Mother Medicine Doula Retreat

Tulum, Mexico DONA approved birth doula training

Virtual: January 4-6th & March 9th
In Person : January 15-20, 2023

This unique retreat was created to awaken birth energy and connect birth workers to the Great Mother Source through nature and its cycles and its healing properties and consolidating the necessary technical information about physiology and anatomy of pregnancy and birth and its comfort methods.

Our journey is to awaken the energy of the great mother in doulas during the sweatlodge (temazcal), red tent and traditional mayan massage sessions, learning how to support the mothers from a deeply spiritual space.

Both Doula practice and Great Mother Medicine (stemming from traditional midwifery) are taught by two masters of birth energy, in Tulum, Mexico, the center of Ixchel, the Mayan Goddess of Birth. 

Join us on this journey.

Sign up to save $100 off your fee

    Pathway to certification

    Two of the classroom requirements for DONA Birth Doula Certification will be fulfilled while attending, all while immersing yourself in beautiful Mexican culture. Awaken to the energy of birth, connect to other birth workers, through nature, its cycles and its healing properties.

    The remaining requirements will be self-study. To learn more about certification, review blog article on steps to certify.

    Mother Medicine Doula Retreat is the right choice for you if...

    • You are fascinated with birth and supporting MotherBabies and Families.
    • You feel called to study, learn and experience the nourishing sisterhood that becoming a doula will provide.
    • You are ready to use your special gifts, compassion, love and desire to make a difference in a career that will fulfill you, your soul and help to change the world.
    Debra your workshop was an awesome experience for me. I absolutely enjoyed every single minute of it. Every skill and new knowledge I learnt will be super useful for my childbirth classes and as a doula I believe they can achieve a richer and more enjoyable/ orgasmic experience in their birth. Thank you for being such a great teacher!


    Mexico, 2018

    Immersive Learning

    A typical birth doula training takes place over 2-3 days. Our unique immersive experience allows time to dive deeper into learning, understanding, practicing and connecting. We will first cover Anti-racism and Birth Equity, as well as the Introduction to Childbirth Virtually. In person we will:

    • Connect to a community of like minded women
    • Discover the role and her-story of doulas
    • Traditional Mexican Rebozo
    • Deepen your passion for providing a doula’s nurturing care and touch to women in childbirth
    • Learn 10 tips for doulas to support a mother hormonal physiology – making birth safer and easier
    • Develop a toolkit of comfort measure
    • Create a language for gentle birth and enhance your communication skills
    • Learn birth traditions of Mexico and the Mayan people
    • Learn how to protect a woman’s memory of her birth in any situation and any setting
    • Discuss the emotional, spiritual, and sexual aspects of childbirth and how to help release fears and open to birth on every level
    • Discuss how to support fathers and other partners
    • Deepen your breastfeeding skills and wisdom
    • Practice doula skills in a safe circle of support
    "I absolutely enjoyed every single minute of it. Every skill and new knowledge I learnt will be super useful for my childbirth classes and as a doula I believe they can achieve a richer
    and more enjoyable/orgasmic experience in their birth. Thank you for being such a great teacher!"


    Mexico, 2018

    Tulum - Deeply Rooted in Mayan Culture

    Tulum is a small town in the state of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Approximately 2 hours from Cancun Airport. A charming village set on the Rivera Maya’s south end, one with a history that is deeply rooted in the ancient Mayan people’s culture.

    The word “Tulum” is a colonial one, and it means wall. Researchers have found clues about Tulum’s original name. It appears that the city was once referred to as Zama, which means dawn in the Mayan language. The Mayans used the fortified city around 1200 to 1450 CE. It remained inhabited until the late 16th century.

    Early on, Tulum was a prosperous civilization. The village was a major crossroads for trade from land and from sea. It saw trade from Honduras and even into the Yucatan. It is one of the only fortified Mayan sites in the world and one of Mexico’s best preserved coastal historical sites.

    Tulum today: Tulum is actually divided into two parts physically and psychologically. If you look at a map, Tulum has its town center (downtown) on the 307 highway and then there is the part of Tulum nicknamed the “hotel zone” along the beach. Both are very different but both are integrated into what makes the Tulum of today. The downtown area on the highway will give you many choices of restaurants, shops and budget accommodation. You will notice a more relaxed atmosphere, more people riding bikes, and more natural looking buildings. Tulum is connected to the beach by the 109 road or Avenida Coba as it is known, and now has an attractive bike and walking path that goes the length of it. This makes renting bikes fun and an easy way to get to the beach if you are staying in town. Bike and motorcycle rentals are found all over town.

