Can we birth like an orangutan

birth orangutan primate monkey human childbirth hypnobirthing hypnobirthSome amazing footage has just been released by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Park this week; this is a world first – never seen before video footage of a Sumatran orangutan giving birth.

In the video, you will see a very serene and calm mother orangutan, birth her baby quietly, receive her into her own hands, instinctively clear her baby’s airways, bond, calmly observe the cord as it pulsates – and then afterwards, she even brings her new baby to her carers to ‘show her off’! That is one very calm, confident and empowered mama.

We are closer to our other primate sisters than we realise.

I had the honour of spending time with the mountain gorillas of Zaire in the 1990’s. My heart melted as I watched mother gorillas cuddling, kissing and playing with their babies. I watched as the females supported each other and assisted in raring of the younger members of the family. I observed in awe, just how calm and relaxed new mothers were in their roles.

So – is it possible for primate humans to birth like primate orangutans or mountain gorillas? Can we receive our babies calmly, without much sound and without a team of people around us helping to ‘deliver’ our baby?

Yes – I honestly believe that we can. In fact – I know that we can, because I have birthed this way myself! When a mother can approach her birth without fear – and is able to trust her instincts and amazing birthing body – it is awe-inspiring to see what she is capable of.

When we observe most other mammals birthing in the wild we notice that they do not tend to make much noise. If they were to make a lot of noise, they would no doubt attract predators to themselves and their offspring at a very vulnerable time.

Animals often slink off to somewhere quiet to birth. Somewhere dark or dimly lit. Somewhere that they are likely to be left undisturbed.

Often we notice that animals change their breathing pattern when birthing. They tend to intuitively know how to change their breathing style and go into what many describe as a ‘trance-like state’ when birthing.

Have you ever seen an animal receiving orders/advice from other animals whilst in the midst of birthing? No! There is no chorus of other animals telling them to ‘push’ or ‘wait’ or ‘move things along’.

I am not suggesting that human mothers all take ourselves out into the wild to birth! But perhaps we need to observe animals birthing in order to get in touch with our own birthing instincts once again.

So much has happened to women over previous generations that we have almost forgotten that we do indeed possess the instinct to birth. For example, if you tried to take a newborn baby orangutan from it’s mothers arms – her protective instincts would most likely cause her to fight to the death before handing her baby over to anyone or anything. And yet, think about how human mothers have been conditioned to become passive at this time. In previous generations (and sometimes even now) mothers have had their babies taken from them at the birth. They have not been allowed to hold/touch or see their baby for hours or days afterwards – and sometimes mothers have had their babies taken away from them permanently. What has caused us to dampen the protective instincts of the birthing mother? I believe one of the major causes of this dampening of instincts ” is fear.

So how can we get back to a more natural state for birthing? What do we need to do to give ourselves the best chance of birthing calmly, without fear, like our other primate sisters?

  • Remove any pre-existing fears about childbirth (hypnotherapy and education can help with this – do a hypnobirthing course, download some mp3 tracks, start your own conditioning program)
  • Choose your caregivers well. Ensure that they are supportive of a natural birth. (This will be discussed in more detail in a future blog)
  • Read, research, learn – remember, “Knowledge is Power”. When you are well informed you are likely to make good decisions should the need arise.
  • Learn and practice tools that can be used during your labour and birth. When the intensity of labour comes upon you – having some breathing, visualization and relaxation techniques to remain calm can be of such great importance.
  • Create a beautiful, calm, quiet environment for birthing.
  • Have a supportive birth partner who can help you to feel safe, calm and relaxed and also act as your voice/advocate during birth. This way you do not need to be disturbed – and can intuitively ‘go within yourself’ when birthing your baby.

And if you would like to see just how the orangutans birth so calmly – well, please click here to watch the video! Enjoy.

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