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#201 – Midwifing Our Culture into a New Way with Rachelle Garcia Seliga
Episode 2016th July 2022 • Happy Mama Movement with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz • Amy Taylor-Kabbaz
00:00:00 00:30:45

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I feel so privileged to be able to speak to so many women around the world about how we need to do matresence differently. Even when the conversation cannot provide ‘easy’ answers. Even when we realise that, perhaps, the system is too broken. I already knew we need to honour the transition to motherhood and support women differently and this conversation only opened my eyes, yet again, to the requirements of midwifing ourselves and continuing to do it better. Listen as Amy and Rachelle talk about:

  • Cultural understandings, immigrating as a new mother and finding yourself in a brand new surroundings when the veil lifts and how we can look around and realise how much we desire more.
  • How our programming and conditioning can get potentised by the intensity of birth and how that can affect our birth experience.
  • Tuning into how mothers really feel, because as mothers we carry life and we provide an important aspect for humanity’s health.
  • Taking responsibility and being in a good way with our power, in order to exalt and uplift others – especially within a healthcare practitioner environment.

Rachelle embraces the original meaning of the word ‘midwife,’ which is caretaker of the people's health from ‘womb to tomb’ and has several ways to connect with her. She has a free ebook: The Five Cross-Cultural Prescriptions of Postpartum WELLNESS https://www.innatetraditions.com/download-free-ebook and a free class: Rites of Passage & The Postpartum Period https://www.innatetraditions.com/replay-free-class-rites-of-passage

If you would like a deeper understanding of matresence and how we support women differently, Mama Rising facilitator training opens just once a year. For early offers and to join the 5 days to a motherhood revolution event before August, please jump the link below to join the wait list. https://mamarising.net/mama-rising-waitlist/

Transcripts

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[00:00:38] Welcome back Mamas. Imagine a world where we were surrounded by elders’ understandings of what was happening to our body and the Rite of Passage and transition into motherhood. Imagine a world where the medical could be mixed with the ancient. That's what I thought we would be talking about in this week's podcast.

[:

[00:01:27] But as I spoke with Rachelle and listened to her knowledge, her experience and what she does now, as she says, “I realized that the system perhaps is too broken.” It's not about trying to figure out how to bring these two parts together. It's really about throwing it all out and starting again.

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[00:02:18] I hope it inspires you as much as it does me. Enjoy.

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[00:02:32] Yeah, thank you for inviting me.

[:

[00:02:52] Well, let's see where to begin with that. So, when my daughter was born, I was 31 and I had spent from the time I was 23 years old to 31, um, apprenticing with midwives. All home birth midwives, both in Mexico and the United States. So a lot of traditional midwives and a handful of what modern day midwifery is.

[:

[00:03:43] And so when I knew I was going to see them, like I would have them listen to my baby for me or palpate my baby for me, cause it's just nice to do that. Um, but nothing like super formal and you know, my family and I, my husband and I were in like an immigration journey at that time. I'm from the United States.

[:

[00:04:24] And, and we felt like well, we should just go, right? Because we have this opportunity. It's not that we felt like this was a big yes, but it was an open door. Okay, so we're going to go. And I found myself then in the last trimester of my pregnancy in the United States; living at my parents' home because I moved with myself, my pregnant self, my husband, and then my step son, who at the time was 15.

[:

[00:05:14] I made a lot of decisions from that place, of just like what I wish it were instead of how it really is. And that got us in a really bad situation. You know, it was like not a good situation living with my parents, which is where we were. We made really bad choices in regards to the midwife we chose. Um, it was kind of like a lot of bad decision-making, you know, that was coming

[:

[00:06:07] for me. It felt like, um, this midwife who was supposed to be supporting me was actually attacking me and my husband. We both felt that, you know, through the experience and talking about it afterwards. And at some point going into the fourth night inside of me, I was like, that's enough. And it wasn't just like, that's enough of labor,

[:

[00:06:50] And because I had been living in the mountains in Mexico and doing my own prenatal care, I was taken in as like a negligent mother into the hospital system. And I had a quote unquote, emergency C-section and then had social service worker sent in on me to make investigation because I don't have this record of prenatal care.