    Learn more about our teachers

    *click to expand

    Since the birth of her son Mariano, she became passionate about birth, and began her preparation to become a professional and traditional midwife, with the intention that more women have the opportunity to live a respected, pleasurable, transcendental birth experience, with company, trust and love.

    Combining ancestral knowledge from the ancient and traditional midwives of México and Latin America with the most up-to-date scientific evidence to find a balance in the needs of today’s women and to keep the traditional medicine alive.

    Her personal interest is to offer quality midwifery services at low costs so every woman can have the same opportunities, always working as a team with other Midwives and health providers.

    Debra Pascali-Bonaro LCCE, AdvCD/BDT/PDT(DONA) is an inspirational international speaker, author, podcast host and filmmaker, Director of the award-winning documentary Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret  and co-writer of “Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth” all of which  explore the intimate and sacred sexual nature of birth.  Chair of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization, Co-Chair for the International Childbirth Initiative,  Debra’s passion comes from her years as a  Lamaze International childbirth educator, and birth and postpartum doula trainer with DONA International .  She has taught and worked with parents, physicians, midwives, nurses, doulas, and students in over 40 countries.  Debra is a featured expert in parenting journals and media around the world. 


    Sabrina Speich, traditional midwife, is the founder and director of La Cueva de la Partera, a Mexican midwifery collective, focused on keeping the essence of traditional midwifery alive. Sabrina has been a midwife for 23 years and has attended over 700 home births and been politically active on a national level, supporting the autonomous certifying process. She trained with Doña Antonia for 6 years, a traditional Mayan midwife from Tulum. She has also worked together with professional midwives, Obgyns and neonatologists and nurses, always being the traditional birthcare provider. She also is working as a mentor for students and the founder of the Osa Mayor foundation, created to support midwifery education and low income mothers. Before she emigrated to Mexico she studied Social Behavior at the University of Kent at Canterbury and Natural Medicine in Switzerland, where she is originally from. She is mother of 8 children, all born at home and 4 of them unassisted. Her mission is to spread the birthing knowledge, which awakens when women are able to give birth in a natural environment and are accompanied with respect. The motto of her life is to enlighten the world with the legacy of motherhood.

    Eco Resort

    The Eco Resort by Paledora Group has magical indoor and outdoor spaces inside the mayan jungle, close to the Caribbean Sea, 20 minutes from Tulum Downtown. It has holistic facilities perfect for a Doula Retreat, yoga classes area, communal gatherings, ideal for traditional healing activities, including multiple workshop spaces and a sweatlodge (temazcal). The retreat space also has a private cenote (a sacred-natural swimming hole), a beautiful and silent cave, freshwater swimming pool and is surrounded by the fauna and flora from the jungle – making it perfect for us to feel nourished and connected with the great mother’s healing energy.

    “When we came across this Jungle Eco Resort near Tulum, which is perfectly designed around natural wonders and communal living spaces, we knew we had found the perfect safe haven to support doulas and birth workers in the making to connect, heal, grow and learn.” -Ella, Ale & Sabrina (La Cueva de la Partera Midwives Team)

    Special Sessions

    Red Tent
    The red tent sessions are women’s circles contained in a physical Red Tent. There is a new matriactivist movement based on Anita Diamonts’novel The Red Tent, which is a story taking place in biblical times and tells the tale of the jewish women who were made to sit in the Red Tent during their periods and their childbirth. It was a woman’s only place and the novel talks about the secrets shared among women, especially their hidden spirituality and connection with the mother goddess.

    La Cueva de la Partera builds the red tent, together with the participating women, inside we make the connection with the Great Mother and start sharing topics we intuitively want to share in that moment. The midwife guides the group so that everyone is respected and treated with love and nurturing spirit and that no one woman takes up all the space. These special moments between women and mothers and the in congruencies we face as mothers in society, are well known to us midwives and doulas. Learning to hold the space and creating space where we acknowledge our transformation is essential to our work.

    Sobada Maya
    The mayan abdominal massage is a quintessential technique used in traditional mayan midwifery. It prepares the mother for childbirth and helps her recover after. Every woman should know how to make another woman feel better. The basic technique can get taught in a short time, but to master the healing technique takes a lot of time and practice and years of observing and learning.

