Warm sunny days and cool breezy nights have added to a transcendent week in Bassano de Grappa Italy with 13 doulas gathered in Chiara’s beautiful Villa in the mountains overlooking the village.
Sarah Buckley, MD joined me for the Introduction to Childbirth for the DONA birth doula workshop. Sarah’s must read book Gentle Birth; Gentle Mothering is part of my recommended reading for all expectant women and birth workers.
It is such an honor to hear Sarah speak once again, about the conditions that are needed for MotherBaby hormones to flow optimally. “A woman or any mammals needs to feel safe, private and unobserved.” With the ideal conditions a laboring women finds her zone, as Ina May Gaskin says, “If a woman in labor is not looking like a goddess she is not being treated right!” When the woman is releasing elevated levels of oxytocin the love hormone, also called the hormone of calm, connection she is also receiving a great pain reliever. In addition, beta-endorphin, the hormone of pleasure, takes a woman to an altered state.
Sarah continues: “The Native Americans say the laboring woman goes out to the stars to bring back the soul of the baby. Babies also produce beta-endorphin creating a pleasurable mutual dependency. Every mammalian mother needs these rewards to fall in love and care for her baby.” “But, if the Saber tooth Tiger shows up we have high levels of adrenaline, which can slow or stop labor. In a hospital birth the tiger can be strangers, those the mother does not know or feel safe with, a doula can help her to feel safe.”
It is essential that we understand the physiology of birth so that you can create the birth ambiance and choose the people and the setting that will allow your hormones to flow optimally, not only creating a safer, easier birth, but also able to move from pain to pleasure. Sarah’s presentation is a gift for the doulas, and to me, as I always love to hear the gentle ways she presents this important essential knowledge.
This Italian doula workshop is truly the “orgasmic” doula workshop, filling us with love, wisdom, tastes, song, dance and more!!
After one of our ecstatic meals together, Elena Skoko, author of Memoirs of a Singing Birth, and husband, Roberto and daughter Coco, sing to us as mothers nurse their babies and toddlers and doulas smile and sway as our collective oxytocin and emotions flow. A beautiful end to another blissful doula workshop-day, where we discussed rebozos and the doulas role in providing comfort in childbirth.
Daniela, a doula and lactation consultant offered us her passion and wisdom in a three hour Breastfeeding class that meets yet another requirement for DONA certification.
Verena Schmid, an amazing, wise Italian midwife, joined the circle too and shared about postpartum care and the golden first hour after birth. At night, Verena joined me for the first screening or Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret in a theater in Bassano.
This is truly a special workshop where a DONA International doula trainer, a physician, midwife, lactation consultant, singers, amazing cooks, incredible doulas, have joined together in a circle to broaden our knowledge about the physiology of childbirth, understand the doulas role in supporting mother’s partners and babies, learn comfort measures, share our experiences, heal, grow and learn to support challenging births, while creating a lasting memory full of emotions, friendship and oxytocin. This has been a unique and incredible experience for us all. Together we have created an additional link in the bridge between midwives, physicians and doulas in Italy.
We have our closing dinner yet to come, look for our photos on facebook.com/obirth as we celebrate an end to a life changing week near the famous Bridge in Bassano de Grappa.