Doula, mother of three, and nutritionist Synmia Rosine is here this October to offer her experience and light as a testimony to the importance of healthy physical nourishment and community care. Be sure to look for the kraut recipe at the end… Pickling, fermenting, and preserving are some of our favorite ways to honor fall.
Hello, Synmia! We’re thrilled to be talking to you this month. You just welcomed your third baby into the world. How are you feeling? Could you share a bit about how your birthing experience has changed from your very first time to the most recent, and any ways you’ve changed as a mother as well?
I'm feeling strong! You know, just like pregnancy, postpartum ebbs and flows and I'm constantly reminding myself to take each moment as it comes. The biggest change from my first pregnancy until now is understanding that birth, pregnancy and postpartum is evolutionary and ever changing. For new mothers today, it is so easy to get stuck in our minds with our over-planning by focusing on what we may be lacking or what we can be more of. Now, after my 3rd baby, I see that mothering/ parenting is about growing and evolving and finding joy and balance in what’s right in front of you. I've also learned (and am still learning) how to ask for support and the importance of giving myself grace.
You’ve shared a bit online about your path to becoming a doula, can you give us more details of your journey here? What has this work meant to you over the past few years, and do you have any role models or mentors you’ve looked up to as you’ve developed your practice?
I had no idea what a doula was when I was pregnant with Kiyoko. I wasn’t even sure if home birth was still a ‘thing’ or possible with the limited amount of knowledge, support and resources I had at the time. I was only determined to birth in the safest, most peaceful place possible, and for me, that was home. My home births were beautiful, not easy but we got through it. It wasn’t until my 4th trimester (postpartum) that I realized the importance of doula work and how much their support helped with creating more space for my healing, bonding and rest after birth. Unfortunately, these are not the easiest to accomplish in today's day. So a lot of us are back on our feet sooner than we should be, carrying the weight of our careers, our home and growing families and our healing on our backs with no support whatsoever. Growing, birthing, and caring for humans is not an easy thing to do! For 9 months we feel like we are in emotional warfare with the hormones responsible for growing our baby. After birth we are feeling depleted because we just gave our all to growing and birthing our babies. Now we are reintroduced to the emotional (hormonal rollercoaster) that comes with breastfeeding and bonding with your new baby in a society where we need get back to work, run a household, etc… We need assistance and substantial support throughout all the stages of pregnancy, birth and life after birth. We also need support through death, complications, and all other things that come with the cycle of life growing and giving. My hope as a doula is to provide better support for mothers and parents through their transition into parenthood, it will lessen the amount of overwhelmed, anxious and exhaustive parenting that often time is the result of the lack of care and resources that new mothers/parents and families need to show up as their best selves.
Within my doula work, I’ve always been an “allow life to guide me on how to show up for others or in spaces” type of a person. I am so thankful to have had the opportunities to assist births and to provide support for families during their transition into parenthood. even if it's just preparing a nourishing meal, dropping off herbal teas + tinctures, assisting with lactation support, or just simply holding space and listening to what comes up for these families– whatever I can do to contribute to creating a space for mama/ parent to recover, rest, and heal during their transition is my goal. Having your tribe around you to support you while you rest, heal, bond, nourish and process all that has happened prior to birthing your baby is the best medicine and head start a parent could receive. And I am blessed to be able to provide that for folx.
My birthing community is honestly so amazing! I am so blessed to have found mentors that deeply care about our reproductive health in an innovative way that empowers us to take charge in our own reproductive health, pregnancy and birth, and the health of our families for the future. Birthworkers like Debbie Allen of @tribemidwiferey, Julia Underwood and Jessica Diggs of @joincentered, and Erica Chidi of @loomhq, are not only showing up as birth workers but also hold space for those marginalized folx who may not have the resources or opportunities as nonmarginalized folx do. Health is about access and education. They are creating space for us to learn about our own sexual reproductive system, while mentoring other birthworkers on how to better show up and navigate through our changing medical systems. Body autonomy is needed now more than ever. And birthworkers are helping to change that narrative by empowering everyone on reproductive health, our rights, and our reproductive consciousness.
