Jeannine Parvati Baker was an amazing midwife, author and mom who first coined the terms “Lotus Birth” and “Free Birth” in the ‘80’s and 90’s. She is the author of Prenatal Yoga & Natural Birth; Conscious Conception: Elemental Journey Through The Labyrinth of Sexuality; & Hygeia, a Woman’s Herbal. She died in 2005.
Jeanine taught me about Lotus Birth. I called her in 1992 and said “tell me everything, for I have told parents about it, and they say it feels like right action for their baby”. She told me her experiences and I interviewed doctors who told me the medical truth: there was no medical reason to cut the cord. Jeanine changed my practice when I was just a brand new midwife.
Jeanine was interviewed by Michael Mendizza, who created Touch The Future and then became an amazing dad, with a sensitive blog about fathering. This website has a plethora of wonderful information on it: Expanding Human Potential by Supporting Those Who Care For Children, and so much more. Please check it out.
Birth is the first sexual experience of a baby’s life. Being born in a technocratic environment with machines, the baby feels separated, removed from his or her source, from their mother. And that’s exacerbated by bottles. Anytime we put a bottle or a pacifier, which is a misnomer, it does not bring peace to the planet. I prefer to use the term “dummy”, because that’s what it does. The “dummy” literally dumbs that baby down because they’re not able to express what they are feeling. When you have a sexual relationship, love will bring out all of our feelings to be healed. When we do feel nurtured and loved, we are safe enough to be who we really are. For a lot of us, if that dummy’s in our mouth, we have been dumbed down and repressed emotionally. Those feelings come up for healing in a sexual relationship. Hence, many of us go unconscious. We do not want to approach this material inside. We’ve used and abused the gift that we have been given, our sexuality, with one another, to avoid authentic and intimate relationships.
We separate the baby from human contact, which means pleasure, and in its place we substitute things, bottles, cribs, plastic carriers and pacifiers. Removing pleasurable touch is sensory deprivation. Sensory deprivation means collapsed potential brain development. And this affects the social and sexual capacities when they unfold. Harlow’s work in the late 50’s demonstrated that monkeys separated from their mothers as babies were incapable of grooming one another, of touching one another. They had no sexual or social skills.
This is one reason nursing my babies was so important. I focused on the relationship, and did not distract myself while breast feeding by doing other things. This is where a baby learns the give and take of sexuality, how the giving and receiving of pleasure is simultaneous, how pleasure co-arises. In nursing, the baby’s mouth, which is an erotic organ, is allowed to pleasure the mother. My heart melted and turned into milk. In that exchange, love and sex are one and the same. That’s what breast feeding imprints upon the baby.