Tag Archives: blessing

“Mother is Worthy to be Praised”

This Memorial Day Weekend I went to see Dance Africa at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  As usual, the dances were amazing.  What stood out to me most, though, wasn’t the dancing at all.  Through the clapping, shouting and audience participation, I noticed the stretchmarks on one of the dancer’s bellies.  Things suddenly began to move in slow motion for me, almost like when Maria and Tony see each other at the dance in West Side Story.

I realized that I was watching a mother, and suddently felt some cosmic connection to her.  I began to wonder whether her children were in the audience, how old they were, or if any were possibly sharing the stage.  I wondered how she was able to find time to do something so magnificent with herself while conducting a family.  I wondered whether or not she raised her children, or if they knew how talented their mother is.

At the end of the show I stood in applause. Of course, the round was for all of the dancers, musicians and singers who graced the stage.  There was, however, a special beat in my heart in praise of the woman I had identified as a mother.  I’m sure she wasn’t the only mother on the stage.  In fact, the audienced was sprinkled with mothers holding small – and not so small – children.  If I was surrounded by mothers, what made this one so different?

During a time where it’s almost impossible to watch television for an hour without a cocoa butter or other stretch creme commercial promising to help women either prevent or erase their stretch marks, I found it amazing that this mother proudly bore the marks of her birth(s).  Just as waist beads, hair style, or jewelry denote status and rites of passage for women in traditional African cultures, so, too, do stretch marks. 

Watching this mother’s belly flap to and fro across the stage brought me back to the precious moments immediately following birth where a woman bonds with her baby face to face for the first time, and took me to the moment that I observe in so many women when they realize their bodies have undergone an amazing change; she not only birthed her baby, but she birthed her motherhood as well.  So, I stood and clapped that Monday afternoon in praise of motherhood.

These last few days I’ve been in reflection mode.  In reviewing both business and personal goals, the one thing that keeps coming back is the Yoruba proverb that’s the inspiration for my doula practice:

Oria bi iya ko si, iya la ba ma a bo

There is no Orisha like mother, it is mother who is worthy to be praised.

Praise mothers.  Praise them for the weeks they carry and nurture their children in waiting.  Praise them for the sleepness nights they endure for so many years of their lives.  Praise them for the decisions they make that often leave them holding the shortest stick in the bunch.  Praise mothers, simply because they are worthy to be praised.

Spirituality and Doula Work

A few months ago, I met with a sister doula who was very interested in the “Yoruba” aspect of my business. She asked, “So, what’s Yoruba about your doula work?”  To me, the answer to that question had always been obvious.  It’s not that my doula work is Yoruba, specifically, but that everything that I do is influenced by my spiritual beliefs.

That doesn’t mean that I introduce myself to potential clients as an Oshun initiate and Candomble practitioner; truth is, most people have no idea what that means.  However, the ashé (life-force energy) of Oshun is within me, and those with whom I come into contact benefit from her ashé without effort on my behalf, and without cognizance on theirs. I think the sister doula was looking for more bells and whistles; did I sing and pray during labor, or perform divination for the families.  I don’t proselytize.

On interviews, I do tell prospective clients that I believe that childbirth is a spiritual event, but don’t elaborate unless asked.  It’s absolutely amazing to me that our bodies are so intelligent that they know exactly what to do and when to make it happen while in the womb.  Equally amazing, however, is the fact that as adults we often forget our natural design, and fail to see the divine in each other.

I’ve been a part of conversations with other doulas who wear their religion and spirituality on their sleeves with their clients, whether or not their clients share the same beliefs.  That’s simply not my cup of tea.  My role as a doula is to mother the mother, to provide her with information so she can make informed decisions, and help her navigate her way through the beginning stages of motherhood.  My role is not to minister, although I do offer à la cart spiritual services should clients have an interest.

Tarot Readings

I’ve been using divination through card reading for 15 years.  This service is available to couples, individuals, and their newborn.  My divination practice is unique in that not only will clients find out what is happening around them, but they will be given the tools to keep positive energy close and negative energy at bay. 

Reiki

Reiki is an amazing form of healing that directs our life-force energy by the laying on of hands.  As a certified Reiki Practitioner, both the healing powers of Reiki and the ashé of Oshun are at work when I use Reiki with a client.  Reiki is great preparation for moms leading up to labor; prenatally it can be used to clear any energetic blockages that mom may not even know she has, therefore making for a smoother labor and birthing experience.

House Cleansing/Blessing

House cleansing spiritually removes negativity from your home and replaces it with positive, welcoming energy.  This practice is particularly essential to the family that is laboring or birthing at home.  The cleansing prepares your space to be spiritually welcoming to your new baby.