our work, pregnancy, reflections

Mentoring from the Heart

Supriya and I are now three weeks into a year long journey that will lead to us becoming certified childbirth educators with Birthing from Within and although we have already dived in deep, I feel I am still just scratching the surface.

Rather than using the term educator, which could imply an old-school paradigm of teacher and student, we are encouraged to use the word mentor, which describes a person with experience and understanding who guides others to find their own wisdom and direction.

As you may know, if you’ve read some of read my previous posts, such as this one, Pam England’s (founder of BfW) work has been a great source of inspiration for our work with pregnant women and their partners.

What I love about the BfW approach is that it takes a completely different angle than conventional childbirth education, using a variety of creative and experiential tools to enable parents to access their inner knowing as well of making sense of the various information, opinions and decisions they may encounter through the childbearing year.

As someone who holds creativity and spirituality deep in the core of my daily life, I resonate with the use of art, archetype, story and metaphor that makes this practice so unique.

What is more, the course is causing me to explore and question my own stories and assumptions about birth which is a challenging but necessary process.

I look forward to the unfolding of inspiration and insights over the coming months as we add depth and richness to this rewarding work.

events, our work

New Spaces & New Faces

This weekend saw us christening a new space for our pregnant mamas’ circle, which we are very excited about.

We are extremely grateful to those families, particularly Veronica and Andrea, who generously hosted the group at their homes these last months.

Now we have use of the beautiful, bright room at the Casa de Povo in Barril de Alva, where we have plenty of space to move around and expand into.

If you are interested in joining our fortnightly pregnancy circle, give us a shout.

The other exciting event of the weekend was the first in a series of screenings around Portugal of the feature length documentary Why Not Home?, which we helped to organise as part of our involvement in the home birth movement, Uma Mãe Nasceu.

Mike & Grace Delivery

The screening took place with a small crowd in the small town of Tábua and was met with interest and enthusiasm. The next one we hope will be to an audience of midwifery students at Coimbra University, which has the potential to be quite an eye-opener for those training within the hospital system who don’t often get to witness physiological birth.

The film is particularly interesting because it looks at medical professionals who work in obstetrics in a hospital environment but have chosen to give birth at home. For Portugal, a country where doctors are very much put on a pedestal, the idea that the professionals themselves acknowledge that a hospital may not be the ideal choice for every woman’s birthplace is somewhat controversial. Hence this feels like an important film to bring into the public arena.

It was a pleasure to meet the group of people who attended the screening and for me, rounded off a day that reflected so much of what I love about working with birth: Connecting with individuals at a transitional point in their lives and bringing awareness and positive change in this field to our communities.

birth, our work, pregnancy

Call out to pregnant mamas

Clay birth power symbols sculpted by the group

I’ve had the pleasure of running an intimate pregnant mamas’ circle over the last 6 months with Roshnii. It feels like we have all been on quite a journey witnessing tiny bellies grow into full voluptuous curves. We are now on the verge of welcoming several of these mamas over the threshold into new motherhood. What an exciting time.

There have been tears, growth, realisations and much laughter shared. As well as teaching yoga for pregnancy our focus when working with pregnant women is to encourage and facilitate them to dive deeper into their subconscious and unconscious, to explore and uncover more of themselves. 

I feel such gratitude to be able to walk this path beside pregnant mamas witnessing the infinite transformations that occur as the miracle of pregnancy unfolds. These last few months we have enjoyed making labyrinths as a tool for childbirth, moulding clay into birth power symbols, experimenting with the power of the breath in its myriad forms and used drawing and visualisation as a way to access deeper parts of ourselves.

This cycle of women is slowly coming to a close over the next couple of months. We would love to continue the group so if you are pregnant yourself or know someone you think would enjoy a nourishing nurturing space to prepare body and mind for birth please shout out. We would love to hear from you.

Contact us for more information.

our work

What is a doula anyway?

Although the word ‘doula’ dates back to Ancient Greece, it is relatively new to the English and Portuguese language, but what does it actually mean?

