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I Am Sacred Woman has moved to www.drgaurilowe.com

Nurturing Our Sacred Feminine Naturally – blogposts about bringing sacred awareness into pregnancy, birth, as a mother and a woman.

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Events

A Sacred Model of Birth

At the Midwifery and Birth Conference 2014 in Cape Town my topic for my presentation was “The Balance Between the Medical and Midwifery Model of Birth”. Contemplating this topic – I realised the vastness, politics and definitions of it. 

Every pregnant lady deserves to be spoilt and made to feel beautiful and amazing!
Every pregnant lady deserves to be spoilt and made to feel beautiful and amazing!

Below is my talk in text and audible on the video presentation. Please sit back, have a listen and consider the proposal of a Sacred Model of Birth. 

After my presentation, a lovely midwife, who honours birth space very wonderfully, approached me and asked a question, “That is very nice and I agree – but HOW do you do that in certain circumstances?”

After some consideration – here is my answer:- That a sacred model of birth lies not only in the practical considerations, but is mostly lying in our inner PRECENSE that we are holding at each moment. It does not depend on the birth outcome, nor the procedure we are doing, or not doing  – inherently it is lying with our inner attitude and precense – that can give itself to honouring each moment for that lady giving birth. Therefore we continue to act responsibly and safely BuT with a difference of grace, of awareness, of consciousness and being – that lends itself to keeping Birth Sacred. 

I do feel that the lurking doubt of HOW to do this is using an element of fear to hide behind and I invite careful consideration and reflection upon this. Fear is present where Love needs to be and it wears a very astute disguise of logic, rationality and horror stories!

I would also like to add that I see this model as being extremely practical and universally applicable. And perhaps a Sacred Model of Birth Manual shall soon follow!

I do not propose inadequate, unprofessional approaches – I support medical and emergency skills and interventions WhEn they are appropriate and I encourage them to be done in a sensitive and respectful manner. 

I encourage your opinions, thoughts, doubts and questions – please feel free to comment and I shall reply!

 

My Presentation 

I am here to talk about a balance – between medical and midwifery models of birth and pregnancy care. BUT I came across great obstacles in deliberating that.

I think the “problem” is that I gave birth to my baby in my third year of medical school. I hadn’t done clinical medicine – it remained theoretical biology at that stage.

AND I had an AMAZING birth!! In that birth – I GOT IT!!

I believe a good hearty personal story helps a good talk take root – so here is mine:

It was about 10pm and I was crying at 39.5 weeks that I would be pregnant forever. When bshhhh – my water broke!! Thinking labour would probably start about 12 hours later (like the stories I’d heard), I smsed my midwife and went back to “sleep”…and I lay in bed sleeping between contractions with my beloved next to me, in complete denial that I was in labour!

THIS IS A KEY POINT!!! Remember the key points! (Denial of labour)

And then when I woke up suddenly shaking uncontrollably with each contraction and needing to DO SOMETHING NOW! – was the same time that my midwife called ME to find out how I was – and to come through.

ANOTHER KEY POINT!!! (The feeling to DO something)

By the time my midwife came my baby was just short of crowning and feeling the full intensity of each painful contraction with descent of my baby – and she centred me, grounded and focused me and assisted my husband to physically support me …So – Lochan was born!

I got a few stitches and then snuggled into bed with him for the next few days.

And this bought forth my major obstacle in discussing a balance between a medical and midwifery model of birth.

Because BIRTH IS NOT A Medical Event.

And Birth happens whether the midwife is there or not.

BIRTH IS BETWEEN The Mother and Her Baby.

It IS a matter of Heart.

I really tried – I did several rotations in Obstetrics during medical school, internship and community service in diverse hospitals, MOU’s, saw private mothers, assisted private midwives, homebirths, spoke to many mothers, seen mothers die, seen babies die, seen babies almost die, mothers almost die, labours go bad quickly, labours go bad slowly, caeserian sections turn bad, life-saving procedures – work and not work.

The underlying incentives, attitudes, practices – people want to call models – lack humanity, individuality and truth.

It always comes back to this for me – there is an unacknowledged truth about birth – it works and it empowers.

What model supports that as its core?

