Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Level Two Doula Course

I am very pleased and a little taken aback that my doula course has been so well received. So, happily, I will be offering Level Two starting on November 25, 2013. 
Classes will start on November 25, 2013, and will go through to February 17, 2014, with a break in December. Classes will run every Monday night from 6:30 to 9:30, at 6767 Cote des Neiges, in Montreal.

I have tweaked this course a little, and added two extra classes, as there is always too much to learn! So it will be a total of thirty hours of class time. Shadowing and attending births will of course be part of the learning experience.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested in Level Two. As always, the cost is $400, payable in instalments if need be.


We will be adding several other courses this year: Level Three will definitely be offered, also an in-depth Fun with Herbs Workshop and a doula retreat.

Here's a taste of Fun with Herbs:
Herb Day 2013


Healing Balm









Level Two Doula Course

I am very pleased and a little taken aback that my doula course has been so well received. So, happily, I will be offering Level Two starting on November 25, 2013. 
Classes will start on November 25, 2013, and will go through to February 17, 2014, with a break in December. Classes will run every Monday night from 6:30 to 9:30, at 6767 Cote des Neiges, in Montreal.

I have tweaked this course a little, and added two extra classes, as there is always too much to learn! So it will be a total of thirty hours of class time. Shadowing and attending births will of course be part of the learning experience.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested in Level Two. As always, the cost is $400, payable in instalments if need be.


We will be adding several other courses this year: Level Three will definitely be offered, also an in-depth Fun with Herbs Workshop and a doula retreat.

Here's a taste of Fun with Herbs:
Herb Day 2013


Healing Balm









Sunday, October 27, 2013

How They Left: Running to Canada


Maybe it's because the father of my grandfather was pushed across the border from Russia, when he was just eleven years old, to fend for himself, because of the destruction that was happening all around his family.
Maybe it's because when I was 23 and traveling alone through the continent of Africa, a young woman came to me with a baby who even I could tell was dying, and asked me to help. And I had nothing to offer.
Maybe it's because I have examined myself and found myself lacking. And I look at others and I am filled with awe.
Maybe it's because of the women I have met over the years who have come here from Mexico, El Salvador, Domenican Republic, Thailand, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Ukraine, Haiti, Croatia, Brazil, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Barbados, Latvia, Ghana, Cameroon, Russia, Cote d'Ivoire, U.S.A., Ruanda, St. Vincent,  Zambia, Algeria, St. Lucia, Morocco, Egypt, Benin, Chad, Serbia, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinee-Bisau, Benin, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia. Women who come here pregnant, who need a safe place to give birth. Who need a safe place to give birth to their human children, who are in a sense our children to. Because we are human.

NoViolet Bulawayo has written an extraordinary book about the breakdown of a country and the flight from that country to another. Here is one chapter from her book, which captures the realities of those fleeing. The women we work with at Montreal Birth Companions are fleeing their home countries and coming here to try to make a new life. Here is a glimpse into their reality:

"How They Left"

"Look at them leaving in droves, the children of the land, just look at them leaving in droves. Those with nothing are crossing borders. Those with strength are crossing borders. Thos with ambitions are crossing borders. Those with hopes are crossing borders. Those with hopes are crossing borders. Those with loss are crossing borders. Those in pain are crossing borders. Moving, running, emigrating, going, deserting, walking, quitting, flying, fleeing -- to all over, to countries near and far, to countries unheard of, to countries whose names they cannot pronounce. They are leaving in droves.

When things fall apart, the children of the land scurry and scatter like birds escaping a burning sky. They flee their own wretched land so their hunger may be pacified in foreign lands, their tears wiped away in strange lands, the wounds of their despair bandaged in far away lands, their blistered prayers muttered in the darkness of queer lands.

Look at the children of the land leaving in droves, leaving their own land with bleeding wounds on their bodies and shock on their faces and blood in their hearts and hunger in their stomachs and grief in their footsteps. Leaving their mothers and fathers behind, leaving their umbilical cords underneath the soil, leaving the bones of their ancestors in the earth, leaving everything that makes them who and what they are, leaving because it is no longer possible to stay. They will never be the same again because you cannot be the same once you leave behind who and what you are, you just cannot be the same.