    Midwife Sweatlodge
    The sweatlodge is a traditional healing practice in many states of Mexico. It is more from the north, where there are volcanic stones. In states like Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas, many midwives have a sweatlodge in their houses. There are many rituals which have been mixed with the Lakota medicine from the US and here they call themselves Camino Rojo and Sun Dancers. But the midwife sweatlodge has a different significance, we use it to heat the body in Postpartum and bring some of the birthing medicine to women. The temazcal/sweatlogde represents the womb and we go in to be reborn.

    Our daily ritual

    Sample Daily Schedule

    7:00-8:00 AM 

    • Optional group yoga

    8:00-9:00 AM

    • Breakfast on-site with the group

    9:00 AM – 1:00 PM


    • Introduction to DONA International and Birth Doula Certification
      • History
      • Anti-racism and Advocacy
      • Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics: advancing health and equity
      • Confidentiality
      • DONA Birth Doula Certification
    • Prenatal Contact- establishing a relationship between doula and client boundaries
    • Birth Preferences

    LUNCH & SIESTA 1:00 – 4:30 PM

    • On-site lunch with the group 
    • Swim, siesta, time on your own

    4:30 – 8:30 PM 

      • Red Tent Session
        • Key concepts on the Great Mother Medicine
        • How to intention your work
        • How to hold space for mothers
        • Understanding our role as supporters

    • DINNER 8:30 PM

            • On-site dinner with the group

    *times and topics subject to change

    Registration Information

    Reserve your spot by paying our deposit of $850. This will be applied to the total retreat fee of:

    DONA Birth Doula Trainings require full, live attendance at all sessions in order to receive a certificate of attendance. Please be sure all workshop dates, including in person and virtual will work with your schedule. There will be no recordings provided. 

    Our retreat fills quickly – join today for the best pricing and lowest payment plan options. Your deposit will be applied to the balance, please note it is non-refundable, no matter the circumstances. As soon as you book be sure to purchase travel insurance that will cover your retreat expenses even in the event of postponement or cancellation. Mother Nature and Father Time do not always share their plans. Volcanos, earthquakes, and pandemics have caused our retreats to be postponed in the past.

    *pricing is in US dollar and based on shared-occupancy lodging. 

    Mother Medicine Doula Retreat

    $2,395-2,995 USD / when paid in full
    • $850 Non-refundable deposit books your spot
    • Easy automatic payment plans available
    • Shared accommodations included
    • Welcome Reception
    • Daily Yoga
    • Daily Nourishing breakfast
    • Daily Healthy pleasurable lunch
    • Celebration Dinner

    DONA Birth Doula Trainings require full, live attendance at all sessions in order to receive a certificate of attendance. Please be sure all workshop dates, including in person and virtual will work with your schedule. There will be no recordings provided. 


    If you find it necessary to cancel your reservation, the following cancellation policy will apply:

    Four months (or more) prior: We will refund all workshop funds received, less your deposit and unrecoverable funds from accommodations and other deposits made on your behalf.

    Less than four months prior: A cancellation charge of 50%, as well as your deposit and unrecoverable monies from accommodations and other deposits made on your behalf will be withheld.

    Two month prior: No refunds will be made within 2 months of the start of the event.

    Your deposit is non-refundable, no matter the circumstances. As soon as you book be sure to purchase travel insurance that will cover your retreat expenses even in the event of postponement or cancellation. Mother Nature and Father Time do not always share their plans. Volcanos, earthquakes, and pandemics have caused our retreat to be postponed in the past.

    Common Questions

    You do not have to have a professional background to take the Mother Medicine Doula Retreat, but should have the following: fascination with pregnancy, childbirth, newborns and traditional medicine; a desire to work with and support women and families during this most meaningful and demanding time in their lives; emotional maturity, stamina, and reliability.

    There are no DONA Doula Trainings that will provide you with certification at the end of the workshop/retreat. Our retreat fulfills 2 of the requirements of certification – an Introduction to Childbirth, DONA Doula Workshop. Beyond those, you will need to take a breastfeeding and business online course, do additional reading, attend births, do some writing and create a resource list. Remember, you will also gain a unique intra-cultural and immersive experience through the teachings of traditional birth support techniques and the Great Mother Medicine, distinctive to Mexico as explored through the personalised birth experiences of midwives working in Tulum and their contact with the Mayan culture.