The medical paradigm – whether it be doctor or midwives looks through the glasses of fear. Fear of risk of morbidity and mortality and fear or litigation. Protocols and decisions are born from this arena. Which makes them feel very safe as they revolve through the doors of statistics and research reviews. But in a case when you have to do 1100 procedures to prevent one risk, we need to take into account any risk that the procedure may have in turn AND its affect on this women’s future. But we are not speaking about women. We are speaking about numbers. And this is valid and reasonable when working in a busy practice or a busy hospital with high numbers and high morbidities – which you need to “manage”. Or is it?

And a midwife model is typically where the pregnant woman and her midwife have an open, trusting relationship based on mutuality, open information, shared decision making, knowing the pregnant mother deeply as well as her fears and hopes and character.

Still in our reality the midwife model that does exist is still under a banner of the medical model. “My hands are tied…” I have heard them say. They are tied up in a medical model. The medical model holds the power.

ok…..

Sitting here in your lanyard description as a “midwife, doula, doctor, mother” – cast it off and hear with your heart.

I wish to propose a Sacred Model of Birth.

What if I had to tell you that your work with mothers at this precious time of pregnancy and birth – has the potential to change the innermost face, integrity and empathy of our society?

What if I had to tell you that the emotional, spiritual and physical womb time is the most important time of impact and potential to not only form and grow empathic, secure and confident children but in turn to change society for the good?

The time in the womb – the physical environment, nutritional status, emotional and mental status, stress exposure and connecting with your mother at this time – is profoundly deeply interconnected with your innermost character, insecurities, fears, responses. It shapes how you perceive the world – as a safe and loving place or a place of animosity and danger. Do you greet the world with arms of love or with weapons of protection?

Just imagine this potential? How much intersociety, interpersonal never mind intrapersonal! corruption, crime, psychiatric disorders, basic unhappiness can be prevented at this level?

Consider now – how YOU can support THIS for each of your pregnant clients?

Does this then not become the most important question in pregnancy care? What is your role in assisting your pregnant client to feel SUPPORTED? AMAZING? Like she is part of a huge miracle growing inside her? And she can trust her body to continue?

Can you do that? Or is there some fear-based doubt holding you back?

Now – just for a moment – take off your lanyard. Take off your designated hat. And sit quietly and comfortably. Close your eyes if you like. And place your hand on your heart area. And remember why you are doing the work you are doing? What love, compulsion, pull led you to do this work which is really a calling?

And just allow yourself on every level to remember that feeling. Allow it to soak over you. Feel it in each cell. Listen to it. Taste it. Embrace its colour.

Does it still lead you? Is it based in fear or love?

Let it enter your heart again so it can always be with you as it always is.

Remember this contract you have. An inner work contract. When you are consulting with each mother pregnant or in labour. And act with this responsibility as importantly as the responsibility for safe risk prevention, control and practices.

Now Before you allow your mind to indulge you – I will assist:

WHAT IF! “But so many things can go wrong! What if…..”

The horror stories come bounding in….from the mouths of all you meet (it feels like) – mothers, doctors and midwives. There may be So many costumes, statistics and dramas to convince you to join their plight of Fear Installation.

I am not going to dwell on all the specific “what if’s” and fear-based research. It is glaringly obvious and logical that the medical part of birth and pregnancy is to be there to care for, correct, treat, manage the big what If’s.

It is not to stand by and project the “what if’s” before they have any sign of occurring and interfere to co-ordinate a whole new “what if” picture. There are far better and mother centred ways to prevent risk damage.

It is not to have a whole lot of inflexible protocols that can possibly act to protect the gynae from law suits. Because this does not put the individual mother in the centre and treat her as a unique individual having a baby. As each pregnant patient indeed is. One of the best ways to avoid being sued is to have a really good honest and intergrity based relationship with your client and act soundly with rationale.

The medical place is just that – medical. And until something is medical in a pregnancy and birth the medical place is to be on standby AND support the midwifery model of care.

On that note the midwifery role is to have the skills and education to pick up any risks, prevent any from arising and communicate with the medical. This needs to be balanced in a skilful way from – as quoted in the Journal of Perinatal Education – 2005 A Midwifery Model of Care for Childbearing Mothers At High Risk: Genuine Care in Caring For The Genuine.

