At Mother Reverence
Sacred Pregnancy, women sit in circles and connect with each other. Some are first-time mothers and some have been mothers for much longer, but regardless of race, religion or experience in motherhood, they gather in the same place every week and they talk about nutrition and body image, sisterhood, fear and forgiveness.
"I believe that I want to support women where they're at on their journey," says Kristin Revere, founder of Mother Reverence and certified Sacred Doula. "So, I don't have any other intentions other than being a support."
Revere has been teaching Sacred Pregnancy classes in the Grand Rapids area since April 2013, but became an officially certified Sacred Doula this summer after a few months of prior training. She also holds a Contemporary Doula International certification and has apprenticed with Crowning Lotus Doula Services
at Cedar Tree Birth & Wellness
in Grand Rapids, among a handful of other training program certifications.
Revere's eight-week classes include maternity portraits, henna, belly dance instruction, art supplies and a "swag bag" for reach participant, with intimate class sizes that never exceed 10 women, Revere says, so everyone has a chance to contribute to discussions and be heard.
"We have a class called 'Honoring' where it's like mini a Blessing Way," Revere says, including a foot bath and henna. "We do a lot of art projects in the classes as a way for them to connect with each other and process everything. I bring in a belly dance instructor during the body image portion and so they bare their bellies together and get used to that body image thing. There are a lot of things that it's nice to have an intimate class for."
Revere says Sacred Doula has a stronger emphasis on the spiritual journey of acceptance and connectivity, a different approach to the more widely practiced DONA Doula training, which she says has a particularly strong following in Michigan and is what you'll typically find at many other Grand Rapids doula services.
"When I go into a birth, I leave all of my own baggage behind on the other side of the door and I'm there just being present and trying to read the room and find out how I can best support the woman in labor and her husband and really work as a team, but at the same time knowing when to step back," she says.
The Sacred Pregnancy Classes are based on the book Sacred Pregnancy by Anni Daulter
, which, shortly after publishing, became a larger national movement with training sessions in pregnancy journey classes as well as birth journey classes.
Pregnancy journey classes are held from 3-5 p.m. on Sundays from Jan. 11 to March 8 at Centre Pointe, located at 1440 Wealthy Street SE and cost $300 per person, with a $50 discount for registering at least 30 days in advance. The four-week birth journey class will begin in March, and costs $200 per couple, with a weekend retreat at $225 per person.
"For me, it's about giving women encouragement and support, about not being divisive but uniting women, because we are all connected and there is a sisterhood that is missing," says Revere. "I feel like if we bring that (sisterhood) back, families are stronger and women have the support they need because sometimes you just can't talk about the things you go through in pregnancy with men in the same way."
For more information on Mother Reverence, visit www.motherreverence.com. To find a doula in Grand Rapids, or learn more about what services are available locally, check out the Grand Rapids Area Doula Network
Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Mother Reverence