We're thrilled to have Yahna Fookes from Radiant Birth featured in our M. Magazine.
Radiant Birth is an immersion for mothers in waiting that combines yoga, nutrition, birth education and traditional Chinese medicine .
Their course is a holistic approach to birth education. It is created by professionally-certified health workers that are qualified to support pregnant and birthing people. Over three full days, you will learn embodied movement and breath practices to help you during labour, dive deep into the energetics and physicality of what happens during childbirth, learn the nutritional support to help you during this time as well as how to set yourself up for postpartum and life with a newborn.
We chat to Yahna about motherhood, community, birth and beyond.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself
Hello, Mumma Milla community, I am Yahna Jeong Soon Fookes or Yahna. I am a mother, doula, birth educator and founder of Radiant Birth. I live in Naarm on the land of the world's oldest birthing culture, the Wurundjeri people.
What is Radiant Birth
Radiant Birth is an embodied birth course. It takes part over three days and weaves Eastern philosophies with evidence-based learning. It’s the first of its kind in Australia, combining birth education, yoga, nutrition and traditional Chinese medicine. RB is also a full spectrum course that guides you safely through birth and immediate postpartum. It’s for first-time mums and for second/third-time parents who have experienced birth trauma and need support rewriting history.
Why is Yoga so great during pregnancy
Yoga has the amazing power to unravel. On a physical level, it teaches us how to move in ways that serve a purpose in the birth space. Shapes, inversions, and hip openers make the fascia more subtle and soft for the birth porthole. Yoga teaches us deep presence and spiritual awareness. The breath work is well so next level and time and time again, I have students tell me how it truly transformed the experience of their entrance into motherhood.
What do you believe are the three things a woman can do to assist in her pregnancy journey.
KEU - Knowledge, education, unpacking - I made this one up but it's bloody brill.
The truth about birth is that it will be wild and assaulting. You'll trip so hard, begging for salvation as you swear, moo, groan, reaching for your spiritual edge. And for these reasons, Radiant Birth is not a calm birth course. We won’t teach you a mantra or dissociation from pain - like some traditional birth classes. We believe in embodiment. We believe in stepping in, sitting in the fire with your whole heart. Riding those surges with the song of your voice as your body goes red and the cells of your maiden self start to fade.
We are an evidence-based learning course. You'll learn about anatomy, broken systems and getting to know your body and mind in ways you didn't think possible. Because if you are birthing within the system, you might as well know it. The rate of inductions in Aus is something crazy, like in the 40’s and caesarean births are not far behind. You must educate yourself to make choices. Birth is a rite of passage, a privilege it’s to be felt, not robbed.
Feeling pulled into making a choice because your OB is going on holiday or there is a redundant hospital policy for pushing time (dated the 70s) is all a part of informed choice.
Unpacking is huge too. You have to show up wholly in birth. What are you holding onto and why can’t you let it go? Only you know the answer to that.
How has motherhood changed you.
I am still the same person I was, but just more evolved and acutely in tune with who I am becoming.
What does matrescence mean to you.
Nurturing the mum, is just as important as nurturing the baby.
How should mums look after themselves?
It sure is. Care looks different to everyone. People are complex and need different things. For me, it’s the small things. Starting a full day of parenting with a full fridge. Making a conscious effort not just to eat lunch box leftovers and starting the day clean (a shower does wonders, as does water). Drinking water, phoning a friend, legs up the wall before bed, exercising boundaries with social media, getting outside for fresh air if only to feel the sun kiss my cheeks for that brief moment. Above all, surround yourself with a beautiful community of parents with similar values. That is a huge one.
Breastfeeding can be tricky for some, easy for others.
What can a first time mum do to prepare for this journey.
Get to know your breasts. Express colostrum in those early days, and understand how your tissues and cells work. Become a member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association, it will unlock $20 breastfeeding courses, watch other mother feed their babies and watch intently. Tune out to the hysteria. Don’t psych yourself out before the journey has even begun.
How do you juggle home life, mum life, work life.
I have my husband greatly to thank for that. He takes most of the day-to-day load with Kindy pick up, drop off, morning routines and ensuring the fridge is always full. He operates as the organiser of our household. I do the cooking and ballet and organise the playdates, party pressies, and the final bedtime - we co-sleep. We play to our strengths and conquer and divide. This is the flow of our household and makes for a beautiful and equal dynamic whilst raising my daughter.
Work periods of business ebb and flow. For instance, Michael has a huge show at Melbourne Town Hall next week, and I have a birth coming up but both are equal and we honour each other's dreams.
We don’t have super or sick leave in our creative endeavours and unfortunately, money will never be a measure of success but it drives us harder. Our life is full.
The family google cal is our primary source of truth for the entire family. If it ain’t family cal, it ain’t happening (haha).
Your favourite nostalgic meal.
Samgyetang (chicken ginseng ginger soup) in Korea, in the motherland - counting down to the days I’ll be back there.
Describe what a perfect afternoon to you looks like.
In winter, a slow-cooked something on in the background with kids playing at home, a light glass of red wine in hand, and beautiful conversation with fellow mums whilst watching the kids laugh and be ridiculous.
The words you live by.
Growth, reliance, love, tenderness, family and community.
If you are interested in Radiant Birth's next course in September see details below:
Sept, 16, 17 and 23
Unlike other courses that go over one weekend, this is a three-part series and we offer three full days (17+hours) of education and learning. Your ticket price includes:
3x Prenatal yoga and meditation classes
1x Birth education lecture - plus your partner ticket
1x Traditional Chinese medicine and nutrition lecture
1x Birth plan and sharing of birth stories lecture
1x Radiant Birth handbook
Lunch and refreshments by Morning Market
1x $50 voucher from Meat Smith redeemable online