– “allowing mutuality, trust, ongoing dialogue, enduring presence, and shared responsibility while holding the skills of theoretical, practical, intuitive, and reflective knowledge with a special responsibility to balance the natural and medical perspectives in the care of childbearing women at high risk, especially by promoting the woman’s inborn capacity to be a mother and to give birth in a natural manner.” 

That is all based on how the birth services in our public setting operate. I want to go even deeper than that to understand from what level of ourselves we are coming to a pregnant client and birth and how important that is.

What does a WOMAN NEED IN HER PREGNANCY AND HER BIRTH? (whether you are acting under medical or midwifery)

Mid-wife. With Woman.

  • Yes – the physical checks to exclude pathology, risks and abnormals.
  • While supporting and educating the healthy and nourishing physical needs to keep healthy and risk-free
  • She needs to come out of her consultation (with her doctor or midwife) feeling TERRIFIC! COURAGEOUS! HOPEFUL!
  • And she needs to connect with her baby.

That may sound a little – “yeh, well that is very nice BUT…..” “I saw a woman who was fine and then suddenly developed….” “I had a lady transferred in labour and then…” “I know a lady who suddenly became….” “

But it comes down again and again – to the relationship between caregiver and client. From the beginning if you are able to spend the time getting to know your client – her fears, history, family history, stressors, concerns, character as well as her BP and her urine – the insight you will gain to really journey with her in her pregnancy and birth will serve not only to a healthy and largely risk-prevention birth BUT a deep connection and inner journey for the mother and baby.

I am not being naiive – I have seen the horror stories. And I remain absolutely convinced that the relationship and care for the whole person – in a sacred honouring of the process of pregnancy and birth – is the main stay to a healthy AND satisfying outcome, setting the foundation for years to come!.

Where in these models do we find the place where we can practice TRUST. LOVE. HONOUR. For the process of pregnancy and birth?

If we bring these into our practice –

and allow a woman to – sleep in her comfort zone – in denial (key point) during labour – we allow the body to do its thing. What are we tending to do at this time that could interfere with labour?

What do we do when the pregnant mother “Sits up and wants to (needs to) DO SomETHING! Do we say “yes! Her comes transition…lets move with it…or blow through it…” No – too often I have heard – “Sit Still. Stop being so unco-operative. We can’t get a good tracing. Ok, lets put a catheter in then you don’t have to go to the toilet.”

What else can be expected when you have 2 nurses on your floor in a busy labour ward!

When have we looked into a labouring ladies eyes and met her with love and said You are doing So beautifully! And your body is just amazing!”

Bringing the Sacred model into birth WILL save lives, save money, save caeserian rates and save staff burnout! Women will give birth to healthier babies, feel better about themselves and becoming a parent and babies will respond!

Just try it.

mombabe

I would love to hear your views, comments and experiences on this topic. Please leave your comment here or email me https://gaurilowe.wordpress.com/contact/

If you are interested in being kept up to date with sacred model of birth teaching course – for birth workers, health practitioners and interested mothers – pop me a mail.

Midwifery and Birth Conference 2014

banner peace on earth

Your video invitation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5jzFwBAJ7Y

“A few years ago looking at the many wonderful birth conferences happening around the world, and feeling the disharmony in our birthing world – I started dreaming of a conference in South Africa – using local talent and expertees. I realised this is totally possible and by harnessing and gathering everyone allied, involved, working with birth directly or indirectly and mothers – we could generate a wonderful wave of gentle birth consciousness and potential. So here is our second midwifery and birth conference! Bringing ALL birth people together to learn, share, hear, celebrate and mourn the potential we have to improve birth for our mothers in South Africa. By collaborating on this level – people can be touched and in turn go out to touch more. Birth is not just about delivering your baby – it is about welcoming your family!”                                          Dr Gauri Lowe

Our team working on the conference for 2014.
Our fantastic team  (Marianne, Ruth, Sarah, Lana and I) working on the conference for 2014.

Our Goal

Our main goal is to promote sharing and collaboration between birth professionals and the women they serve. Our aim with the yearly conference is to provide a platform on which both birth professionals, mothers and fathers can all come together to discuss and debate relevant topics. We hope that this space will provide fertile ground to inspire and create change in the South African culture of birth – whether encouraging more individuals to become caring, compassionate Doctors and Midwives, to helping find solutions to the deep crises in government maternity care, or to help mothers and fathers find their voice in decisions made at the highest levels.

