Indigenous Birth and Hypnobirthing Information
Hypnobirthing Australia supports Indigenous Birth through it's Indigenous Childbirth Education Program.
Australian indigenous culture involves special connection to the land and sea, their ancestors, family and nature. These connections support and sustain quality of life in Aboriginal families. Traditionally, birthing has been women's business in Aboriginal communities, and birthing in the bush was the norm. Anecdotal evidence supports the idea that there were very few complications surrounding pregnancy and birth in the First Australian communities before colonisation. There were rituals and 'wisdoms' connected with pregnancy, birth and celebrating the new being. The baby's name came from the land where they were born, a perpetual connection between the child and their country.
Early Australian writings acknowledge that in early colonised Australia, it was the Aboriginal women who had experience with managing child-birth, and even more experience than the European doctors! See more below!
When cultural connections and structures are broken or ignored, it seems the life-force, health and well-being of the pregnant mother and her baby are compromised. See some information and statistics on this disturbing issue. A return to 'Birthing on Country' is important, and Hypnobirthing Australia supports this right through its Indigenous Childbirth Education Program.
On this page I've included some interesting information and 'food for thought' around Aboriginal culture, child-birth and Birth on Country. (You can also learn more about Aboriginal culture from this great website here.)
A Mother's Right to Birth on Country
An Indigenous Birth Story
This is the most beautiful birthing story, written by a Hypnobirthing Australia practitioner midwife, about an indigenous woman's Birth on Country.
Hypnobirthing Australia’s special Indigenous Childbirth Education Program is taught via Aboriginal Health Services and through specialist Practitioners throughout Australia. This unique program supports and celebrates Aboriginal mothers and birth partners, in their passage to parenthood, in a culturally relevant and supportive way.
Read this beautiful story here.
Birthing: Aboriginal Women
A Journal Article by Jilpia Nappaljari Jones
"In my mother’s time birthing was carried out in one’s own country with all the rituals and traditions such as squatting over a prepared hole in the ground covered with soft grass and leaves as well as soft red sand. The female midwives such as my grandmothers and other designated women attended to give physical and emotional support such as holding and massage; this relieved the discomfort of labour. More particularly it removed fear, and fear is responsible for so many prolonged and complicated labours. Birth in our traditional society was always ‘Women Business’." Read More
Australian 'Birthing on Country' New Maternity Services program
"Birthing on Country values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and learning. While it involves inclusion of traditional practices, connection with land and country – empowering the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the development and delivery of the services is also central to the concept." This new maternity service evolved from a partnership between the Australian College of Midwives (ACM), the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), the University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of Sydney (USyd) and is a step forwards in supporting Indigenous women and babies in pregnancy and birth. Read more here.
Milyali Art - Indigenous Pregnancy and Baby Portraits
"I wanted to photograph babies and bellies to create awareness of our beautiful culture and people."
Bobby-Lee Hille is an Indigenous Photographer from Perth, wife and mother of three. See her Milyali Art project here.
Her art is simply stunning, and her images celebrate pregnancy, nature and newborns. They capture the life-force and essence of the indigenous connection with nature, dreamtime and country.
I tried to locate a website for Bobby-Lee and her Blee Photography, but sadly had no success.
Thank you Bobby-Lee for your stunning capture of this beautiful culture.