My journey to Bali began almost 30 years ago when Robin and I began our connection as passionate, young, postpartum doulas. Like many friends who hold a place in our heart, yet our lives take us in different direction, we went years without seeing each other, although I always followed Robin’s amazing work in Bali and felt our connection.
Robin and I both shared a special friendship with amazing midwife, Mary Kroeger. Mary kindled our connections and taught us each so much. Mary taught us both to be a birth warrior with love not anger as anger closes people’s hearts and if we want to transform birth we must open all our hearts. Mary’s transformational book Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding, with Linda Smith, was the first book that helped us understand- if we want to fix breastfeeding we must fix birth! Mary’s vision of creating an international version of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative began the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative where human rights, quality care for MotherBaby and love, bring the care of the Mother along with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative for breastfeeding together. We continue the IMBCI in Mary’s memory, vision and wisdom as while she is no longer with us, she is always in our hearts
When Mary was passing she knew I loved her purple sarong. She gave it to me and shared that Ibu Robin had giving it to her. She asked me to do 2 things, 1) to chair and continue the IMBCI, and 2) to go to Bali to bring the sarong back to where it came from and reconnect with Robin. What an honor to have two such amazing tasks to do to fulfill her wishes. I have done both.
Coming to Bali the first time 4 years ago, I was not prepared for how much my re-connection with Robin would awaken a deep part of my passion and soul and take me to a place where I now call Bali my home away from home. Together we vision Eat Pray Doula as a way to share the magic of Bali and the wisdom of the birthkeepers with women from around the world. With a vision this big we knew we needed a third partner to birth our dreams. Another midwife Katherine Bramhall. Katherine had trained as a doula with me many years ago; she went on to become a midwife, connected with Robin and is now Chair of the Bumi Sehat Birth Center. The circle felt perfect, Mary working her magic in bringing us together so we can bring others together.
Today as I listen to Katherine teaching that time will heal, I look around our circle into the eyes of our amazing doulas from around the world. I feel the connections that keep growing knowing that reconnecting the circle of women, is the beginning of healing birth, healing women to birth their dreams and visions for their children, families, friends and planet.
On this day, Katherine teaches about breastfeeding after a challenging birth, step #1) “re-establish love.” Love will get the hormones flowing and re-empower the mother regardless of her circumstances. In the Philippines, Indonesia, Haiti and in any areas where there has been natural disaster, we want to protect the sacred time after birth for MotherBaby and must help re-establish love. This special quiet skin-to-skin time is essential in any situation. Dim the lights, create a sense of privacy and intimacy so the MotherBaby breast crawl will happen in it’s own time.
I listen to today’s Eat Pray Doula discussion and think again of Mary, how proud she would be that her knowledge and wisdom is being passed on. She has connected a circle that grows and grows.
Eat Pray Doula Will you join us at the next EPD Workshop? Are you being called to join the circle of women around the world? We are women, mothers, teachers, acupuncturist, yoga teachers, educators, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, nurses, grandmothers, sisters, and more. We invite you to join us to birth your dreams in Bali.