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  • Writer's pictureJasmine Norwood-Dioulo

7 favorite things: Unmatched Prenatal/Postpartum care with Traditional Japanese Midwife

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Motherhood is scared. It's a gift, a calling, a divine assignment. The way a woman is cared for and taught to care for herself, the way a woman is trusted, and taught to trust herself, begin long before the babies arrive.

I will forever be grateful for my role as Mama -- the opportunity to bring souls from womb to world, and the blessing its been to give our little ones the gift of starting life and being raised here in the East.

I will never forget the day Julian and I toured Matsugaoka Birth House. I was barely 5 weeks pregnant with Nile. :-)

Despite all that was going on in the world -- we're talking 2020 full-blown pandemic chaos -- So San warmly welcomed us into her birth center for a tour and casual conversation. She opened the door of the birth house wearing a genuine smile on her face, and bouncing a screaming baby on her hip. I knew we were home.

In Early 2021, So San supported our Tokyo home-birth with Nile!

Currently, she and her midwives are supporting our family as we prepare for home birth #2 with Baby #3, in March!

I've jokingly told Julian a thousand times, that we have to have aaaallllll the babies before we can ever even think about leaving Tokyo! Our pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences have truly been that good!

Check the list below for 7 of the things I've cherished most about this chapter!

1. NO SCARE TACTICS/FEAR MONGERING — At one point in Nile’s pregnancy, we were thinking he was going to be on the larger side — Guess what our midwife’s reaction was -- She said, well, the safest place to birth a big baby is outside of a hospital because you will be able to listen to your body and move into positions more freely. Baby’s presenting breech in the third trimester? (Which has happened for Nile and Baby #3's pregnancies btw!) Don’t panic! — Bone therapy, moxibustion, acupuncture, solo walks in nature, womb warming, joint warming, massages, all the things!

2. SPA DAY OR PRENATAL VISIT? I’M NOT SURE — First of all, there’s always someone in the kitchen at Matsugaoka Birth House, so you walk in to a place that literally smells like heaven on earth — a soul-warming aroma of dashi, veggies, and rice completely envelop you! Next thing you know, you’re laying down on a plush futon, getting your blood pressure taken, and belly measurements done. And the sweetest little detail? More often than not, there’s at least one precious newborn napping on the tatami mats next to you — heaven!

3. WARMTH + HEALING HANDS — I can’t say enough about how much I’ve learned and experienced about the healing power of touch in my time here in the East. Every visit ends with womb warming — heated bean bags on your back and stomach and an ankle and foot massage.

4. IN-HOME CARE — As you near your “due date” the prenatal visits become in home visits! All the same treatment, right in the comfort of your own home. And after birthing your baby at home — midwives come to your house for 5-6 days to check on baby, give you a massage, help with breast feeding as your milk comes in, talk you of the ledge if you're spiraling with all the new-mama worries (it me hehe) ANDDDDD THEY BRING YOU A HOT MEAL EVERY DAY! (Someone please insert all the crying emojis)

March 2021, Nile was a few days old -- Savvy and So San check his weight

5. ITS A FAMILY AFFAIR/NORMALIZING PHYSIOLOGICAL BIRTH FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS — By far, one of my most favorite things about the gift of birthing with a traditional midwife here in Tokyo is how hands-on and present Savvy and Nile get to be through the whole process. As for Sav, I’m pretty sure we’ve got a little birth-keeper in the making! From our then, almost 3 year old, witnessing Nile come into the world in such a peaceful way, to her helping So San weigh him during one of our early (in-home!) postpartum visits, to now, Nile playing with trucks on the tatami mats next to me while So San and her midwives are caring for me and Baby #3 during our prenatal visits. I mean seriously! Pinch me!

November 2022, Nile plays on tatami mats during prenatal appt for Baby #3

6. MANY TESTS ARE OPTIONAL — No chugging that over-sweetened orange drink, no mandatory glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes especially if you don’t have risk factors or any symptoms.

Altar in bone therapy room

7. CONTINUED HOLISTIC CARE FOR WHOLE WOMAN AND FAMILY -- Would you believe it if I told you there's no 6 week postpartum "final check and dismissal"?! Even a year and half after Nile was born, if I had clogged ducts, digestion problems, Nile bumped his head, or had a fever, So San and her midwives were never more than a text away! There's nothing like the genuine care and continued focus on you as the mother, the life-giving woman and the wellness of your family. You are cared for in entirety — mentally, spiritually, and physically and the holistic healing suggestions are endless -- touch, sleep, nature, physical activity, warm baths, healing foods, anti-inflammatory oils, and increased water intake just to name a few!

Beyond thankful for the unmatched care and invaluable lessons.

Feb 2021 -- Photo taken by Hubby about 3 wks before Nile was born

Gosh, my heart wants this for women all over the world!

In the meantime, if you live in Tokyo and happen to be family planning, or if you're booking the next one-way flight here to have aaaaallllll the babies after reading this list LOL please don't hesitate to hit me up! I'd be more than happy to chat and connect you to So San and her team!

Or maybe (like me) you're obsessed with all things pregnancy, birth, and postpartum and have some questions about my experiences here? Let me know!

As for my doula and motherhood mentor services -- they're currently on hold, as my fam prepares to welcome our new angel babe, but at some point, much of what I have learned and experienced here will be incorporated into how I show up for other couples and their growing families!

Gratitude and light to you!

Love Always.



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