Well… I am, once again, a papa! Aurora was born yesterday morning…
Much to our surprise (but hopefully not yours given that I just told you her name) it’s a girl! We were singularly convinced that it was going to be a boy, not least because dozens if not hundreds of our friends and others who had met Emma whilst she was pregnant had all said so (with the exception of only Sacha and Jamil), but nonetheless a girl we have… and pleased we are, to say the least. Aurora is born as what the locals call an Aguanino (child of Aguano), which is nice as the villagers very much see her as one of their own.
We had actually been preparing for this birth since before she was even conceived… and since conception had been working with Linda Hamilton (Director of the New Earth Institute’s Birth & Dying Faculty, and the most awesome midwife in the world!) to get some good advice, tips and the like (we were actually recording all our video Skype sessions so we could make a conscious birthing production out of it, but whether that happens or not, we’ll have to see). Linda has been fantastic and exactly what Emma needed for support through her first ‘real’ birth as she sees it (Maia having been born by caesarean).
The birth itself is quite a story… as you already know if you’ve been reading my blog, we arrived here in Peru with nothing but a few suitcases and a few hundred dollars, four weeks before Emma was due to give birth, so in that limited time and with those limited resources we have somehow managed to secure a house, turn it into a home, find a local midwife to be there if we needed etc etc (and I am tired for it!)… however nothing in Aguano Muyuna goes according to plan – and all the planning amounts to nothing when your standby midwife declares just 12 hours before the birth (solely because of an error in communication) that she no longer wishes to help! And so it was just Emma and I holding station for the birth. We had the lovely Linda of course on the end of a skype line, quietly listening in and typing any helpful words of wisdom (which in itself was quite a comfort), but when it came down to it, it was just the two of us – exactly as it was meant to be all along.
The people of the village however, thought all this was entirely unorthodox… one would have thought that natural births in natural environments would be how they roll, but evidently not! Right up to the birth itself we were the talk of the village – all thinking we were somewhat stupid, but when it all went down they fell silent! Even the local doctors took it upon themselves to visit uninvited and impose the usual fear-porn – but you can imagine the dressing down they got when they entered into our protected, sacred space to spout negative bullshit just hours before the birth… They had basically come round off the back of a meeting which had taken place earlier that day in our absence, where all the authorities got together basically just to absolve themselves of any ‘liability’ in the event that everything went Pete Tong with the birth, and had come round to our house with the intention of having us sign something to acknowledge their non-liability! It’s a shame, but when you get past the window-dressing the world is pretty much the same wherever you go really – very few people have any semblance of who they really are, and the same fear-based reflexes play out in an array of different colours.
There is something quite special about delivering your own baby… in fact after having done so, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could think that there could ever be a more appropriate, loving, attentive manner in which to birth a new life in to the world. What could be more right than a child being delivered by its own parents following their own intuition and inner guidance?? Granted – not all expectant mothers have overcome enough fear and shadow to have the trust in themselves to do so, and not all expectant fathers are able to be present enough to immerse themselves in the flow of what is required of them, but they could be, and that’s the whole point isn’t it? It is in every area of life, every moment, every action, that we are each challenged to explore the limits of our capacities, embrace that which we fear – engage life as it was meant to be engaged…
We did (and still do) have other help though – Jamil and Jasmin have been brilliant as always. Be it cooking dinner and bringing it round in pots, or taking care of Maia whilst mama was too busy pushing, or just generally being there for any little things that we may need, they have proven themselves to be friends that one can really count on. But then that’s what life always gives you – exactly what you need when you need it!
So with Emma very much glued to her nest and not coming out for a while, and with the language barrier meaning that my direct communications with the villagers amounting to “hi, how are you, good morning” etc we thought that the birth of this beautiful little girl might be a good opportunity to integrate more directly with the village – and so Emma, with the help of Jasmin, is going to host a mum’s and babies group for all of the mothers in the village with babies under 18 months to be able to get together to share their experiences, troubles, joys etc. We’ll host it at our house (as we now have the most comfortable sofa in the village!), put on some food & drink etc and see how it goes…
So that’s about it for now… lot’s to do, so I’d better get to it!