Malas by The Women's Circle has a new name.
So who is Ava, and why have I named my business after her? For many of my beautiful supporters, you may know the answer to this question already.
For those just learning, this is a deeply personal decision and one that comes with a trigger warning as some of the content in this story may upset some people.
In late 2016 I fell pregnant with my second child. We discovered we were having a little girl and of course my husband and I were over the moon. In February 2017 I treated myself to a yoga retreat tucked away in the forest of Uki, under the watch of the sacred Mt Wollumbin. I was 4 months pregnant, and celebrated my 36th birthday on this retreat. But what really stood out for me at this retreat was the mala bead workshop. We were given a bag full of rudraksha and 4 stones to choose - I chose rose quartz and amethyst. Amethyst is my birthstone, to celebrate my 36th cycle around the sun and Rose Quartz, in honour of the love I held for my baby girl growing inside of me. As I sat and strung that first mala, a little voice inside me said “this is your calling”. That seemed a little crazy to me...how can making mala beads be my calling? But I couldn’t deny the deeply moving experience creating that mala was for me. I was like a caged animal that had been set free. The creative awakening that took place started moving within me immediately! When the workshop completed I went to the divine Hollie Bradley from Sol Yoga Retreats who facilitated and told her “This mala is so sacred to me already! When my baby girl turns 21 I’m going to give it to her”. I knew right there and then that that mala was about to journey many great adventures with me. And I was going to pass all its sacred learning on to my daughter when I felt she needed it the most.
When I returned home from retreat I set to researching where I could purchase mala making materials from. I wanted to create malas for all my friends and family and share with them the practice of Japa Mala meditation. I found the perfect supplier in India and ordered a modest amount to get me started. And then in early March we lost our baby girl. I was 23 weeks pregnant and birthed her by medical induction at Gold Coast University Hospital. The birth of my daughter was the most heart breaking and healing experiences of my life. Along with my husband, I was attended by one hospital midwife Tracey, the private midwife Maria who I had hired at the beginning of my pregnancy, and my sister Avalon. No doctors. No shift changes. No monitoring. No rules. Just me and my women’s circle. She was born in water at 1.10am on the 10th March, 2017. We called her Ava Grace. Each moment of that birth was honoured by everyone that was in attendance. I was able to spend time with her and not once did the hospital rush me along. In fact, it felt as if they wanted to hold me even longer. Not let me go back in to the world, knowing the pain I would now carry with me. They knew better than me how difficult it would be to reintegrate. Walking out of those hospital doors without my baby was a truly surreal experience. Just the thought of making eye contact with someone could have brought me to my knees.
While I was in the hospital my mala bead materials had arrived! After my husband carried me in to the house, broken and lost, the box of materials was the first thing I went to. I will never forget the smell of that box as I opened it. The sandalwood hit me first - woody, sweet, heady, ancient, healing! Then the earthy smell of rudraksha, dirt, the great mother. And then the zing of the gemstones sang their tune to my soul. The materials were good. They were damn good - and so I dove in. It was my therapy. My healing. I strung them together while I fell apart. And they truly held me in that moment.
Ava was with me when I made my first Mala, and then every one after that. In my recovery they gave me hope and something to focus on. They gave me the opportunity to create something beautiful in the darkness, and they were my moving meditation. My first ever custom order was from my midwife Maria. And then she bought a mala for her daughter’s birthday. And so it went...It was a powerful healing for me. I had no baby, so I directed all of my maternal and creative energy in to my malas. And so Malas by The Women’s Circle was born.
1 year on, and as I develop my interest and creative expression in jewellery, renaming the business Ava Jewels has been on my mind. Even though she never came Earth side, her existence mattered. It meant something and it birthed something. And so she lives on in every piece I create. It is all in her name! And from a business perspective it not only honours her part in my journey, but it gives me more scope to create pieces that are not Malas. So please stay tuned for lots of new creations coming this year.
It is such an honour and a joy to share this journey with you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here with me and hearing my story. I will honour my baby girl and weave her essence in to every creation, creating beauty from what was once pain.
Namaste, Emma xx 🦋