by Nancy Bettis
In October 2013, I travelled to Honduras to volunteer as a birthing partner for the organisation Dar A Luz which is run by Sylvia Bahr. Whilst there I witnessed her devotion and the incredible support she gives to the women of La Ceiba (and other locations in Honduras). Sylvia selflessly dedicates her own time to supporting and equally importantly educating women and teenagers of La Ceiba teaching them what to expect in pregnancy and child birth. Her work is invaluable and I was humbled to spend time in her presence. Sylvia also runs workshops for doctors and midwives. Above other topics one important is teaching them how a more compassionate, supportive, inclusive, and less invasive approach to childbirth maybe more effective all round and benefit women more, making their labour and child birth a more rewarding, less frightening experience.
I spent time in the city hospital, and was honoured to support several women through their labour and birth process. They were overwhelming experiences but ones which filled me with great joy. The hospital is very basic and the staff sometimes is overwelmed. Sometimes there is a lack of compassion for these vulnerable women. Sylvia encourages volunteers to support the women in a variety of ways; breathing, moving, words of encouragement, thus trying to improve their birthing experience. The staff were a little wary at first but with Sylvia’s support I was able to move around freely amongst them.
Sylvia, I salute you. I wish I had one ounce of your courage, you are my inspiration.