Earlier this month, our years-long dream of holding a space where women and allies could come together to illuminate conversations around pregnancy, fertility, and new motherhood became a reality, and the first annual The Continuum Conference was born at The William Vale Hotel on November 2-3rd in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
The weekend was made possible by a hardworking core team at Mama Glow and dedicated sponsors, inspiring speakers and panelists, and motivated attendees working and living across the full spectrum of the reproductive continuum. Birth workers, activists, policy makers, female founders, medical professionals, authors, mothers, and more came together to celebrate progress and think thoughtfully on the work that’s yet to be done. Self care was prioritized, too, because nourishment and self-love are pivotal when it comes to making positive change for ourselves and our communities.
If you missed The inaugural Continuum Conference (or, like us, just want to relive the magic again and again), here’s a recap of some of the weekends most memorable moments and experiences:
The VIP Kick-off Dinner
On Saturday, November 2nd, we gathered with friends, family, speakers, and community in the stunning penthouse duplex space at The William Vale Hotel. Upon arrival, guests were greeted with a smile and the Kin Euphorics bar, which served adaptogenic, non-alcoholic cocktails that set the tone of delicious revelry (with none of the next-day hangover). As introductions were made and conversation was incited, a gorgeous, floral-filled bedroom suite installation by The Red Maple Leaf, outfitted in Ettitude bamboo-silk linens, kept watch over the activity down below and invited guests to kick up their heels and take respite, and boudoir selfies throughout the night. Foria Wellness, a premium cannabis brand that centers women’s health on a mission to help you deepen your connection to pleasure and orgasm, was beautifully displayed in the boudoir’s vanity to encourage our guests to reclaim their pleasure. Foria has released the first 100% natural, sustainably grown, plant-based arousal oil designed to stimulate all the senses. AWAKEN contains broad spectrum CBD and powerful botanicals including kava, cacao, ginger, cardamom, peppermint, cinnamon and vanilla – its basically the tastiest sex spray ever and was available in our VIP giftbags.
Outside in the crisp November evening air, a plant-based dinner buffet overlooked breathtaking views of the East River and downtown-Manhattan. TONIC offered shots of their maple syrup sweetened CBD elixirs for attendees to take throughout the night. A spoonful of TONIC held under their tongues for 30-60 seconds, led to more relaxation and restoration.
The VIP party was the perfect way to kick off The Continuum Conference with our panelists and speakers, who had traveled from all over the world to be a part of the weekends’ events. Guests traveled from as far as Qatar, Germany, and Canada. The evening jumpstarted important conversation that carried over into the next day’s panels and intimate discussions, and nurtured friendships, old and new, that will last for years to come.
At the end of the night, Ettitude gifted our guests with bamboo silk travel kits so that everyone could sleep blissfully that night on a silk pillow case with a lavender eye pillow and wake ready for The Continuum Conference the next day.
The Continuum Conference 2019
On the morning on Sunday, November 3, as the TCS New York City Marathon raced through the five boroughs outside, we settled into Brooklyn’s The William Vale Hotel with a group of nearly 200 women to launch The Continuum Conference for the first time in history. As attendees made their way to check-in, they were embraced by the event space’s marble grand foyer for mingling and breakfast, complete with Lavva plant-based yogurt, Health Ade kombucha, and Bundle Organics maternity teas, to fuel up for the 10-hour day of programming. Guests were encouraged to subscribe and tune into a podcast or two from Birth Stories in Color, and photograph themselves posing near the free-floating floral womb, specially designed for The Continuum Conference by The Flower Bodega. The giant floral uterus was the perfect backdrop for everyone to take photos to commemorate the momentous day.
To start the conference by bringing us both together and to ground ourselves, sound therapist Sara Auster kicked off the programming with a group sound meditation experience in the main ballroom before Latham Thomas, founder of Mama Glow and The Continuum Conference, entered to the sounds of The Clark Sisters, danced onto the stage and reminded us all of the varied reasons and experiences that brought us to that same shared space with one another. Then, Latham welcomed our keynote speaker, Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens, who presented a stirring and thought-provoking speech drawing from research and conclusions drawn in her book Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology.