Please see – http://www.midwiferyandbirthconference.co.za for more info! 

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Natural Baby Fair Review

WoW!

Thank you everyone who came and supported the Natural Baby Fair! It was a most wonderful day that flew by. I only wish I had had more of a chance to speak to more of the wonderful parents who came! And the interesting and colourful stallholders that helped to create and hold such a loving and warm environment.

Standing back and looking at the photos we can see the loving exchanges, meeting and greeting old and new friends. Mothers helping, meeting and supporting mothers in our shared journey of parenting. Wearing our babies, playing with our children, breastfeeding, laughing, chasing…it was actually really lovely thinking back to these details. It was lovely for me to see babies I had last connected with – in the womb, at birth or when they were so much smaller.

We had wonderful stalls that all supported gentle parenting. Fantastic and generous prizes and samples! And our workshops were also well attended.

The pictures speak for themselves…

 

 

A sweet baby girl and a gorgrous mom won a wonderful hamper!
A sweet baby girl and a gorgrous mom won a wonderful hamper!

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Why a Natural Baby Fair?

Natural Preg Poster copy-01

  • Share resources for eco-friendly baby products and services that support gentle parenting
  • Understand different parenting approaches; how parenting affects our children
  • Gather together to meet other like-minded moms

I am a healthcare provider and a mother of 2 children. I am passionate about parenting (starting from in the womb) as well as a green-earth supporter. Daily I am seeing more and more people becoming more aware of what is going into the various products they are using. Be it skincare, clothing, household cleaners, toys, food and containers! More and more people are realising that these ingredients have an impact on our health and our environment.

As well as this more parents are becoming more and more sensitive to the very precious and vulnerable time being a baby, toddler and child is. A time we really want to make sure we are doing the right things in all aspects for our children to grow into healthy, confident and happy young people. We want them to be self-assured, secure, emotionally intelligent and peaceful AND we are realising the incredibly important role parenting has on this.

This means we not only want to use the best products for our children but we want to implement the right practices, attitudes and means to interact with our children.

Olga has been working with families around town in the last 5 years since her first baby was born and she can see the huge demand that moms have with their newborn babies. They are seeking for information that supports their natural motherly instincts. She is an an accredited La Leche League Leader and a Certified Babywearing Consultant so she can provide professional support for these families. As a team our aim is to help you to find answers to all your questions so you can make your own informed decision.

Although research is supporting these methods more – it is still a growing niche – it can be difficult to find other parents also doing this.

This is your invitation to join us on Sat 29th March 9-13h00 at Alive Cafe in Muizenberg – to browse, shop, advertise, support natural childcare products and services, to listen, discuss, ask questions about Gentle Parenting or just come and relax, chat and play with like-minded parents and babies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Baby Fair March 2014

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A small market – exhibiting all natural, chemical-free, green, environmentally friendly products related to baby care. Skin products, cleaning agents, cloth nappies…. (hoping to support local, home industries)

Gentle and conscious parenting services – learn more about babywearing, breastfeeding, elimination communication, cloth nappies….

Workshop – an opportunity to hear and understand the philosophy behind conscious parenting. Why it is important for our children’s development, how to approach it, what it is…..

Saturday March 29th amyswagman2

9am-1pm

Alive Cafe, Muizenberg

ALL WELCOME!

Ticket prices to be announced. 

For more info or if you would like to sell your products – contact Gauri 0832952630 gauri@womens-health.co.za OR Olga  0820620206 olga@ktd.co.za

iknowwhatineed

One Billion Rising – A Red Tent Gathering

Lovely ladies of the day, bringing in the blessings with the sun rising.
Lovely ladies of the day, bringing in the blessings with the sun rising.

I believe strongly in women circles. I think women coming together with a heart-felt and expressed focus, in a spirit of understanding, compassion, non-judgement and love – harnesses a certain energy, a powerful and gracious strength, insight and healing, that is coming from the pure and divine, original Mother Love. Ancient wisdom and tradition reveals the jewels and strength shared among women. This day we engaged with this women-love in solidarity for One Billion Rising. With a gentle but strong voice, a graceful and loving stand – we shared with each and danced, meditated and drummed our spirit into the open and magnificent space. 

