In this blog Debra writes about the town of Agerola, located on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, where her family lives and where she guides a summer retreat.
Agerola is a town at the very top of the Amalfi coast, on top of the world. Views of the Tyrrhenian Sea – the Gulf of Salerno below and the whole Amalfi coast add to the views of this picturesque village. From our Hotel Le Rocce the views are stunning. Enjoy coffee, tea or a drinks on the terrace overlooking the Amalfi coast. Our morning workshops will nurture your spirit and passion for life and birth, a lunch that will tantalize your tastes. You will be ready to explore the riches of the region each afternoon and evening.
Agerola offers a glimpse into the culture, tastes and traditions of Italy that are often lost in the cities and escape the average tourist. Here life is rich with the smells, taste, sounds, views and traditions of life. The village announced each babies birth with fireworks, even number of blasts are for a girls and odd numbers signals a boy.
Festivals of Life Each month brings it festivals, March 8th – International Woman’s Day is a day when all the women in Agerola are celebrated. Women are given Mimosa flowers and taken out to dinner, as the men celebrate the women in their village, together they remember the many women who live in much more challenging situations. Easter brings the whole village out for a procession between the fractions\hamlets of the village. May, the month for the Holy Mother, begins with a village pilgrimage of 20 km to the chapel in Pompeii where Holy Mary’s many healings and miracles there have been celebrated for centuries. June 29th Festival of St. Piedro, July 2 is Madona delle Grazie. Early August brings the festival of “Fior Di Latte” to celebrate their special cheese and Agerolese products. The night of San Lorenzo, August 10th, is the night of the shooting stars, a magical midsummer night when all dreams come true. Looking at the stars from atop of the world, in Agerola they say the stars come down from the sky, and here you can really feel you can touch them. September 12th – Madonna del Rosario celebration, Mary of all Saints, October bring the chestnut festival. Other local celebrations abound all year long many dedicated to the Patron Saints of each region of the town.
Art is everywhere From the historic art, churches and old palace with art from Mussolini, as well as pottery makers who create the typical Italian pottery of the region, couples with views that are art to our eyes – your will be intoxicated with beauty at every turn. We will visit the Ceramiche Silvestri, a family owned pottery shop where they have been making and painting the traditional pottery of the region in the Vietri tradition for generations. You can purchase items or have them made for you, personalized with your family’s name on tiles, serving bowls and more.
Agerola da Gustare – A taste of Agerola If you are not feeling the culture of Italy yet, the local foods, the best in Italy will surely transcend you to another time and place. Agerola supplies the entire coastal area with many of it specialties. It is famous for their fior-di-latte – mozzarella cheese, made fresh every morning from the special Agerolese cows that are found grazing on the mountainside. If you are willing to wake early one morning we will visit a local cheese maker related to our family where you can help make the mozzarella and fresh ricotta cheese. In addition to their great cheeses Agerola is also famous for their salami Di Agerola, Provolone Cheese Del monaco – spicy cheese and Crisp Agerolse bread, traditional rye bread with its many nutritional benefits. We will visit a local bakery Integralpane di Armando Naclerio where you can watch the local breads and Terrari being made. In the evening you may enjoy the Nocino di Agerola, chestnut liquor, Limoncello, -lemon liquor, great local wine, in addition to all the breads, pasta, and fresh vegetables and fruits Hotel Le Rocce will ensure that you explore all the tastes of the region.
The Hidden Mystery If you have not felt completely transcended to another time, this special recent discovery, known only to the locals, will add to your sense of mystery. A fresco of the Last Supper was discovered after an earthquake loosened the plaster on the ceiling of a 12th century church. Was it done first here or after by a student or Leonardo Da Vinci? Whatever the answer, with no long lines and reservations needed as in Milan, you can walk in and wonder for yourself where this treasure came from and the story it tells.
Learn more about
The Paths of the Fairy’s and the God’s There are many walk that have been carved out of the mountains, an incredible set of stairs that have been hand made over the centuries- that has been come to be know as the Sentiero degli Dei – The Path the of Gods, taking you from Agerola to Positano, where the views of the sea below are seen as you wind through vineyards, gardens and villages as you descend to Positano.
The walk of the Valle delle Ferriere – the Valley of the Fairy’s is 10 km from Agerola to Amalfi, with views spectacular views, and with diverse micro climates that bring you from dense forest with chestnut groves, mountains, ferns, wild flowers, the smell of jasmine, roses, and herbs, a rain forest with waterfalls, old Roman ruins of mills and finally the lemon groves that descend into Amalfi. In one day, you feel like you have visited 3 – 4 totally different locations. The smells and sounds of birds, animals, waterfalls, sea below, as the wind, sun and water caress your skin, bring your senses to life as you walk on narrow paths and ledges and imagine a life of long ago when these were active merchant paths of trade. The spring water you will drink and bottle along the way is said to bring you dreams of another time.
