"But all we have left of this today is the little tatter called a 'baby shower,' where all the birthing jokes, mother gifts, and genitalia stories are squeezed into a two hours' time, no longer available to the woman throughout her entire lifetime as their mother.... In most parts of the industrialized countries today, the young mother broods, births, and benefit her offspring all by herself. It is a tragedy of enormous proportions. Because many women were born to fragile mothers, child-mothers, and unmothered mothers, they may themselves possess a similar internal style of 'selfmothering'."
-Women Who Run With Wolves
This past Sunday I attended my dear friend Lauren's baby shower, which didn't involve any relay games or birthing jokes. (Lauren is a fellow yogi of color who teaches Kemetic yoga at Green Tree Yoga in South LA, but is currently on maternity leave. I met her on my recent Vipassana silent meditation retreat; she was already nine months pregnant!) Her parents-in-law brought their djembes as we called in our ancestors for guidance. Her feet were bathed in rose water and flower petals dropped by each of the women cocooning her like a lotus blossom. We offered words of prayer and blessings spoken from our intuition, each blessed it on a bead and sewed it together as a waist chain that would wrap around her body until the child's arrival. Circling us were the men. From where they stood, they shared words of wisdom for the father-to-be, Wo'se, reminding him of his responsibility to cradle both the baby and his wife, but to also allow her the space to rest as needed; she will need all the strength and relaxation to recover. While he may have personal ambitions, the next seven years of his life must belong to his child's. It would be up to the men to hold him accountable to that, and for the women to remind our sister she is not alone in her own process of rebirth from daughter to motherhood.
I felt I had been here before, that I was a part of this tribe not that many lifetimes ago. Perhaps it was all of my past lives before this one. Rituals of birth being brought back, where our commitment as villages move beyond one-day celebrations full of material gifts to welcome a baby into this third dimensional realm, where mothers are often left to raise the child alone. As a reminder that this was also the beginning of a new journey for all of us, we were gifted with candles to light the moment the child was ready to emerge from his mother's womb, praying that the at-home birth will be filled with joy and ease.
I left, candle in hand, feeling affirmed where intuition has taken me. It is as if we are all finding each other one by one, reincarnations of old ancestors arriving to fix new wounds.
When in doubt of your direction, especially when it starts to become informed by everyone else's trajectory of how it is they choose to live and celebrate life, I invite you to repeat this mantra:
"That is not your path; all is aligned."
And I promise, those you are seeking have also been seeking you.
There will be the first-ever Doulas of Color Training here in Long Beach, organized by Mama Maiz and Sol and Roots Doula. I will be co-facilitating a workshop on Thai herbalism, Rasidaton (Thai Yoga Massage), and my recent experience learning womblifting in Thailand. During my recent trip, I dreamed that a space like this would manifest, and I'm so grateful that other sisters in the community were thinking the same. This training happens to be on my BIRTHday weekend (June 9-11), where I will be transitioning out of my 20s for the big 3-0, and all I want is to see a healer on every block. Best of all, this workshop will be led in partnership with my mother - who will bring her lived experience of growing up with traditional healing in Thailand and being a registered nurse in the United States.
Documentary teaser of Mulheres da Terra, created by Mayara Boaretto Rocha, who I met studying traditional birthwork in Thailand. (She is currently studying to be a midwife in her home country of San Paolo Brazil, and is traveling all over the world to collect stories from indigenous midwives and doulas.)