I, Suma Starkie, from England, have been coming to India on and off for nearly 35 years, and more regularly since my son Govinda came to live here six years ago. Being part of the back-to-nature hippie culture of the ‘70s, I was an ardent homebirth pioneer, a tradition that, fortunately, never died out in Britain, thanks partly to our excellent Radical Midwives. Two of my three sons were born at home. The middle one, Govinda, was born in hospital, by accident—I simply couldn’t get home in time!
Govinda married Leela, a kibbutz Israeli, last year. For both of them, homebirth was the natural choice when Leela became pregnant. Even in India, hospital births are taking over, and uneducated women are invariably mesmerised by the promises of the doctors, often with devastating results. The Midwifery Today magazines that Apeetha lent Leela and Govinda were a great inspiration and affirmation for them.
Parvati (not her real name) is Govinda’s very special landlady, a tough, no-nonsense angel, unusually independent.
Photo by Varshesh Joshi
The third in a series of stories of birth in India.
Read more…. Anitha’s Birth
Photo by Simon Wilkes
Govinda called me around 9 am to say that Leela’s waters had broken at 1 am. They had had a very gentle and beautiful night together and had even been for a walk and quiet sit outside around dawn. By the time I got there, Leela’s contractions were already five minutes apart, getting stronger and closer together.
Read more…. Priya’s Birth