Have you ever lived through an experience that touched you so profoundly that it changed the course of your life?

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Well, last month I did when I had the privilege of interning at the impressive Healthy Mother Natural Birth Center in Hyderabad, India.

My journey to the clinic began in the fall of last year when I was finalizing my plans for a    long-anticipated trip to India. I had just completed my DONA Postpartum Doula training with the renowned teacher, Debra Pascali-Bonaro. I mentioned to her that I was going to India and she connected me with a network of birth workers there. I immediately contacted Dr. Vijaya Krishnan, a midwife, and co-founder of Healthy Mother & Natural Birth Sanctum. Initially, we met on Skype and I was instantly impressed by her wealth of knowledge and kind nature. In addition, because she is so passionate about her work, I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to learn from her and intern at her clinic in Hyderabad.

Healthy Mother Clinic is part of a network of clinics affiliated with the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization whose global mission is “ to promote optimal MotherBaby maternity services.” Dr. Vijaya has done just that by creating a natural birthing sanctuary in the heart of one of India’s fastest growing tech capitals. I was blown away by the scope of her practice; the facilities alone provide a safe haven for expectant parents and their entire families to feel at ease and at home. The clinic houses four well equipped and comfortable birthing rooms as well as an around the clock emergency care facility which includes an operating room and NICU. The skillful and compassionate midwife led team consists of an arsenal of skilled nurses, obstetric, and pediatric doctors as well as physical therapists

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Families at Healthy Mother are nurtured throughout the entire process, and this consistency and quality of care, community support and education is allowing them the opportunity to experience birth naturally. The birth journey at the clinic begins with preconception counseling and continues all the way through to 4th-trimester lactation support, physio, and infant checkups. Dr. Vijaya’s clinic is paving the way and setting standards of essential care for mothers and their families around the world.

Although my experience at Healthy Mother was heartfelt and life-changing, it also left me with a lot of unanswered questions. Coming from a city like NY where we have access to so many modern luxuries targeted towards women, I began to ask myself why we don’t we have clinics like this. The loving support, attention, and respect that the Dr. Vijaya and her team provides families throughout the entire birth process is care that transcends different cultural traditions, and medical practices, it is human work at its core. Doesn’t everyone deserve the right to this kind of care?

There is still work to be done in the world to improve maternal and infant health. I hope that by sharing my story and the beautiful work that is being done in Hyderabad as well as through organizations and other affiliated clinics of the International Childbirth Initiative we can shed light on all the good that’s being done and create a ripple effect of positive change for a brighter future.