Sunflower Birthing Centers

by Ann Smith and Sara Ann Murray, both Happehatchee Chapter


A Report from a Chapter Meeting

``The future of the Ukrainian people is hidden under the hearts of mothers.``

Editor’s Note: Happehatchee Chapter of the Companions invited all Companions, Discerners and Inquirers to a Zoom sacred circle to meet Diana Morningstar, founder of Sunflower Birthing Centers where Ukrainian women are refugees.


We watch with aching hearts the horrors of war against Ukrainian people.  We weep as we see images of children holding teddy bears as they walk away from their bombed out homes.  People of all ages struggling to get to safety, carrying their children and pets.  The numbers of displaced now reach that of World War II.

“The future of the Ukrainian people is hidden under the hearts of mothers. About 80,000 Ukrainian women are expected to have children in the coming months. In the face of a cruel war, we especially care that as many mothers as possible are surrounded by nurture and love, and that the birth takes place in an atmosphere of peace and respect for women, without violence.”    



The sight of a pregnant woman on a stretcher coming out of the bombed maternity ward in Mariupol brought Diana Morningstar to her knees in deep despair and hopelessness. Diana, a woman of faith with forty years in community organizing, in March called a Zoom sacred circle of women around the world and a spark, a seed, a vision was born.


They began a miraculous whirl of community development and organizing on a Facebook page and Zoom over two months, meeting and developing relationships with birth workers across Poland.


Global birth workers’ groups joined senior midwives at The Midwifery Center in Summertown, TN, close to where Diana lives.  They united and coordinated efforts.


More and more circles of women in Poland, Ukraine and America formed a strong sisterhood of support.  They created a website and brought resources and money.


Teachers, artists, farmers, psychotherapists, activists, women of many faiths and spiritualities have joined Sunflower Birthing Circles. They arrange transportation out of Ukraine to Poland. They find and pay for birthing homes.


Their logo is the sunflower, Ukraine’s national flower, beautiful and resilient.


The Farm Midwifery Center works with the Global Ecovillage Network, which is working across Europe to create home space with Ukrainian refugees.


Diana said, “I want to share this poem I wrote in the agony I felt upon the bombing of the maternity hospital. A note on one word in it:

Satyagraha (Sanskrit: सत्याग्रह; satya: “truth”, āgraha: “insistence” or “holding firmly to”), or “holding firmly to truth,” or “truth force,” is a particular form of nonviolent resistance or civil resistance.



Gestating Peace

we dwell in the possibility

that creation will outpace destruction

that truth will shatter lies

we dwell in the possibility

that remembering “past” will heal the forgetting

and bless the forgotten

opening portals to ancestor wisdom

we dwell in the possibility

that satyagraha, soulforce,

will melt weapons

we dwell in the possibility

that this warming planet will cool

as her passion is seeding

“future” in each surviving heart

I dwell in the possibility

that the bullies of the earth

will pass away

and the liberation of innocence will begin

even if my body is one of the fallen

we dwell in the possibility that

our species join all others

in ecstatic equality

in the body of lover earth

we dwell in the possibility that

the power of love will

overcome the love of power

on earth as it is in heaven

we dwell in the possibility that

the kindness we see in each one’s eyes

here, now, be multiplied a thousandfold

in you, and you, and you.

as we become the light of the world.

we are pregnant with possibility

encircled by midwives

waiting, breathing, weeping, singing,

pushing NOW, birthing the new story.


Diana’s story and the stories she shared of starting the Sunflower Birthing Center filled our hearts with a glimmer of hope in the carnage of war.


“Are you a midwife?” Companion Diane Dunn asked after a pregnant pause.


“Yes, but of a different sort. I am a midwife of shelter and radical hospitality. Women need safe housing. I am a supporter of The School of Traditional Midwifery in Tennessee.” Diana explained that the school has midwives, doulas, advocates and resources.  Midwives in Poland are coordinating and uniting efforts.


Each one of us closed the circle by giving a word of how this experience was for us:

  • active compassion
  • bless the doulas
  • gratitude
  • love
  • hope
  • joy
  • perseverance
  • dream possibilities
  • enthusiasm for Sunflower Birthing Center


Happehatchee Chapter gave a donation to support their peace-filled work.


Stay tuned for a future Zoom sacred circle with Diana and Nadia Drumashko, a doula from Ukraine working in Poland, with victories of life stories to tell.


Image: The logo of Sunflower Birthing Centers has golden doves of peace as petals of a sunflower. Lynn Adams played with that, overlaying it on another sunflower image representing Ukraine’s people.