|Robin Lim CNN Winner Hero of 2011 (http://www.bumisehatbali.org ())|
Millions of people around the world watched as Ibu Robin Lim became
the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year for her
work providing free prenatal and birthing services to low-income Indonesian
women through her "Yayasan Bumi Sehat" (Healthy Mother Earth) clinics. She
became a professional midwife after her younger sister died from pregnancy
complications and since 2003 has dedicated her life to providing medical
assistance to thousands of women in Bali and Aceh, Indonesia. No one is turned away, no matter how poor. With
the average family earning just $8 a day, a normal uncomplicated birth costing $70
and a C Section $700, you soon realize the urgency of the situation for many
mothers to be. In developed countries, women
are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related
complications than women in developed countries.
who is this guardian angel of women and babies, Ibu Robin Lim? The facts from her website say
that Ibu Robin Lim was born in the U.S. A. in 1956 when a Filipino, Chinese
woman married a German, Irish, Native American, against all advice. She was
raised in the U.S. and the Philippines while her father was serving with the
U.S. military in Vietnam and attended Santa Barbara City College. Robin is married to William Hemmerle and has
eight children, Deja, Noel, Zhou, Lakota, Zion, Thoreau, Hanoman, Ellyanna and
2 grandchildren Zhouie Martinez and Bodhi Padma Edzra. Ibu Robin and her husband moved from Hawaii to
Bali with their family after several personal tragedies made her want to change
her life in a drastic fashion. She is a
Certified Professional Midwife in North America and Indonesia. Along with welcoming babies, Ibu Robin is also
an author and poet. (see extra info below.)
|Robin with child in Haiti after the Earthquake. (Robin Lim ())|
The My Hero Project recently caught up with Ibu Robin in
cyberspace for the following interview.
Do you prefer being called Ibu Robin, instead of just Robin?
however, I LOVE being called "Ibu Robin" as Ibu means
simply mother, and it joins me with ALL mothers."
Can you explain
to our audience what a midwife is and what a midwife does?
"We midwives are the
guardians of normal birth. We are the bridge that a woman may cross over into
motherhood, safely. We are the gentle first line of defense against
complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Midwives kneel at the star~gate of
birth and make a balance between knowledge and just waiting. We sing the babies
to Earth. Midwives do not deliver babies, the mothers deliver, we midwives do
the catching, the receiving."
made you decide to open your first clinic in Indonesia?
"Perhaps it was just
fate. Anywhere in the world a Community Health and Childbirth clinic
opens, it is so needed. When I was a small child my father was in the
military, he was stationed in Indonesia. This was a time of separation in which
my mother was left, a Filipino woman in America, with four small children and a
baby on the way. It was hard for my father as well, being so far from us.
He mailed me a gift, a small Wayang Kulit, a Shadow Puppet. I fell
in love with Indonesia at the moment I opened the package and held a bit of
this country's history and culture in my hand. Today my grandchildren are
|Mothers and Babies (Robin Lim ())|
obviously have a big heart and an affinity for babies. Can you talk a bit about
your personal views relating to babies.
"Babies, the smallest
most vulnerable citizens of this world. Unintentionally medical
authorities set protocols for childbirth which are unkind for the mothers and
terrible for babies. When childbirth is not gentle, when the mother is
rushed through her passage with interventions, when episiotomy is used to widen
the yoni, when the baby's umbilical cord is cut immediately upon birth, when
the baby is separated from his or her mother, taken away to be observed in a
plastic box, profound trauma has happened. The Baby traumatized at birth
loses her trust and her capacity to love is impaired. She will need years of
nurturing to heal this. What a wonderful world this will be, when all the
birth-keepers, doctors and specialists included, protect the Mother~Baby bond
at birth and respect the right of each newborn to arrive on Earth without
trauma. Imagine a world in which each and every human being is living
with an intact capacity to LOVE & Trust! This is the world I work day and
night to build. This is the World Midwives and Nurses, Doulas and gentle
Doctors believe in and are creating.
Remember People who have
an intact capacity to Love are going to be the Stewards of our Air, Land and
Water. We should be worried about the environment. And there are many solutions
being implemented. As a Midwife I believe that by protecting the babies and
their moms at birth, we are building an army of Earth Keepers, to Save our
precious Planet, Gaia."
happier having dedicated your life to other people? Can you tell us how making
this enormous life changing move has changed you?
