By far the most common method of birthing a baby in so-called primitive societies is for the woman to squat on her haunches. This often shocks people watching a documentary on tribal life and customs – and yet it is, when you think about it, eminently sensible and, I am sure, far better for both mother and child.
You have only to think of the medical intervention that routinely makes childbirth such a bloody and fraught nightmare, the unnatural position too many women are still placed in -with feet in stirrups and all control handed over to gloved and gowned ‘experts’ – and the prevalence of Post Natal Depression to realise that the primitive way might, actually, be a damn sight more advanced, and certainly more in tune with nature, than we are willing to admit.
I can remember lying upon a futon type of bed, at the local hospital, feeling the surges of agony as the contractions ripped through me, and having this strong urge to hunker, to squat, to ease my baby’s arrival by adopting a more instinctive posture – but, surrounded by gung-ho medical staff and out of it on an earlier dose of Pethidine, I was barely able to move my trunk-like limbs, let alone brace myself in the squatting position.
I was lucky – in one sense. Despite my age, the birth was relatively straight-forward. But I still felt as if I were an inanimate object being moved and manipulated by the Puppeteers of Childbirth. I felt as if my natural communion with the earth, the urge to be in a sheela na gig posture, so that my body’s birthing exit tunnel connected straight down, was denied me.
There is nothing neat, dignified or pretty about giving birth – and trying to pretend that there is strikes me as stupid and a waste of time and energy. Get down and squatting, I say, do as the ancients did, move the body into the optimum position for landing!
Squat and be proud!