Amanda Pohio or Womb Ripe as she’s better known to her followers, is a Melbourne-based holistic practitioner passionate about women’s health. Her integrative Womb Hara Massage focuses on supporting women with fertility and conscious conception, cycle connection and healing, postpartum healing and nurturing, womb healing and deepening, digestion clearing and support. Amanda weaves a number of holistic practices throughout her sessions to compliment her treatments, making no two appointments the same - each one is unique based on the needs of the client and their body at that time.
Recently Amanda embarked on her own birthing journey, and we followed along with keen interest, taking note of her pre and postpartum nourishment practices and experiences.

Regardless of the path chosen to birthing, we believe all women can benefit from a deeper connection to their body and womb, and a better understanding of their cycle and how to harness its power, and just generally more self-love. And so, we asked Amanda how exactly we can empower this reconnection.

What is your job description?

I am a Women's Health Practitioner, I see women for body work, specifically Womb and Belly Massage. I am a qualified massage therapist, yet my sessions are always a little different as I don't follow a rule book and just respond to what my clients need. There is almost always talking, and support given in that way, and then massage, where in the body I massage is always different depending on the client. I see a mixture of clients who want support with fertility, postpartum healing, digestion, and cycle support and then women who just want to connect to themselves and don't know where to start. I mostly massage the back, belly, womb and ovaries and sometimes do some work on the heart space.

What led you to pursue this specialty?
I started as a yoga teacher and from there a friend and I joined together and started a business holding healing workshops for women. I loved working with women and holding space for them, and I wanted to expand my offerings. I had always loved massage but didn’t have any qualifications, I found a course and I was particularly interested in the fertility massage side of it as I felt there needed to be more holistic fertility support. The clients I was receiving very much dictated what I offered / what I then trained in. I adjusted my offerings as time went on depending on what was needed.

What are some of the most common issues you see in women?
I hate it, but what I see most is a lack of self-worth, true self-love/ care etc. We don't realise how innately precious we are; therefore, the disregard is through the roof. There is comparison, competition, and self-judgement. We are not present with ourselves enough so how could we possibly know what we need at any given moment to deeply nurture ourselves? There is a surface level of self-love and then there is true, deep honouring of you as a woman and that just isn’t happening in our society. I think it comes down to the model of life that we live in - "women can do anything" attitude rather than - lets deeply honour our bodies and get
used to saying no to what doesn’t. But back to the preciousness - I say to all my clients - are you present when you put moisturiser on your body, do you lovingly attend to this act as an opportunity to imprint your body with total dedication, love and care for yourself as you start or end your day? Or do you slap the moisturiser on like a job that needs to be done? I ask - Would you moisturise a newborn baby like that? No, then why doesn’t your body deserve the same level of care? Side note, I have a newborn now, and if I am not present with him, especially when touching his body, he lets me know. Babies know love and how they want to be touched, as we grow up unfortunately, we just accept a lesser standard.

Have we all become disconnected from our womb?
Our society isn’t set up for women to know a connection with their womb. I certainly didn’t grow up with an understanding of what my cycle was, why it was, and how to connect more deeply with it. I was given the basics through school / doctors / family etc. But there wasn’t a model that represented the truth, and there certainly wasn’t a model that showed why it is so important as a woman to honour and connect to this sacred place in your body.
When my clients do feel more at-one with their innate female qualities, I see power, settlement, delicacy, vulnerability, spunkiness and sexiness that had otherwise been hidden. It is so beautiful and freeing when you give yourself the permission to fully embrace your wholeness as a woman, and flaunt it with no apology. How often do we really do that as women? And how often do we encourage other women to do the same, and are we ok with the reflection if they do?

What are some ways we can improve and restore connection to our womb?
To be more present and more with yourself. I know it sounds super simple, but it can be challenging to be present, many of us can’t even walk to the kitchen and make a cup of tea in presence, we are always thinking of what’s next, and by being so in our heads we aren’t with our body enough to know who we are and what we need. There is a lot of stimulation and distraction out there and a lot of rule books stating who you are as a woman.  When I am present, truly with my body, I feel empowered as the qualities I feel are all the innate qualities I am as a woman, and these come from having a connection with my womb space and my cycle. I feel totally joyful as I feel in flow and in rhythm with my body, the day feels far more run by me rather than the day running me. I would start with being more present - practice showering in presence, brushing your teeth, walking from one room to the other etc. Wake up in the morning and ask your body how it feels to move to best honour it and where you are in your cycle.

What are the benefits of understanding your cycle?
To deeply know and trust your body is pure gold, there isn’t anything richer or more empowering as a woman. To know your cycle is perfect as it is, as it's just for you - and is communicating all of the time, specifically to you - for you to embody that science - that is super, super enriching. As then no-one can tell you about you. You feel it, you read it and you respond. It's beautiful. For example, I know there is a term going round town called 'the inner seasons' where women refer to the four different stages of their cycle as winter, spring, summer or autumn. It can be really helpful, however if you are a woman who isn’t feeling sassy, sexy, vibrant and whatever else around the time of ovulation (summer season) it does create some comparison, as you may feel there is something then wrong with you and your cycle. Or perhaps your cycle isn’t the so called typical 28 days, again, you may feel like there is something wrong, however if you were to throw the rule book out and surrender to the messages coming from your body, you would then feel how it communicates just for you. It’s very humbling and very beautiful.
I suggest to my clients to have a cycle diary or a womb journal where they can write down daily how they feel and where they are at on their cycle. Just that one act can deeply empower and create a deeper relationship with your body / womb.