Revival of Postpartum Care through Traditional Trinidadian Practices
Alysha Higgins, postpartum advocate and Sacred Window Studies student with Trini roots, sat down and talked with Trinidadian Midwife Debrah Lewis, co-founder of Mamatoto Birth Center in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Trinidad and Tobago is the southernmost Caribbean Island and has a mixed population of 40% African and 40% Indian. On a mission to uncover and empower the traditional postpartum practices in her ancestral country, Alysha spoke with Debrah, who has worked with thousands of families in the last 30 years, about the traditional postpartum practices she witnesses within the community and clients she serves.
Debrah spoke of traditions stemming from Africa, such as vaginal steaming, castor oil and belly wrapping. We learn about the overlap of traditions cross-culturally and explore the comparison of Mexican tradition of the Closing-of-the-Bones to East Indian cultural practice of Rubbing-Up-the-Uterus. This ethnographic account aims to shed light on the general view of the sacred postpartum window in Trinidad, what practices have been preserved from the motherlands of Africa and India, how they have evolved, what has been lost through the westernization and medicalization of birth, and how these traditions are being revived- a slow and steady process of decolonization of birth practices in Trinidad.
“If it's not harmful and its necessary to keep the peace, do it!” - Debrah Lewis
Today on Sacred Window Podcast:
Home birth in Trinidad
ACCESS in home birth
How are families supported in the postpartum period
Traditional African postpartum routines
Respecting traditional postpartum care as a professional
The new generation and traditional postpartum care
Massage across cultures in postpartum care
Planning for postpartum care
Eating for postpartum
The importance of rest
Working with type A mamas
Spiritual beliefs and superstitions for baby
Natural remedies traditional herb remedies
Postpartum depression in Trinidad
Doulas, postpartum doulas in Trinidad
Training of midwives in Trinidad
Connect with Debrah Lewis and learn more about Mamato Resource and Birth Centre
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Bringing back the sacred in postpartum care... together!
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