Untold Stories With Lorene Rhoomes
In African and Caribbean culture there is a saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. I believe the same sentiment applies in welcoming a child too. From conception to arrival having a supportive “village” is paramount in achieving a positive pregnancy and birthing experience.
My first birthing experience is one of wonder. It holds so many amazing memories for me even though it ended with me needing to go into hospital for an emergency c-section after unforeseen complications arose.
What made it so magical for me were the village women in the house during my extensive labour. Each one of them had a role, working together to make sure I had a relaxed environment and everything I needed to make my experience comfortable and enjoyable. My grandmother and Kanta in the kitchen cooking tasty nutrient rich food. My Mum, Anna and Sue guided me through each major surge with the aid of homeopathy, reiki and aromatherapy and massage when needed.
My midwife took cues from me as to when I felt comfortable for her to examine me and my baby. Sadia cracking jokes and putting my favourite songs on repeat during the moments I began to doubt myself or grow tired.
My little sister Ella, my hype girl(13 at the time) kept me hydrated, plying me with cuddles and even refusing to go to school until the baby was born!
These are just a handful of memories that spring to mind every year that passes around the time of my son’s birthday. He’s 20 now but these moments live rent free in my mind as though it was yesterday.
After the birth of my second child I remember being completely and utterly exhausted. Another exhilarating experience, this was my first vaginal birth and I successfully gave birth squatting with my mother, grandmother and ex partner present.
After delivering my placenta I requested to take it home and provided the midwife with a sterilised container to put it in. After bonding with my daughter and settling her after her first feed, I was taken into the bathroom by my Mum and Grandmother. I was placed on a seat and given the best shower of my life. I was scrubbed,bathed, massaged, anointed with oil and dressed by these two amazing women and I left that bathroom feeling light, euphoric and brand new.
There are many different cultural practices within the African and Caribbean cultures that see us paying homage to nature as it is our belief that we are connected and work in harmony together.
One such practice is the burial of the placenta. I have carried out this ritual with all of my children.
My placenta was wrapped in white muslin, a symbol of birth, rebirth and purity and buried under a tree under the light of a full moon. During this ceremony we give thanks to the moon, mother nature, the earth and the ancestors. By burying the placenta it is believed that we are promoting a continuation of fertility throughout the house and land of our family. It is also believed to help with the recovery and healing of the mothers womb.
Within our culture the Moon is the ultimate symbol of femininity, with a woman’s monthly cycle representative of the moon’s monthly lunar cycles.