“ONE IN THREE WOMEN ON THE PLANET WILL BE RAPED OR BEATEN IN HER LIFETIME. 

sunrising over Sunrise beach
sunrising over Sunrise beach

THAT IS ONE BILLION WOMEN. 

IN 2013, ONE BILLION WOMEN AND MEN SHOOK THE EARTH THROUGH DANCE TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS.

THIS YEAR, ON 14 FEBRUARY 2014 WE ARE CALLING ON WOMEN AND MEN EVERYWHERE TO HARNESS THEIR POWER AND IMAGINATION TO RISE FOR JUSTICE. 

IMAGINE, ONE BILLION WOMEN RELEASING THEIR STORIES, DANCING AND SPEAKING OUT AT THE PLACES WHERE THEY NEED JUSTICE, WHERE THEY NEED AN END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS. 

JOIN US! 

RISE. RELEASE. DANCE!” 

Drumming accompanying our offerings of gratitude into the ocean.
Drumming accompanying our offerings of gratitude into the ocean.

“It is a day out of the month on or near the new moon to step out of a kind of world that keeps us occupied. Inside the Red Tents we give ourselves time to remember who we are at our very core, honoring that to do that remembering we must turn from our identities and roles towards the innermost temple of our own hearts. Come into the Red Tent and stop. In the quiet and the company of wonderful women, feel. In what you feel, there is much that is waiting for you”.

Beautiful people, filled with purpose and love. I came away feeling inspired, refocused, revitalised and knowing that this is important and more needs to be done.

I say it again – Women Circles are so important! So healing! So supportive! And so much fun! 

Thank You Red Tent Cape Town!  

http://www.onebillionrising.org/6953/cape-town-rises-sun-goddesses/

Full circle of our ladies gathered.
Full circle of our ladies gathered.
Dancing in the sea.
Dancing in the sea.
Drumming to a chant of Women Healing, creating a world of feeling.
Drumming to a chant of Women Healing, creating a world of feeling.


 

The Natural Pregnancy Event 2013

Pregnancy Day Poster-01

On 28th September we held our pilot “Natural Pregnant Event”. My aim and vision was to make it a special nurturing day for pregnant moms and those interested to learn about gentle and natural ways to keep ourselves healthy during our pregnancy and birth. I know there are a lot of classes, magazines and experts out there with pregnancy information – but I wanted this to be special. I wanted moms to feel treated and special being there, I wanted information to be unbiased, non-judgemental and supportive, empowering and trusting for moms to feel faithful, proud and confident in their bodies.

I wanted to promote awareness of natural resources, natural products and natural services available to pregnant moms and babies. In line with respecting and honouring earth’s resources, avoiding unnecessary chemicals and respecting traditional, cultural practices of pregnancy and birth care.

I have been pregnant, work with pregnant moms in antenatal clinics, wards and delivery rooms and at home – I know how important support is for a pregnant mom – and I wanted to create an environment of like-minded supportive women. Out of the many tests, exams and scans pregnant moms are routinely subjected to – I feel support is as important in maintaining a healthy and happy pregnancy and preparing for a satisfying and healthy birth.

My interest and passion has evolved from my own birth experience – where I experienced for myself the power, beauty and potential BIRTH has for each women. It changed my path from holistic medicine (I was studying medicine at the time) to holistic midwifery care. Though I completed my medical studies my interest remained supporting pregnancy and birth. And now I am on the dawn of starting my own Women’s Holistic Healthcare practice – so I launched this initiative with a Natural Pregnancy Event!

My research has shown that the most important time in a person’s life is the first 9 months in the womb! – according to prenatal psychology and neurological development. This became the slogan of this day’s gathering as pregnant moms came with genuine and sincere interest in nurturing their pregnancy naturally.

Rebecca Sturgeon speaking about homeopathic remedies for pregnancy, birth and after.
Rebecca Sturgeon speaking about homeopathic remedies for pregnancy, birth and after.

