A Midwifery Retreat in
Tzununa, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
July 14 - 27, 2019
Birth is unique, powerful, transitional. It provides the woman and the couple a passage into motherhood. It rebirths her as a woman, and offers a foundation and source of strength and empowerment for the rest of her life. In this course we rediscover birth by diving into the physical, emotional and spiritual realms of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Join us and explore how we can empower women and professionally guide them throughout this process by connection again to our roots and source.
this course is designed to:
Inspire, educate, and empower birth workers who want to weave western and indigenous birthing models together to create a new birthing paradigm; prenatal yoga teachers who wish to broaden their knowledge; beginning and experienced doulas; aspiring midwives; and mothers and fathers wishing to take charge of their birth experience.
Gain a thorough understanding of the process of creation, fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum
Learn practical midwifery skills and rituals in how to support a woman throughout pregnancy and birth
Understand the history and politics of midwifery
Learn how to perform birth rituals: postpartum massage, use of the Temazcal (sauna), abdominal wraps (faja), herbal sitz baths, closing of the bones ceremony (el Cerrado)
Learn how to perform a basic prenatal and postnatal consultation: physical examination of the woman, emotional and spiritual support and guidance throughout pregnancy.
SEE FULL CURRICULUM
History and Politics of Childbirth & Midwifery:
- Culture of childbirth: exploration through birth art and social anthropology
- History and Politics of childbirth and Midwifery: The fight for humanized birth
- Birth and Spirit
- Midwives: who are they?
- Becoming a Midwife: individual consultations available for help determining which path is right for you.
- The social versus the technocratic model of birth
- Birth Settings: homebirth, hospital, birth center
The Wonder and Creation of Pregnancy:
- Our menstrual cycle and fertility awareness
- Preconception time and the importance of nutrition
-Learning how to date a pregnancy
-Basic anatomy and physiology of pregnancy - pelvic assessment
-Common discomforts of pregnancy and their treatments
-Walking through the ten lunar months of pregnancy
-Determining Fetal Position in pregnant women (hands-on)
-Components of the prenatal visit: taking blood pressure, measuring fundal height, and determining fetal heart rate by doppler and fetoscope - theory + hands-on + discussion: medical versus traditional model!
-Conducting a health history and prenatal intake
-Traditional Mayan Midwifery techniques by local indigenous Guatemalan midwives
Our Body, Our Birth:
- Informed choice and consent: exploration of 10 pregnancy topics with the BRAIN-acronym.
- Cultural conditioning
The Flower of Birth
- The holistic stages of birth versus birth as a series of medical events
- The art of touch
-Birthing support techniques, positions, and techniques to encourage fetal rotation (spinning babies)
-Holding a sacred space for the birthing woman and her family
- Traditional birth practices from all around the world
-Common complications of labor and understanding reasons for transfer to hospital
-Advocacy for humanized birth on a global level
The Fourth Trimester
-Introduction to the postpartum period: physiological and mental health care, spiritual transmission, intergenerational work
- Obstetrical violence against women + PTSD
-The dance of breastfeeding
-Sexuality after pregnancy
-Closing ceremony including traditional Mayan sauna and blessing of the hands
The Bambu Guest House will provide accommodations during your two week stay at Lake Atitlan. The "Bambu" was opened in 2015 as a site to house permaculture volunteers and students. As such, it was founded out of a deep commitment to holistic, sustainable living.
You will settle into the rhythms of nature during your stay at the beautiful naturally-built hotel nestled into the mountains surrounding Lake Atitlan. Wake to the sounds of running water from the nearby stream and enjoy sunrise over the lake and volcanoes from your balcony; nourish yourself with organic and farm-fresh meals made with love by our friendly and attentive kitchen staff; become inspired by the amazing teachings of Hannah and the indigenous midwives fo Guatemala in our beautiful workshop space; unwind with a hot shower and catch up with loved ones over wi-fi (or chill out with a book from our extensive library); and if you're lucky, catch a nighttime volcano show from Volcan Fuego.
Lodging is shared in light and spacious rooms, each one equipped with a private bathroom with hot water, a balcony overlooking the lake and volcanoes, and wi-fi. Communal space includes a comfy open-air lounge and dining room and a breath-taking deck/platform space. Three vegetarian meals per day are provided, as well as snacks, tea, and coffee.
Participants of the Discovering Birth Retreat have two room options to choose from:
The spacious and airy guest room sleeps 3 people comfortably and offers a private bathroom and shower with hot running water, wifi, and a balcony with chairs and a hammock. Beautiful views of the lake and mountains and the soothing sounds of birds and the nearby stream filter into the room, soothing you into peace. USD $695
Our two-level loft sleeps up to 8 people comfortably. Huge panorama windows let in incredible natural light, while the variety of bedding options gives everyone what they'd like. As with all our rooms, the Loft enjoys its own private bathroom and shower with hot water, wifi, and a balcony with chairs and a hammock. USD $595
The Bambu Guest House's on-site farm-to-table restaurant features products from Atitlan Organics Permaculture Farm and other local producers. During your stay, you will enjoy three delicious and nourishing buffet-style vegetarian meals per day plus snacks and dessert, and tea, coffee, and filtered water available throughout the day. The dedicated staff works lovingly to prepare meals which sustain you as you journey into your studies, and we promise that your bellies will be kept just as happy as your hearts and minds are! We pride ourselves on being able to accommodate nearly any dietary requirement, whether that be vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, or other special needs.
Tuition and Registration
The full cost of the retreat is USD $1250 for all facilitation and course materials, plus your $595/$695 accommodations ticket for the lodging and meals provided during the retreat. We have limited spaces available on this incredible, unique retreat. Please fill out the contact form now to reserve your spot!
Professional and Licensed Midwife
Hannah is a passionate certified midwife from Belgium who fell in love with Guatemala. In 2011, she finalised her training by working for several months in the labor and delivery ward in Nyakibale, Uganda. After this intense experience, she worked for several years as the medical director of a Belgian/Guatemalan NGO (Vivir en Amor) located in a remote village in the mountains of Huehuetenango. Here she specialised in attending birth at home and attending obstetrical emergencies in remote and low resource settings. She worked side by side with traditional Guatemalan midwives and developed a deep and unique sense of what it truly means to be a midwife. Hannah was taught by traditional midwives on how to use herbal medicine during and after pregnancy, the use of the temazcal (Mayan sauna), and traditional Maya abdominal massage.
In 2016 she started working in a clinic in Rio Dulce but was called to Lago Atitlan to start attending births at home from the expat community. After attending several home births at the Lake, she became pregnant and delivered her beautiful son at home at the shores of the lake in early 2017.
Hannah is part of the Belgian Board of Directors of Vivir en Amor and is in the process of creating a Guatemalan NGO called K’aslemal (Life) with the traditional midwives of San Marcos La Laguna.