What is the link between healthy childbirth and the health of our environment, our planet, Earth? My views on this have been fashioned by a lifetime of experience and observation, both as a social scientist researching communal living and as a parent raising two children. I have lived well over half my adult life in intentional communities, including three years on kibbutz in Israel, eight years in Australia’s largest commune and 10 years in the famous Findhorn community in Scotland. And between times, I’ve conducted extensive research of cohousing and ecovillages around the world. Throughout, I’ve witnessed the birthing and raising of children in community where they undoubtedly experience a level of care and nurturing that is rare in mainstream society. They are raised, not just by their parents, but by an extended family of surrogate mums and dads who shower them with love and attention. And they experience strong emotionally supportive bonding in their peer group. I am convinced that such an upbringing is most likely to produce adults who are themselves caring, compassionate and loving, not just of people, but of all life. Children who grow up in community are generally deeply concerned about the state of the environment. Furthermore, they are able to walk their talk (i.e. their lifestyle choices are congruent with their social and environmental concerns) unlike many greenies in the mainstream.My own two children were privileged in this way. Anna and Liberty were born at home, gently and serenely, with a local, professional birthing team in attendance and caring community members on hand. They grew up in what I think of as perfect circumstances: close to nature (sub-tropical rainforest); with both parents at home most of the time; in a handmade house with few consumerist mod-cons; within a hamlet of other families with similarly aged kids; in an intentional community with a social and environmental purpose. We grew much of our own food and sourced fresh, local, organic produce otherwise. We spent time sitting in the sun socialising, playing or listening to music, swimming in the river and hanging out. With their playmates and from a very young age, the girls freely roamed the property unsupervised by adults. As a direct result, I believe, Anna and Liberty grew up to be self-confident, emotionally intelligent, open-hearted and compassionate people with progressive, humanitarian values and ideals. In their work as adults, they have sought to make the world a better, more humane place – to bring love and light to those in need. Their interests and proclivities took Anna into anthropology (working with aboriginal communities in Central Australia) and Lib into midwifery (working mostly with underprivileged immigrant women in New Zealand). Anna and Liberty have always gathered loyal and devoted friends and colleagues about them; through their being so loving, they inspire love in others.
My passion for conscious birthing and parenting has led me to join with two colleagues in organising a conference on the topic in September 2016. Titled Healthy Birth, Healthy Earth, the event will draw over 200 birthing professionals, academics, parents, prospective parents and interested others to Findhorn for a week of talks, workshops, classes and cultural events. We will explore together the following points and more: How we are born and raised affects our capacity to love; the conscious birthing and raising of the next generation will significantly determine the future health of the planet; and healing relationships with our mother, birthing mothers and Mother Earth lie at the core of a sustainable future.
Please join us for the inquiry!
Visit the Healthy Birth, Healthy Earth conference page.