Latham Thomas of Mama Glow is a wealth of strength when it comes to self-care. Whether she’s chatting about diet and exercise or pouring her heart out over the topic of motherhood and childbirth, Latham’s passion for living a healthy and well life is perfectly clear. Read on to get her resource-packed insight into these themes and more as we continue our health and wellness month!
What led you to the idea for Mama Glow?
When I was pregnant with my son (who is now 13 years old), I noticed there was such a gap between the client and the practitioners. I saw a need to celebrate the experience of pregnancy and motherhood, and to elevate birth. I’ve been inspired since the day I gave birth to my son, Fulano. I support women on their journey to childbirth and I founded a maternity lifestyle company called Mama Glow. I’m all about empowering women and helping them give rise to the best version of themselves. I am a doula—one who provides education, advocacy and emotional support for women during childbirth. I’m an author, an entrepreneur and wellness maven, a creatrix that has taken her passion and expertise in wellness and used it to build a platform that people trust. I use my voice to inspire others and spark conversation about wellness and womanhood.
Mama Glow, maternal wellness and wellbeing isn’t an interest—it’s a lifestyle, a rubric to live by. I committed myself to growing a brand that served a larger purpose—to transform the way women perceive their bodies, to help women reclaim their bodies as sacred and give birth in an empowered way on their own terms. When my baby was sleeping, I would dream up ideas, write and work on what would become Mama Glow. What started off as meet-ups in my living room and a film festival turned into a booming practice. I grew the following organically by just spreading inspiration and love, giving a peek into my world.
What influences and life moments helped inspire the launch of your site?
“Mama Glow” is an abundant, radiant energy that comes from within. Birth is our rite of passage, and Mama Glow is our birthright—to walk in grace, power and wisdom, to have understanding, reverence and trust in our bodies. The act of standing in your power ignites a force within that glows from the inside out. It’s a personal style that reflects confidence, beauty, radiance and balance.
One thing I can say for sure is that a very peculiar thing happens to your ego when you become a mother—you shed part of what was once integral to who you were and you’re left with who you are meant to become.
Tell us about your book! What’s one thing you hope readers take away from it?
I was grateful to share my insight and expertise about pregnancy and wellness for Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy in 2012. But my new book, Own Your Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning The Queen Within (on pre-order now!), is soul food. There is a sensual, textured, prescriptive, grown-ass woman-ness that laces the book. It’s a calling to all women to awaken the divine and tap into our power source. Everything in society tries to turn us against ourselves; we turn our backs on our bodies, harbor self-hatred and self-doubt. This book is an elixir, a formula for standing in your truth and using your feminine edge to design a life worthy of you.
I use the wisdom of Mother Nature and her cyclical lunar phases, folklore and the Triple Goddess as it relates to your menstrual cycle, I decode our sacred anatomy and pleasure center, I help women reconnect with their primal dreams and take ownership of their aspirations and goals. I invite women to slow down and move with intention. I weave in invocations, rituals, meditations and reflections throughout the book, which is organized in three portals: Evoke, Ignite and Embody. I’m so excited about this right now because it’s a companion that will help every woman dial up her glow power—that’s the take away. I want women to know themselves more deeply and intimately after working through this book.
What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day?
Self-care is part of my gospel. It’s what I preach about all the time. I call it Glow Time. I’m about cultivating rituals and reveling in radical self-care. Slowing down to celebrate and love yourself, whether that’s a hot bath, a foot rub, a full-body massage, taking a hike or simply logging off of social media and reading a book. The moments we spend on ourselves and by ourselves are magical. But nothing beats a hot bath in my Mama Glow Bath Soak! I love to unwind in silence or while listening to music. After a warm bath, I adorn myself in body cream then take 15 minutes to read inspirational poetry, have a cup of tea and meditate and pray, then climb into bed.
How do you practice self-care?
When I learned that there was a whole cultural phenomenon in Denmark called hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”), I was astounded because it is a lifestyle that mirrors my internal tenants for self-care, which I call Glow Time. Glow Time is all about mothering yourself. Self-care is not self-indulgence—it’s really about sustainability and preservation of your wellbeing. For me, it’s about punctuating my day with self-care, so I reclaim moments for myself throughout the day—not all at once. This helps me maintain my energy. I may take 15 minutes to take a walk in the sunshine or do yoga. I also practice what I call “phone fasting” where I stay off my devices for huge stretches throughout the day so I can be present for my work and family.
What’s in your ‘Glow Time Kit’?
Candles, chocolate, tea, a favorite book, Netflix, cozy socks, pajamas, a bathrobe, a blanket, music, a hoodie, soup, crystals, palo santo, bath salts and essential oils.
What are your top stressors right now, and how do you combat the effects?
Living in New York City, I have to say that the biggest stress is transit—getting to work, meetings, clients in the traffic. It’s become really challenging to get around in taxis, and the subway service has also gone south. So what I do is use that time that I am stuck in traffic or delayed in train traffic to practice mindfulness. In a cab, I just close my eyes, open the windows and breathe. In the subway, I look at everyone on the train and send them a blessing. I do this when I am waiting in long lines, too. I send a blessing to each person before me and that keeps me in the present moment.
