A chat with Tanila Amorim


Obstetric nurse and urban midwife, Tanila Amorim is the mother of Gabriel, 14, and Kadu, 8. The first saw his brother born, at home. It was her spontaneous report that sparked the author's idea for the book Where Did My Brother Come From? , his debut in literature. For the family, issues related to childbirth have never been a taboo.

Where did my brother come from?

“I noticed my children’s interest when I arrived from the birth and they asked how it went. Above all, when I noticed that they understood and naturalized topics related to the process of pregnancy, giving birth and breastfeeding”, she explains, who coordinates the Coletivo SobreParto, a multi-professional team providing assistance to planned home births, in Salvador.

With her work, in addition to preparing future mothers to have a natural birth at home, Tanila also raises the importance of children's participation throughout the process of preparing for the birth of their little brother or sister: “ Saying what needs to be said clearly and honestly, but always with the necessary respect, including the right to real information that every child deserves. If we are all born, knowing about being born should be a matter of interest to everyone.”

“Thinking about childbirth as a natural and familiar event brings us closer to the paradox of restricting this subject to adults”

'Where did my brother come from?' talks about a home birth, from the perspective of a child, her son. Why write from this perspective and not from yours, as a mother?

When I gave birth to my youngest, the firstborn was present, he saw and experienced this process with all the understanding and feelings of a 6-year-old boy at the time. Realizing how he saw the entire process of my birth alerted me to the richness that is the natural perception of children, without our “adultizing” way of handling things. And when I told the children, daughters and sons of the families I served, about the story of my birth from my son's perspective, I noticed that they connected better, like a child explaining to children things that adults don't truly know how to explain. I had already written this story for myself, as a natural habit of my motherhood, that I like to keep my boys' cases and stories in words so that time doesn't erase them. So I just realized that I was already telling this story, and that having it in a book could be much better, after all, in addition to words, there are images.


Your narrative does not subjugate children's intelligence, you do not resort to a childish text, you do not use metaphors to soften names that are not normally part of children's vocabulary (such as vagina), although the playful elements are all there. What was it like writing for children about a subject that is normally restricted to adults?

I think this is a very strong mark on my motherhood, which comes from Tanila, the woman. Say what needs to be said clearly and honestly, but always with the necessary respect. Including the right to real information that every child deserves. If we are all born, knowing about being born should be a matter of interest to everyone!

Thinking about childbirth as a natural and familiar event brings us closer to the paradox of restricting this subject to adults.

Home Birth

Preparing a child for the arrival of a little brother or sister is a challenge. Does the challenge become greater when in this process the child also attends the birth or is it exactly the opposite?

The challenge is to prepare ourselves, as adults, to give space to this issue. Talking about childbirth, in a natural way, is reinforcing the protagonism of the person who delivers the birth, the woman, and this perspective is not the one we are culturally accustomed to. Pregnancy takes time, and obviously this is not for nothing. Building knowledge about the birth process should be part of family prenatal care, and without a doubt, the preparation of this older child(ren) is included in this. In addition to being a rich possibility for dialogue about the processes of life. In a home birth, these dialogues built between the children, the family, and the team, throughout the pregnancy, are the foundation for a safe, respectful and affectionate environment on the day of birth. We become known people, in the safe space for this child, which is their home, experiencing a process already playfully constructed for them, which is childbirth.

What was the impact on your son after this experience?

Although my son is a midwife's son, he was never the son of a woman in labor. He experienced his brother's arrival with great respect, and what I understand is that for him it was so natural, so natural, that it was like a normal day and, on that normal day, his brother was being born, and that was it. That simple. And this simplicity I can extend to the other children who are in the births I accompany. It's very incredible how in general they interact, within the specificities of each age, of course, but always being children, with curiosity, joy, tears and everything else that belongs to childhood.


How is this preparation done? Which professionals participate in supporting the child?

Preparing a child to be in a birth begins with preparing the parents for this desire, and what elements and resources they have to make respecting this presence a possibility. First, it is necessary to understand that in the reality of birth places here in Brazil, home birth is the space where the presence of children is possible. Afterwards, although the birth is the woman's, the desire for the child's participation must be that of the child. That said and organized, it is up to the family to build this security for the day of birth, after all, a family that is confident in its choices will be able to manage this space. However, support from the birth care team, presenting the related elements, inviting them to listen to the baby in the womb, giving the attention that childhood demands, brings them closer and creates bonds.


How important is it for children to participate as protagonists in this special moment for the family?

I observe that all actions in life where children are included with due respect have an impact on relationships. The feeling of belonging has an impact on so many things in our lives, doesn’t it? From building autonomy to establishing bonds, I realize that these are important reflections of this inclusion. I find the thought complex that: there is a brother, a human being similar to me, growing in my mother's belly, and I have no idea how this magic happens, and suddenly my mother leaves the house, and when she returns, She no longer has a belly and has a baby on her lap. I get the feeling that this is what children understand. Too much information from the unimaginable scope to handle. So, how much more coherent would it be for her to be able to see that birth is a process, and it's not like going there, leaving a belly at the store and exchanging it for a baby.

Camila Alemany and Tanila Amorim - Photo Maína Diniz

Camila Alemany and Tanila Amorim - Photo Maína Diniz

The illustrations for 'Where Did My Brother Come From?' They are by Camila Alemany. How did this partnership come about?

When I presented the beginnings of the book to Valéria Pergentino, ( editor of Solisluna ), I already had a place in my heart that wanted the illustrations to be special. This is because my eldest son likes to make illustrations and this invited me to the importance of looking at the illustrator's figure. And then it was a situation of a lot of imprinting , because Valéria immediately told me about the importance that the publisher gives to illustration, and how it values ​​this professional. Obviously I was amazed by it. Then, upon hearing the story, she said that she felt she fit the profile of an illustrator she had been observing for some time. She showed me her drawings on the internet, I thought they were beautiful, and I said we could think about it. When I saw the artist's photo I felt like I knew her from somewhere, but I didn't identify her immediately. I remember leaving the publishing house with her face in my head and going back to my memory of where I knew her. And behold, Camila had her second daughter, 10 years ago, with the assistance of Coletivo SobreParto, which I coordinate, and I had already done a collective prenatal consultation with her. Wow, I was ecstatic. It wasn't “just” an illustrator, it was a woman who knew what my book was about because she lived through childbirth, knew me and my profession. I found this approach very symbolic, very much so. Not to mention that she informed my son about the creative process for creating and developing the illustrations, with so much attention and affection. This partnership beyond the midwifery was wonderful.

What is your objective with this book?

When I realized that my son's story was a beautiful and important story, when I saw the possibility of telling it formally, I chose to share my still timid discoveries with a very dear person, whom I also had the honor of sharing. his second daughter, who was Emília Nunez. She welcomed me beautifully into her home, read my sketch and said to me with those vibrant eyes: “Flower, this is already a book! The story is brilliant!!”. So I can say that my children awakened in me an immense need to look back at childhood, where experiencing the births of “my navel-children” (as I affectionately call the babies I had the honor of seeing born) only strengthened a certainty that was latent. And I needed to follow a path similar to the pregnancy and birth process, where I first chose a good doula (a professional who offers psychological support, comfort and emotional and informative support to women throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum period). ), which was Emília. She then introduced me to a team of super competent midwives, Solisluna and Camila. Then, alongside those who wrote this story with me, my children and my husband, I was able to give birth, naturally, to my desire to show the world the importance that respect for childhood impacts on the health of our population, because being born is so natural as the look of a child. And all of this is possible to happen at home.

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