Latham Thomas

April 15, 2024

Latham is wearing the Long Sleeve Blaire Dress and Elza Dress.

IG Handles @Glowmaven, @thesoftspace.bk, @mamaglow 

World-renowned wellness leader and master birth doula Latham Thomas shares with us her tips for juggling motherhood, business, and mental health, and how she started Mama Glow.

Tell us about Mama Glow and Mama Glow Foundation! How did they come to be?

Mama Glow is a global maternal health and education platform. We have trained over 2,500 doulas globally and our professional doula training program has been incorporated at the university level as a course at Brown University, where I was appointed as Visiting Professor of the Practice of Gender and Sexuality Studies by the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women.

At Brown, I teach and mentor primarily pre-med, graduate, public health, bio-ethics and medical anthropology students, many of whom seek to impact maternal health outcomes in their careers. We also have 7 Brown University research fellows who work with us at the Mama Glow Foundation.

The Mama Glow Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit committed to advancing reproductive justice and birth equity through education, advocacy, and the arts. The Foundation strives to improve maternal health outcomes in three primary ways. 1. Providing educational scholarships to aspiring doulas and midwives, 2. Robust workforce development, paid work study for college students, doula matching, and mentorship support, 3. Engaging in research and scholarship through partnerships with educational and medical institutions. Both organizations were born out of a great need to provide handholding and safe, dignified and affordable care along the reproductive health continuum, and specifically during the prenatal and early postpartum period. 

What has been the proudest moment for you in your career?

It’s not easy to select one specific moment in my career, but out of 20+ years in women’s health I would say the launch of the Mama Glow Foundation that is celebrating its fourth year. The Foundation provides pro-bono doula services through the Love Delivered Initiative, in partnership with L’Oreal/Carol’s Daughter. Building awareness around Black Maternal Health and providing grants for doula service support to BIPOC families in need in 6 major US cities. The Foundation serves in Mayor Adams's Citywide Doula Initiative as the largest provider of pro-bono doula services to hundreds of families in need in 33 impacted neighborhoods in NYC through the DOHMH.

We have created job opportunities for hundreds of doulas through this program as well. Mama Glow is the recipient of an NIH Grant, in partnership with the Zucker School of Medicine at Northwell Health, to train Doulas under a five year research grant on the impact of Doula’s on maternal health outcomes. Mama Glow Foundation is the recipient of a 2 million dollar HRSA Grant with Montefiore Medical Center and the Bronx Health Collective to train health care professionals, provide Doula support, and research on trauma and birth outcomes in the South Bronx. We get to make a huge impact every day, and I am proud of that.

How would you describe your personal style?

I don’t know what words best encapsulate my style, but it’s sometimes a boho, preppy, chic vibe. I love a blazer moment and I am really into patterns and bright colors. Because my work is so hands-on in nature, I often wear a jumpsuit and accessorize it up with fun scarves, sneakers and the perfect jewelry. I really enjoy a formal moment but I am also super comfortable in shorts and sandals. 

What motivates you when you need an extra push?

I have a circle of girlfriends who keep me going. My friend Lawanna has been a godsend when I have had down moments. She swoops in and it brightens my day just hearing her voice. My son Fulano, is a junior in college and a musician. I am so inspired by his initiative and desire to create, and that energy fuels me. I am surrounded by young people at Mama Glow who are really motivated and committed to the great work we are doing and their seemingly endless energy is delightful to be around and does remind me that I am capable. There is nothing like a good playlist to get me moving, and when I find that I need a reset, a walk outside in the fresh air is always the remedy. 

You recently opened The Soft Space, a Mama Glow venue in Brooklyn. What are your goals for this space?

The Soft Space by Mama Glow is a 2,300 square-foot wellness, education, and live events oasis in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The concept was born out of the collective need for ease, softness, and recalibration in response to the challenging times we are living and is a dream realized. I have been affirming women and doulas around self-care modalities and contemplative practice to improve mental health and wellbeing for years. And this space is one where folks can engage in high touch experiences anchored in optimal wellbeing. This is a space where you are welcomed home. Located conveniently one block away from the Bedford Avenue L train station, the space is easily accessible to all. Guests are welcomed home in our front reception area, where they can remove their shoes and prepare for their experience in the space. Our shop features boutique wellness products from women and femme owned brands, with a focus on Black and POC products. Our kitchen features an herbal apothecary full of medicinal plant allies. A private treatment room is available for 1-on-1 client services like reiki, talk therapy, acupuncture, massage, etc. The Sanctuary features vaulted ceilings with skylights, and a landscaped window garden. The sanctuary seats 80 guests, so it’s great for any type of event. 

We host book signings, lectures and thought leadership, symposiums, retreats, blessing ways, product launches, pop-ups and so much more. We have hosted a few retreats, including a private wellness retreat for CVS Health, where their Women’s Health team members from across the country gathered at the Soft Space for a day of wellness programming. We have several brand partners booking the space out for product launches and events for press and influencers as well. It is a great backdrop for content creators to film content. 

It’s our intention to welcome like-minded brand partners, organizations, and individuals to host their life moments and experiential gatherings at the Soft Space. I am really excited for all of the incredible experts, authors, and thought leaders in wellness, women’s health, mental health, and beyond to join us and bring their programming to the Soft Space. We want to welcome folks exploring and navigating the reproductive health continuum for content, community, and support. We want to continue to nurture folks and center their mental health, bring them off their phones, and into a safe space where they can breathe deeply, have fellowship, and be at ease.

Who are the women that inspire you?

I have so many powerful women in my life. Bethann Hardison has dedicated her life to activism and I am deeply moved by her efforts and the energy she has as a woman in her 70s. I am inspired by the work of Dr. Wednesday Martin, a sex researcher who is transforming the way people look at women and sex. I love Alex Fine, founder and CEO of Dame Sexual Health products. I am inspired by my friend Tiffany Dufu and her commitment to empowering entrepreneurs. My friend Tai Beauchamp who founded Brown Girl Jane and leads a women’s empowerment brand centering mindfulness. I just love that there are so many women in my circle who are doing amazing things in the world, and I am proud to celebrate them. 

What are your tips for juggling motherhood, business, and mental health?

I believe in dynamic equilibrium, that we are always in a state of flux and responding to what’s happening in our lives. I don’t strive for balance, I strive to be present. If I devote my energy to what is needed of me in the present moment, I can give my best. I practice self-care, which for me is attuning to my needs on a moment-to-moment basis. I check in with myself and take care of my needs immediately. I listen to my body and that helps me stay well. I do work a lot, and I make time for recreation, which allows me to be creative and show back up to my work feeling inspired.

My son is in college so I have an open nest. Our relationship has transformed and he needs less and less of me on a day-to-day basis. When he is home from school, it's my pleasure to cook and hang out with him. We love making popcorn and watching movies. For my mental health, taking care of my home, cooking and nurturing my plants are things that ground me. I love spending time alone at the Soft Space by Mama Glow. It has this incredible energy that I can’t describe. 

If you were a color, what color would you be and why?

I love this question. I feel like pink is my color, so I will say blush pink or rose gold because they are warm, soft and femme-forward colors that put me at ease. These are the colors that inspired the Soft Space by Mama Glow.