Programming continued with 9 panels, covering diverse topics including “The Fertile Frontier: Advances in Reproductive Technology + Empowered Holistic Fertility,” “Femme-Tech Solutions and the Future of Women’s Health,” “Unspoken Perspectives: Pleasure, Pain, Desire and The Sexual Landscape from Motherhood through Menopause,” “Unleashing Your Period Power: Leaning into the Menstrual Cycle,” and “Life After Loss: Coming to Terms with Abortion, Miscarriage + Infant Loss.” You can find a complete list of our 2019 panels and panelists, as well as the day’s full schedule, here.
The Continuum Shoppe stayed open from registration through closing. There, attendees could buy Mama Glow and The Continuum Conference -branded goodies as well as specially curated products from Plant People, Kin Euphorics, and Foria Wellness. We were so proud to also provide space for Kibou to sell their innovative and intentionally-compact diaper bag fanny packs for the very first time in-person – and the lucky guests who purchased their limited supply are the first in the world to own a Kibou bag!
In the self-care lounge, guests were treated to complimentary reiki and CBD hand massages from TONIC and ear seeding and acupuncture from WTHN between panels and during “glow time.” our self-care and decompression period. Throughout the day, support circles were programmed in the space so that attendees could talk about fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood more intimately with one another and process the challenging or potentially triggering content. They were encouraged to share their stories at the March of Dimes‘s video-recording kiosk, and were reminded with a gorgeous installation from Evenflo Feeding that, when it comes to nurturing our babies and ourselves, there should be “No Compromise.”
Evenflo Feeding continued to empower our pumping and breastfeeding guests with a cozy mother’s lounge where they could pump and store their milk or feed and relax with their little ones (yes, of course, babies were in attendance!). Majka nourished our mothers with yummy lactation supplement bites and Mamava provided educational tools to help mothers find safe, dedicated spaces to nurse their babies when out in public.
With the break-out panels and self-care treatments concluded, we reconvened in the ballroom for a fireside chat between Latham Thomas and critically acclaimed filmmaker Abby Epstein, we were treated to an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming film she and Ricki Lake are releasing next Spring, “The Business of Birth Control: Big Business and Your Reproductive Health,” a documentary that investigates the next women’s health revolution as it pertains to the dangers of hormonal birth control.
The fireside chat transitioned, finally, into 4 TED-style peer talks. Andrea Jackson spoke about “Rebirth as a Sisterhood,” Camalo Gaskin investigated “Why We Need Guardians of Intimacy,” Kimberly Seals-Allers illuminated conversation around “The Big Let Down,” and Layla Saad challenged us to think “On Being a Good Ancestor.”
But that wasn’t the end of The Continuum Conference. After delivering her closing remarks and leading a guided meditation and thank yous, Latham invited everyone back into the grand foyer for PRIMA‘s highly anticipated, CBD Mocktail party, “The Golden Hour.” Before it was time to say goodbye, we continued discussion, took pause for reflection, pictures, hugs and exchanged phone numbers among new friends over Prima’s Botanical Elixirs, which promised to keep our guests feeling lifted for their journeys back home.
We are so grateful for the partnership of The William Vale Hotel, our sponsors, our 40+ panelists, moderators and speakers, our volunteers, incredible event producers at Kathy Romero Events, and all of the friends of Mama Glow and family who have supported us making the first Continuum Conference a reality.
Special thanks to our gift bag sponsors: Frida Baby, Flamingo, The Honey Pot, Ettitude, Simris, Parasol Co., Movita Organics, Unbound, Foria Wellness, BRANWYN, Prima, Bundle Organics, Savorista, GoSili, and New York Family Magazine.
The Continuum Conference 2019 was only the beginning, but what an unbelievable place to start. Here’s to what’s next – together.