Meet the Afro-Latinx Twins Dedicated to Healing Your Womb
Identical twins, Dr. Griselda Rodriguez-Solomon, Ph.D. and Dr. Miguelina Rodriguez, Ph.D., were destined to be womb wellness warriors. Now known as the Brujas of Brooklyn, these Afro-Dominican sisters have made it their life's work to help people across the United States heal their wombs through Kundalini yoga, meditation, workshops, and retreats.
"It was intuitive," says Miguelina . "It really was God's plan."
When they were around 11 years old, their mother, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, had a hysterectomy. Like many first-generation Latinx folk, Miguelina and Griselda were their mother's interpreters. This included doctor's appointments. So, when doctors discovered that their mother had to have this complicated procedure it was them who had to translate. Understandably, this created an awareness about female reproductive health that would stick with them throughout childhood and into their adult lives.
"Mom didn't and still doesn't speak English," Miguelina explains. "I was personally the one doing the cultural brokering, going to her fibroids follow-up appointments, and asking my mother things like, 'Have you had any abortions? When was your last period?'"
In addition to asking questions, Miguelina remembers having to look at her mother's blood clots "and they were huge because she was hemorrhaging."
Going through this process at such a young age is what planted the seed, but it wasn't until they hit their 20s and encountered their own womb awakenings that their roots in womb wellness would begin to grow into something bigger than them.
Their Womb Awakenings
For Miguelina her body sent clear signals that it was time to take care of herself. "I had HPV, but mine was so far along that I had precancerous cells on my cervix," Miguelina says. "I had to have an outpatient procedure where a very thin part of my uterus was shaved off and that catapulted me into my spiritual journey."
Griselda's journey into womb-healing was also birthed through a painful situation. Though hers was an emotional one in her late 20s that involved a difficult separation from her then-fiancee, who is now her husband and the father of their 7-year-old son, Talib. Instead of choosing more traditional methods of support like therapy Griselda turned to an elder womb-keeper named Mama Mut who she lived with for three months.
"That's when it all meshed," Griselda recalls. "The word yoni came into our atmosphere through Mama Mut, and the significance of the womb was solidified." From there they began working with holistic health expert, womb wellness coach, and New York Times best-selling author, Queen Afua. "That catapulted us into this place we are now."
Combining Their Spiritual Work With Academia
The Brujas of Brooklyn, who are also both social science professors at the City University of New York (CUNY), teach that the trauma a woman has experienced in her lifetime, or trauma that exists in her ancestral lineage, can remain stored in her yoni, eventually leading to physical diseases like fibroids, a noncancerous tumor that can grow in and on your uterus, heavy bleeding, and painful periods. Through womb work, the restoration of that beautiful space of creation begins, and the trauma can be healed over time.
"A womb is like a vessel, it holds things," says Griselda, who is a survivor of childhood molestation. "If the trauma is not addressed through things like meditation, yoga, reiki, therapy, and movement, it becomes lodged in our womb."
"We're living through a legacy of enslavement," she continues. "Because [while] we're descendants of kings, queens, and warriors, we're also recently the descendants of millions of people that were enslaved—and our women, our African and Indigenous ancestors, were raped so they can produce children that would enrich European superpowers. That trauma still lives in our DNA."
Miguelina adds, "So, it's one thing to know about fibroids and hysterectomy rates, but it's another thing to put them in the context of patriarchy and misogyny, and looking at things like the sterilizations of Puerto Rican women from the '30s to the '70s on the island of Puerto Rico. And the sterilization of Mexican women in Los Angeles County hospitals in the '70s."
Latinas Disconnected From Their Wombs
Since launching Brujas of Brooklyn in 2016 they've witnessed a common thread amongst their students—particularly with Latinas. "One of the things I see with my sisters of color, my Latinas, is a pattern of disconnect from their power," says Miguelina says, who also revealed that they see a lot of physical symptoms like fibroids and heavy bleeding that accompany the disconnect. And with that disconnect, they say, comes shame.
