The seed for Babes in Sacred Arms was quite literally planted during Gem's mother blessing ceremony in September 2019. As women of all ages gathered to really be with one another, we all felt a deep sense of joy, relief and belonging - this was soul medicine at work, and we needed more of it. During a breathwork journey in the ceremony offered by Hannah, one of our co-creators, Gem was flooded with visions of holding beautiful, sacred spaces where women could regularly gather like this. It built on a longing she'd held in her heart for some years, and she sowed this wish with some wildflower seeds as part of a ritual that day. It took root during the winter as she birthed her son, Leo, and blossomed come the spring as more women heard the call...
I moved to the beautiful Herefordshire countryside in 2016, leaving behind a life in London that no longer fit - a company I'd founded in the luxury sector, a non-stop schedule and party lifestyle, and a chameleon identity I unconsciously hoped would bring me acceptance and happiness. I was in the midst of a journey - breakdown - that turned me inside out as I healed from childhood abuse my being had buried until I felt safe enough for it to unravel.
I spent several years working with an unconditionally loving healer while studying in new perspectives, from quantum physics, neuroscience, epigentics and evolution, to mysticism, meditation, lucid dreaming and plant medicine. I slowed down enough to start observing nature and how her rhythms, cycles and interconnectedness can teach us something about our own. I was inspired by stories, poetry, music and art, and came to understand that it was not 'me' breaking down, but the walls I had built to protect the real me. Although incredibly painful at times, this journey of awakening has been and continues to be a blessing as layer after layer of conditioning, belief and fear falls away, revealing more of my true, free and joyful self.
The definition of success I've long-held as a belief that I need to achieve externally is gradually being replaced with a knowing that I succeed when I internally remember who I am and express that self into the world. When I acknowledge and welcome back the parts of me I've hidden away - the me who gets in a flap, doubts herself, tries to control, takes things personally and behaves spitefully, as well as the me who is full of creative ideas, gets up on her soapbox about the things she cares about, loses herself singing, writing music and dancing, and wants to share her heart with everyone. I succeed when I allow others to see those parts... When I keep opening my heart, even when fear seeks to close it. When I trust that Life always has my back, even if it doesn't feel like it. Success to me now means being able to identify and ask for what I need, say no as much as much as I say yes, forgive myself for being a mistake-making human, accept my pain, express my anger, move toward joy and belly laugh with abandon. This kind of success is, I'm discovering, a work in continual progress!
Walking on this path has revealed my desire to hold hands with others while we walk together, especially my sisters. Obstacles are easier when they're not faced alone and joys are more joyful when shared together. For much of my life I've been afraid of showing all of myself to other women - my rawest self and my shiniest self - as I've experienced feeling cut down and hurt by women. I've behaved the same in return. It's been such a journey to consciously lift women I consider to be more beautiful, intelligent or capable than me, but every time I do, I rise up with them and see beyond my own inner critic. It's been such a journey to feel safe enough to reveal myself to the right women, but every time I do, I feel more accepted, uplifted and empowered. All women need to experience this, and mothers especially, as we in turn have the responsibility of accepting, uplifting and empowering our children.
The journey to motherhood has shown me that our cultural narrative and norms around conception, pregnancy, birth and motherhood need changing. Mothers need revering, as women need empowering. It is my intention through Babes in Sacred Arms to do both, and to include girls in what we create so they know they are part of a sisterhood that champions them and that they have the right to be powerful and revered. I also believe the same change needs to happen for boys, men, fathers and fatherhood, and hope in time to support this and the sacred union between us. I'm currently training to lead women's circles with the Wild Woman Project, and to hold space and ceremonies for women journeying to and from birth as a Sacred Birthkeeper.