I was honored to sit among local birth keepers, midwives, and doulas for an evening with Ibu Robin Lim. Not only is she a CNN Hero of the Year from 2011 and the founder of Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation); she’s a Wine Country grandmother (her grandchild was just born a few weeks ago!). Ibu Robin has traveled to areas where typhoons and earthquakes have devastated the communities living there, yet babies still need to be born safely. Her Bumi Sehat Foundation provides free prenatal care and birthing services to women in Bali.
I heard stories about Ibu Robin’s birthing experiences at a discussion about environmental impacts on pregnancy, birth, and the culture of birthing.
The (Birthing) World We Live In Today
That evening, the discussion of how pregnancy and birth have changed locally came up. There’s been a shift in the health of women and babies recently. From the stress of the changing environment, but moreover, the effects of the recent fires in Northern California. Studies are still being done by local researchers, but many things remain unknown about how environment and stress affected local mothers and babies. I sat there and listened to how birth keepers like Ibu Robin are committed to providing serenity for mothers and creating a peaceful environment for babies to be born into, whether it’s here or in third-world countries.
Fearless Motherhood & Giving Love Freely
Regardless of location, socioeconomics, or age, motherhood is daunting. Fear, shame, and pressure overcome mothers daily. Ibu Robin is a mother and grandmother who has faced danger. She’s birthing babies in disaster areas where families have lost their homes and communities. She is helping mothers birth there safely. These mothers have no choice but to face danger and their current circumstances in order to love and care for the newborn babies.
I spoke with Ibu Robin and before I left, she gave me a hug, held my hand, and said, “I love you.” It may seem odd to have a stranger tell you they love you after a brief encounter. But in my heart, her statement felt real and true. Ibu Robin’s divine calling has been to care and give love freely, just as the birth keepers. Whatever fires need putting out, literal or figurative, they are fearless for the sake of mothers and children in their care. While I may not be a birth keeper, I too want to be fearless and give love freely. We are more than the fear, shame, and pressure put upon us. We can support each other, just as Ibu Robin is supporting women all over the world. Because we are all mothering together.
How to Support Ibu Robin Lim and Bumi Sehat
Between caring for mothers and catching babies, Ibu Robin Lim continues to find ways to fund and grow Bumi Sehat.
Want to help with their operating costs or disaster relief? Your monetary donation can be made online and is tax deductible in the United States.
Planning an extended stay in Bali? Be a volunteer English teacher for four weeks at the Bumi Sehat Youth Center.