Look at them leaving in droves despite knowing they will be welcomed with restraint in those strange lands because they do not belong, knowing they will have to sit on one buttock because they must not sit comfortably lest they be asked to rise and leave, knowing they will speak in dampened whispers because they must not let their voices drown those of the owners of the land, knowing they will have to walk on their toes because they must not leave footprints on the new earth let they be mistaken for those who want to claim the land as theirs. Look at them leaving in droves, arm in arm with loss and lost, look at them leaving in droves."

Bulawayo, N. (2013). We Need New Names (pp. 147-148).  New York, Hachette Books.




Monday, October 21, 2013

Herbs and Poetry, Birth and Death


In the midst of our world turning as it does - MBC doesn't have enough doulas for our needy clients; refugees are streaming from war-torn countries to other, less war-torn countries, Kofi Awoonor killed in that horrific bombing in Nairobi - Kofi Awoonor! - may he rest in peace...


"Across a New Dawn"
Sometimes, we read the
lines in the green leaf
run our fingers over the
smooth of the precious wood
from our ancient trees;
Sometimes, even the sunset
puzzles, as we look
for the lines that propel the clouds,
the colour scheme
with the multiple designs
that the first artist put together
There is dancing in the streets again
the laughter of children rings
through the house
On the seaside, the ruins recent
from the latest storms
remind of ancestral wealth
pillaged purloined pawned
by an unthinking grandfather
who lived the life of a lord
and drove coming generations to
despair and ruin
But who says our time is up
that the box maker and the digger
are in conference
or that the preachers have aired their robes
and the choir and the drummers
are in rehearsal?
No; where the worm eats
a grain grows.
the consultant deities
have measured the time
with long winded
arguments of eternity
And death, when he comes
to the door with his own
inimitable calling card
shall find a homestead
resurrected with laughter and dance
and the festival of the meat
of the young lamb and the red porridge
of the new corn
We are the celebrants
whose fields were
overrun by rogues
and other bad men who
interrupted our dance
with obscene songs and bad gestures
Someone said an ailing fish
swam up our lagoon
seeking a place to lay its load
in consonance with the Original Plan
Master, if you can be the oarsman
for our boat
please do it, do it.
I asked you before
once upon a shore
at home, where the
seafront has narrowed
to the brief space of childhood
We welcome the travelers
come home on the new boat
fresh from the upright tree
From "Promises of Hope: New and Selected Poems", selected by Kofi Anyidoho, University of Nebraska Press and the African Poetry Book Fund, 2014

I bring to you a recipe for St John's Wort oil in the hopes that you will be able to use it to heal each other and yourselves.

This can be used for muscle strain, sunburn, muscle cramps, bruises, labor pains. Do not apply it to open skin, and remember that it may increase photosensitivity so don't use it as a suntan oil.

Have fun with herbs, read poetry, make love not war!

Herbs and Poetry, Birth and Death


In the midst of our world turning as it does - MBC doesn't have enough doulas for our needy clients; refugees are streaming from war-torn countries to other, less war-torn countries, Kofi Awoonor killed in that horrific bombing in Nairobi - Kofi Awoonor! - may he rest in peace...


"Across a New Dawn"
Sometimes, we read the
lines in the green leaf
run our fingers over the
smooth of the precious wood
from our ancient trees;
Sometimes, even the sunset
puzzles, as we look
for the lines that propel the clouds,
the colour scheme
with the multiple designs
that the first artist put together
There is dancing in the streets again
the laughter of children rings
through the house
On the seaside, the ruins recent
from the latest storms
remind of ancestral wealth
pillaged purloined pawned
by an unthinking grandfather
who lived the life of a lord
and drove coming generations to
despair and ruin
But who says our time is up
that the box maker and the digger
are in conference
or that the preachers have aired their robes
and the choir and the drummers
are in rehearsal?
No; where the worm eats
a grain grows.
the consultant deities
have measured the time
with long winded
arguments of eternity
And death, when he comes
to the door with his own
inimitable calling card
shall find a homestead
resurrected with laughter and dance
and the festival of the meat
of the young lamb and the red porridge
of the new corn
We are the celebrants
whose fields were
overrun by rogues
and other bad men who
interrupted our dance
with obscene songs and bad gestures
Someone said an ailing fish
swam up our lagoon
seeking a place to lay its load
in consonance with the Original Plan
Master, if you can be the oarsman
for our boat
please do it, do it.
I asked you before
once upon a shore
at home, where the
seafront has narrowed
to the brief space of childhood
We welcome the travelers
come home on the new boat
fresh from the upright tree
From "Promises of Hope: New and Selected Poems", selected by Kofi Anyidoho, University of Nebraska Press and the African Poetry Book Fund, 2014

