The embodied essence of Colombian Traditional Partería
This study aims to explore and describe the essence of being a Traditional Partera in the Colombian Pacific region. A Merleau-Pontian philosophy and methodological recommendations proposed by Gallagher and Zahavi framed this phenomenological study, namely, a) The epoché, b) Phenomenological reduction, c) The eidetic variation, and d) intersubjective corroboration. Through Gallagher and Zahavi’s methodology it was possible to identify preliminary and general meaning units maintaining a phenomenological attitude, positionality, intentionality, and reduction. Phenomenological interviews and body maps through video conference were used concomitantly for the obtainment of rich phenomenological data. After data collection and transcription, painstaking reading and re-reading were carried out for identification of postulate preliminary meaning units subsequently refined and reformulated with the body maps, follow-up interviews, and the experiences shared with all the Traditional Parteras everyday through chat, voice calls, videocall, shared images and videos, among others. Eight participants were recruited through primary Traditional Parteras associations in the region; women between the ages of 32 to 80 years of age and from all the four sections of the Colombian west coast participated in this study. Traditional Partería is embodied and manifested through the Traditional Partera in three main body parts; a) Head that xiii represents the memory of their ethnic and racial heritage, the ancestral knowledge to care for others and the knowledge about herbal remedies; b) Heart that saves the love of the Traditional Partera for a supreme entity, the woman in labor, their practice, their knowledge, and their communities; c) Hands that are their instrument to carry out the Traditional Partería, to assist birth and use plants, always clean and ready. The essence of Colombian Traditional Partería is made up of a sensitive triad, a bidirectional prism where the whole connects with the whole transmuting the immaterial into tangible care actions. Though this triad (Head, Heart, and Hands) the Traditional Partera manifested and embodied their consciousness, transforming the immaterial components of their knowledge, identity, and self in tangible caring actions for their communities. Likewise, the actions of everydayness performed by the Traditional Parteras nurture the metaphysical worlds full of meaning that surrounds her and connects her with their universe.