A space for exploring
Nature and Health
DONA International 2012 Conference, Cancun, Mexico
[the following article was published in International Doula Journal, Vol. 20, Issue 3, 2012]
In July 2012 I had the honour to represent the Greek Doulas at the 20th birthday celebration of DONA International, at DONA’s annual conference in Cancun, Mexico. My trip was made possible due to practical, moral and financial help and support by the Greek Doula Association, the French Association La Culture Pour Vivre, and DONA International. I thank you each, (most especially the people behind each organization, and you know who you are!) for making this happen!
To view the full conference program, titles of presentations and details about the speakers, please visit the DONA site:
DONA board meeting before this year’s conference
In this paper I will report some main points presented at the conference, which I found especially meaningful and important for Greece, in hope that we can be inspired and motivated towards some changes. This report will be short - there has been a more detailed longer report in Greek.
As DONA celebrated 20 years from its first official meeting, three of the founders were present to honor this event: Phyllis Klaus, Penny Simkin and Annie Kennedy. It was impressive how these women, veterans in the perinatal doula care, traveled so far, and how their presence and talks were full of inspiration, vitality and passion, just like 20 years ago, when the doula movement started in the U.S.!
Annie Kennedy, the couple Ph. & M. Klaus, the couple J. & P. Kennell, and Penny Simkin, founders of DONA International, in a previous conference
The conference was attended by doulas, doctors, mothers, activists, a few men(!), babies, nurses, childbirth educators, psychologists-therapists, and professionals/exhibitors with products relating to the perinatal period.
One of the introductory presentations was made by Kathie Lindstrom, a woman full of vividness and humor, mother of 4 children and grandmother, doula and doula trainer, co-ordinator for doula training programs in Canada. Apart from these (6 trainings per year, with about 30-40 participants in each training), she is responsible for training programs for health professionals (doctors, nurses, midwives, etc) on the basic needs of birthing women and babies. It is interesting to note that in many areas, doula training is the first educational step offered to people interested in the perinatal field (i.e. attended by people potentially attending midwifery, obstetrics, obstetric nursing, etc).
Four main points were made during the conference, which I found relevant and important for Greek residents to explore, discuss, and hopefully implement in Greece. These covered:
Left: Guadalupe Trueba, Penny Simkin and Elena Carillo at the reception of the 2012 ‘Penny Simkin Award’
Right: Phyllis Klaus and Penny Simkin
We watched the excellent visual “Break the Silence: Respectful Maternity Care” (which you may have already watched; I have posted it in many Facebook groups in the Greek community)
She also presented the eight demo sites worldwide where the 10 steps for optimal MotherBaby care are being implemented, and talked about the MotherBaby networks (MBnets), an easier step towards the understanding and implementation of the 10 steps in all countries interested. For more information on this, and for studying, understanding and participating in the initiative please visit the IMBCI site.
Right: A mother participant with her baby, with Debra Pascali-Bonaro and Rae Davies
Left: International doulas: Carolyn Tranter (Νew Zealand), Maria Andreoulaki (Greece), Ana Paula Markel (Brazil)
Last but not least, I cannot forget to mention the ‘gift’ of the conference, the gigantic Mexican sea turtles coming to the beach every night to lay their eggs… A magical experience!