Now that I've had the pleasure of caring for several Native American mom's, this question continues to pop up. How do I maintain my cultural-ness surrounding pregnancy and birth, while living in a modern world? I'm actually going to throw this question out to you. Generally, I can counsel them on the Navajo Do's and Don'ts during pregnancy, but really and honestly..and seriously, I advise them to go talk to their mothers and grandmothers. Traditional knowledge surrounding birth should be passed down from the female patriachs in your family. Unfortunatly, for some, even this knowledge is not accessable, as that much of our traditional birth knowledge has been lost in translation..(seriously it has).
Some women don't understand the importance of culture and what role it plays...well until they have children. Then suddenly they want to know...Which is really great, because it is never to late to learn your roots and take pride in learning that knowledge for yourself. Man, if I my Shah-mah' tsah'nih (grandmother), was still around, I would be drinking some of her coffee (the best by the way) and asking her as many questions as I could think of..... From the story of Changing Woman to asking her to show me how to weave. These maternal feelings of wanting to learn my roots didn't sprout at birth, because like most Natives, while growing up I wanted to wear Guess Jeans and fit in like everyone else. It wasn't until I had children that the idea of what kind of parent I wanted to be or what kind of knowledge I wanted to pass on to my children, did I think about what I didn't know and what I wanted to know.
I imagine one day my grandchildren will be coming to me to ask about "the days back when." I imagine I will smell like bengay, be wearing my traditional squash blossom around my neck, and perhaps living in a modern day hogan. I don't know..but really, seriously...I say my dawn prayers daily, my medicine bag is in my pocket when I go to catch babies, and my phone is on vibrate to notify me of Facebook updates. Live the best way you can..traditional, non-traditional, both....happy.