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English translation of the preceding article:

 A Wonderful Women’s Group in Greece

I was first introduced to RC, some years ago, by Milena Ruzkova.1 Milena had the habit of giving RC booklets as gifts to people she thought would be touched by them, and a good number of them ended up in the right hands! Through her I met Margie Doyle Papadopoulou,2 from whom I bought more booklets for years. I would give them to friends, mostly parents. 

In spring 2012 we invited Milena to teach a perinatal education course for doulas3 in Athens (Greece). I had strongly urged the trainee doulas in a previous workshop to read the basic RC theory booklets. Milena encouraged us to create a group in which to enhance our services to mothers, their babies, and their entire families by working on our own distresses. 

After the summer, I asked Margie to lead such a group. About twenty-five brave women showed up4 at the first meeting! About twenty women committed to joining the group, not all of them doulas. We were all mothers, many of us with professions relevant to family support (doulas, lactation consultants, educators, healers). All of us were very busy, so we arranged to have group meetings two or three times a month, as well as Co-Counseling sessions in duos or trios. In the first cycle of meetings, which lasted nine months, we covered the fundamentals of RC. In ten more meetings we worked together on our counseling skills. 

The group got closer and more loving with time. We saw tangible changes in each other’s lives. Over the course of the class, many things happened in our lives and we kept dealing with them bravely, and (hopefully!) effectively, with the help of RC. Some of us saw our personal changes reflected in family members without having made any extra effort. Some of us have entirely and with great commitment integrated RC into our everyday lives and are enjoying the results!

During the meetings, a precious new member was added—one of the mothers got pregnant. So we had a chance to learn how to include a baby-in-the-womb in the group and the meetings. 

Being from a Mediterranean culture, we found the no-socializing rule to be a challenge, but now we are more or less on top of it.5 During our last meeting, people expressed serious interest in actively participating in the RC Community, and teaching. 

We were lucky to have a multi-cultural group, with members from Greece, Cyprus, Italy, and the United States. We touched on issues of language, racism, being different, and the position of women in different cultures. During the last autumn of Milena’s life, I was overjoyed to tell her that the group was well on its way (thanks to her) and having marvelous effects on all levels. 

Somewhere in the middle of our group’s “gestation,” I participated in a breastfeeding conference in Xanthi (in northern Greece) in honor of Milena. I had prepared a presentation about Milena some months after her passing. About ten minutes before the beginning of the conference (my presentation was at the beginning), I felt immense grief and was certain I would not be able to deliver even two minutes of my talk before bursting into tears in front of three hundred people. A woman I didn’t know approached me—she had been Milena’s Co-Counselor for ten years—and asked if I wanted to have a session. I hadn’t had one with a stranger before. We sat in the back seats, and I cried big tears for about ten minutes. When the time came for my presentation, I wiped my face and got up and spoke with calmness and with love for Milena. 

I thank our Co-Counseling group from the bottom of my heart. I can’t wait to continue our journey and to see “our baby” grow! 

Included is a photo of our group. (Unfortunately some members are missing.) 

Maria Andreoulaki
Athens, Greece
Translated by Maria Andreoulaki

1 Milena Ruzkova was an RC leader in Xanthi, Thrace, Greece. She died in December 2012.
2 Margie Doyle Papadopoulou is the Area Reference Person for the RC Community in Athens, Greece.
3 A doula is a woman who provides advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth.
4 “Showed up” means appeared.
5 In this context, “on top of it” means able to adhere to it.

Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00