"Mama Mayowa was the right person for us during the engagement stage of our relationship. She provided pre-marital counseling for my now husband and I. During our counseling sessions, Mama Mayowa provided us with a toolbox full of tools to help us in our marriage, the tools we still use today."
"Mama Mayowa performed our beautiful wedding ceremony. We thought it was only right seeing that she provided our pre-marital counseling and knew first hand the growth within our relationship. She performed the seven elements ceremony. This ceremony was so powerful that people are still talking about it a year later. Mama Mayowa will forever have a special place in our hearts and we would recommend her to newly engaged couples like were who needed the tools for the beautiful chapter called marriage."
"Rev. Dr. Mayowa Reynolds (affectionately know as Mama Mayowa) provided a safe space for Jay and I to broach subjects that would have not surfaced during our one on one discussions. The seven sessions and the reading assignments provided an opportunity to reflect on what was really important. Mama Mayowa guided us in a way to have meaningful (actively listening) in the moment conversations that were designed to be judgement free and non-confrontational. My husband's love language is not communication, but our sessions helped me to hear those those things that he viewed as important and to hear his opinions. I don't believe would have been brought out in our own 1 on 1 discussions. To sum it up in a sentence.....She taught us that love doesn't keep score and don't sweat the small stuff! I am because we are, and because we are, I am!”
2017 was a very challenging and beautiful year for me. My Grandmother became my ancestor in January, just days before I felt my daughter move within me. I was grieving a tremendous physical loss. I was anxious thinking about health care in an oppressive capitalist system. I was anxious thinking about how to provide for this child, how to protect this child, how to make sure this child felt full of hope and love while also being nervous about what was to come in American politics. But, I was also excited to carry such a her. I knew I carried HER.
I dreamt of a full moon, the biggest and most majestic moon I’d ever seen when I found out about Zaheera. I knew I was carrying a divine feminine energy that was purging and purifying me, calling me to heal, to fill up, to do the work of my ancestors. I was carrying a being with a might energy. I knew I needed a team of mighty women to help me to do my work and to bring her forth. I knew I needed Mama Mayowa.
I was honestly nervous about asking Mama Mayowa to be my doula. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know the protocol (if there was any). One of the things my daughter taught me in utero and continues to teach me is, the power of self-advocacy. I mustered up the courage to ask her to support me in the greatest thing I’ve ever done. She agreed. But, she didn’t just show up when I was in labor. She supported me in a number of ways before the breaking of waters.
Mama Mayowa’s young women’s class was empowering, healing, and helped me to practice self-love on a deeper level. I didn’t realize how unworthy I felt at times, how unworthy I treated myself. I didn’t know how to fully accept being full of value, free of judgment. My brother signed me up for her class and I’m so glad he did. That class made me feel closer to my sisters who were also struggling in their own ways, closer to Mama Mayowa, closer to myself.
Never had I felt comfortable being completely nude in front of anyone. Sometimes riddled with self-doubt, insecurity, bad self-talk, embracing societal shame and body negativity, I never thought I’d be able to present myself in such a vulnerable, powerful way. Mama Mayowa creatively directed my maternity shoot a week before Z made her way into the world. This was transformational for me as I work to love myself where I am, however I am.
I must mention that the gynecologist I began the pre-natal journey with left for maternity leave earlier than expected. The next I was recommended was harsh, not a supporter of natural birth, and not interested in even hearing out my birth plan. My third provider, a midwife started out amazing! Two weeks before my due date, she informed me that she lost her privileges and would not be able to deliver Z. She said she’d still support me, be present, and do whatever her friend physician would allow. My desired water birth was now out of the question. Nonetheless, I had Mama Mayowa’s support and counsel.
After the belly dropped, the maternity leave began, the baby things were ordered, we’d been showered, after the comments from my Mommy about not making it to my due date, it was time. Back labor began around 2:48PM on the 4th of July. The pain intensified by the hour. For me, it was otherworldly. I had no poetry to describe the pain and discomfort.
My water broke around 11:30PM on July 5th. The real pain, the real pressure, the real discomfort, began. My Mommy was by my side, trying her best to comfort me. I was crying, barely forming sentences, and asking her to take away the pain. She called Mama Mayowa, updated her, described how I was feeling. I told my Mommy that I couldn’t do this. All I could think about was the escape! How could I get out of this? Did I have to further commit? Illogical.
She handed me the phone with Mama Mayowa on the line. She calmly said, “Raina, this was what we’ve been preparing for. I want you to take a deep breath. You are a warrior woman. I’m on my way.” Her words were like lavender to me. I became calm, well, calmer than I’d been.
When she arrived she prayed with us, anointed my head, rubbed the pillows with purification oil and reminded me that I was prepared and capable of being the strongest and weakest I’d ever been, the most powerful and most humbled. I was ready to do this woman work!
She coached me on the yoga ball, walked with me as much as I could, rubbed my back, shoulders, and filled me with positive affirmation. I was not able to fully advocate for myself for obvious reasons but, she was able to. She did. I trusted her with the most intense and beautiful moment of my life.
My midwife never showed up! But, I don’t feel slighted by that. I was amongst family when Z was born. The doctor came for the pushing! For the preserving, there was only family.
Mama Mayowa’s spiritual insight, understanding of the woman’s body, the emotions that come with labor, and her knowing some of my personal struggles made for a beautiful experience. It wasn’t what I planned but, it was the birth I was supposed to have, as she’d say.
Before my Grandma made her transition, Mama Mayowa came to be with my family. Again, she prayed, brought oils, positive affirmation. She was there right before my Grandma returned to light. She was there when her light was returned through the birth of my daughter Zaheera whose name means, “Radiant.”
I am indebted to Mama Mayowa for the love and support she gave in which may very well have been the hardest year for me. I’m still healing and working through my stuff. But, I am reminded every single day that I am worthy when I look at the gift she helped me to bring forth.
Thank you Mama Mayowa,
In peace and service.