2002 Sirius Institute,
Wellness begets Wellness
by Paradise Newland
Imagine our first entrance into the world and what greets us. Is there beauty, a sunrise or full moon, soft music playing, jungle greens and colors of nature, black lava nearby red flowing to the sea to create new aina, a circle of ohana even including dolphins to greet the new one and support the mom? This can and has happened here. The latter, Hawaiians have practiced on this island.
For years the dream of a birthing environment where women like myself and others from here and around the world could give birth in water with dolphins has motivated us to work to bring this to fruition. Recently this endeavor has gotten a boost as several of us from the Red Road, lower Puna, Hilo and Kauai, O'ahu, California, Bonaire and France have joined together to create what we call the 'Dolphin Attended, Water and Natural Birthing Camp' - DAWN Birthing Camp.
We often meet at our favorite 'office', the beach, where the children play while moms and dads introduce them to water and beach life. We recently updated about two of our friends who had just given birth before the full moon. The first a natural home delivery, the second a home water birth, midwives in attendance. Both pretty smooth This is exciting as these ladies are part of our current birth camp project. Our first two children. We have footage and pictures for our video to share the stories of the women who come to birth here.
We are looking for our first home now, along the Puna coast where we can establish a place to gather, a camp like setting with proper facilities to help mothers get in touch with the grace of pregnancy, the grace of birth, the naturalness of it all. Later, we would like to see birthing camps set up around the island(s) so there is one closeby for all who want to experience birth this way. The plan is to have a natural heated warm pond for free dolphins to come join the moms and babies and to accompany the births. Why is this kind of birth scene important?
Dr. Michel Odent, colleague, water and natural birthing physician in London, U.K.says there is data that shows the amount of drugs a mother gets at birth has a direct relationship to increased use of drugs by that child. In the book 'Hooked' which follows several addicts through their treatment, another major factor in the abuse of drugs like 'ice', is the rate of childhood sexual molestations which occurred. According to figures from the recent Big Island 'Ice/Methamphetamine Summit', this island is said to have the highest percentage of grade six children (11 year olds) to have used 'ice', to have used 'ice' in the last 30 days, the highest rate of incest (molestations),out of wedlock teenage pregnancies, and on these problems go.
To be taken seriously about being the 'Healing Isle' we must reflect that ourselves. This means from the ground up, starting with our children. When we commit to providing the intention, awareness, resources and people power to them, when we care enough to ensure that everyone deserves to thrive then we can live up to our name.
Consider that children born more naturally, in beautiful environments have a stronger, better, more grounded start in life. When they are born into water, the natural transition from one water environment to another helps them make a smoother transition into the world of gravity. They develop up to six months faster over the first two years and their brains are up to 150 grams heavier. The subtle structures of the brain are better supported and remain viable. What greets them is a measure of what this world is like and deeply influences what they create and recreate throughout life.
A recent article in Scientific American detailed the kinds of long lasting and permanent brain damage that develops when children are subject to abusive lives, problems that lead to a lifetime of affectional disorders, and drug abuse. Again, molestation tops the list of stressors. Physical and verbal abuse follow. We know that high stress releases high levels of cortisol and other detrimental byproducts. When a women goes through a high stress gestation she is already acting on her baby's neurostructural and neurochemical systems in ways that can lead to lingering and possibly .permanent changes that affect every day of her child's life. Up to 90% of all dis-ease is considered to be stress related. The repercussions of a mother's abusive relationship and stressful pregnancy can be passed on to her baby. We see and deal with the consequences of this all around us.
Conversely, when a mom in that environment is hanaied (hanai the hapai - or adopt the pregnant ones), well nourished with good food, good touch, supported, informed, appreciated, educated, assisted in gathering the resources to bring her child into the world, she passes those good, secure feelings onto her child. We call this an appropriate internal gestational environment. The neurochemicals that are being generated are more benign, indeed would be endorphins, our bodies own 'feel good' chemicals. This helps birth to be more relaxed as she knows there is help and welcome for the baby's appearance.
We can help by creating the best gestational environments, internal and external, followed by the most appropriate birth 'choices' (operative word here) and then appropriate upbringing to encourage and foster our precious children's uniqueness as well as meet their needs as infants and children with a profoundly complex maturation as mammals. This especially includes suckling, keeping close, carrying a lot, giving lots of yummy touch and skin to skin contact. Preparing them for life by creating a 'life first' curriculum brings them to many experiences and people in their environments and allows them to remain open, flexible and able to respond to life's changes with ease. We call this living 'en pod'.
Children born with ease, naturally, in water or otherwise tend to be calmer, easier to raise, more healthy. When our babies are more relaxed we can be more relaxed dealing with them. Less abuse and trauma is likely. More domestic harmony is possible with happy, healthy, grounded children. Considering the epidemic of child abuse in this country, every bit that we can come up with to help our children helps. Joseph Chilton Pierce, in 'The Magical Child' says that our Western birthing practices leaves the babies so stressed that it often takes up to six months till their first smile because of it. He also says that our standard, flat on the back, strapped down birthing position is the worst possible way to give birth.
The "Wellness begets Wellness" campaign is about systematically, intentionally, intelligently and consciously setting about to create and provide what it takes to assure that every child that we can reach, everyone about to be a mom is hanaied, and is included as a member of the 'pod', a dolphin/whale term that relates to how they live together and raise their children, from which we are learning a great deal.
We know much about pregnancy and birth, infancy and early childhood development, that we could apply to every child born here from this day on so they would have an optimal start in life and thereby a much better likelihood for a better life in general. This in turn would result in more benefit to themselves, to their relationships, to their ability to be productive, balanced members of society and also pass these qualities to their children.
The birthing camps address these kinds of births for the wellbeing of our children and our future.