Through The Mirror is our video series in which we illuminate some of the magic that our friends and customers bring into the world, and how self-care is at the heart of their successes. In this video we peel back the layers of being a woman, mother, educator and healer with Kiana Reeves.
As the Head of Education at Foria, a Somatic Sex Educator and Full-Spectrum Doula, Kiana Reeves is single handedly changing the way we think about life at home after birth.
We sat down with the woman-of-the-hour to pick her brain and hear her thoughts on motherhood, sexuality and work-life balance.
Hi Kiana! We’re so glad you’re able to sit with us and talk about the incredible work that you’re doing. To start, can you tell us a little bit about what exactly it is that you do?
I work with women’s sexual health and wellness. I do a lot of pelvic work internally and externally and do things like vaginal steaming and other things that can support women's sexual and reproductive health.
How did you find this work?
I started out as a doula attending births and then I had two of my own children. After having my first, I really recognized that there was this lack of support, education and awareness on how to reintegrate the identity of being a mother and being a sexual person. The identity is kind of split for me and I think that’s a really common experience that women have. So I became a postpartum doula and even in that space there wasn’t quite enough education around particularly pelvic health.
I think about 3 or 4 years after becoming a doula I met my mentor by chance when I was working with the jade egg. I was at a meeting with somebody and I ran into her and she was like “Hi, I’m Kimberly!” She introduced herself as a vaginapractor and that blew my mind–I wanted to know everything. I immediately got a session with her and quickly realized how special the work was that she was doing.
A Vaginapractor? What’s that?
It’s a fusion of working with the nervous system and incorporating things like somatic experiencing for people who have experienced trauma. Then working with things like scar tissue and birth injury and a whole host of other tools that really educate and give people the tools they need to take home with them to have a regular self-care practice.
The field of female sexual health and wellness is an emerging field. There are so many practices that are becoming more and more common and accessible to people and for a long time I think especially in the wellness industry, sexuality hasn’t been addressed. It hasn’t really been incorporated in the holistic identity of what wellness is. I think that’s starting to change. There are different niches in areas that are bringing products, tools, conversation and education to the forefront and looking at the person as a whole. I think that’s really important.
What are your goals for the clients you work with?
When I talk about selfcare with my clients I talk a lot about the reproductive and sexual health aspects of it. But we’re also working on foundational practices to be able to address some of the biggest challenges that impact our sexuality. Things like stress and being able to tune into themselves and their desires. That doesn’t happen if you have layers and layers of that mental static that most people have of like of job and everyday work and everyday responsibilities. What we’re trying to do in the session is break down that static so people can recognize where they are in their essential self. I show them how to access their nervous system and how to redirect it when they get too upregulated or when they get really kind of frozen in things. I don’t know if that makes sense but it’s a kind of big view of how we approach it.
As a wellness practitioner dealing with clients, family and friends everyday, how do you personally incorporate wellness into your day?
You can imagine that as a mom my days are super full. Especially on weekdays where we’re getting up and we’re going straight into the hustle of school. Usually my morning wellness routine is pretty short. Usually it’s hot water with lemon, some ghee and maybe getting my feet in the dirt or taking in the morning air. My wellness rituals usually for me come at night and most of the time that’s a really hot really long bath with like 10 cups of Epsom Salt and all of my essential oils. I stay in there for a really long time and rub oil all over myself in the bath. And then I’ll also rub oil all over myself when I get out of the bath. Sometimes I’ll just pour castor oil on my head and get it all over so I’m just covered in oil. There’s something so healing about oil that I love. For me, feeling my body and having a moment to be naked, warm and touching myself, even if it’s not in a sexual way, is huge for me. That moment where I’m like this is me, I’m a person too, I’m not just a mom, I’m not just running around working and seeing clients and being with my kids.
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from your work and working with clients?
I think that in working with clients, what’s most interesting for me is the diversity of the stories that we all come with. Not one of my sessions has ever been the same. People will call me and say what can I expect in a session and I’m usually just like, “I actually have no idea because I need to know what your nervous system is doing and where you’re at in that day.” And obviously in working with the pelvis and with the genitals it is the most sensitive and tender and kind of emotional part of the body to interact with as a person interacting with someone else’s body. So for me what I learn every time is how much emotion we store in our bodies that we aren’t even aware of. When you approach that territory with the intent of allowing the unconscious to come up a little bit, it can be really emotional for most people even if they come in and are like I’m fine, I just want to explore and learn. I’d say 75% of the time my clients will well up with emotion and weep on my table for the beauty of connecting themselves in that way and sometimes also the pain of rediscovering something that’s really important to them that they’ve let go of.
What have you learned from balancing work and being a mom?
I think one of the main things that I’ve been learning over the last few years, especially as a working person with many jobs and titles, being a full time parent and trying to spend time with friends and have a relationship, is that there are all these details in life that always need tending to. And with that amount of, what I would say is a high amount of responsibility, I’ve been trying to excavate that and understand what is essential for me and my life. If I can boil everything down to its essence, what makes a really good, nourishing, deep and meaningful experience? And what I’m finding is that that is relationships. So the relationships I have with my kids and my friends and my family are at the core and heart of everything. I can have the most stressed-out day in the world and go have dinner with the people I love and decompress and laugh and I’ll feel everything melt away.
What also helps is being in nature. And not just like a minute in nature, which can be amazing and kind of soften things and allow stress to melt a little bit but I mean the kind of nature where you get so lost in the experience that your identity melts away enough to really channel that essential quality of yourself. You remember those things about you that make you human. Not your identity within the external world but who you really are. And I’ve been trying to learn how to operate from that place so that how I make decisions and who I engage with and what I spend my time doing, in this very precious limited amount of time that I have, becomes those things and only those things.
Ok, last question. How do you teach your kids to be in this world? What are the challenges of being a parent?
I think the thing that’s very incredible about parenting and inspiring but challenging is that there’s no handbook. I mean there are lots of handbooks, there are tons of books you could read but it’s really operating from that same place of internal authority, permission and knowing. If there’s anything that I could teach my kids it would be to keep that intactness in themselves to be able to know who they are and why they’re here and what they want and I try to do that in little ways. I try to listen to their experiences and their emotions and really honor that.