European Doula Network Annual Meeting 2023
In the last four years, since Prague, we have all suffered, as individuals, as families, as doulas.
When people are in danger, women are in danger, when women are in danger, families are in danger, when families are in danger, babies are in danger.
(Forgive me, I use the term ‘women’ in the general way, with no intention to offend or exclude those with diverse gender identities.)
Firstly, we all suffered with the pandemic, ourselves, our loved ones, our children. We faced isolation and remoteness and the fear of the unknown and as doulas we did everything possible to find ways of supporting and connecting each other and supporting and connecting women through pregnancy, birth and postpartum. The health of society is reflected in the safety of its women. Then last year, as the world woke up from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine started, many women looked for safety wherever they could find it. EDN did everything it could to use the power of our network, our members and also doulas outside of the network to connect refugee women with refugee doulas and local doulas.
Today war in Ukraine continues, and severe crises continue in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Syria, DRC-Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Sudan, and Yemen. New crises have arrived in Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Libya and Armenia.
This year, earthquakes hit the region of Turkey and Syria and the UN says that even now, 270,000 pregnant women are struggling to get vital health services.
2 years ago, the UN calculated 84 million displaced people in the world. Now they estimate 104 million: 20 million more... This is a quantity almost equivalent to 1 in 4 people in the population of the European Union.
When women are in danger, babies are in danger, when babies are in danger, society is in danger.
Where society is fractured, social connections are fractured, people are fearful and when people are fearful they do not thrive. Often, in their desire to survive, they may find it hard to be kind.
Here we are in this wonderful place of safety, surrounded by kindness, it’s hard to think of these terrible difficulties.
But we have the power of healing, and that power starts by seeing our own shadows, healing our own hearts.
Vulnerable people are like peaches, they can get bruised and damaged, but inside every fruit is the nut, and it is resilient, it survives and gets the chance to grow again.
Our hearts can be like peaches but at the centre they have a stone, a stone like a rough diamond, the more you rub them, the more they shine.
Even if we feel we cannot change the world, we can change ourselves, the kindness we send ourselves, we can send to others and kindness has the power to change the world of another individual, to feel cared for, to feel respected,
to feel safe enough to heal, to feel safe enough to trust, to feel safe enough to trust yourself and to trust others.
We may all speak other languages, but we can all speak the one language of loving kindness
We are all one European Doulas, Global Doulas
Connecting, Supporting, Informing
Please put your hands to your hearts and feel your heart, feel its joy and feel its sadness, feel the love and feel the pain,
Through embracing both darkness and light, we can find a pathway to heal, both through the day, and through the night. In the light of the sun, in the light of the moon.
If you feel ready, reach your hands out, Respect those who need their hands on their hearts right now. For those who feel ready, hold your hands to the world, open your heart to the world, maybe you wish to touch somebody, maybe not. Let your kindness for your self flow within you and through you and around you.
Sometimes we heal, sometimes we need healing Sometimes we love,
sometimes we need loving We are all one
Written by Debbie Mitchell, translated by Lara Gomez