Excerpted from Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy by Latham Thomas, published by Hay House.
Chapter 8: In Your Life
I’d like to take a moment to speak about the use of words. In studying sacred anatomy and Hindu texts I came across a beautiful word to describe the female genitalia: yoni . The word yoni describes the downward-pointing triangle that symbolizes the womb. It speaks to the sacredness of this part of the body. Each letter of the word in Sanskrit has an esoteric meaning defining the innermost content of the word itself (while the word is pronounced yo-nee, the Sanskrit word is written as yoin ):
Y: The animating principle, the heart, the true self, union
O: Preservation, brightness
I: Love, desire, consciousness, to shine, to pervade pain and sorrow
N: Lotus, motherhood, menstrual cycle, nakedness, emptiness, pearl
The female sacred anatomy is a multifunctional and integrated system de- signed to make babies and to experience pleasure and attachment. The words we use have powerful meaning, so we should feel good about them. The word vagina comes from Latin, meaning “sheath,” as to a sword. In other words, a container for a man’s “sword,” or penis. It’s not exactly empowering language to use to describe these sacred organs! Many women lack connection with their body parts, referring to their most intimate parts as “down there.” We expect our sexual partners to know exactly how to navigate our intimate topography, and yet oftentimes we don’t have a sense of what pleasures us. How can you feel good about birth when you’re not relating to your own sacred anatomy? This disconnected behavior reflects a warped cultural view of the female body. We’ve had a lot of negative conditioning about our body parts, which stretches far beyond the scope of this book. But we are here to invoke the divine within our bodies. We have to remember that we are holy. Nothing is more sacred than the creative process. Passive engagement with our bodies means we are not living to our fullest pleasure potential. We must not only respect but also reclaim our bodies.
Take out your journal and answer the following questions:
- How have I been passive with my body parts? How can I engage better?
- What language am I using around birth and my body?
- In reshaping my views about my body, what are some new affirmations?
Ode to My Belly and Thighs
Pregnancy is an opportunity to finally address any neuroses we have about our bodies. We are constantly hearing through cultural messaging that we are not enough. We reaffirm that messaging every day when we roll our eyes at the circumference of our thighs and suck in our bellies to fit into skinny jeans.
I admire my dear friend Doutzen Kroes, a Victoria’s Secret supermodel and new haute mama, for her commitment to living the Mama Glow lifestyle and not perpetuating the negative view of the female body. At a conference for the CFDA, a fashion institution, Doutzen publicly spoke out against the ultra-small sample sizes that are the industry standard. An avid yogini who loves boxing, jump rope, and green juice, Doutzen enjoys working out and eating well to stay healthy. Everybody is demanding the models fit into a 33-inch-hip sample size. As a reference point, a teenage boy has a 32-inch hip! Do we really want to celebrate an ideal of young women that look like prepubescent boys? Doutzen remains one of the highest-paid supermodels in the industry and with the birth of her new baby boy she snapped right back into shape in a healthy way through rest, good diet, and breastfeeding. “I love my body and I made the choice to be healthy. And I have joy in what I do because I’m not hungry all the time.” Doutzen is a Mama Glow Icon not only because she embodies the lifestyle principles but also because she stands fiercely for what she believes and is living her life on her own terms.
Take out your journal for some more writing. I’d like you to go deep within and answer the following questions:
Now take a few minutes and write a poem to your belly, thighs, hips, or whatever body part needs your tenderness the most. Title it: Ode to My _____________________________.
- What cultural legacy was I born into, and what are its views about women?
- How have I shamed my body in the past?
- What empowering language can I use to describe my body parts?
- In what ways have I grown more comfort- able with my body?
Feeling secure and confident in your body is an ongoing process. During this first trimester, we are all coming to a place of healing in our lives.
Here are some affirmations for self-love:
- Today, I honor my body. I love myself, and I treat myself with respect.
- I listen only to my own inner wisdom and let it guide my every thought and action.
- Today I celebrate my belly, hips, and thighs as a reminder of my divine femininity.
To really operate from a place of total power you have to embody your divinity, your holy glow. Harness that inner power. Not only is it your birthright, honey, it’s your responsibility. Next stop: Second Trimester. You’re a third of the way there! As your glow pilot, I want you to know that we’re moving into the glow zone, and pretty soon you’ll be riding on cruise control.
Glow Tips for Self Love
Rebecca Walker, writer, luminary, mother, and author of Baby Love and Black Cool, is a Mama Glow Icon because she embraces her body and celebrates her miraculous curves. Rebecca has two practical glow tips for loving your changing body during pregnancy.
- Love Gaze. Sit in front of a mirror without clothes on and take a good look at your body’s every contour. Send love and acceptance to your reflection. Take your favorite oil or lotion and lather your body.
- Be Photographed. Whether by your partner or a professional, allow yourself to embrace your sensuality, suppleness, and femininity. Enjoy this glorious time.
Latham Thomas is a maternity lifestyle maven, wellness & birth coach, and yoga teacher on the vanguard of transforming the maternal & women's wellness movement. A graduate of Columbia University & The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Latham is the founder of Mama Glow a holistic lifestyle hub for women to explore their creative edge through wellbeing. Her practice provides support to pre/postnatal women along their journey to motherhood offering culinary and nutritional services, yoga, and birth coaching services. She is co-founder of the Mama Glow Film Festival- a platform for maternal advocacy through film and philanthropy. Latham recently launched the Mama Glow Salon Series- a platform for birthing conversations around cocktails, panels, and discussions. Bridging the gap between optimal wellness, spiritual growth, and radical self care Latham Thomas is emerging as the go-to-guru for modern holistic lifestyle for women during pregnancy and beyond! Latham is a recurring guest on the Style Network hit show Tia and Tamera where she guides Tamera through a healthy pregnancy. A sought after nutrition and lifestyle expert, her television appearances include The Dr. Oz Show, Fox News LIVE, CBS News, ABC Eyewitness News, NBC-LXTV, and Inside Edition. She has been featured in the New York Daily News, New York Post, Time Out New York, Vogue.com, Whole Living, Essence Magazine, the cover of Experience Life Magazine, and VegNews Magazine. Latham contributes to: Positively Positive, The Daily Love, Huffington Post, Crazy Sexy Life, Mind Body Green, and New York Family online. She lives in New York City with her son Fulano and their turtle Climby. Latham will publish her first book - Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy , foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. in November of 2012 with Hay House. Latham is helping to green the planet one belly at a time.