Having experienced a challenging pregnancy and birth herself, Maria Gasser felt that the current approach to maternity care was lacking the support she needed at that time. She was inspired to create Sacred Woman Services, offering a range of support and services that honour and respect womanhood and motherhood through intention, connection and support. Her services include holistic counselling, shadow work, holistic pre-natal care and pregnancy rituals, birth trauma support and sacred women’s circles. Here, Maria talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind Sacred Woman Services, how she balances work and family life, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I’ve always been drawn to helping others. I’ve been a social worker for over 10 years and it wasn’t until my pregnancy that I realised there was so much support I needed as a woman and that the current approach to maternity care was lacking. From this personal experience, ideas simply began to fill my heart and mind; my business ideas birthed themselves organically.
Our current approach to pregnancy and birth is heavily from a medical lens, which is so detrimental to our whole-being experience as women. Pregnancy and birth are a rite of passage and when we do not honour this, our mind, heart and spirit can be left disrupted and unharmonised. Intuition led me to see an easy and meaningful way we can honour these parts of our being and this rite of passage journey. My maternity care offerings are in the form of ceremony for mother and baby, through intentional ritual and blessings. I truly believe changing our focus to this area of maternity wellbeing not only supports safer birth, but also helps women to integrate their transition into motherhood. Whether we want it to be or not, pregnancy and birth are deeply spiritual. But our journey along that path can be better integrated and empowering if we enlist more conscious intention in these areas. My business manifested to serve this deeply meaningful need for women and babies. I truly believe supporting our mind, heart, instinct and spirit is the most important aspect. A disruption to our natural birth process and journey into motherhood can leave us feeling confused or unhappy. Women have a right to leave this journey feeling the most empowered they have ever felt in their lives.
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Soon after my baby was born, a dear soul sister of mine asked me to support her through her pregnancy and during her freebirth. It was this journey that gave me the push to put my ideas and visions into action. After this amazing experience, I offered my first free women’s circle for birth trauma and from there I began to get my first clients organically. I never ‘officially’ started my business, it simply took off, slowly, but on its own. From there I have since been running regular women’s circles in my community, free mothers’ group meet ups, and began my private practice of holistic maternity offerings, including ceremony, circles and therapy. My business is still very small, however, since it has all blossomed while I’ve been journeying through my own first experience as a mother, it’s been nice that its been growing slowly, like a newborn itself.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
My pregnancy and birth experience were probably the main source of fire for my innovation. I had a very challenging experience for both, but through these flames emerged my phoenix self, the new version of my being. It was this lived experience that was the agent for action that led me, through deep compassion and empathy, to help other women feel empowered from their experiences, in pregnancy or life in general. Whether the experience was positive or challenging. I truly believe we are the only ones responsible for giving meaning to our experiences, or we can simply choose to see them as meaningless events or problems and not grow from them. Radical responsibility is a term I use a lot for myself and my clients and I believe this is at the core of all personal and spiritual growth (and happiness) in our lives.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
This is a great question! I think it is a topic which is fluid and ever changing and it is our ability to go with the ebbs and flows of life, and that nothing stays the same and is always changing. As are our needs and how we can balance them. I’ve come to understand that the balance in life is rarely 50/50. We must reflect on our modern culture and how the implications of this can mislead us into thinking that we must be the ultimate multi-tasker super-mum, when in fact this is unrealistic and unhealthy. There are days where my family require 100% and other days where my business gets more attention. By giving myself permission to allow this balance to always be changing, I find I am released from the burden of expectation that really we are putting on ourselves. Through this mindful and intentional frame of mind, I find I can better manage the yin and yang of work and family.