
I try to keep it short and pungent: I generally say it links earth and birth, it emphasizes the whole life system because it is all connected, not separated, so what we are doing to the earth, we actually are doing to ourselves, our bodies, and then we are passing that onto our children and grandchildren. I say that birth is the primal event of life that we all have in common and that birth practices are as important and long-lasting as the effects of possible pollutants during a mother's pregnancy; that how culture practices birth is an indicator of what we think about women, babies and the earth.
I then go on, if there is the opening, to say that the first environment for our children is the mother's body- it is complete, everything needed by the baby is available and then when they are born they get their air, water and nourishment from the earth's environment.
This is usually a fairly provocative explanation, I then say there is research that shows currently that our mother's bodies are pre-polluted and the effects are being seen in our children and possibly in our grandchildren, because, think of it, when my baby is being formed in me, so is her reproductive capability- her eggs- two generations are being formed and a hormone disruption, caused by pollutants on any specific day during my pregnancy, could interrupt the development of my child, which may show immediately at birth or even later in her life, or with her children. There is usually some real eye-widening then.
Then my companions cannot hide a concern about the toxins in our lives, they mention the things they are generally doing now to help the world, like recycling and shopping conscientiously, frequently they are involved in extensive "green" causes. I get to hear birth stories; their own and in particular their baby's. There is no forgetting of details about what happened during their children's birthing.
I hear an emotional response to the idea of the connection between the earth and birth. They might ask for what more they can do, or wonder what else they could have done to have a peaceful birthing experience. They generally say it is quite overwhelming living in this world now and they are not sure how to best do it, and they worry about what their children will live with soon. I try to hold their fears and concerns, and listen well. I invite them to come to the October 28 lecture by Dr Sandra Steingraber, usually give them my card or get their email so we can stay in touch.
I would love to hear your first reaction to the word EcoBirth- what did you think it meant?
I wish you all goodwill and
may we have a clean world, safe births and healthy children!
Very useful links recommended by EcoBirth
- Breast Cancer Fund
- Center for Environmental Health
- Childbirth Connection
- Children's Environmental Health Network
- Coalition for Improving Maternity Services
- Collaborative on Health and the Environment
- Endocrine Disruption
- Environmental Working Group
- Healthy Child Healthy World
- Pesticide Action Network
- Physicians for Social Responsibility
- Safe Cosmetics Campaign
- Science and Environmental Health Network
- Steingraber website
- Washington Toxics Coalition
- Womens Voices for the Earth
Before Childhood links- for a healthy body, pregnancy and baby
- ▼ 2010 (11)