We’ve spent the summer embracing change and the challenges that have come our way. What is challenging you right now? How are you taking care of yourself and your family in the face of these challenges, and how do you find you’re meeting them? I.e. for us, it’s with tenderness, assertiveness, & warmth.
I am persistent in setting aside my time for self-cultivation, harvesting and fertilizing my inner self. As mothers & parents our first responsibility is to fill everyone else's cup- sometimes not noticing our own is drying up. Homesteading with 3 kids teaches me that boundaries are a healthy and conducive practice while tending to Self. And if my cup is full, then so are my kids, my partners, my gardens, and my animals too. To be honest, being on the land and planning our food forest, and letting everything else go from there. Eating seasonally also helps with transitions. I have been experimenting more with preservation, and constantly reconnecting with the garden ie putting our hands in the earth. That's the real therapy, medicine, healer right there… the garden, the plants know it all. Big, big love, support, and boundaries have been anchors through change for me and my family. The natural world has its own language. Nature reminds me change is inevitable, constant, and cannot be manipulated. When I don't resist, I am more at peace with change. And then I become more malleable to the ebbs and flows that life throws my way.
You have such an engaging ability to share practices for physical and emotional well-being. You prioritize nourishment in so many ways - most obviously with your herbalism practice, A Sun Herbs. Can you share with us any pantry “staples” or herbs or remedies you can’t live without? If we’re lucky, maybe a kimchi or kraut recipe? :-)
Thank you so much! How we nourish our bodies and what we nourish them with is super important to me. Not like it's none of my business but I don't like seeing us suffer from imbalances because of a lack of true nourishing and enriched whole foods.
My pantry staples are seasonally based and vary depending on what's available or growing around me. Fall is here even if it's still dry/ warm where I am. It is beginning to cool down at night, so immune-building + strengthening herbs are an ally through these seasonal transitions. On my countertop I have dried echinacea flowers, there’s nettle, and red raspberry leaves. I also have rosemary oil for my hair and fenugreek for my hair, skin, and support for my milk flow while I'm breastfeeding.
Another pantry staple is all my lacto-fermented goodies. Right now I've just finished fermenting a warming kraut made with fresh turmeric & black peppercorn. This was the first time I used apples (it's apple season here on the mountain), and the earthy taste of fresh turmeric and salty cabbage with a hint of sweetness from the apple is just divine.
**Nettle for its blood-building components, vitamins + minerals, and its function as a uterine tonic. Red raspberry for vitamin K, echinacea for keeping onset cold + flu symptoms at bay while strengthening + fortifying my immune system. Fenugreek for its vitamins + minerals to help with my body, skin, and hair needs during the cold winter months.
- Take a whole head of cabbage, and set aside one whole cabbage leaf.
- Cut into 4 halves and slice into thin slices.
- Sprinkle cabbage with sea salt (start with 1 tablespoon, add a teaspoon to taste… as cabbage ferments, it will become saltier so mind your salt!)
- Massage salt into cabbage for 5 min - until cabbage begins to 'sweat.'
- If sweating does not happen- then let salted cabbage sit for 30-45 min
- Grate 1 to 2 apples depending on apple size (always go for local or organic).
- Grate fresh turmeric root, 1-2 will do.
- Add about a silver dollar size of black peppercorns.
- Add all ingredients to your clean mason jar.
- Tamper down until all ingredients are SUBMERGED in your brine.
- Cover with the cabbage leaf you set aside and add a sanitized weight.
- Close. Store in a cool dark place.
- Allow to ferment for at least 30 days (you can enjoy it after just 2 weeks, but a longer ferment is more nutritious + tasty).
- Transfer into a new jar and store in the fridge for up to 3 months (sometimes longer if not contaminated with other bacteria).
*Pro Tip: You can add any herbs, spices, roots you’d like to your kraut! This is the space to get creative! Refrigerating after fermentation is complete helps with retaining the crispness to kraut! Soggy veggies are not the tastiest.
Synmia on Instagram: @synmiarosine