"Compassion House" is a Christian birth and midwifery training center in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Casa Compasiva A.C.

Casa Compasiva A.C.
Birth Center

Community Outreach: Connecting with Women through Childbirth Education

The week after our anniversary we went on our first outreach to the community of San Miguel del Progreso which is approximately 4 hrs from the city, up in the mountains.

We would have loved to have had the whole team on the trip, but we had 2 possible births, so we left Betsy and Dra. Donaji at home.

 We drove to the heart of the Mixteca region.

Our first stop was Tlaxiaco where we visited a shelter that houses women in their last weeks of pregnancy who come down from their villages to give birth in the public hospital.  Since the government has taken away the midwives´ ability to attend births in the villages, the women now must either leave their family at 38 weeks pregnant or travel hours down to the hospital in labor.  Arriving at the hospital before labor increases the probability that these women will be given an unnecessary cesarean just to move them along on the assembly line of maternity care.

We encouraged the women and then left them with a gift of baby clothing.

We then continued to the village of San Miguel del Progreso where Dra. Sara served the community for a year some 5 years ago.  The current doctor, doing his community service, let us use the classroom on the upper level of the clinic.

We were pleasantly surprised with the attendance of not only pregnant mothers, but breastfeeding and some grandmothers, great grandmothers, and a local midwife!

Here Dra. Sara is explaining the anatomy of the female reproductive system.

I spoke on the natural process of childbirth and what happens if baby has its cord around its neck.

Everyone was extremely attentive. Even the children! 

This is a local midwife (red jacket).  We included her in the class several times and I had hoped to sit with her afterwards and chat, but her translator (she speaks Mixteco) had to leave quickly.  Maybe next time.

Everyone passed the female pelvis around and showed great interest. Several had small conversations when it was their turn.

We also shared a childbirth video that shows the complete process of childbirth and enfasis changes in positions and the different stages.

Mayra taught the many uses of the rebozo.

Lidia reinforced the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.

Afterwards we gifted the pregnant ladies with a new baby outfit and blankets...

and we set out gently used clothing for the women and Dra. Sara made sure everyone took home a Bible tract.

The lady in white and green is the clinic nurse who sat in on much of the class and confirmed what was being taught with nods.

The clinic doctor is here in the background.  When Dra. Sara made initial contact with him on the phone, he looked up Casa Compasiva´s facebook page to "investigate us".

He sat in part of the class and took pictures of the different uses of the rebozo.  Before we left he mentioned his interest in natural birth since his training in maternity care was in one of the bigger hospitals in the country (Toluca) and he desired to accompany a Casa Compasiva birth in the future to see birth in its natural environment.  (We may have connected with a future backup doctor!)

After the class, we ate some wonderful tamales that the women had prepared for us, (I guess we have no picture since our hands were busy!) then we drove back down the mountain some 15 minutes to stay overnight with Melvis (behind her mother in wheelchair) and her family.  Melvis is one of the original Casa Compasiva midwives who got married and moved back to her husband´s village.  She also taught us about a local herb used in midwifery to prevent hemorrhage.   But most of all, we had a wonderful time catching up.

This was a wonderful experience for all of us, and we are all committed to making these trips in the near future.

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