If you are still yearning for more, there are 12 more paths to explore in and around Agerola, a hikers paradise and one of the Best-Kept Secrets of Italy or I think the world.
We will walk one or two of these hikes together based on the weather.
In addition to the pleasures of Agerola, we will visit the quaint beach town of Amalfi, the musical town of Ravello walking thru the Villa Cimbrone Gardens, and the often photographed town of Positano with all its shops, cafes and restaurants.
We will tour the scenic Amalifi coast by boat, visiting the Grotto Esmeralda, the Emerald Grotto, swimming in a small cove and visiting the island of Capri. Boating on the Mediterranean sea’s clear blue -green waters, looking back at the Amalfi coast is an adventure worth adding on to top off a week of nurturing, while re-inspiring your passion and connection to nature, birth and life.
Learn more how you join Debra and her family in Agerola, and special guests for a week of visioning , movement, and celebration in an Italian Paradise.
- Heartbreaking & Brave! Thank you Hollie McNish for putting your Spoken Word: “Embarrassed” out there for all mothers, babies, advocates of breastfeeding, and everyone and anyone ready to listen
- From the Orgasmic Birth Guide
- Chrissy Butler!
To read Debra’s Pleasurable Birth Weekly enews please subscribe here.
The basis of this article is founded on the information I gathered after interviewing 14 dads about their experience of being a birth partner and father. I went looking for answers that would have helped other fathers and me make a more smooth transition into fatherhood, because, let’s face it – it’s not necessarily an easy enterprise. Most of us dads are doing the best we have with the information we’ve found, which is no different than the fathers that came before us. If we can be intentional about our role, then, perhaps, it is possible to enhance the sound advice gleaned from the generation before. Perhaps, also, it is possible to break the unsustainable practices handed down to us and transform our actions as men that understand the needs of our children and ourselves.
So, without further adieu, I present to you 5 ways of being a great dad.
1. Emulate Other Great Fathers
Finding a dad that inspires you and replicating what you find most intriguing and wonderful is key to being a great dad. Many of the dads I interviewed spoke about other dads that inspired them. For one dad, he described a dad he knew that would write letters with his son to statesmen, artists, athletes, scientists, and visionaries. In these letters they would ask about advice and philosophies on life, so the son had this treasure trove of letters from great people. Another dad I interviewed described a man he knew that became a dad in his 50s and who was hands-on and patient. This vision of fatherhood inspired the dad I interviewed to be hands-on and patient with his own child.
2. Read and Study
Reading books and studying the material of fatherhood seemed to be another key factor for the dads I interviewed. These dads applied what they learned from reading to being analytical and making informed decisions. The dads also attributed various painful experiences in becoming a father to not having read enough material on the subject. I suspect that having a wealth of knowledge to draw from isn’t just about knowing the specific things to do in every moment; it’s more about developing a confidence that you can know what you need to know when you need to know it. Almost every father I interviewed mentioned that they had wished they had read and studied more about childbirth and becoming a father. It seemed that they wish they new what other dads had learned.
3. Find Your Own Satisfaction
I read a research paper on marital satisfaction and childbirth, and the findings were that marital satisfaction plummets after the first child is born. I was curious about this finding and wanted to know more, which is partly why I did the dad interviews. Perhaps I could help ease my own situation and those of others. If marital satisfaction goes down for everyone, then why would any of us have kids? I suspect that marital satisfaction does go down for many husbands and partners after their first child is born, yet I think there is more to the story than that. I believe that family satisfaction, something that didn’t necessarily exist until the first child is born, becomes a new factor in a man’s life. Finding ways to have satisfaction in the role of being a father and part of a young family seems to be the antidote for the strain that building a family can have on a relationship.
4. Welcome Your Intuition
Most dads I interviewed recognized that there was a knowledge inside of them about parenting that they never knew they had. It seemed to me, also, that many of these dads wished that they had trusted their intuition more or had been more active in growing their awareness of that intuition. One father described a growing awareness that we are full people no matter what age, and so he treated his kids with the respect of fully functioning humans that just happened to be small.
5. Have Flexible Expectations
It is hard to say what the experience of being a father will be like, because the process is so different for every man. For the most part, though, becoming a father means that responsibilities shift and grow. Most of the dads I interviewed mentioned that their focus on themselves diminished as they focused on the needs of their new baby. One dad explained that he had wanted to tell expectant fathers that their whole lives will change and that nothing they have now will remain the same after the baby is born. I relate to his sentiment, and perhaps many fathers reading this article will relate, as well.
What could people have told us that would have helped us be better prepared? If they had told us that life would change completely, then what would we have done differently? I think we might have changed our expectations. Perhaps we want to think that having a kid won’t change us. We think, “I won’t be like those poor suckers out there who have to disrupt their whole lives just because a child is born. Pshaw! I’m stronger than that! I mean, c’mon! How hard can it be?!”
