Health services are growing rapidly in Melbourne. Every Sunday natural childbirth and pre-natal classes are run by Marion Wilson and Dr. Henry Warszawski. It is a six week course which has attracted many other people besides premies as it is, as far as we know, the only service of its kind in Melbourne. Dr. Henry has been present at nearly all the recent premie births, and mothers from other states are coming to Melbourne to ensure safe, natural births for their children. The classes are free, and a new course will be starting in mid-August.
Kevin Ryan's naturopathic and chiropractic clinic is also booming. He will be moving to Melbourne soon. His latest treatment is acupuncture and he has many willing servants from the premie community to help run his clinic.
Joy Sturrock's yoga class is going well. Many non-premies come to the satsang hall on Wednesday evening, and stay to meditate at 7 o'clock when the premies come in for meditation before satsang. Joy has been giving elderly Knowledge awaiters private tuition in yoga, to give them the necessary physical discipline for meditation.
Sunday morning meditation here has turned into a real Holy Day with sometimes as many as 100 premies coming together for meditation and arti. And on the food level, things are both stable and flourishing. Soul Food is exceptionally busy and exceedingly fruitful in its ability to support propagation. Four premies work there full-time, all from the Charles Street DUO house. Soul Food is completely independent of premie support on a buying level; whereas for the first six months it provided a premie service, it now has far more non-DLM shoppers. The food co-op provides a cheap, speedy service to 38 different households.
Divine Sales is booming - in making candles, running the taxi truck, and the secondhand shop (now called The Second Hand) which has changed from a jumble shop into a secondhand furniture shop.
A new service available to premies is a mechanics' workshop - only 100 yards from the offices and satsang hall. Many factory workers drop in during the lunch hour and book their cars in for a service. The workshop originally began two months ago in the backyard of a DUO house but has grown considerably in the old warehouse-cum-DLM garage called XY Motors (after the DLM Director's favourite car, the XY Falcon).
The satsang hall, entrance and stairwell have taken on a completely new, more natural look with a stained wood bannister, hanging baskets, and so on. Much energy has been put into introductory programs over the last few months.
Since mid-May introductory programs have been held every Wednesday at the South Yarra Library - a beautiful, modern hall in a well-populated area - resulting in many new people being introduced to Knowledge.
The children's facilities alongside the offices below the satsang hall are something to behold. There is a playroom complete with premie-made desk, chairs and shelves, plus a mural of Snowhite and the Seven Dwarves. There are also sleeping and toddling rooms and a feeding/satsang room where premie parents, during Mahatma Ji's visits, can watch a video of his satsangs. A playcentre is run on weekend nights with as many as a dozen children per night.
More on Childbirth
The girls who had experienced natural childbirth were obviously enthusiastic and there were quite a few get togethers between new mothers and mothers to be. The need for preparation for natural birth in the form of prenatal classes was first suggested by Judy Osborne (Durga Ji's midwife) in a letter to Henry Warszawski, one of our premie doctors. She mentioned that Guru Maharaj Ji had told the doctors in Denver to "get into natural childbirth". She also mentioned that the classes preparing for natural birth were very important - " they really seem to make such a difference to the outcome of labour".
Henry also found that his ante-natal patients (premies and others) were wanting to know and learn more about diet, pre-natal yoga, preparation for natural birth, LeBoyer post-natal care and so on. He approached me (Marion Wilson) with questions and ideas and we decided to prepare the first class almost immediately. In Melbourne, as I suppose is true elsewhere, babies are arriving in rapid succession.
Vaucluse is a small private hospital in Coburg just a few miles from the satsang hall. There are 100 beds, 21 of which are for births. Our involvement with the hospital started from Henry's acquaintance with the manager who is very interested in natural childbirth. Inspired by the premie mother's enthusiasm, his interest has manifested practically and he and his obstetrical staff have been introduced to Bradley's Method of "Husband Coached Childbirth" and LeBoyer post natal care. (Both used by Guru Maharaj Ji and Durga Ji for Premlata's birth). Also, by his request, premies have supplied information on vegetarian diet, particularly in pre and post-natal areas. Already we have had 5 babies there. The hospital staff are impressed by the cooperation and teamwork of the parents-to-be during labour (especially fathers) and are slowly opening up. All mothers-to-be who come to the classes now go to Vaucluse for their pre-natal care.
The course consists of six weekly classes held in the satsang hall at 322 Brunswick Street on Sunday afternoons from 1.30 till 3.00 p.m. Girls 6 months pregnant and over, with their husbands, are taught the principles and techniques of preparing for natural childbirth by Bradley's Method of husband coached childbirth. The techniques for each stage of labour are demonstrated, discussed and then practised by the husband/wife team under the guidance of mothers, fathers and doctors already experienced in the method.
Each week specific points are discussed e.g. physiology and anatomy of labour and pregnancy, complications of labour and pregnancy, role of husband, massage in pregnancy and labour, breast-feeding, hospital environment, etc. Question and answers are held at the end of every class.
Girls less than 6 months pregnant are advised to attend only the first 30 rains. of the class which deals with exercise and diet. This is because 9 months is a long time and it is vital to maintain the highest degree of enthusiasm in the last few months.
We have access to a video-tape of a natural childbirth, and we are filming premies giving birth using the methods of Bradley and LeBoyer. We are thinking of a post-natal class in the near future. If anyone wants to write for more information: Marion Wilson, C/- 322 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065.
World Welfare Association
In Melbourne WWA activities are developing in the "slow and steady wins the race" way that we experience this Knowledge. WWA service is easy for premies and always so rewarding when you send a handful of premies into an institution where people are In need of love and hope, the premies can really give a lot and it's almost an explosion and always a beautiful experience for all concerned.
Our main project has developed in the Burwood Boys' Home where Sue Dee has organised about 7 premies to help the boys out with their homework each Tuesday evening and from this, drama workshops every Saturday fortnight have evolved. In the children's department also, we have had some contact with Kew Cottages a home for mentally retarded children - where David Ettleson, psychiatric nurse and premie, paved the way for us to visit Kew Cottages with the appropriately named Band of Hope to dance, sing and give lollies to the children. Gail Murphett, DUO home, holder, housemother, has started doing volunteer work at the cottages one day a week.
Each Sunday we have been occupied hospital visits. We visit 4 Geriatric hospitals (alternative weeks) and Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital (every week) playing chess, billiards and ping-pong with the three patients. At the geriatric visits the premies sing to the patients, give them haircuts, manicures, cakes, take them for walks or just talk to them. These visits have cemented some really good contacts in the Welfare world and amongst the staff at the various hospitals. Bill Pyman in coordinating this type of activity.
On the community service level, our good relations with the Fitzroy Council are continuing and the Council and residents call on our help occasionally for various reasons e.g. help collect for Appeals, clean up kindergartens, cater ing for functions (we catered for a meeting at the FCYC on June 6th and also set up their nursery and provided some of the day's entertainment with our musicians).
So now, we are looking into other possibilities as more and more premies are experiencing the real purpose of doing service and wanting to help out in WWA. We did a concert in Pentridge Gaol on July 6th and Winlaton Girls' Remand Centre have welcomed us to do a concert there at any time. Developing in these areas is really positive and we are hoping also to expand our involvement with children - by sending a few premies to St. Vincent de Paul Boys' Home playing basketball and helping in their craft room on Saturdays.
On June 23rd we held the first of our monthly meetings to review activities and exchange experiences. We want to help WWA grow as a practical aid to people's lives as well as a means of enabling premies to do service within Guru Maharaj Ji's mission and most importantly to propagate his solution to all social problems: Knowledge.