I bring to you a recipe for St John's Wort oil in the hopes that you will be able to use it to heal each other and yourselves.

This can be used for muscle strain, sunburn, muscle cramps, bruises, labor pains. Do not apply it to open skin, and remember that it may increase photosensitivity so don't use it as a suntan oil.

Have fun with herbs, read poetry, make love not war!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Call for Volunteers


Montreal Birth Companions provides free doula services, prenatal and postpartum support, and resources for refugee, non-status, and other marginalized women in Montreal.

We are in need of birth companions ... please contact me if you are willing and able to devote some time to our worthy cause.
If you are a doula and you can donate one birth every six months to MBC, we would be happy to have you on board!
We are looking especially for birth companions who are fluent in different languages. We would love to have more doulas from our diverse Montreal communities. We welcome everyone who has an open heart and is willing to donate their time and energy.

The women we serve appreciate the companionship, support and kindness that her doula provides. Women come from many backgrounds, walks of life, stories and histories. But the birthing year is the same: we want to give birth to a healthy baby, and we would like to have that experience to be filled with joy. This is not always possible if it is a sad time in the mother's life, but the presence of a birth companion can help spread the love.

We have clients from all around the world. Right now we are serving women from: Algeria, Haiti, St. Vincent, Germany, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Mali, Senegal, Guinee, and Quebec. Next month, we could receive requests from China, Cameroon, Mexico, the US, or Russia ... we never know where our clients will come from or when they will find us. We have had calls from women in their first trimester, and from women in labor!

Many midwifery students try to gain experience as interns in other countries. Volunteering for MBC is a way that doulas and aspiring midwives can gain experience working with women whose cultural attitudes and lives are very different from their own. It is a way that these doulas and aspiring midwives can really understand that the birth experience is universal, and that accompanying a woman in labor transcends language and reaches across boundaries.



Please consider volunteering for MBC.





Call for Volunteers


Montreal Birth Companions provides free doula services, prenatal and postpartum support, and resources for refugee, non-status, and other marginalized women in Montreal.

We are in need of birth companions ... please contact me if you are willing and able to devote some time to our worthy cause.
If you are a doula and you can donate one birth every six months to MBC, we would be happy to have you on board!
We are looking especially for birth companions who are fluent in different languages. We would love to have more doulas from our diverse Montreal communities. We welcome everyone who has an open heart and is willing to donate their time and energy.

The women we serve appreciate the companionship, support and kindness that her doula provides. Women come from many backgrounds, walks of life, stories and histories. But the birthing year is the same: we want to give birth to a healthy baby, and we would like to have that experience to be filled with joy. This is not always possible if it is a sad time in the mother's life, but the presence of a birth companion can help spread the love.

We have clients from all around the world. Right now we are serving women from: Algeria, Haiti, St. Vincent, Germany, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Mali, Senegal, Guinee, and Quebec. Next month, we could receive requests from China, Cameroon, Mexico, the US, or Russia ... we never know where our clients will come from or when they will find us. We have had calls from women in their first trimester, and from women in labor!

Many midwifery students try to gain experience as interns in other countries. Volunteering for MBC is a way that doulas and aspiring midwives can gain experience working with women whose cultural attitudes and lives are very different from their own. It is a way that these doulas and aspiring midwives can really understand that the birth experience is universal, and that accompanying a woman in labor transcends language and reaches across boundaries.



Please consider volunteering for MBC.