It’s been a minute since I last posted an interview! Life and work have been full but sharing the outlooks and perspectives of fellow well women to inspire, educate and share rituals is still important to me.
I have a few awesome interviews coming down the pipeline with super women who are leading their industries in innovative ways.
Who better to launch back into this interview series with than Erica Chidi Cohen.
Erica is a doula, health educator and author. She is an inherent activist, empowering people around reproductive health and guiding thousands of people in their transition from pregnancy to parenthood in her practice and through her book, Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Early Motherhood.
Erica began her work in San Francisco, volunteering within the prison system working with pregnant inmates. She went on to build a successful doula and reproductive health coaching practice in Los Angeles, CA, and has been lauded by Glamour, Vogue, Marie Claire and Man Repeller. She currently lives in Los Angeles with partner and her Manx cat, Nima.
I am endlessly inspired by her mission, drive, radiance and what she has created with LOOM.
LOOM is weaving together uncommon threads and exists to provide education and community that empowers people throughout their reproductive, pregnancy and parenting journey. Celebrating inclusivity and choice, LOOM is an entirely new approach to the health education experience. They are curious and dynamic, challenging the conventional and making space for individual instincts and the latest research.
Tell us about yourself! What is your favourite quality in yourself?
My favorite quality is my sense of humor. I don’t take things too seriously and I am typically making a joke, or laughing at one.
Do you have morning rituals and if so what are they? What’s the first thing you do when you rise?
I usually wake up in the morning and have a cup of hot water with lemon, (my mom taught me that), and it’s continued to serve me well. Right now, my mornings vary. There hasn’t been a lot of consistency with the opening of my new business, LOOM. But I typically will try to have something to eat. And I also love playing music in the morning. I love to start the day off with music that I like which inevitably leads to impromptu dancing or movement.
What is your philosophy on food + nourishment?
I think it’s important to eat intuitively. Personally, I’m an omnivore, so I eat a little bit of everything. And in general I try to eat for my menstrual cycle. So, depending on what time of the month it is, for example during my period, I will eat more mineral rich food, and potentially, animal protein to help restore my body when I’m bleeding. Whereas, during my follicular phase, I will typically eat in a lighter fashion and always try my best to incorporate a good amount of protein, fiber, greens and fat. Also, I grew up in a fairly food oriented home – my mom actually went to culinary school and I did as well – so I’m very food specific, but not in a way that’s restrictive. I just like to eat things that I know are going to be good for my body.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you? What is your ideal meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and avocado
Lunch: Roast chicken salad with walnuts and yellow beets and endives
Dinner: Pan seared ribeye with cultured butter, roasted japanese sweet potato and a fennel and arugula salad.
What does self-care look like as an entrepreneurial woman and with a partner? How and when do you carve this time out for yourself?
For me, it’s consistent because there’s no way I could continue to work at the pace I do without taking care of myself. I’m fortunate to live close to one of my favorite self-care havens, (the Korean spa), and I’ve also adopted weekly acupuncture. There’s talk therapy when I need it. I take a simple, but consistent supplementation – I love RITUAL – it’s a multivitamin made for women and it has the nine things that we are typically deficient in. I also love taking liquid chlorophyll. It’s rich in bioavailable iron and magnesium and it also helps with eliminations (bowel movements), and I am also a big fan of oral and topical magnesium supplementation. And I LOVE taking magnesium baths which helps promote eliminations, overall cellular functioning, and is a really great relaxation and sleep aid. Basically, I carve out at least two spaces a week for some kind of self-care (whether in home or out). I would like to see travel become a bigger part of self-care in the future.
When do you feel your most radiant? Has your idea of beauty shifted over your life?
I feel the most radiant in the bath or in some body of water. My idea of beauty has shifted a lot over my life. You know, in high school and even my early college days I didn’t have a good relationship with my hair and would do a lot of unnatural hair augmentations in order to suit and aesthetic that I thought was more attractive than what had been naturally given to me. But then, in my early twenties I decided to let go of that and stopped chemically treating my hair and decided to begin growing my locs. That has been such a transformative experience – going from not enjoying the hair on my head, to really finding a lot of joy in it. And I think that has been kind of the central shift in my aesthetic beauty. Also, now being in my 30s I realize that beauty is both internal and external and that both speak to each other, but neither is primary.
Please tell us about what you do as a doula! How does your role fit into a pregnancy and why is it an important one?
As a doula I offer up birthing preferences (which is a term I prefer over “birth plan” because it allows for a natural and necessary flexibility that comes with pregnancy) to client’s that honors their needs and vision. Doulas are a constant fixture which can help create much needed continuity and emotional stability for women and their partners. I think we have the most efficacy in the hospital environment. The hospital is a transient environment, nurses change shifts every seven hours (the average labor is 10-12 hours), and most OBGYNs only arrive to manage the labor in the third stage when the mother is starting to push. This makes a doula critical; not only have you developed a relationship with the doula during your pregnancy, but they are also present throughout the entire labor.
You recently launched LOOM which provides education and community for reproductive empowerment, pregnancy and parenting. Who is LOOM helping and how is it shifting education? How are your current clients using LOOM’s services?
LOOM is putting education and community at the center of the discussion around reproductive issues, pregnancy, and parenting. We are making programming that is accessible to all types of people. Our classes serve a range of individuals including – those that are considering, expecting, already parents, families going through loss, women trying to seek sex education that is shame-free and pleasure centered, to people that experience a menstrual cycle that want to have a more empowered relationship to their period.
What advice would you share with other woman to empower them to feel strong and confident?
My best advice is that you can feel strong and confident – and also scared and small at the same time. For some reason, there’s this idea that feelings need to be mutually exclusive, (that you can have one, but not the other), but I think the sooner we realize we are going to have both emotions taking up the same amount of space – it doesn’t mean that the more positive emotion isn’t true. It’s helpful to embrace confidence in the face of alternative feelings, or feelings that are not as positive.
What does being a well woman mean to you?
I think it means developing an awareness of yourself and how you operate in the world. You are taking care of yourself and those that you love. You’re contributing to the world in a way that is both positive and measurable, while simultaneously making space for your passions.