“Eat, Share, Pray” my travels in Germany, Austria and Hungary
The last two weeks have felt like a mini “Eat, Pray, Love” adventure. For anyone who has not read this book by Elizabeth Gilbert I would highly recommend it. Her journey to find herself after a difficult divorce has something in it for everyone.
I began my journey of “Eat, Share, Pray” in Germany. I arrived to the wonderful welcome of Melanie, who helped form the Doulas in Deutschland. This is my third time staying with her family and offering a DONA International doula workshop with her. On my jet lag day we enjoyed a walk around the castle in Karlsruhe and ate the best banana split sundae ever. It was even more special as we sat outside in a café enjoying the first beautiful moments of spring. It is magical moments like this sitting in the sun, smelling the flowers from the market next door and discussing the development of a doula in Germany that make me so grateful to have followed my passion to share about doulas, and all that is possible in birth. Doulas are spreading around the world today, reconnecting the circle of support.
After a warm, nurturing three-day doula workshop, Jaqueline, her two daughters and I began our drive through the Alps from Germany to Graz, Austria. Jaqueline and I have worked together for 5 years now, as she interprets all my workshops in both Germany and Austria. We have a special friendship, and we enjoyed both the drive and the time to share about our lives and all that has happened this last year. In some ways it’s hard to believe so much has happened to each of our families and us and yet this is the gift of life, the constant change that evolves and the opportunity we have to shift. We find ourselves questioning our futures and although from different countries and cultures, we have many similarities. As the images of the mountains appear, I am lost in thought and gratitude for this moment and opportunity.
Soon, we are sharing and teaching again a doula workshop in Graz, Austria. Each group of women brings their own experiences, their own energy and nurturing. We dance, we sing, we learn, we share and as we vision for what we hope to create for all laboring and birthing women and families. We nurture ourselves in the circle of women, Angelika, our hostess and founder and organizer of the doula workshops for Austria sings, “Who are the witches, where did they come from, maybe your great great grandmother was one. Witches are wise wise women they say, and there’s a little witch in every woman today.” We smile, as we know the history of many midwives being called witches for their wisdom and skills with birth and death. Connecting back to the traditional roles of keeper of both sides of life is very sacred work and sharing labor and birth skills brings it’s own form of mindfulness, prayer, meditation, whatever you want to call it. We step into a world with a laboring woman and her family where time does not matter. You can feel the energy of life; the window into the divine is open for this moment. After another three long, yet special days a new group of doulas are sent forth to bring change -one birth at a time. Helping women and men to have positive, memorable births that allow them to birth with love, dignity and respect. Doulas, midwives, physicians, and nurses work together as a team to provide the best care, honoring the importance of continuous support and that birth is a physical, emotional and spiritual event that leaves a lasting impression on both mother and baby.
Feeling a bit tired after so many days of workshops I take the next day to spend time with Reka and her family. Reka organized my last doula workshop in Hungary and just received news of her DONA certification. Congratulations!! It is a fun day being in her home and sharing interviews about the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative, doulas and or course my latest passion our documentary and soon to be released book, Orgasmic Birth. With more good food, I am enjoying my Eat and Share portion of my trip.
I shared Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret in both Germany and Austria in the evening of the workshops. I love that there are always women who share they too had an orgasmic birth. Hearing this from women in the room always opens the discussion as to why we don’t hear about this more. Why do women who have positive, challenging, rewarding, ecstatic, blissful and pleasurable births often remain silent, while those who have challenging difficult and painful births share?
I don’t know the answer but would love to hear your thoughts?