    From experience we’ve found that doula trainings are incredible – inspirational, educational and full of sisterhood. BUT they are short! 3 days just feels too quick, and most of the time everyone wishes it could be longer and more immersive. You do learn so much in a “typical” workshop, and we encourage you to take one if you can’t attend the Mother of Medicine Doula Retreat– but the retreat atmosphere is something that just can’t be replicated. Sisterhood – replenishment – self-care – connection – deep immersion – delicious food – gorgeous scenery – culture – love.

    The retreat also includes inspirational workshops in Great Mother Medicine childcare and an immersive exploration of traditional Mexican culture, which you will not find in any other retreat or doula trainings. You will also have the opportunity for morning yoga, communal meals and free time to swim in the swimming pool and cenote or explore the local area and natural wonders- there’s nothing else quite like it!

    When purchasing your flights, the closest airport is Cancun International Airport (airport code CUN). There is a transfer time of 1 hour 20 minutes by car to the Paledora Eco-Resort.

    There are many options for arriving to the retreat, including by airport taxi, shuttle or bus. We recommend arriving in the day as prices are more reasonable (approximately $200 USD return for private taxi) and either paying your taxi service inside the airport or online (e.g., via There is a Cancun Airport direct bus service (ADO Buses) with frequent and comfortable coaches to Playa del Carmen or Tulum-if you choose this option, you will then need to get a private taxi from the town of your choice to the resort. Additionally, there are local and cheap combis (public minibuses) that run from the airport along the main road from Cancun airport to the resort. Once you have booked your retreat, you’ll receive more information and guidance as required and get the opportunity to meet others coming to the retreat and maybe organise transport together. If there is interest, then we can also organise a private minibus for airport pickup as a group. Airport transfer fees are your responsibility.

    If you are traveling from outside Mexico, you will require a valid passport. At the time of writing Mexican authorities do not require a minimum period of validity but please ensure that your passport does not expire during the length of your stay. We do recommend having a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your departure date.


    Mexico is one of the most visited countries in the world and is generally a safe place for tourists to visit if you stay within safe areas and your resort. However, at the time of writing, the US government advises tourists to “Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling to Quintana Roo due to crime” so it is important to take common sense precautions against crime.

    At the time of writing, there are no restrictions to enter Mexico and no requirement to carry a COVID test or quarantine on arrival. However, it is mandatory to register on the Mexico Vuela Seguro Platform before boarding and to show the QR code at the arrival airport. Mexico works on a traffic light system of COVID restrictions by state/City. Currently, Quintana Roo is in green traffic light, which means that people can go out without restrictions whilst using common methods of precaution and prevention and some shops and indoor locations still require the use of masks.  For up-to-date information see and for further COVID advice or medical attention you can contact the Mexican Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 hotline on 800 0044 800.

    You will have the opportunity during the retreat to by local products when we visit the town of Tulum and other birth related products will be available to buy from the retreat itself.


    Yes, it is essential to purchase a comprehensive travel/medical insurance before your departure.

    We will be there to support you with any medical needs if you fall ill, including natural medicine. There are pharmacies, general doctors and a small private hospital in the town of Tulum (20 minutes by car) and larger emergency private hospitals and a general hospital in Playa del Carmen (40 minutes by car).

    Our welcome dinner takes place on the first day of the retreat in the evening. You are welcome to check in to Paledora Eco-Resort any time after 3PM.

    If you want to arrive a few days before the retreat to adjust to the time zone, climate and explore the local area. 

    Things to do:

    The retreat is located within the heart of the Riviera Maya, a tropical paradise that boasts 120km of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, Mayan ruins, cenotes and jungle. During the retreat you will have free time to explore the town and boutique shops of Tulum and swim in a private cenote. However, as the retreat is full of workshops and activities, we highly recommend that you extend your holiday either side of the retreat so that you can further explore this incredible area in Mexico.

    Here we have put together some ideas of places to visit close to the retreat…

    One of the last cities inhabited by the Maya people, Tulum was once an important trading hub, generating enormous wealth exporting jade and obsidian.

    Now, it’s a fascinating city-museum, with well-preserved temples & stunning coastal views

    Tulum Ruins appeal to so many not because they are big or have the highest pyramid but rather because they have a stunning view over the ocean. The ruins are not extensive but nice to walk around. If it is a hot sunny day, be sure to put on sun protection, bring water, and perhaps an umbrella for the sun. One to two hours should be reserved for seeing the site.

