Tagakolu Traditional Birthing

Tagakolu traditional birthing affects women’s emotional wellbeing…

Family support is an important protective factor for childbearing women. This is what twenty-five youth leaders who attended the conversation on Tagakolu traditional birthing last September 18-20, 2015 in Kalatagan, Malita learned from their elders.

The conversation on traditional birthing is part of the Indigenous Youth Leadership (IYL) – Tagakolu curriculum. The youth in the community expressed that they wanted to learn how their "mananamok" (Tagakolu traditional birth attendant) prepares when a woman gives birth and to understand the process of traditional birthing.

According to the mananamok, when a woman is two months pregnant, this will be the time that the traditional birth attendant will attend to the needs of the expectant mother. There are elders who will lead a ritual called “magtagkas sa mangkalat”, a ritual against the spirits to leave the pregnant woman alone and to invoke the protection of “Tyumanem” or Creator. It is to let the bad spirits know that the child inside the womb is offered to the Creator. To attend to the needs of the expectant mother, the mananamok prepares the traditional medicines or “talagumo” so she will have a comfortable delivery.

Part of the conversation was a discussion on the ritual called “pagpalaba sa ise”, a welcome ceremony for the newly born, meaning after a week from birth the family will bring the child to the house of their relatives to pay a visit. They symbolically remove the “suksuk” or the bad elements and the relatives who welcomed the child will offer a gift or “taligsabo” for the child to treasure.

The village midwife shared: “Sa tradisyunal nga pagpanganak, nakita nako nga maayo kay naa gyud ang suporta sa “matikadeng” nga maoy mohatag ug kadasig sa manganakay” (In traditional birthing, one important factor is the support given by the elders to the expectant mother that gives her the courage to welcome the birth with all her being.)

Ate Carmelita: “Upat nako ka anak, sa balay lang gyud ko nanganak ug maayo kaayo ang akong pagpanganak kay giatiman man ko og pag-ayo sa mananamok ug sa akoang pamilya.” (I have four kids and all of them I gave birth in our home without complications because I was well attended by the mananamok and also my family.)

The youth were thankful that they had the opportunity to hear the positive stories of traditional birthing and more so to understand and appreciate the value of giving birth. They reflected that the Tagakolu traditional birthing affects the women’s emotional wellbeing and that family members, especially the husbands, have a big role and responsibility to their wives in this journey of giving life.