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Waiting for Birth in a Red Tent

I truly believe that all low-risk women should be able to have the choice of being supported by a midwife who will provide individualised care during pregnancy birth and postpartum. Traditionally, midwives are the care providers for mothers and the newborn, we are trained professionals with expertise and skills in supporting women to maintain healthy pregnancies and to have safe, physiological births, with optimal support in the postpartum period.

Because I truly believe this I have provided midwifery services for women from various countries but also in various countries and settings. This time I have ended up in Nairobi Kenya, where a close friend and colleague has chosen to have me here as her midwife. During her pregnancy, we have spent hours on Skype to keep connected and last week I flew in to ensure we would have time to connect before the birth and also to be here to support her in early postpartum.

My friend and her husband live on a beautiful property on the western edge of Nairobi in a conservancy called Langata; which overlooks the Ngong hills. To my delight, they decided that of course, they wanted me near but that it would be a good idea for me to have my own space for the next six weeks so they have pitched a yurt in their garden as my private abode. Magically (and rather symbolically) the tent is red and so I find myself “waiting” for a baby in this womb-like cocoon.

While my friend happily “broods” we go about our day; I create and plan my lectures while she is happily nesting and even finds the energy to contribute pearls of wisdom to my lectures.

Today we had lunch with a local midwife who will be available for back-up support and who will take care of the legalities of the birth certificate. Via her, we met with an OBGYN that supports homebirth and he is happy to be my hospital back-up (if we need him).

As prenatal support I massage her feet, give her cupping and acupuncture sessions and we talk endlessly about this beautiful process of walking the magical path to motherhood.

Last weekend we visited a Maasai herbalist who took us on a journey through a fascinating, medicinal forest. He indicated which herbs and trees were traditionally used for birthing women and midwives. On Saturday morning we are privileged to enjoy a relaxed saunter through the farmer's market, choosing gorgeous organic foods from which we create delicious, nutritious meals.

Every evening we take a walk around the property as nature settles down for another night and then drink a delicious cup of golden milk laced with Ashwagandha before I go out to my Red Tent to slip into a deep content sleep, knowing I am right here, exactly where I am meant to be, holding that magical space ready to support her when the time comes for her to birth her baby.


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