    Coba is a large and important Mayan archaeological zone located in the eastern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is one of the few sites to retain its original Maya name, Ko’ba a, which translates to ruffled/uneven water.

    •   Cenotes:

    What is a Cenote? (cenotes and lagoons information)

    A cenote (from the Maya “ts’ono’ot” or water whole) is an opening in the ground that connects the underground rivers to the surface.

    Cenotes are limestone sinkholes filled with fresh water, formed when bedrock collapses and exposes groundwater below. Most of the Yucatan’s 6000 cenotes are small, underground, and inaccessible, though a notable number are large enough to swim, snorkel, or dive in. Many are crystal blue and open to the air, while others are accessible by stairs leading down into caverns and are connected to large underground river systems

    Xcacel is a sanctuary where every year around 200,000 white and loggerhead turtle hatchlings are released, it hosts a large variety of protected flora and fauna, and it’s a place where everyone’s cooperation makes us feel proud because the tum of every effort shows us visible results.

    If you want to explore a little further afield then also consider visiting…

    Chichen itza (the world renown Mayan ruins in the Yucatan peninsula) the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres or stray a little from the beaten track to visit the pristine beaches of El Cuyo or Bacalar, the lagoon of seven colors.

     For more ideas check out these external links…


    Checkout time is after breakfast (12pm). If you choose to stay in the area, there are many wonderful things to do with your new doula sisters.

    You will be staying at the retreat location-Paledora Eco-Resort. The resort offers very comfortable Eco houses with shared room with ensuite bathrooms, A/C and communal boutique living area and kitchen. These is also the option for your own room within the resort. 

    January is a great month to visit the Riviera Maya as the weather is generally settled, dry and not excessively hot. But it is still generally very warm with average daily highs of 83°F.

    It is hot outside during the day and a bit cooler in the evening. Bring light clothing in natural breathable materials and layers, and don’t forget your swimsuit! There will also be the opportunity to buy some beautiful natural summer wear in the boutique shops of Tulum during the retreat. Things necessary for the workshops will be provided or in your welcome gift pack and towels and bedding are provided by the resort. We also recommended you bring a sunhat and if you want to bring sunscreen then it must be biodegradable/Eco friendly to protect the local ecosystem.

    There is WIFI at Paledora Eco-Resort but there are some areas and rooms where the connection is slow. It will be nice to have a break from our devices, but strong WIFI is available in the palapa and yoga studio. All rooms have electric points, but you will need an electrical converter available at drug stores or office supply shops.

    Please bring a reusable water bottle and refill with filtered water. The water in Mexico is unsafe for tourists to drink or brush teeth unfiltered.

    You will be traveling in a civilized, built up area.  Your doctor may suggest all kinds of vaccinations for traveling in the jungle. Please impress upon your provider that you are staying in nice resorts and eating at good restaurants and discuss the question.

    There are plenty of international medical clinics near the clinic. These clinics usually do not accept health insurance, but they do not cost much. We require you purchase travel insurance. 


    The easiest way to access money in Mexico is via the ATM (at the airport or in Tulum) or to bring Mexican pesos with you or exchange cash at the airport, bank or authorized money exchangers. Banking hours are usually from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm from Monday to Friday and some open 9:00am to 2:00 pm Saturday. 

    Please be sure to exchange enough money for your first few days as there are no ATM’s close to the resort and make sure to travel with sufficient funds in your bank account to cover your stay. Remember, you will need enough money to cover travel to the resort. However, American Dollars are also widely accepted in Mexico.


    Prior to your trip, please tell your bank and credit card companies the dates that you will be in Mexico, as they may cut off your funds for fraud protection if they don’t know you are using your cards in a foreign country. 


    Many stores only accept cash and there are no ATMs in walking distance of the resort. Accommodation, drinking water and most meals are already covered within the price of the retreat so you will just need cash for dining with your new friends on one or two occasions, shopping, extra activities and airport transport.

    Mother Medicine Doula Retreat

    $2,395-2,995 USD / when paid in full
    • $850 Non-refundable deposit books your spot
    • Easy automatic payment plans available
    • Shared accommodations included
    • Welcome Reception
    • Daily Yoga
    • Daily Nourishing breakfast
    • Daily Healthy pleasurable lunch
    • Celebration Dinner

    2023 Retreat: Important Dates

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