11 Celebration and preservation of Mayan midwifery in Guatemala

May 5, 2023 @ 08:00 – 08:50 UTC Timezone
Room B

Speaker: Sarah Smits

Facilitator: Liz McNeill

Sharing knowledge and stories to promote the work of The Midwife Project. A project to support the preservation of Mayan midwifery wisdom and bridge the gap between the knowledge of the younger generations of clinically trained midwives and the elder traditional midwives. Honouring and understanding the importance of both the knowledge of modern and traditional midwifery practices to best serve their community. 

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala has a prevalent population of Mayan people still practicing Mayan cosmology and ways of life. 

Due to cultural practices and barriers to accessing the only hospital around the lake, many women birth at home with Mayan midwives. Yet the Mayan midwifes, some of whom have been practicing midwifery for 40 years, report how births are becoming more complicated and welcome the opportunity to learn different skills to support their communities growing needs. 

The Midwife project aim to bridge this gap. A 6 month training program was initiated in 2022 whoch offers the opportunity for the elder midwives to learn clinical skills and for the younger generation of midwives to learn the traditional Mayan practices. 

Every week more and more women, some as young as 12 who have had the calling to become midwives join the project. It is an important opportunity to strengthen the community of Mayan midwives, so they can better support their community. 

Recording: https://youtu.be/mILlyDhuadE