"All LOVE bounces right
back. Am I happier, oh yes. I can't give LOVE away; it just scurries back and
fills me. Service is sometimes exhausting, especially for midwives who work day
and night as birth-keepers, however, Oxytocin, the hormone of Love, which
drives conception, gestation, childbirth and breastfeeding, as a midwife I am
exposed to it constantly. Oxytocin is like a powerful multivitamin, so
even when really tired, I feel the strength of LOVE holds me up."
|Organic Garden in Aceh with Ibu Robin (Robin Lim ())|
makes you laugh?
"Mothers, Babies, my
Grandchildren, my children, my husband, music.... I am joyful and laughing
quite a lot!!"
"There are so many true
stories of suffering, which frustrate me. I am here on Earth to kick old
"Suffering" right in the behind. And I actually believe that if
a person like me, with an amazing team like Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother
Earth Foundation) can stubbornly just keep reducing suffering, there is a LOT
to hope for our planet's future. I got to know ALL the Top 10 CNN Heroes
for 2011, each of them is amazing and they are making that old monster
"Suffering" shrink right up."
climate change affected where your clinics are?
"Perhaps the Earthquakes
we experience in Indonesia and the Tsunami, where our Bumi Seaht clinic is in
Aceh, are a result of climate change; I am not sure, as I am a midwife, not an
expert. What I do feel is that our planet is in Crisis, and that these changes
there are many potential threats. Remember Midwives can receive babies into the
world without hospitals, electricity, shelter, even running water is not
necessary, when Babies are ready, they come. When things fall apart, Midwives
come in handy." You
must have met a lot of amazing people on this journey you are on. Do you have a
hero and if so, why are they your hero?
"Each mother in labor and
birthing and Breastfeeding is a HERO. I loved the late Mary Kroeger and
Jeannine Parvati Baker, midwives and Heroes. Ina May Gaskin ~ amazing. My Mother,
who suffered a difficult childhood growing up in a country ravished by poverty
and war, only to marry away to America where she suffered medical abuse when
she gave birth to her own children. My sister, who died in the USA from a
complication of her third pregnancy, she is my guide and my Hero."
|Youth Center. (www.bumisehatbali.org ())|
had the attention of the world for 5 minutes, what would you do or say?
"I am laughing, because
on Dec 11th on CNN Heroes night, I did have the attention of the world. What
did I do? I cried.
What I said was: "Every
baby's first breath on Earth could be one of peace and love. Every Mother
should be healthy and strong. Every birth should be safe and loving. But our
world is not there yet. Bumi Sehat needs your help to build a permanent place
where compassionate healthcare can happen. 981 mothers in the prime of
their lives are dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
Supporting your Midwife to Mother care is the answer, because Midwives are the
bridge on which mothers may walk upon to cross over into Motherhood,
Safely." I also said: "Every Mother Counts and Healthcare is a
anything else you would like to say? To mothers or kids?
"I Believe in YOU. I LOVE
have a favourite quote that you live by? Or one of your poems to share with us?
"These poems and many
more can be found in my newly published collection of Poetry: "The
Geometry of Splitting Souls"
I have shaved God's head
the hum of bees,
to breath life into a
flaccid born baby,
to trade a few years of
my own time,
a bargain if this one
gasps and lives.
She will grow now and
dance in a Hindu temple,
and make a shape against
the Balinese sky.
Long after I am resting
in ash, one may trace her shadow.
puppet master called me to her birth.
~ Robin Lim
EllyAnna's Story Cloth
Upon the birth of a girl
see her life threads
warped onto the loom in
responsibilities, indigo forbiddens, pale brown sorrows;
The weight of recipes
calling for two cups of sugar,
when she only has one.
But when she opens her
for the first time,
I sense the golden weft,
the over and under
of intention, invention,
and true love that she
across each moment and
movement of her days.
The yardage of her
life's story cloth
will shimmer and change
when sunlight strikes
In the darkness,
her colors will rest,
and keep us warm.
~ Robin Lim
Thank you Ibu Robin Lim for all you have done and continue to do for mother's, babies and families. We are SO glad YOU were born.