Doula retreat | The Life of K: Doula retreat

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Doula retreat

**I had trouble publishing this post earlier and have updated it.**

Last year I went to the DoulaCARE retreat in May and it took me until July to write about it. I was at the retreat last weekend and promised myself I'd write it up soon so here I am! Last Friday after dinner I packed up the Miata and left. I was off on an adventure and J and the kids were going to have a great weekend together.

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Waving goodbye.
Last year I was a new doula - I had only been doing it a few months and had been to one birth. This year I still feel like a new doula and, though I've been at it longer, I've only been to 4 births. And believe me, in a business like this, experience counts for so much. Sharing stories with doulas who have had 30 or 50 or 100+ births can be a little intimidating.

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Beautiful sunset.
The retreat was held at a cottage on the Quebec side. It was a nice setting for a relaxed weekend, full of regular cottage things with doula stuff thrown in. We had a lot of down time with some planned activities to do. The main event took place Saturday morning after a shared breakfast. Anna from Anna Belanger and Associates, a registered massage therapist, came and talked to us about the brain, women in labour, and how we can best comfort them. She showed us techniques to use and ended the session with foot massages for everyone. We had to practice what we'd learned after all.

We spent most of the rest of the day sitting on the dock in the sun, enjoying our time. If you know me and my dislike of swimming in lake water, you'd be surprised to hear that I went in the water. It was cold, but the sun was hot. We shared meals and conversation, and you better believe we talked a lot about anything and everything to do with birth. Some of the girls needed a break for the sun and watched Call the Midwife - birth was everywhere!

After dinner we started a bonfire and pulled up our camping chairs. Once the fire was crackling and the drinks were flowing, everyone wrote down on a piece of paper something they wanted to let go or something great that has happened to them. It was anything related to birth, our experiences (negative or positive), our business, or our journeys as doulas. Going around the circle we each told our stories and when we were done, we threw the paper in the fire, releasing it to the world. A birth fire like this is very healing and the moment of silence while watching the paper burn, reflecting on what was said, was something I'm glad I experienced. There's great comfort in sharing and releasing.

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Burn baby, burn!
Sunday morning we all went down on the dock, the smooth water reflecting the hot sun, and sat on our yoga mats. We were led through a meditation and then did some partner yoga. Doing tree pose, back to back, hands gripped tight, balancing together, was completely unlike anything I've done. Stretching into and then sinking down into warrior together with another person made it feel somehow stronger. I was stronger.

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Being creative together.
People were trickling out Sunday afternoon, getting back to their families and their responsibilities, but first we got creative and made necklaces. I made a beautiful tree of life pendant and can't stop looking at them online for more ideas. The possibilities are endless and I'm excited to create.

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My tree of life.
It took a while but I finally got in my car and drove away, saying goodbye to my weekend of freedom. I spent the entire drive home replaying the weekend in my mind, laughing at the funny parts, pondering the questions that came up, and dreaming about my future as a doula. The retreat was exactly what I needed. I came home full of ideas and inspiration and confidence, and so ready to see my family. It was the break I needed, the inspiration I needed, and a really really great weekend. I can't wait for next year.

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