Ho’oponopono

Posted by on Apr 2, 2019 in Writings

Ho’oponopono

Ho’oponopono

I’m sorry

Please Forgive Me

I thank you

I love you

Me singing Ho’oponopono on guitar

She was 18 years old and recently married.

Newly pregnant, she had jumped the fence between Zimbabwe and South Africa with her husband and settled in the Red Hill informal settlement near where I live.

Traditionally in her family, women give birth at home with the local Anamboya in attendance. (Anamboya literally translates as granny midwife – and many of the attending Anamboya are the labouring woman’s grandmother. Or her mother. Or aunt. Or sister.) There is a deep trust in this community of nature and the birthing process. And a great faith in God and a very supportive church community. There is also quite a mistrust of the medical world and medicines in general – healing is often left to herbs and prayer and God’s will.

This young woman wanted to birth at home and when her sister in law told her about me her husband made contact.

I visited her for regular check ups at her home. Her sister in law would translate for us. Her English was not very good.

When she was 41 weeks pregnant, she went for a check-up at our back up hospital, as they had suggested an ultrasound if she went post her due date. She was afraid to go as she had heard of many women being coerced into unnecessary cesareans. But I reassured her that all was well with her baby and that it would just be a standard check-up. That she could call me from the hospital if she had any questions or did not understand something. That she would soon be home, her mind at rest that all was well and that we could then wait for her baby boy who would trigger his labour soon.

She went. Trusting me.

At the visit she was told she needed to be induced. She had gone alone. Not her husband nor her sister in law were with her to help her understand and translate. Her phone’s battery had died and no one allowed her to recharge it to call one of us. She was induced on her own with no one familiar with her. They did not even know.

After a failed induction she was given a caesarean and greeted her baby boy on her own. Her husband and I only found out after the fact.

This is not a story to point fingers at our public health system. I am fully aware that not every pregnant woman walking into a public health facility is treated this way. Personally, I feel that our health system is very good here in the Western Cape of South Africa and I trust the hospitals we access in a medical emergency. There are many dedicated and passionate people working South Africa’s health system. I truly honour the service you provide and the work that you do.

But I do feel that the fact that this woman was young, a refugee, alone, did not speak English, counted against her and made it all to easy to manipulate and coerce her.

I write this because I feel her story needs to be told and because I am sorry.

I suppose I am asking for forgiveness.

Ho’oponopono

I’m sorry

Please Forgive Me

I thank you

I love you

(Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian prayer for forgiveness, healing and taking full responsibility for one’s actions.)

Me singing Ho’oponopono on guitar

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