Many of us worry about the human future. We worry about climate change, natural disasters, war. What does the future hold for ourselves, our families, our cultures and our planet?
Our ways of birthing have a profound effect on our health and happiness and the nature of our communities and nations. Studies have shown that the level of militarism in a society is directly related to the extent to which mother and baby are separated after birth. Anthropologists have found that nearly all of the traditional cultures on the planet have the belief that the colostrum, a nourishing substance that comes before the breast milk when a baby is newly born, is bad for the baby, thus requiring separation of mom from baby for a couple days until her milk comes in. In another example of societal customs that separate mother and baby, for most of the 20th century in industrialized nations, babies were taken to nurseries immediately after birth to be cared for by nurses, and returned to their mothers a few times a day if that.
Recent scientific research shows that the newly born baby is conscious, alert, and able to interact. The hours after birth are part of a “primal period” in which mom and baby are exquisitely sensitive to learning feelings and interactions that are imprinted for life.
Another big event at the start of life is the seeding of the microbiome. The microbiome is the bacteria and other microorganisms that live in and on the human body. These bacteria are mostly protective to the human host and play a role in developing a strong immune system. The most beneficial bacteria for a newly born person are thought to be those associated with the mother. This new field of knowledge is influencing childbirth practices.
One more new field of study is epigenetics. This refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes “on” or “off.” These modifications do not change the DNA sequence. Many factors in childbirth, such as medications given or method of delivery might cause epigenetic changes which would cause a gene to be expressed or not, for better or for worse.
Do you want your children and descendants to be alert, healthy and smart in our changing times, to have the best possible chance of surviving and thriving down to the seventh generation?
Then come to the Birth and the Human Future Conference and learn more. The conference will take place at the Centro de Fe at 540 Adams, Eugene, Oregon on Friday, July 31, 2015. Registration and the showing of the movie Micro Birth will start at 8 AM. The main conference is from 9-5. Lunch will be served.
May 23, 2016: This year’s Birth and the Future conference will be on Friday, July 22 from 9-5, registration starting at 8 AM. Once again we will be at Cento de Fe, 540 Adams in eugene.
We will go into more depth on ways in which our birth influences our lives, and then focus on ways to solve the problem of black and brown mothers dying in childbearing at higher rates than the general population in the USA today. I hope you can join us to learn and to reason together. Marion