Be grateful for every pain because it brings joy afterward

I am currently training in a weekly intense course to become an active birth teacher with the amazing Janet Balaskas herself and the wholehearted team she has surrounded herself with (I fell in love with every single one of them at first sight, Dominique, Jill, Lola ❤️).

Whilst studying the amazing power that nature programs into a natural birth, I have been wanting to call my mum today and ask her more specific questions around my own birth with a totally new curiosity and open mind.

We have always had a difficult relationship but I was just starting to remember how many times I heard her telling me how horrible the midwives had been to her, how lost and exhausted she felt after such a rushed delivery (by the doctors) where her body did not have the time to make the slow work of opening up to giving birth.

When I spoke to her today, she explained to me how in northern Italy in the early 80es, babies were not allowed to stay with their mothers: after a short encounter with their mothers following birth, they were only brought to them at feeding time (mainly formula in a bottle) and how they had to stay together amongst other crying babies the rest of the time in a so called ‘nursery’.

How inhuman is that, I question myself today with my gained knowledge? A mother working so hard to deliver her bundle of joy in a medicalised environment, full of procedures totally contrary to nature at the time, making birth the horrible experience it does not need to be, and after all of this not even being allowed to stay with their babies uninterruptedly?

And what does the start of my life says about me? My mother had to stay in hospital for 6 days after birth as she had had a serious ematoma and bleeding to recover from. So I had 6 days of (as she described me so well) crying at the top of my lungs, red and upset until I would be with my mum for a quick feed and then start again when being taken away from her…

For a long time in my personal journey I have been at first unhealthily blaming myself for my constant anger and more lately (with recent healing) questioning where does it come from. Why am I always so easily outbursting with my frustration demanding my needs to be met or my boundaries respected?

No surprise I react this way so easily, if this was the beginning of life as I have known it since being only a few hours old, being deprived of what was my right: the constant reassuring smell and the touch of the human being I had been living within until then.

I can only be grateful today for what happened to me then. I would not be the woman I am today, fighting for a fairer society, for every single right that is mine, even with the many defeats I encounter. And I am grateful for the delivery I lived with my daughter’s birth, following Active birth ideas and tools from a course I attended myself 4 years ago, just before she was born.

Tomorrow it’s her 4th birthday, she was born at home, in the safety of her parents arms, no external intrusion whatsoever and never even went to the hospital afterwards as the delivery had gone so well, there were no concerns to justifying leaving our home.

She is now the new generation who will expect the same treatment for her own delivery and baby. My mother and my own sufferance have empowered her to demand what is her right in life, around birth and anything else she wants, to be happy and successful.

Happy birth day to you my girl, to me your mother and to my mother, your grand mother, because the day you were born 4 years ago tomorrow morning, our generational chain of a nonsense inhuman start in life was broken.

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The end of a good day (E-mail to a CODA fellow)

Dear friend,

Today was my first day alone with the kids and my in laws who are visiting us, whilst my husband had to work all day.

I had a very good day, despite my deepest fears shared with you last week.

I believe everyone had a great time actually, one of those days when you feel that some people’s happiness is not at the expense of others (often mine, as for when I remained silently in hurt and deep pain during my birthday weekend in Bath for everyone else to enjoy their time, you know about that too).

My needs were met: I went to an amazing new Aeriel Yoga class at lunch time on my own for 1 hour and I also took the whole family to Horniman museum and gardens in the afternoon, a place that my husband, the kids and I really enjoy during our spare time.

I also think I met other people’s needs with little compromises, for instance when I invited my young sister in law to stay at mine for dinner with her boyfriend as I had sensed they did not really want to leave us after the afternoon together. I had 6 portions of chicken for my 2 kids, my 2 in laws and the young couple and I cooked myself instead one of my favourite dishes, fried eggs with toasted bread.

Everything that I have done, I have done it wholeheartedly for myself and others and because I wanted to. I have not forced myself nor anyone forced me to do it. I also did not do it to gain more love, more esteem, more gratitude, to be right, to show with superiority how one should host, to expect anything in return when I will be the guest of my in laws or when I will need babysitting from my sister in law.

Despite today went well, I have no expectations of tomorrow to be that good neither, nor for the rest of the holidays: I take the present as a gift and I feel lucky enough that my needs were met today and, as it seemed, everyone else’s needs too.

Tonight I feel so emotional to realise how much I have grown, how strong and mature I behaved and sad at the same time that my husband was not there to live this day with us, after the argument we had with his parents trying to put a boundary they did not appreciate (about their visit here and the fact that they increased from 5 to 9 nights at our flat without asking us if it was OK).

