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HAWA-GOLA AND POSTPARTUM

�After the baby is born, the shareer (body, but also womb-birth passage) is open. In our place a clean cloth is made into a thick pad, it is warmed and placed on the shareer. So that hawa does not come.� (Munni, Delhi)

�After birth of the baby, woman has gola pains. When the baby is in the womb then gola maintains and protects it. Gola is along with the baby. After birth gola is left alone so it looks for the baby in the womb. And this gives pain to the new mother. Therefore we immediately give warm halwa for her to eat and this heats and eases the gola. A warm pot is placed on her abdomen for fomentation. This eases her pain.� (Manori, Rajasthan)


Hawa, loosely translated as wind, but more specifically, like Vata in Ayurveda, it means movement or motion. Hawa also colloquially refers to the activities of spirit forces, usually with negative associations, as in burra hawa, a bad wind. The word gola, loosely translated as ball or something round, is used to describe a phenomenon or energy perceived to exit the body in form of �bad blood� and clots. Gola is also thought of as being related to the energy that has grown and sustained the baby in utero.

In all MATRIKA research areas, hawa-gola are considered threats to the woman�s wellbeing postpartum. Our current understanding is that hawa-gola, often referred to together, are some kind of matter, force or energy which must come out of the body (through the vagina or birth canal), and by all means not go up into the upper part of the body. This explains the concern about the placenta going �up� in the body, medically speaking, a retained placenta. Although dais literally refer to the �placenta going up�, they mean that the energy of the body which developed the fetus must not be retained within the body. If this hawa-gola energy remains within the maternal body, then it is considered a cause for pathology.

Interestingly one of the words dais gave for hawa-gola was �mamta� which means mother�s love. This concept displays an active notion of the space the baby has occupied. The mother�s physical and emotional experience of connectedness to the baby, within her body, is holistically acknowledged, as is the space left postpartum. The gola is �the baby�s home�. It �searches for the baby� after birth. Interestingly both sensation and perception are attributed to the female womb. What in biomedical language is termed �involution� of the uterus, is considered a phenomenon experienced by the whole body/person. The pain of the contracting uterus is caused by this �search� for the baby. The space previously occupied by the baby is now empty and must be dealt with or it will become a site for the pathology of �hawa-gola�.
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