"I see a lot of women that embody shame around their bleeding. They don't like to talk about it," Griselda adds. "I just told my students today that I feed my blood to my plants sometimes and people squirm. So, we see physical and emotional and spiritual manifestations of deep shame around the woman and what the womb does."
Miguelina adds, "Regardless of how long I've been doing this or how many women Griselda and I have taught and led and co-facilitated with, I am still in awe at how much shame and secrecy there is around our cycles."
Womb Consciousness At Home
In addition to working with people to heal the wounds of disconnect and shame around their yoni and menstrual cycles, they are both normalizing womb consciousness in their homes too. Starting with their own mother.
"In Dominican Spanish, they say, 'Tu esta mala?' or 'Are you sick?' when you have your cycle," Miguelina says. "We're trying to help my mother by saying, 'I'm not sick, I'm on my cycle.'"
Griselda is also paying special attention to how her son understands a woman's womb by embracing herself and the power she possesses. "I'm committed to teaching my son all things feminine, all things woman," she says proudly. "My house is a period positive house."
That includes the support of her husband, Idris, who Griselda says steps in to buy her sanitary products, allows her time to rest when she's on her menstrual cycle and helps in their son's understanding of the womb. She says the communication about the womb coming from both parents has worked well for their son, who is now 7.
"When Talib was around 3 or 4, I didn't close the door when he barged in, and I had my period. I call it my moon time. I wouldn't create secrecy around it and I would answer his questions as if he were a baby adult," Griselda says.
Miguelina also has a supportive partner, who is open to learning and understanding the intricacies of the womb. "My partner knows what sanitary napkins I like and what sanitary napkins I don't like. He knows to go easy on me and allow me to just be when I'm on my cycle," she says. Keeping an open dialogue and knowing that she can have conversations with her partner about her uterus shedding without judgment has helped her feel more empowered.
The Pressure Amongst Latinas
Now, at 40 years old, Miguelina is preparing to become a first-time mom within the next couple of years. "At this rate, I see myself at 41 or 42 having my first child and I'm doing a lot of spiritual work to prepare for that," says Miguelina. "The first thing is taking this idea out of my head that I'm too old."
"We feel a lot of pressure as Latinas to live up to this idea that our main worth is associated with having children," says Griselda. "When me and Migue turned 30 it was like, 'You're already old.' Then you have a kid and they're like, 'Oh when you gonna have number two?' Then you have three and you have too many kids now. It's like this constant need in Latino culture to police a woman's womb and it affects us in one way or the other."
Whether your womb-healing journey includes healing ancestral traumas or helping your partner, family, and loved ones gain a better understanding of the yoni, the first step is to empower yourself.
"Before you start worrying about how to teach your partner or your children, it's really important that you teach yourself," Miguelina says.
How To Remember Your Power and Begin Healing Your Womb
Keep a womb journal Document your menstrual cycle in a journal that can also be used to write to your womb. Yes, write to your womb."Literally, leave that shame, and write to your womb," Miguelina says "ask the womb what it is that it needs."
Track your period Download an app like Period Tracker or MyFlo so that you always know when your period is approaching and are never caught off guard, advises Griselda. Having this awareness will help you understand why you're feeling a certain way in the long run.
Eat Mindfully Pay attention to what you eat and drink, and how your body responds. According to Miguelina some food and beverages may stimulate your body and cause your cycle to be heavier, longer, or more painful, but keeping track of what you consume you'll be able to do away with those foods as your cycle approaches.
Feel your power Shift your consciousness about your womb, and feel empowered to touch yourself and look at yourself in all your splendor. "It's about turning your womb into your ally," Griselda says. "Patriarchy has conditioned us to betray ourselves and turn our wombs against us," she adds. "So, what's helped us is to shift our consciousness. Whenever I feel disempowered, I put my hand down my pants and say, 'Ooo, I'm holding all that power.'"