About Labyrinth Doula

My name is Alessandra Sarelin. I’m committed to serve you during your transformation from daughter to mother, from son to father. I’m a certified birth doula (Doulakka), EFT practitioner, Dancing for Birth™ instructor, mother and women’s circle facilitator. My own initiation into motherhood happened in 2008 and I answered the call to serve as a doula a couple of years later when I took my first doula training and then attended my first birth a bright summer’s night in 2011.

Alessandra SarelinMy story

Becoming a mother and doula has not been a straightforward process for me. When I became pregnant for the first time as 19 years old, living abroad, I decided to abort the pregnancy. That was a painful experience and I wish I’d had a doula with me. When I became pregnant again, 12 years later, I went through both fear and joyful anticipation. I prepared both physically and mentally for the birth, but not for motherhood. The transformation to motherhood scared me more than the birth, altough it was unconscious to me at the time.

Eleven days before the birth I was in a car accident. My car literally hanged on a rising bridge, seven meters up in the air. I managed to get out just before the car crashed into the asphalt. It could have been a huge wake-up call – a reminder that I needed to open my eyes to the ambiguity I was experiencing – but I continued to ”think positive” and ignore my own shadow.

I wanted to give birth in a small maternity ward in the town I was born. Since we didn’t have a car I moved to my mother’s place. When my husband joined me after his work week, labour started with my waters breaking. It was 3 am but I couldn’t sleep any longer. I got up and baked a birthday cake. In the morning we went to the maternity ward and I laboured all day. In the evening I felt exhausted, desperate, thinking the baby will never be born. I watched out through the window and saw a black bird in the green grass. The bird gave me hope and courage to keep going.

tigerI used all my power to push our daughter out.  What gave me hope and strength was feeling my baby’s head under my fingers, hy husband’s love and my doula’s hands holding mine. Finally she was there on my belly – 12 years after my NO. I held her but my whole body was shaking so much I was afraid to drop her.

After breastfeeding and the usual routines we could move into the family room, all three of us. There she was between us as I was moving into another world, more and more absent. I was bleeding heavily all night and my husband called the midwife several times. In the morning everything happened very fast: doctors and nurses moved me to another part of the hospital as I urgently needed a blood transfusion. I had lost half my blood.

What saddens me is that I missed the first 24 hours with my daughter. This is a huge pain in my heart. It was only when I had a Birth Story Healing session with Pam England over Skype that I started to see my story in a different light. I transformed my story from a victim story to a heroine’s journey. Inspired by Pam I started to make art: I painted myself as a mother, I pained my birth landscape.

Today I view my birth as a deep initiation. I birthed myself as Mother. Since I had not integrated the abortion, not owned the wound that it created, the transformation from daughter to mother took place on an unconscious level. Since all my ambivalent feelings towards becoming a mother were unconscious I went through the process with blind eyes. Motherhood demanded, in my case, a radical awakening and my life-threathening birth was a start to that process.

So here I am. My daughter is six years and I’m ready for the next step. I’ve used these years to study different aspects of childbirth and the transformation to motherhood. I’ve become a certified birth doula and a Dancing for Birth instructor and I’m about to finish my postpartum doula certification with DONA. I’ve fulfilled my vision to offer Creative Birth Preparation and Power Circles for New Mothers. After having completed my PhD study (in 2012) on the transformative potential of human rights in development, I had the chance to study the position and rights of women in maternity care today and historically. I started to see the big picture and the collective aspects of my own story. At the same time I was going through my own process whether I wanted to have a second child. It took a few years before I landed on a wholehearted YES. We tried but I didn’t conceive.

I have accepted that I’m a prefessional woman who likes mothering one child. I have not been able to live up to all my ideals but I have succeeded in one thing: to turn my deepest wound into my strongest medicine. I can be fully present for You when You give birth in Your unique way. I have composted, owned and embodied my own story.

I’m here to make your process different – more concious. During these years I’ve collected practices that I know work before, during and after birth. These practices increase awareness and presence and can give you insights that help you see clearly, make the right decisions and birth with the power of love.

I can help you if:

– You have had a traumatic birth and/or abortion and you would like a different experience this time.

– You are pregnant for the first time and committed to using time and resouces to have a birth free from unnecessary suffering – in the way You define it. On a scale from 1-10 you are between 8-10 when I ask you how important it if for you to have a positive beginning for yourself and your baby.

I can refer you to clients who can tell you about the value I’ve provided them with. Please contact me for a free session of 30 minutes.

Education and experience:

  • Doctor of social sciences (PhD earned in 2012). Post-doc research on human rights aspects of childbirth 2012-2014.

Doula training

  • Doulakka’s birth doula certification 250 hours (2012-2014);
  • DONA postpartum doula training 27 hours (2014).
  • ‘Synnytyslaulua’ (vocalization) for doulas with Hilkka-Liisa Vuori (2011);
  • Aktiivinen synnytys’ doula course (2010).

Other relevant training:

  • Penny Simkin seminar 24-25 April 2015, Helsinki;
  • Birth Story Distance Cours Part 1 and 2 with Birthing from Within, (February-April 2015);
  • EFT-practioner training, (Oct 2014-Feb 2015);
  • Acupressure training with Anu Lampinen (2014); Seminar “Heart and hands” with Elizabeth Davis (2013);
  • Dancing for birth™ instructor’s training with Stephanie Larsson (Stockholm 2012);
  • Birth Art Process online course (Birthing from Within, 2010);
  • Breastfeeding support: 30 hours with Imetyksen tuki ry (2012).
  • Participation in the Conference on Human Rights in Childbirth the Haag in 2012, with speakers such as Ina May Gaskin and Michel Odent.
  • Women’s Temple Group Leadership Training with Awakening Women Institute 2014 (6 days).

Experience of supporting the birth process at home and in the hospital, together with a partner or when no partner is there, unmedicated labours, medicated labours, hypnobirths, breech birth, induced birth, c-section birth.

Articles & talks

  • ”Suojeleeko synnytyssuunnitelma synnyttäjän oikeuksia?”, Kätilölehti 1/2015.
  • ”Tanssi itsesi rennoksi”, KaksPlus 1-2/2014
  • ”Passionerat födande”, Astra 4/2014.
  • ”Modernisation of Maternity Care in Malawi”, Nordic Journal of Human Rights, 4/2014.
  • Speaker at Home Birth Seminar in Helsinki in 2012 and 2013.