How do you like to get your exercise in?
I’m a huge advocate of movement. I love yoga as a practice, both on and off the mat. I really enjoy walking and I live downtown and within a few miles of everything, so I start off with the idea that I will walk to wherever I need to go. My personal movement practice is really about tuning into my mood and using dance, martial arts, yoga and primal movement to get my blood and energy flowing.
Self-care is not self-indulgence—it’s really about sustainability and preservation of your wellbeing.
How did motherhood change you?
Motherhood is still changing me, growing me, transforming me. I believe that our children come into the world to teach us as much as we think we are here to teach them. I am still learning so much about raising a teenage son. One thing I can say for sure is that a very peculiar thing happens to your ego when you become a mother—you shed part of what was once integral to who were and you’re left with who you are meant to become. I would have never come to know myself so intimately had it not been for the birth of my son. My son Fulano is a DJ and an entrepreneur and teaches me so much about commitment, following your passion and taking risks. It’s a constant process of evolution and I am thankful and appreciate all of the grace.
What are your best tips for expectant first-time moms looking to prioritize their wellness pre-baby? What about post-baby?
- Green and clean your life: I am an advocate of aiming to reduce exposure to toxic load pre-pregnancy. Detox your pantry, medicine cabinets, vanity and makeup bag so that you can eliminate harmful ingredients that are attributed to hormone disruption, cancers and other illnesses. When women have challenges with getting pregnant, the first thing we do is detox the lifestyle to see how toxicity may be affecting fertility.
- Practice yoga: A dynamic prenatal yoga practice will support your health and wellbeing throughout pregnancy, as well as prepare you mentally, emotionally and physically for childbirth and motherhood by building strength and flexibility in the body, a sense of wellbeing and relaxing the mind. And perhaps most importantly, it helps keep you comfortable. It helps to increase blood flow and alleviates some of the discomforts associated with pregnancy. I developed my own prenatal practice that made me feel strong and capable. I learned how to tune in to what was happening in my body and ease my mind through meditation and deep breathing. Yoga also informed my birth ritual from beginning to end. I was able to relax into my breathing techniques at the onset of contractions, and I visualized the baby moving farther down the birth canal during each contraction. I knew that every sensation was taking me closer to bringing the baby into the world.
- Define your sister circle and identify support systems: This is critical. It’s important to build a strong network of cheerleaders so you don’t feel you are alone. Nothing is sustainable without community. Surround yourself with people who are your elders in this process and who have the skills and resources to help support you. Make yourself at home with your sister circle. Ask questions of mothers around you, and gather resources. Choose a mixed group of women, including seasoned mamas and single friends. Variety is key here for a few reasons. First, veteran moms know exactly how to make themselves useful, are often efficient and usually know their way around the kitchen, so meals will be taken care of. Your single girlfriends, on the other hand, can run errands, grocery shop, answer phones, help clean and hold the baby to give you a few minutes to take a shower! Ask one of your closest friends to help coordinate a rotation of women—you don’t want all your helpers at the house at the same time!
Are you a “live-in-the-past” gal, or do you live in the moment?
I’m all in with the present moment. I feel like the past can hold us back from reaching our fullest potential if we linger there. I’m so grateful for everything I’ve experienced that has made me who I am and I can be in this moment and embrace the blessings here and now.
Favorite New York City resources for living a well life?
This is such a treat to be able to share some of the places that bring me peace and solace.
- Everyone should check out AQUA Studio. It’s like Soul-Cycle but in salt water. I teach a Mama Glow Yoga class there as well.
- I love The End Brooklyn, the tea shop made famous for its unicorn lattes.
- ABC Carpet & Home is a store that inspires and is great for thoughtful gifts and mindful event programing.
- My newest cold-pressed juice obsession is Dr Smood, which originated in Miami and just opened in New York City.
- Plop down on a cushion and meditate at MNDFL Studio. There are three locations in New York City and Brooklyn.
- For super foods and integrative spa treatments, I love CAP Beauty in the West Village.
- One of my favorite restaurants is Candle 79. I’m vegan and I love eating at restaurants that take my diet into consideration. Foragers is a great farm-to-table option.
How can we jumpstart our wellness through diet and nutrition?
What you eat becomes your blood, your thoughts and your actions. And a diet of whole foods is always a great primer to get back on track. Make sure you eat in the morning (lots of people skip breakfast!). Having a savory breakfast sets the tone for a really grounded day. Try steamed or sautéed greens and avocado toast. One of my favorite tips is to pack a mobile pantry. We need snacks to stay healthy while on the go. It’s too easy to grab something unhealthy out of convenience. Keep dry snacks like nuts, trail mix and sunflower seeds on hand and pack fresh fruit, humus and veggies, as well as a reusable water bottle. If you have something healthy to reach for when you need a snack, you will keep blood sugar levels stable and maintain energy throughout the day.
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