Newsletter: November 1999

Yesterday I returned from the MANA (Midwives Alliance of North
America)conference held in visually breathtaking Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

I am always anxious to visit with Jody McLaughlin, U.S. editor of The
Compleat Mother, who also attends the conference every year to promote our
magazine to the 500 or so midwives who attend.  We had much to talk about
over a delicious Mexican style dinner with Jody’s two daughters who
accompanied her this year.

I told Jody I needed something interesting for this newsletter and she
quickly found the Winter,  1992, issue of The Compleat Mother which was
displayed on her exhibitor’s table. In large letters on the cover are the
words “Seasons Greetings.” On page 23 of the issue is a thought provoking
article entitled “How Was Jesus Born? Corah Laladet.”  You can read a
slightly edited version of the article below.

For me, the essence of this fine article is that Jesus was born under the
supervision of a couple of God’s simplest creatures. No one else attended
this most celebrated birth in human history. If you think about it, in
human history probably 99% of the people were not born in a hospital.


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Where was Jesus Born?
By Moyses Paciornic, MD, Curitiba, PR Brazil

How did Mary give birth? Does anyone really know? The Bible tells us
Caesar Augusts ordered a census to be taken. Joseph and Mary were trudging
along the road to Bethlehem when she was overtaken by birth-pains. Joseph
made Mare as comfortable as possible in a cave which was also used as a
stable. Without wasting a moment, he ran into town to look for a midwife
who, according to the custom of the Hebrews. Might help with the delivery.

By the time Joseph returned, the child Jesus, already fed, was lying in
the manger; next to him, calm and composed, rested his mother, Mary; and
as dumb witnesses, an ox and an ass stood nearby.

How was he born? If the Bible does not tell us, sculptures, drawings,
paintings and medical treatises try to do so. From the custom of the
Egyptians, whose slaves they were, the Hebrew women learned to give birth
while kneeling. One may surmise then, that Mary would have given birth to
Jesus from a kneeling position. However, Leonardo da Vinci’s work suggests

If there was ever a genius, he was it – naturalist, painter, sculptor,
architect, inventor, writer - original, accurate, painstakingly precise in
everything he did. Leonardo’s work includes six drawings, with delicate
dark lines about…the Nativity! In these drawings what position was Mary
in? Kneeling? No, she was squatting - in the position after the fashion of
the most primitive and anoint Brazilian Indian girls, Leonardo, the genius
who was right about most everything else, was right about this too.

In ancient times, it was customary for Egyptian women to give birth while
kneeling or squatting on the ground, or supported by two parallel stones.
It is a general supposition that Hebrew women did the same, and so did
their descendants up to Mary’s time.

Changes in human habits do not come suddenly, nor do they happen
fortuitiously. The Hebrews got used to living in tents, to resting in a
squatting position and the women gave birth to their offspring from a
squatting position, in close contact with the ground. Among most of the
desert peoples, that is still the practice today.

It is well known when desert women are taken to modern maternity wards in
Alexandria, Cairo, Beirut, Tel Aviv, they show their displeasure and
revolt against current medical practices that force them to lie down when,
by instinct and experience, they would rather squat.

In the Bible’s early Hebrew texts, there is one more argument to prove
that this was so, or it should be so. There, the birth process is referred
to in Hebrew as “corah laledet."  Corah: to squat; “laledet: in order to
bear child, to give birth."

Now, you may analyze for yourselves, just pay attention to the
resemblance: “corah” in Hebrew, “croca” for the Indians, “acroca” for the
caboclos (the Brazilian hinterlands inhabitants, “accroupir” in French,
“acocolare” in Italian, “kauern” in German, “to squat” in English,
“cuclilas” in Spanish, the same in other languages. The etymological root
seems to be the same.

Time will come when all mothers of the world will give birth to their
children from a squatting position, just like our innocent twentieth
century Indians, and just like Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the women of
her day.


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Peace to all of you this Thanksgiving.  Relax and enjoy the awesome
gentler parenting opportunities available to you during this wonderful

Greg Cryns
Online editor: The Compleat Mother Magazine




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