Comments on: Old Birthing in the New World What makes a great picture? Thu, 18 Aug 2016 11:13:37 +0000 hourly 1 By: Yolanda Sat, 13 Sep 2008 01:04:13 +0000 This way of birthing does the most for the emotional well-being of the baby. The experience of pain is not to feel pity for these women, but to admire them. This women needs to be accompanied by her relatives in order to feel more security and the pain will be less, also.

By: Gail Tully Wed, 30 Jul 2008 17:55:48 +0000 Dear Mariana,
Wonderful, wonderful journalism, compassion and presentation. I am a homebirth midwife and a doula trainer. I’ve helped women with natural childbirth for over 25 years. Birth is hard work. There is a difference between pain and suffering. Of course we want to ease suffering, prevent suffering. The mother in your audio slide show said she was “afraid of the pain, oh well.”
Her “oh well” shows how she acknowledged pain and then set about her work.
I have been honored to help women 15-46 who have faced their fear of pain and chosen natural, supported birth. More women here have the kind of support that was given by the nurse student in your audio slideshow (some of the same pics are here).

Please, readers, realize that these women are not birthing in their own environment, and that adds stress; that risk of maternal death also has to be emotionally born in labor, there more than here in the US, and death in the hospital is a fear as well especially since hospital birth is newer there.

Your blog, Mariana, is such an intimate unfolding of your night’s experience. Ending with your tears in the Cathedral was so moving and, having once been in a Catherdral in the Yucatan, I had a little bit of what that image may have been. Thank you, so much.
I followed the link to reuters and you through the blog at portraying a film that shows an entirely different view of natural childbirth. One that I have also been witness to.

Gail Tully, CPM

By: Claudia Daut Mon, 28 Jul 2008 17:04:44 +0000 Mariana, amazing pictures and story, congratulations!
It is possible to, sometimes even brilliantly, document a fraction of the life of others, but it is almost impossible not to get somehow and unintentionally, involved and that is what makes the difference in your pictures.

The day we stop caring for what we see and experience, we will lose it all. To feel great empathy, the urge to reach out and being able to share with others is what empowers us as photographers and makes us grow as human beings. This is precisely what makes our profession so very different from other jobs.

Stories like these make me proud of being a photographer and having the opportunity to work with one like you.

By: Adriane Mon, 28 Jul 2008 02:58:18 +0000 They way you described pain during these birth experiences is so typical of an uninformed, ignorant American. (And this is not to say these women could not have had better support, however…) Pain in childbirth is constructive. It isn’t telling you something is wrong, it is telling you how to move your baby to get it out. Taking away the pain, no matter what means you use, is introducing risk to the baby and the mother. Should pain relief be available? YES. Of course. But it should be used judiciously after other comfort measure have been tried. And the woman must know the risks she is introducing to a natural, normal health process (for 80-90% of women).

Please read my essay about birth at

There is also a list of links to become more informed about the subject. And this author obviuosly needs some education regarding interventions during birth.

By: Gail Johnson CPM Sun, 27 Jul 2008 15:25:32 +0000 As a certified and home birth midife for over 20 yrs, I am still shaking my head , becasue most all women if left to there own choice will give birth squating or standing or hands and knees.
It is only in american hospitals that vertical birthing is so “pushed” on women.
Hospitals, that follow the american way of birthing are not helping women.
Inductions, c-sections, forceps are are very dangerous. With all the modern medical tools used for labor and delivery ,the amerian stats have not changed in 30+ yrs.
The reason most women die in childbirth in most countries is lack of prenatal care and good nutrition.
Technology will not improve maternal or infant mortality.
Good food, sanitation,and education will.
I have delivered over 1500 babies at home in a number of countries. Vertical birthing is the norm!
Glad that Peru is discovering the old ways are most times the best when it comes to birthing postions.
America has not “discovered” this as yet ! Will they ever?

Gail Johnson

By: Regine MArton Sun, 27 Jul 2008 12:56:17 +0000 Kuddos for Reuters and this serie of articles ,videos and photos, encouraging non invasive methods to improve perinatal mortality is one of the soundest things to do… I am not condemning technology, (I actually work with South American Pregnant ladies in the Atlanta Area) but I am seeing too many abusive and non justified interventions on this populations pretending to save them..

By: Jessica Thu, 24 Jul 2008 04:51:39 +0000 I intentionally gave birth, in sterile, medication filled, technology ridden America, in very much the same way these women did. I LIKE giving birth. It is hard, hard work, but it is empowering, liberating, and spiritual for me.

Immigrants from Latin America frequently choose to birth similarly when given the option of the American model. It’s good stuff and (when things are clean and sterile) unmedicated, vertical birth is actually the safest method, as well as the easiest recovery.

I am a huge wimp. I am no martyr. I had natural, vertical childbirth because it was safest and most comfortable. Labor was hard (labor does actually mean work) and sometimes I moaned in feeling something so powerful, but it was never agony and it was not a hardship. I would’ve been heartbroken to need technology or medication.

Those are wonderful photographs and I’m sure it was a moving experience, but I think you’re projecting a lot of your own cultural birth biases onto women who may be experiencing this far differently than you describe.

By: Erica Wed, 23 Jul 2008 14:44:42 +0000 As a pregnant woman and as someone who has given birth without drugs twice before, these images are striking…a reminder of the pain we go through and the joy we have afterwards. It makes me look forward to this new baby while dreading those last few hours.
I agree that the majority of women don’t NEED pain relief but without a support person and being among strangers, it could be terrifying. And obviously, these facilities need generators and some types of pain relief. Cutting into people over and over without pain relief and not getting results is horrifying. Yes, we did the same thing in the Civil war and people survived but no one asks for that kind of experience!
We should keep the things from the past that work well…vertical birthing, natural pain relievers, etc. while trying to save lives and horrors by finding a way to get the NECESSARY equipment, drugs, and medical clinics that so many people lack.

By: Diana Ngila Sat, 19 Jul 2008 11:09:23 +0000 Mariana, how can I say this?
That’s some real stuff right there… the joy of being a mother, great but the pain of getting there…hmmmm, another story but worth it all the same i guess. Deep stuff

By: Cindy Sat, 19 Jul 2008 09:58:37 +0000 Beautiful pics and moving story. As a labor nurse I know the sounds of the birthing room and what you are hearing there is what happens here in the heartland, but we force them onto their backs, push their legs back and humiliate them by exposing them to their families.
A birth without drugs is usually a birth with less complications.I hope these birth houses help with the maternal mortality rates, another way to help would be training midwives and letting them use life saving drugs like pitocin when needed. Or antibiotics. We use them with no thought to cost here in America.