REVEAL Your Soul
REVEALers Reclaming Their Bodies as Sacred:
The Mama Glo Girl
By Latham Thomas
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The word doula is Greek for woman servant. While working with the pregnant teenagers at St. E’s, I joined the nascent doula movement that had just begun to build momentum out west. I went through training as a doula and learned about the miraculous feats of the female body to accomplish something as profound and essential as birth.
I was disturbed not only with the inability for the teenagers to consider their bodies sacred but also that a happening as sacrosanct as birth was viewed with disgust and fear.
A doula’s main work is to be the advocate and voice of the birthing mother throughout the delivery. Most women go into an essential place of pure experience during labor and find it arduous to answer the most simple questions because their entire concentration, their entire being is called within them to focus on the singular effort of getting their child from out of their body safely into the world.
I have deep gratitude for allopathic medicine. In the 1800s, 40% of childbearing women died during or shortly after labor. By the 1900s a radical shift had already taken place because of the medical establishment, maternal death rates dropped to around 1 per 100 for live births. And today, in the United States, there are an estimated 17 per 100,000 maternal deaths reported annually. So much gain has been made throughout the years to save women’s lives because of traditional medicine.
What the doula movement began to give voice to though was the profound shift that has also happened away from trusting women’s bodies, trusting their innate wisdom during birth and allowing them or empowering them to be active participants in their own labors.
The spiritual experience of birth- the potential it has to awaken a woman to her own power or to return her fully to her body- had been crowded out of the birth experience.
A potential pathway to REVEALing your body as sacred rests in the capacity for you to reclaim your birth experience as an event that happens through you rather than to you.
There are many organizations and services that can assist you as you find ways for your birth experience to be entirely your own and to be an empowering, even potentially, life-altering encounter with the sacred.
Choices in Childbirth, for example, is a non-profit organization that strives to improve maternity care by helping women make informed decisions about where, how and with whom to birth. Through education, outreach and advocacy, they provide information to the public about women’s rights and options in birth.
They also provide a Healthy Birth Guide that lists all of the providers that can assist you to have a healthy, empowered, and more informed birth experience in your area.
Reclaiming birth as sacred is also something that the doula movement has sought to provide. A doula can tend to a woman’s spiritual needs throughout the labor even if the birth becomes highly medicalized.
Latham Thomas is a certified doula, pre-natal yoga instructor, maternal lifestyle expert, and the founder of Tender Shoots Wellness & the Mama Glow Film Festival. Latham is transforming pregnancy and the birth experience for women in New York City into a spiritual, empowering, and life-altering event.
Rebecca Minkoff, stylist and fashionista, contacted Tender Shoots Wellness in preparation for her Fashion Week appearances while six months pregnant. Latham not only provided tips for her physical wellness but also great techniques for stress management. She gave Rebecca an in-home pre-natal aromatherapy massage and brought over enriching and relaxing herbal tea concoctions. Rebecca’s comments about Latham’s support; “She had me at hello,” and “This woman is a saint!”
For Latham, her own experience with childbirth was an intense opportunity for her to fully trust, listen, and truly honor the power of her body for the first time in her life.
Latham reclaimed birth as a rite of passage. It became a lodestar event in her life so much so that after the birth of her son she began to assist other women along their journey in pregnancy and labor to ensure that they have the chance to experience the power and sacredness possible in childbirth.
While laboring, she held on to the truth that her body and mind would create the antidote to the overwhelming sensations she was feeling and lead her to baby bliss. Her body contained, as Latham describes it, “a virtual pharmacy of powerful hormones and neurotransmitters that created a potent cocktail.” This cocktail of natural painkillers allowed her to go through the process without the use of an epidural or narcotic drugs.
Evidence based research shows that women supporting women during childbirth is the best way to have a healthy, happy, birth for mom and baby. It decreases interventions and leads to an overall more safe and satisfying experience.
The presence of another woman whether she is a doula, a sister, or a beloved friend, can help you stay present through whatever pain or fear may surface. She may keep you cool with cold lavender scented washcloths if you start to overheat. She may give you foot rubs to calm your nerves, or well-timed suggestions about positions to try to ease you through this physical, spiritual, and emotional journey.
All of this assistance is crucial. But the most powerful aspect a woman at your side during birth can give you is the reminder for you to hear and to trust your own body’s wisdom. She can mirror to you when you’ve lost your way in the pain or in the fear, that you contain every answer you need to know how to deliver your baby safely.
Or if all unfolds unexpectedly, as birth almost always does, she is there to remind you and to empower you to make each of the choices about your body and your baby from the depths of your love and not from a place of fear. With love, there are no regrets.
Honoring your body as sacred through birth does not mean going without pain medicine, or needing to birth your baby at home. It simply means having your birth- whatever that looks like. Claiming it as your own experience. This is a potential way to return to your body more fully and to naturally reclaim the sacredness of being female.
Whether you ever plan to have children or not, as a collective, supporting women’s awareness and education to reclaim their bodies during birth will help to restore the honor and warrior-goddess-status all women deserve for being the sex that dares to bring new life through them.
For more information visit Latham's web site at www.mamaglow.com .
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REVEAL spiritually empowers women to lead from the soul-voice inside them. When women claim the authentic voice of their soul, they are empowered to change themselves and the world around them. Feminine spirituality recognizes the body as sacred, encourages us to go within to connect to the unconditional love and wisdom we each contain, and inspires us to become soul-led agents of change. REVEAL creates transformational events for women to experience the fiery and fierce voices of the next generation of feminine spirituality. REVEAL is an unprecedented chance to come together with other soul-led women of all ages to be inspired to follow the courageous and audacious voice of your soul.