Below is a (not exhaustive) list of some of the aspects of the role of a doula in this day and age, which I recently wrote for the Uma Mãe Nasceu website…

Doula is a word of Greek origin meaning servant or handmaiden. It has become the term used for someone who takes care of a woman during labour and birth and in the early days and weeks with a new baby.

These days, when we live in less close-knit communities than in the past, women are often choosing to hire someone to fulfill the role of a birth companion that might once have been taken by a grandmother, aunt or other experienced woman in the community.

doula-hug

Reassuring presence
A doula is often, but not always, a woman. She will have a positive perspective on birth and mothering either through her own experiences or by attending other women. Her role is to provide emotional and practical support to a mother, her partner and family throughout pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Continue reading “What is a doula anyway?”

motherhood, our work, postpartum

‘Closing the Bones’ – Every mother’s birthright

My first experience of having my ‘bones closed‘ after the birth of my daughter was with Rocio, a shaman, healer and ethnobotanist from Ecuador, who touched my body and could feel straight away how my energy was both blocked and leaking out of me. It is a bit of blur what followed but suffice to say I felt quite different when I left the clinic that day after having been jiggled and massaged by Rocio’s warm healing hands. Some years later, as a doula, I heard about a technique called ‘Closing the Bones’ being taught by two doulas, Maddie and Sophie. At the time I didn’t realise it was the same technique that Rocio had given to me, but I felt drawn to the idea of closing the body after birth so decided to learn in order to offer it to birth clients postpartum.

It turned out that Maddie and Sophie had been trained by Rocio to pass on the techniques. During the workshop I had a profound experience with the woman I was working with. As she rocked my pelvis with a rebozo in a technique called sifting, I felt held and nurtured. I went back to a memory of myself in my own mother’s womb; energy started to flow throughout my body and I experienced something similar to a full body orgasm. I wasn’t able to formulate any words for several minutes after. It felt like my whole body had been bathed in a healing light. I continued to experience the effects of what we had experientially learnt during that workshop for several days. One of the most poignant realisations was of feeling like I had come back home to myself. I felt centred and complete, which meant that I was able to be with my daughter in a completely different way.

Continue reading “‘Closing the Bones’ – Every mother’s birthright”

groups, our work, pregnancy

Pregnancy Circle

gaiagoddess

We have been blessed with the opportunity to work with a circle of beautiful pregnant mamas right in the heart of our rural community.

You know what it’s like when you set an intention for a new project and then the universe seems to send opportunities flowing in the direction you want to go? Well it has felt a bit like that for me and Supriya.

Having been dreaming and scheming about coming together to work with birth and pregnancy in central Portugal, a few months ago, we committed to this exciting collaborative process.

No sooner had we sealed this agreement, doors started opening to allow us to engage with this rewarding work.

The fortnightly pregnancy circle is one of those doors.

The meetings are held in a cozy home setting and include some or all of the following elements:

~ Sharing circle – checking in, how we are feeling and what is happening in our lives

~ Yoga / Movement, led by Supriya, who trained with Birthlight

~ Birth Stories – a chance to share and process previous birth experiences in a supportive environment

~ Creative exercises – we use simple art and writing exercises, inspired by Birthing from Within, to access unconscious beliefs and fears around pregnancy, birth and parenthood

~ Deep relaxation – each session ends with a guided relaxation to allow for integration and rest

Currently, we are running this group in the Coja area of Arganil. If you’d like to know more about what we offer, you can read about our birth doula service or our birth preparation courses. Or if you are interested in joining the pregnancy circle or setting up a similar group in your area, get in touch.

our work

A new chapter of collaboration

parker-amstutz-657302-unsplash

(Versão portuguesa em baixo)

You may notice that there have been a few changes made to this site recently. This is to reflect a new chapter of collaboration that I, Roshnii, am embarking on with an old friend, soul sister and co-doula, Supriya.

Supriya and I met on a meditation retreat in the Swiss Alps in 2004. Over the years, we became closer and closer, particularly as our journeys into motherhood unfolded. In 2013, we both decided to move to Portugal. My family and I made the move quite swiftly. For Supriya and her tribe, it was a slower transition.

For some years, we have dreamed about and discussed the idea of working together and now we are embarking on that adventure.
Continue reading “A new chapter of collaboration”