The Legacy of the Traditional Midwife:
A traditional midwife is not only there to assist at birth, she is also the transmitter of valuable information and traditional knowledge for future generations to come. She holds oral history that has been shared among women through a form of chanting as well as storytelling, and prayers, which she uses to educate young girls. A traditional midwife holds incredible knowledge of the environment, especially regarding medicinal plants and their uses during pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. She is also a carrier of valuable and often secretive storytelling which relates to the woman’s world. She is a figure of wisdom and authority, who helps to sustain balance, faith and hope among women in the community. The trust and faith that is given to her by mothers in delivery are important factors in a successful delivery.
A traditional midwife holds the key to the stories, beliefs systems, ceremonies, prayers, and traditions that will be drawn upon in times of complications during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. She brings all her skills and knowledge to healing mothers and babies and working toward a safe birth for both. She is a critical part of a web of traditions, celebrations and rituals for accepting the baby, as well as being responsible for residing over rituals of a babies belonging and identity.
We believe women have the right to feel safe, to be with the people they choose to with, to trust in their caregivers, and to have autonomy over their bodies and control over their own choices in all aspects of pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
We honor the choices a woman makes for the way she will deliver here baby, whether she chooses to give birth in a hospital environment, in a mud hut, on the forest floor or at her own home. We support women being informed about the choices she has, and about the autonomy that is hers.
In birth practices, as in other aspects of life, we see how the views and practices of westernized societies are too often forced upon other cultures. The way women give birth is changing. Since the hospitalization of birth there has been a decrease in the value and existence of midwives, in some countries midwifery is illegal.
We believe in the importance of safe-guarding these traditional midwifery roles and the women who carry them, along with all of the knowledge, language, and cultural history they hold and protect for future generations.
Traditional midwives stand for the birth rights of indigenous women.
We support the legacy and continuation of this incredibly valuable role.
Through building relationships and listening to the needs of the community, we aim to create opportunities for the cross-cultural sharing of midwifery knowledge, and contribute to the preservation, acknowledgment and revitalization of traditional midwifery practice and the legacy of indigenous midwives globally.
EXPEDITION PRIMARY OBJECTIVES
The 2021 expedition’s objectives will champion the guiding purpose of the Adventurous Midwives organization by creating a foundation for future programs that will contribute to the health of mothers, pregnant women and babies in the villages we collaborate with.
• To initiate and build respectful relationships with midwives, women, girls and men that will form the basis for culturally safe collaborative initiatives in midwifery and women’s health related to pregnancy, birth and postpartum in a participating community.
• To gain understanding, conduct research and learn about the health issues and needs of pregnant women and new mothers, including gathering information about birth and mortality rates
We believe much can be learned from traditional midwives. They play a vital role within their community; they are the keepers of vast ecological knowledge, stories, ceremonies and prayers, and are responsible for supporting mothers as they bring their babies into the world. The goal of Adventure Midwives is to see this legacy continue.