Yet, having a kid changes everything. Everything. The more intentional we can be in deciding what kind of dads we are, the more chances we have in being the dads we’ve always needed.
Joe Valley is a psychotherapist, marketer, designer, and also creator of Empowered Papa, a resource for supporting dads in pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and beyond. He works with birth professionals to help them better understand and connect with dads. Contact Joe for more information about how you can help support dads’ role in birth: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’re feeling especially creative, contact Joe for help designing your website: email@example.com
Nurturing Beginnings: Guide to Postpartum Home Care for Doulas and Outreach Workers, Written by Debra Pascali-Bonaro, CD (DONA), LCCE, and Jane Arnold, CNM, MSN, with Marcia Ringel, takes you through the new mother’s journey and into your own as you explore what it means to be “in service of a postpartum woman and her family.” Nurturing Beginnings was one of the first comprehensive postpartum training manuals and is on the DONA Reading List for Post Partum Doulas.
Nurturing Beginnings contains 12 modules:
1.) The role of the doula
2.) Home visiting
3.) Providing care with caution:
Protecting health and safety in the home and car
4.) Honoring postpartum women and teaching self-care
5.) Easing postpartum adjustment
6.) Appreciating your client’s cultural diversity
7.) Supporting the breastfeeding mother
8.) Newborn basics: Appearance, behavior, and care
9.) Offering support to partners and siblings
10.) Unexpected outcomes: Caring for the family at a time of loss
11.) Nurturing yourself
12.) Pursuing professional development and building your practice
A revised e-version of Nurturing Beginnings will be available for order mid-November- we will no longer be carrying the hard copy. If you’d like to receive announcements about this updated, electronic version of Nurturing Beginnings please sign up here.
Ibu Robin Lim’s Beijing Breakfast Natural Induction Method from the Eat, Pray, Doula Book…
“The wisest way to use Castor Oil as a way to encourage labor, is to start very early in the morning, after a good night’s sleep. if the mother did not rest well in the night, and there is no rush, e.g., her waters have not released, wait until the next morning. First, check all vitals, make sure mom and her partner are tranquil and happy to be launching this adventure of parenthood. If everything checks out fine, she can try, what we call, “Beijing Breakfast.” Named, because, for a long time in China there was a shortage of oxytocin, so doctors in the hospitals used this natural induction method, with great results.
Recipe for Beijing Breakfast
1 to 2 eggs cooked as mother likes them.
– 50 ml of organic odor free Castor oil
– 10 or more ounces of fresh orange juice
Follow Your Heart to Bali
It is getting that time of year again where you either commit to spending 2 life-changing weeks in Bali this March earning your doula certification so you can help moms have gentle births, or procrastinate on the deadline and feel sad about it. So here is the link, please follow your heart: Eat Pray Doula Bali DONA Birth Doula Workshop with Debra Pascali-Bonaro LCCE, CD(DONA), Guerrilla Midwife Ibu Robin Lim, and midwife Katherine Bramhall taking place this spring March 1 – 11 at Bumi Sehat Bali.
“The smell of Moxa is in the air, needles adorn the many people who are laying and receiving their treatments.” Read Debra’s blog from arriving in Bali last year.
10% off all Bali Items in the Global Birth Fair Store
Have you seen the gorgeous Birth of Paradise Sarongs & Wall-hangings hand-crafted in Bali? Inspirational as rebozo or to wear as shawl, hang on wall or use as baby wrap or sling. Also great birth gift!
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“Peace begins with each child.”
~ Ibu Robin Lim
Award winning documentary Guerrilla Midwife (90 minutes), takes us along the fragrant streets of Bali and desolate Acelinnese refugee camps of the Indonesian archipelago following midwife Ibu Robin Lim as her midwifery is put to the test. Filmed immediately following the December 26,2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, it is the story of a war waged gently in the belief that peace on earth can be achieved, one baby at a time.
Join Debra on Saturday, January 26th at the New York Open Center for “Creating a Safe, Satisfying and Healthy Birth.” This workshop welcomes expectant parents, birthworkers, or anybody interested in gentle birth. Not able to make it to NY? Meet Debra online at her weekly webinars- please sign up to receive email updates to learn more about the next class. More Pleasure Please! And if you are in the NY area for the workshop, Debra will love to see you and help you navigate and explore your childbirth options. The topics covered will include: Lamaze International’s safe and healthy birth practices; putting the right comfort measures in place; enjoying the learning process as you prepare for one of life’s most amazing journeys; choosing the right place of birth for you (home? birth center? or hospital?) where you will feel safest; deciding how much medical technology you feel comfortable with; exploring different body positions that can enhance the ease and safety of birth (including standing); breastfeeding tips; preparing a postpartum support network; and more.