Simple Natural Motherhood

This guestpost is by Leanne Gypsy, amazing woman who has traveled to remote corners of the world and witnessed first hand the beautiful diversity of humanity. We hope to hear more from her in the future.

From when we first decided to bring a life into our world, I began meditate on what I imagined pregnancy and motherhood to mean to me. I dragged my mom down memory lane. I read books. I first visited, then avoided, somewhat hysterical pregnant woman websites. The most meaningful images though, were of real women in my mind’s eye, snapshots of life from so many countries I’ve visited.

I hope for a natural birth at home. But more than that, I hope for the earthy, symbiotic and universal experience of childbirth. The simplicity and surrender that transcends race, climate, caste and species.

One of my most recent journeys was to Mongolia. I recall shopping for a can of ‘supergreens’ before I left. I laugh at my current pregnant obsession with kale and folate and vitamin D, when I think back to my fears of ‘no vegetables and a dark subzero Mongolian winter’. I researched theories on their northern diet, which is not unlike the aboriginal people of northern Canada. To think this ‘almost vegetarian’ needed to consume animal fat, connective tissue–and every sort of uneatable by western standards–in order to get the nutrients I would be missing! Yet I surrendered to the earthy, the symbiotic, the simplicity…of mutton and raw milk, and found myself healthy and warm. I found myself staring into vibrant and robust children’s faces. I found myself reciprocating children’s smiles full of straight white teeth. I found myself milking a yak with a 38 week pregnant woman on the shore of a frozen lake near Siberia 20 miles from anywhere, and not caring that is was unpasteurized with hair floating in it and she was about to give birth. Somehow these mothers and children made it without a pregnancy diet guidebook and ‘supergreens’.

The two years I lived in Myanmar (Burma) I witnessed enough comedy and tragedy to fill a thousand pages. Vignettes forever in my memory. In Shan State, isolated hill tribe villages dot the mountains and valleys, unchanged in centuries. With no opportunities for literacy, they are educated by their forefathers, nature and animism. They are fed by the land and each other. My memory is of a mother, cross-legged on the soil, nursing her child she carried in a sling – without shame, without onlookers’ discomfort. Her breasts may have been 30 or 50 years old. She was work-worn, wise and calm. In her sarong and turban she had the demeanor of an expert deft in her skill, as she gave her child everything it needed. That village was her support group, her prenatal class, her multivitamin. There were no diapers, no ultrasounds, and no bouncy chairs.

I hope to have the peace and earthy strength of these mothers and children. We are so blessed in Canada to have so much…too much I fear. I will try in my own way to honour their universal experience and emulate the things I fear we’re losing…simplicity, nature and surrender.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sarah Smith

    I love the picture of the lady nursing while eating. How simple and easy it would be to breastfeed in such a society, instead of ours where showing cleavage is okay but breastfeeding is supposed to be so discreet.

    1. hellaD

      Oh that made me laugh! What a good point you make–so true, breastfeeding is such a beautiful thing it should be admired and respected, not used as something to make women feel embarrassed.

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