MIDWIFERY, CULTURE, ANCESTRALITY AND RIGHTS
Here you can find English (my translation) of the pronouncement of the forum
MIDWIFERY, CULTURE, ANCESTRALITY AND RIGHTS
that I attended and was held on January 2018 at the City of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Pronouncement of the Forum
MIDWIFERY, CULTURE, ANCESTRALITY AND RIGHTS.
January 2018 City of Oaxaca, Mexico
We, traditional midwives and midwives in the tradition, coming from the 17 states of Mexico and Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Peru, convened by the wish to weave paths to strengthen ancestral midwifery, we gathered in Oaxaca on the 25th of January of 2018.
We acknowledge ourselves as guardian midwives of the life, mother earth, ancestral memory, the traditions of our towns. We come from indigenous and non-indigenous cultures, we are in the jungles, mountains, coasts and cities around the world.
We honor our ancestors, teachers and guides, transmitting our knowledge from generation to generation.
With our knowledge, love, patience, perseverance, intuition and humility, we take care of and accompany the act of birth by recognizing it as a deep and spiritual moment. We trust in the wisdom of the bodies of the women and their babies like in the power of the mother earth. For this reason we use it’s elements to hold up
the balance and to serve the life and it’s cycles.
We raise alert about the risk of the disappearance of this millennial knowledge as we identify the dispossession of the traditional wisdom. We are facing a situation where the odds of disappearance of midwifery through multiple forms of persecution and threat are rising, as well as the establishment of a culture of fear that promotes the idea that birth is a dangerous event and where it has been imposed mechanisms of regulations upon the ways to be born, violating as a systematic way the collective and cultural rights of the people.
We find ourselves facing institutional speeches and programs that exercise control and violence on the bodies of the women, denying the right to decide how, where and with whom to give birth. Their inclusion to social programs is conditioned leading them to institutional attention under the threat of loosing such benefits. Also the fundamental right of the children to have an identity is violated by denying the handing of the birth certificates in the births attended by a traditional midwife.
We as midwives are denied our right to exercise our practices and to preserve our wisdom. We face daily situations of discrimination, invisibility and exclusion. Likewise it’s intended to disqualify the legitimacy of the manners and processes through what we transmit our knowledge to the following generations of midwives.
The serious consequences of decades of public policies that perpetuate dynamics of dependence, control and cooptation of the traditional midwifery are clear. It has
been imposed western practices that devalue our knowledge and minimize the role of the midwives and their place in their communities. The idea that it is an unsafe practice has been promoted around the traditional midwifery and midwifery in the tradition. That has forced many midwives to adapt themselves to the institutional demands, to live in the shadows or even to stop to be what they are. That way it’s denied that the midwifery is safe, legitimate, precious, and that the necessity of its practice remains more than ever.
In this meeting of hearts, weaving together:
We manifest in a strong manner for the preservation, reinforcement and exercise of the traditional midwifery and midwifery in the tradition, likewise its visibility, valorization, respect and protection.
We choose to lead and retake our place leaving behind the codependent roles that government institutions have relegated us to. We midwives are autonomic actors, our wisdom is legitimate and true. We recognize our areas of action and understand the boundaries of our practices.
We promote the improvement of our living conditions and the comprehensive care of our being to provide wholesome service. We are committed to the continuity of this knowledge from generation to generation, from grandmother to granddaughter, from teacher to apprentice, to whom have received a calling to be at the service of life. We invite grandmothers and youth to adhere to this initiative. We will continue to encourage clear communication, mutual learning, growth and recognizing between the grandmothers and new generations of midwives.
We recuperate the important place of the midwife in the weaves of our communities as a political act and collective task in the fight against dispossession. It’s for the stake of life, territory, and autonomy. Taking care of the act of birth involves the defense of our sacred connection with the earth.
We call the women, families and communities to come together in the defense of midwifery, to claim their right to choose the way they want to give birth.
We call to the social organizations, the academy, the institutions, the human rights agencies, villages and communities to spread their discoveries, to build up arguments and to denounce the risks that traditional midwifery currently faces. We also call you to be part of accompanying our fight and join our path to preserve the traditional wisdom.
We recognize that traditional midwifery and the midwives in tradition, protects the continuum of life and communities, for this reason we need to combine this effort with the defense of human rights; among these the Economic Rights, Social, Cultural and Environmental
Rights, Rights of the Women, Rights of the Children, and Indigenous Peoples Rights.
We call the human rights institutions to share information about the multiple violations to the practice and knowledge of traditional midwifery in reference to the constitutional and international frameworks that pretend to protect it and take action in the corresponding institutions.
We defend the crucial right of children to an identity, for that reason we demand the sanitary authorities to guarantee that each baby that arrives to this world receives a birth certificate independently of the birth place or who provided the attention.
Calling to the deep spirituality that our ancestors left us we commit and launch with enthusiasm, joy, dignity and strength to create the Grandmother Midwives Council: Keepers of the Ancestral Wisdom, initially a driving group.
Email of the contact:
Consejo de Abuelas Parteras Guardianas del Saber Ancestral de México
Consejo de Abuelas Parteras Guardianas del Saber Ancestral de las Américas
Nueve Lunas S.C., Oaxaca
Kinal Antzetik Distrito Federal A.C.
CAMI “Nellys Palomo Sánchez”, San Luis Acatlán, Guerrero
Manos Unidas, Guerrero
Movimiento Nacional de Comadronas Nim Alaxik Mayab ́, Sabiduría Ancestral Maya,
Cais do Parto, Brasil
Escuela de Saberes, Cultura y Tradiciones Ancestrales (E.S.C.T.A), Brasil
Escuela de Saberes, Cultura y Tradiciones Ancestrales (E.S.C.T.A), Colombia
Want to read more about traditional midwifery? You might want to have a look at our REBOZO'S CULTURAL CONTEXT ARTICLE