Creating Change In France with Oliviane: Fall 2018 Doula Training Scholarship Winner
Posted on December 6th, 2018
For the Fall 2018 Doula Maternal Support Practitioner Program Scholarship at bebo mia inc we had some amazing applicants and are thrilled to present our winners’ submissions. With the help of some incredible sponsors like Olivia Scobie & community partners we were able to offer 7 Scholarships to our combined fertility, birth and postpartum doula training. This year, we also welcomed four new people to the team, in the form of our very own Scholarship Committee!
Today we are SO excited to introduce you to the recipient of The Change-Maker Award which recognizes an applicant whose project idea or business plan reflects ingenuity, inventive solutions and creativity that sets them apart from their peers. The recipient is an an out-of-the-box thinker whose ideas challenge the status quo and will aim to change birthing outcomes through new and different ideas.
I’m Oliviane, I am 28, my pronouns are she/her. I live in France with my partner, our wild and magical 4 year-old daughter, and the 80 animals of our sanctuary.
I’ve always felt I came on Earth to serve; I can see no other reason to my existence. Since 2012, I’ve been dedicating my life to an animal sanctuary, a non-profit organization I co-founded with my partner. It is sometimes very hard and we faced a lot of difficulties those last years; becoming a mother at this moment of my life has been (and is still) really challenging. My partner and I have been working for free in our sanctuary for years, and our responsibilities with the animals and my 3.5 years of full-time mothering and breastfeeding have never left room for paid work.
In the heart of my darkest time I realized something really had to change in my life. I decided to look for my soul’s true desire – my own way to serve life. The inspiration to become a doula came to me from deep within my heart and it’s been like a revelation, something that is so obvious to me now that it is becoming a reality.
Two of the most empowering and significant experiences in my life have been my daughter’s free birth in 2014, and supporting a family during and after their daughter’s birth 3 months later – I felt I was exactly at my right place. As a doula, I would be able to offer the best of myself.
I delivered our daughter without assistance (by choice) in our nest, a tiny gypsy wagon, after many hours of labor alone in nature. My amazing partner was the only human present, and we were surrounded by some of our animals : a horse, a donkey, a pig, sheep, goats, dogs, cats…. it looked a bit like a nativity scene!
A few months after my own birth experience I supported a friend through labour and delivery in the comfort of her home. I felt deeply blessed to witness such an undisturbed birth and to be able to observe and learn about the perfect physiology of birth.When I look at most people’s birth experiences within this society’s norms and beliefs, I feel called to share a different vision. It saddens me when I hear women talking about birth as if it was just « a bad time to go through » or when they say their birth has been stolen from them. It doesn’t have to be this way, it shouldn’t be this way ! Doula support can be precious, not only during pregnancy and birth, but also before conception and during the postpartum period. The first weeks after my daughter’s birth, I would have loved so much to get some support while my friends were far away from me; it would definitely have helped me to embrace motherhood and many parenting issues would have been avoided.
Everyone deserves a positive birth experience and caring support, no matter where and how it happens, even if it doesn’t happen the way they were dreaming about.
As a doula, I would like to validate for people that personal strength and informed choice is their own, and to support them even if their preferences do not match my own beliefs about birth. I believe that doulas are here to help people find power within themselves, because ultimately only YOU know and feel what is right; I will take care of my clients and provide a loving cocoon, a safe space where the flow of birth can unfold.
I already have many projects, dreams and inspirations… I plan to have a holistic approach and to use skills and practices such as massage, herbal folk medicine, meditation, rituals, rebozo, nutrition, movement, energetic practices… and I already have a lot of ideas for amazing retreats.
Above all, I feel a strong calling to work with marginalized communities including the ones I am a part of. I am currently educating myself in order to support trans*, gender nonconforming and all LGBTQIA+ parents. My goal is to offer respectful and appropriate support by providing a safe, caring and comprehensive space, as well as bringing more visibility to the community and contributing to educate other birth workers.
I would also like to support people such as refugees, prisoners, teens, disabled persons, sex workers, low/no-income families, people with mental health/mood disorders and individuals living with HIV/AIDS, parents who have faced loss (abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, infant or parent loss) and people experiencing homelessness… and to make doula care accessible for everyone.
Here is my vision for creating change…
…it is present in my mind and dear to my heart, and one I know to be shared with many other like-minded individuals. I’m dreaming about creating change through a kind of sanctuary, which would offer a space for parents (-to-be) to come and spend as much time as they want from pre-conception to after the birth; in the nature, in a beautiful, healthy, loving, supportive environment… A bit like The Farm – but with a more global, diverse and social aspect. It would also provide a shelter for folks who need it: single parents, abuse survivors… and even people who are about to die, as I am also attending a “death doula” training. I imagine community support, holistic care, workshops, gardens, healthy food, healing, music, animals, elders and children, empowered and powerful beings, and so much more! Thanks to bebo mia I am now taking another step towards my dreams.
bebo mia’s mission is to connect women* to their intrinsic value & power. One of the ways we aim to do this is by offering the most comprehensive combined fertility, birth & postpartum doula training! Our team of instructors are diverse, interesting, committed to social justice & super funny.
Collectively we are committed to changing the landscape of birth experiences across the globe.