You've heard of a doula and a midwife and a regular old OB/GYN, but it isn't likely that you've ever sought pregnancy advice from a "glow pilot" before.
Meet Latham Thomas, maternity maven and mom (her son is 9-year-old DJ prodigy Fulano Librizzi) who has built an impressive roster of A-list moms-to-be.
While Thomas is currently on call to help one such client -- actress Tamera Mowry-Housley -- welcome her baby boy, she birthed a new baby of her own -- her first book "Mama Glow: A Hip Guide To Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy."
"For me [pregnancy] wasn't a fearful process; it was joyful and I want to shift the culture around how we perceive birth in this country," Thomas told The Huffington Post. "I think that far too many people are dreading it when they get pregnant and I really want people to get out of that frame of mind and know that they are powerful. All our ancestors have done it so we are just joining a lineage of powerful women that were able to do this."
Drawing from her own pregnancy experience -- "I had a quick natural labor and walked home with my son 6 hours after birth," Thomas said -- Thomas sat down for a chat on how she's bringing her sage (and typically pricey) child-birthing advice to the masses.
You are working with women in various stages in the pregnancy process, can you tell us a little bit about how the book is set up and how you've drawn on your own experiences?
I sort of drew upon my personal experiences and what I thought to be the big pillars of wellness for women. When you're going through a process you want somebody there like a guide or a fairy godmother; I'm like the co-pilot. It's your life that you're navigating; I'm just co-piloting with you. I thought it was important to have a girlfriend kind of connection with the reader and also be able to give anecdotal stories as well as hard facts that they could integrate into their lives.
In "In The Kitchen," I talk a lot about "glow foods," which are really helpful to maintain optimal wellness and to grow your baby. Each section focuses on foods that are appropriate for that stage of your pregnancy. Pre-pregnancy [they] focus on getting your body prepared for your baby, foods that are really cleansing. Postnatally [we're] focusing on foods that are optimal for breastfeeding and making sure the mom gets optimal nutrition.
I think that we don't place enough value on food as our medicine and our kitchen can be our pharmacy.
In the second section, "On The Mat," I really focus on yoga, because whatever exercise you're doing, whether it be biking or spinning or swimming or just working out at the gym, there's yoga in there somewhere. But if you have space in your living room you can just put a mat down -- that's all the space you really need. I like that not only is it a physical practice, there is the mindfulness aspect, with meditation and breathing exercises, as well. In the book I give yoga postures that help prepare the body for the process of carrying the baby, postures that support moving the baby down and getting moms comfortable [during delivery] and being able to be strong enough to the deliver the baby. There is a lot of body strength required to give birth. As your body grows, your ligaments, tendons and everything become very pliant. You want to protect, as well as strengthen, the joints, the connective tissue, the muscles. Yoga can really do that. It's also really helpful in aligning your body correctly as your posture changes.
"In Your Life" is focused on applying self-care principles and styling your life. Too much of the time we spend letting things happen to us because we don't prepare or take time to actually own that it's really your life and it's really your choice how things happen. So I talk about really setting boundaries, journaling, how to prepare for the labor, and getting your sister circle together, which is a circle of friends that helps to support you when the baby's coming -- all these little sort of lifestyle tips that help you to maintain your cool, so you feel like you have things under control. There's also a checklist for people who are type A and want to feel like they're getting stuff done.
That was what I wish somebody had done for me. I wish somebody told me that you really need to make sure you have friends to bring you food or somebody to come watch the baby so you can take a shower; make sure that you get cabbage for when you're breastfeeding because it helps to reduce the engorgement.
In your experience what have you found to be some of the biggest hindrances or hang-ups that keep women from having a successful, abundant pregnancy?
I had a couple of women who are not even in the market for having a baby read the book and what I heard from them was that this is not just about pregnancy, this a journey into empowering yourself, uplifting yourself, really feeling good about who you are. Although none of them were having babies they came out of doing the work in the book feeling even more themselves, even more powerful.
One of the goals of the pre-pregnancy section, "Ready, Set, Glow," is about really dialing into the fact that you have this internal power. You just want to dial it up and you want to get in the zone of "it's all about you."
If we are doing a lot living in big cities, exposing yourself to toxins in the environment, I like women to detox. But we have to allow ourselves to change up our lifestyles, too. It's not just what we are eating, but what we are doing. I ask women to get more rest. One of the things I see with people who are trying to lose weight ... I ask them "When do you go to bed?" and they say "1 or 2." When people start to go to bed [earlier] you would be surprised how much weight they lose. Going to sleep is so underrated.
After they look at the diet and some of their lifestyle things, I have a section called "Weeding Out The Wackiness." Sometimes you just have to change your number ... cleanse your life of certain energies and certain people. Look at your closet in your home. Your home is really a reflection of how you're doing internally. Weed out the clothes that don't make you feel sexy and beautiful ... and make space for new things to come in. If there's a relationship that you're trying to cultivate make space for that love in your life. Cultivating the space in your home is where you're going to draw the energy for a family.
Everybody's carrying so much and this whole section is about how you can let go of all that and not be such a bag lady.
You work with a lot of celebrities like Tamera Mowry-Housley, can you tell me what you're doing with her
Tamera wants to make sure she has a different experience from her sister. Tia went through the opposite of what Tamera wanted -- she had a C-section, she couldn't breastfeed -- so [Tamera] thought "We are twins, oh my god that's going to be me." The thing about pregnancy, whether you're twins or not, is that every one is different and every baby is unique. You're not going to have the same experience as somebody else, even if they are related to you.
The big thing with her is she wanted to have this natural birth an organic pregnancy, eating more plant-based foods, as well as being able to support breastfeeding and being successful at that.
She had a lot of fears, we met up early in the pregnancy and I had to answer so many questions. I had to get her out of that head space of "I don't know if I can do this."
The role of a doula is that we have to be a constant presence of support and be able to liase between the couples and the doctors. We also have to be able to talk women out of thinking they're not capable of things. I came in as Tamera's glow pilot and she was really incredible. There are four or five episodes [of her show] where we work together ... I'll go to LA to work with her and to come to some of her appointments, hook her up with practioners out there, and we talk on Skype when I'm not LA. This is her first baby so the first-time babies sometimes come late ... even though he seemed like he was cooked!
Read and excerpt from "Mama Glow: A Hip Guide To Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy" below.
This excerpt is taken from the book Mama Glow by Latham Thomas. It is published by Hay House (available November 6, 2012) and available at all bookstores or online at: www.hayhouse.com.