More than 30 people came – pregnant, people who support pregnant women (midwives, doulas, breastfeeding consultants), parents to be, fathers and birth photographers! Ladies pregnant with their first, second and fourth babies came!

I made sure we had goodie bags packed with flyers of natural information, plenty samples, vouchers and snacks! We had a wonderful response from sponsors for this and had lovely prizes to give away too! For example – baby carriers, natural baby and pregnancy skincare products, teas, Tens pain-relief.

We started the day with pregnancy yoga with Lila yoga (Nicole Panzer). People loved it by the comments and it was a wonderful, self-connecting and relaxing way to start the day. Pregnancy yoga helps us to tune into our bodies, feel our selves and our transforming bodies with baby as well as strengthen and tone our bodies in preparation to carry a pregnancy and birth with ease. 

Prenatal Yoga at The Natural Pregnancy Event 2013
Prenatal Yoga at The Natural Pregnancy Event 2013

Rebecca Sturgeon gave a very informative talk on homeopathy – how it works, and various practical remedies very useful in pregnancy, labour and postpartum period. She shared much information that she has gathered from her experience in working with women over the last 20 years.

I discussed “Understanding our pregnant and labouring body” giving a unique insight into how to provide and support the natural progression of labour, the way hormones interact and proceed – while understanding and trusting our bodies to give birth.

natural pregnancy 2013 002
Speaking about the biological orchestra of labour.

This was followed by a dynamic and lovely belly dancing performance and workshop. Belly dancing originated as a pregnancy dance. Getting in touch with our bodies, curves and experiencing ways to move that are beneficial for a healthy pregnancy, preparing for labour and useful labour moves too!

Julia from Alive Dance studios - bellydancing!
Julia from Alive Dance studios – bellydancing!

By then everyone was ready for lunch! Radharani’s Catering served a sumptious, vegetarian nutritious and delicious lunch. And everyone was happy to relax, chat, meet other moms and eat. There was baby wearing consultants available to show, sample and practice different baby wearing techniques as well as various different carriers. La Leche League leaders were also available to chat and ask any breastfeeding advise and to familiarise for future contact once baby is born.

Carol Shaw continued with a good, informative and interesting presentation on nutrition, how to best assimilate different food sources, and valuable practical insight that left people wanting more info! This worked well with the Superfood trail mix samples (cacoa bits, goji berries, gooseberries and brazil nuts) in everyones goodie bag.

Lana Petersen has been a doula for over 10 years and has doula clients in hospitals and home. Her experience and intuitive “space-holding” and unassuming presence and care during a birth made her the perfect person to speak about “The Role of a Doula”. Doulas are ladies that support, protect and are there for moms in labour. They are trained, do not assume a role of a midwife and research supports that the presence of a doula lowers transfer, intervention and caeserian section rates.

And we ended the full day with a relaxing and centring visualisation that focused on connecting and earth bellycommunicating with our baby within as well as receiving communication from our babies – spoken gently to beautiful soft sounds. Visualisation is a powerful tool to relax and focus, identify stress and communicate with our bodies and our babies. Frequent fetal love breaks are very important and helpful in pregnancy as our babies are sentient and receive and react to our emotions in utero. Starting off to communicate and interact with our babies in utero is a wonderful way to start bonding as well as calm and surround our babies with good hormones and feelings that they get used to from then.

To make it a extra special time for moms – we had pregnancy massage available in a private room at a discount price. As well as some birth art – decorating bellies beautifully to honour our creation. Thanks to Tara for the massage and Andrea for the art!

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People’s feedback has been wonderful and positive and shows an overall successful and appreciated day by everyone. Some comments include:

Thank you for your kindness, gentleness and thoughtfulness, the readings, talks and entire day was wonderful. I learnt so much, am so happy in my pregnancy, on my journey and look forward to rather than fear the birth 😉 “

Thanks again for empowering us with knowledge and for your passion (and sharing it all).

Thank you, I loved it! Loved the venue, the food, the ambience, the music, the gentleness and the Love. It was wonderful!”

What a great way to meet, witness and connect with other pregnant women, to become more informed, and to actually connect with the little one inside me.”

All in total a wonderful workshop. I am sure everybody left empowered and care for in a beautiful circle of women. Thank you Gauri.”

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