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[00:07:32] And one that I can say that I feel like was avoidable, you know? If not like the physical manifestation of it, at least the energetics of it were avoidable. So then, you know, in my postpartum time we were at my parents’ home and like the benefit to that was like, they took care of all of the food and we weren't worried about paying bills and all the things. Like they took care of the physical reality of the space. But it was a really bad fit, like mentally, emotionally, spiritually for myself, for my husband, for my stepson.

[:

[00:08:30] I just assumed that like, I would just be taken care of somehow. But, we were in a new place where we didn't know anyone and it was just this complete, um, obliteration of who we were. Because who we were, when we lived in Mexico, I was a midwife. Everybody knew me as a midwife. My husband and I ran ceremonies together.

[:

[00:09:21] question of like, what is going on? Like, I really didn't understand what was going on because none of the midwives I had worked with you know, probably like 17, 18, 19, 20 different midwives in my time studying midwifery, nobody had talked to me the, like how you die giving birth. And nobody had talked to me that you were like born again as a mother.

[:

[00:09:58] And then finally, when my daughter was about three and a half, I was like - oh, like, this is what's going on for all mothers. Like, this is the reality of motherhood in the modern world. And I realized that it wasn't this personalized experience. And I realized that, like, that was the reality. And I was like, holy shit.

[:

[00:10:35] But when she was about three and a half, four, I started to do, um, like hands on hands and care. So I did uterine massages and vaginal massage, and I had a practice called Holistic Well Women Care. And had, um, a really, like a full practice, you know; that like my schedule was always full and it was great. So I thought, oh, well this is really great,

[:

[00:11:18] And I wrote to all of them. And I said, “I'm doing this work, and it's been so amazing, and I could offer this to postpartum mothers.” And then me and my friend, who was a chiropractor, we got together and we created this whole package of in-home care and immediate postpartum and this whole thing. And we thought, wow, this is amazing.

[:

[00:11:57] And then that was another veil of innocence being peeled back, cause I was like, how is that possible? Like, how was it that nobody even knows what I'm talking about? It's like, it's not even registering because people have no idea what I'm even saying. And then I was really angry and then realize, you know, I was like, well, somebody has to do something about this.

[:

[00:12:21] That's you

[:

[00:12:36] I want to work with the people who are working with mothers and families, um, because they need to know this. Because it was just this understanding that there is no modern day educational pathway about the postpartum time that's rooted in wellness; it's all rooted in pathology. So anybody going through modern day education systems are learning about is postpartum pathology detection and then resolution, which is usually with drugs.

[:

[00:13:23] Our parts are very similar of having those moments of seeing the veil lift and looking around and thinking, how is this the system we live in? And then realizing that it's up to you to start having the conversations to change it. I'd love to hear more about if you could redesign the system, what would you redesign it as, but can I just reflect for a moment on your story?

[:

[00:14:14] And B - we look around, there's nothing else to choose. So how do you feel about that whole experience now?

[:

[00:14:42] Like when I name it all out, people are like, what. Sure. And did I participate in the creation of that reality? Yes, 100% because I can go back and see when I made choices. Okay, that weren't in total alignment with myself. So for example, the midwife we hired, she lived out of state for my parents. It was someone who I had met during my midwifery training.

[:

[00:15:32] I'm like, what do I do? Like, do I tell her just to go home? My parents had paid for her to be our midwife cause we had no money of our own. So what do I do? So that was a choice point, right? I accepted what felt off to begin with. Right. And then like a week or two; no, cause it was after she had come out. Like a week before giving birth,

[:

[00:16:14] I kind of looked up and I, and I saw that what she was doing, she was telling me how to push, okay, in my dream. And so when I understood that that's what she was doing, I screamed at her in my dream. And I said, “get the fuck out.” Okay. And once she left the room, in my dream, I just like breathed my baby out and I'd caught my baby on my own.

[:

[00:16:57] I get it. I can have compassion for that part of me too, cause it was like super long and super painful and super hard. And you're like, oh my God, can someone or something please like help me through this; it's super vulnerable. But those were all choice points. You know what I mean? So. Bad choices.

[:

[00:17:41] Very true. It does make me angry though, Rachelle, that if someone who has lived and breathed midwifery for more than a decade, by the time you get to delivering a baby yourself. Who has come from a cultural experience of the village and the empowerment of women in birth. And even you don't feel like you have the voice in that moment to say this doesn't feel good. If even someone like you, with that much understanding of this process

[:

[00:18:27] Totally. And it's like our, I feel like largely our collective conditioning at this time.