Before I go to sleep early to end my lovely long day, my thoughts goes to you my friend, as I truly think a lot of what happened today was a result of the chat we had last Saturday morning in my out reach call, and could not have really happened especially without your questions ‘What do you want from this time together? How can you turn this weekend alone with them into a win-win situation?’, the rephrasing ‘It’s probably not true that you don’t count anything for your in laws, could it be that you tell yourself instead you don’t count much for your in laws’ and your advice ‘to drag myself back at the centre of the picture’.

I am so grateful for your friendship my CODA fellow, and the kind wisdom you showed me on both occasions lately when I phoned you in great despair. I hope you will have as a peaceful and inspiring Sunday as my day was today,

good night for now,

Trilingual

Remembrance day

You are in every single tear, in every single breath of mine, you are the wind in my hair, the rain on my face, a leaf on a stream, a butterfly on a flower…

You will have never known newspapers headlines with pictures of Syrian kids' little bodies on a beach, the Bataclan massacre, Brexit and Trump USA president, gay people mass murdered in Orlando or tortured in Cecenia…

I hold the phone where your number is still saved, from which I won't be able to call you anymore; my mother sits in the evenings at the same caffe where you won't join her anymore.

Are you really gone forever? Or are you just hiding in a Tibetan monastery meditating and contemplating nature's beauty, far away from the pettiness of the human beings that you despised so much?

Wherever you are, we terribly miss you and we hope you may rest in peace

The traveling bug (a political status)

When did I contracted this unusual disease, I am not quite sure…

Born in the north of Italy by a Sicilian father and a French mother, my first long trip was in my mother’s womb. In the summer of 1982 (like they had done the previous years when I was not even in their thoughts), they travelled in a small Fiat 500 from Veneto region up to Brittany, my mother’s home place, scared of nothing and no one. Since then they would drive at least 1600 km every summer to spend the holidays with my mum’s family in France, whilst they lived the whole year in Italy. Since my father’s family is from the very south of Italy instead, it was at Christmas time (every other year or so) that we would take a night train to cross the whole peninsula and then the boat to arrive on my father’s land to celebrate the new year.

When I was about 2 or 3 years old, they moved down to Tuscany were I grew up for the rest of my childhood. It is quite renown that most young Italians of my generation live with their parents until the age of 30 (and more). So if you consider that I instead moved to the UK (where I knew absolutely no one) the day after my 23rd birthday, holding my life in my hands and impatient to turn the pages of this amazing adventure book that I still consider my existence even up to nowadays, everything makes perfect sense: more traveling, a wider choice of languages for my kids, an extended internationalization for the new family I was building up in this country with my partner in traveling.

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When Mother’s Day becomes more of a personal turmoil that makes you grow out of difficulty

E ancora una volta il mio feed di Facebook si intasa di status relativi alla festa della mamma, leggo di come le mie coetanee trentenni apprezzino il sostegno e la comprensione delle loro madri, di come non saprebbero fare a meno di loro…

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Why boarding schools should be abolished

My son and I are currently reading together ‘The Midnight gang’ by David Walliams. I found the book in Tesco the other day for £5 only and since at the moment he is loving ‘The World’s worst children’ by the same author and I can see how this encourages him to read on his own if he wants to continue the story when I leave his bedroom at night, I had no hesitation to add it in my shopping basket even if at first I had had no intention to buy him a new book that day. The strawberries and bread I had purchased that day would make him stronger and taller but there is nothing like a good book to feed a soul!

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When terrorists obtain the opposite of their cause, the spreading of love

We are brainwashed about horror every day on TV, social media, newspapers. A bomb killing hundreds of civilians does not make any more effect on us, chemical weapons used on kids don’t mean anything to our lives, we don’t interrupt our routine if gay people are tortured and killed in mass not far from our borders. Even when we get the odd terrorist attack on our lands, we have plenty of sharing to do on Facebook about our indignation or the immense sadness that is a young child being killed at a concert, but the ugly truth is that deep down we don’t really care about that either…

It is only when we know of the details, it’s when we realize we knew one of the victims very well, someone who lead the same existence as we do to the point it could have been us instead of them in those tragic circumstances, that we finally get properly the proportion of the facts we are hearing. The real terror, the nightmares, the incommensurate sense of each and everyone life’s meaning suddenly kicks into our flash, not only within our cold logical thinking as it’s been doing until now. At least that’s what happened to me in the last 24 hours.

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