[:

[00:18:47] um, it just gets potentized by the intensity of birth. It's not like you get to escape it for those moments in time, you know? And so for me, and a lot of that's nervous system programming, and so for me, what that was, was like shutting down. Because when I, as a child growing up within like my family biosphere, right,

[:

[00:19:31] It was just, checkout, shut down. And my husband too. Like we realized that we both have the same; we had, you know, it's changed since then. We had the same kind of patterning and we both did it because we both wanted to kick her out. And neither of us did, neither. And we're both, like you say, my husband and I are, are serious,

[:

[00:20:26] So in your training, and if you could weave this around the world, what would you change? Paint the picture for us of what you would bring in. I know, just wave your magic wand and fix the whole system.

[:

[00:21:06] and then in what ways are we brought into our womanhood and our manhood, and who are our women mentors and who are our man mentors. Um, because all of those things are going into the composition of a human being, so that by the time this human being is ready to reproduce and create life; it's like there's already a whole backstory there, you know?

[:

[00:22:00] And so then we have to start by taking care of the mothers, if we're going to make it simple. Right. So it would be a way of life that is centering the mothers. Like how do mothers feel, because really our felt experience as women, as mothers carrying life is the foundation for humanity's health, whether or not people know it or not, you know, so.

[:

[00:22:32] And it's true. And we've, we've just forgotten that as humans, you know, it's like, we're all like, why do I have these chronic sicknesses? And, and why, why do I have this pattern way of thinking? And it's like, because it's all coming from our felt experience of our time, just stating in our mother's womb, that's coming from our experiences of what it felt like to be born.

[:

[00:23:03] So when you train midwives, doulas,

[:

[00:23:26] Well, I don't, I don't know that I say that I’m creating it within the modern system that, okay, we're living in these modern times, but a large part of the reason that I work with birth workers and healthcare professionals, apart from the fact that like they're then going to go work with mothers and families

[:

[00:24:20] But in a way that is, um, what's the word, in a way that is, honoring and respectful and integral. And what I witnessed in my time of midwifery training and what I, um, know still goes on all the time now is that there's so many healthcare practitioners that don't know how to be in their power in a good way.

[:

[00:24:53] No, it was beautiful. Um, I was just asking with the birth workers that you speak to now, how are you weaving in the, the ancient tradition, the ancient understanding of what birth is with the modern system.

[:

[00:25:26] A lot of us are in this weird relationship with power. It's like, we don't want it. We think it's bad. We demonize it. But you just are, um, innately in a position of power when you know something that a lot of other people don't know. And so how, how do you be with that in a good way? And so to me, the ancient piece that I feel like I'm helping to return is

[:

[00:26:15] the opposite. And that most people leave their healthcare practitioners’ offices feeling disempowered, feeling less than who they are, feeling like they don't know shit. And if we're providing health care, like health care can only be received. We can actually only heal if we feel safe. We can only heal within an environment of safety. And in order to feel safe,

[:

[00:27:01] That's what we're supposed to be as healthcare practitioners, as, as people in our own power. You know. Wow.

[:

[00:27:34] That is a divine description of what we’re needed to do here. Thank you. Wow.

[:

[00:27:42] Thank you so much. For what you're doing in this space, um, I will share the links to your website and your social media in the show notes, because I really encourage everyone to follow. Whether you're in the birth working space or not.

[:

[00:28:23] in that moment, you felt you weren't supported into this transition properly. Even just following this story with you now, we can do that healing.

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[00:28:34] So thank you so much.

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[00:28:39] There are so many things that we could and should be doing differently every week. I speak to these amazing women around the world, trying to understand how we can improve our support for mothers in such a better way. Rachelle is one of those women. And if you want to know more about this midwifing, a cultural shift, as she talks about really bringing in this innate wisdom, this personal authority, this new way, go to innatetraditions.com and check out all of the show notes. As always,

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[00:29:43] And you are surrounded now by resources and people, to help you process what happened, heal and rise. Remember if you go to mamarising.net, we have dozens and dozens now of Mama Rising facilitators around the world. Ready to support you no matter where you are in this experience of matresence, because we really do need to do it better.

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