photo credit: Waterloo Courier
I recently had the privilege to interview Jamie Rathjen, the Executive Director of Guiding Star Cedar Valley. I was so encouraged by her vision, insight, and desire for true societal change.
Jamie, who is trained in the Creighton model of fertility charting and holds a Masters degree in Community Health Education, first learned about the Guiding Star Project six years ago while attending a Catholic Conference. The thing that most attracted her to GSP was its mission to promote Natural Law within our bodies and our families. Intrigued, she began sharing what the Guiding Star Project was doing with like-minded people, many of whom now make up the current board at Guiding Star Cedar Valley.
Prior to affiliating with the Guiding Star Project, Guiding Star Cedar Valley was a medical facility that also featured the Creighton Model of fertility charting and Napro Technology. Jamie, one of the FertilityCare Practitioners, wanted the center to be a part of the Guiding Star Project because of their shared passion for empowering women to take pride in the unique functions of their bodies. Jamie explains, “What would our community look like if being a woman and mother was the best kind of reality? [I believe] Our communities would look a lot different. A light will surround these communities, true models of the Guiding Star Project, shedding a beautifully positive light on the beauties of our feminine nature. I want to be part of this societal change!”
One of the challenges Jamie and her team face is simply getting the word out to the community that they exist. So far, Guiding Star Cedar Valley has partnered with Fiat FertilityCare Center, Dr. Pranger (M.D., M.C.), and Fusion Birth, a birth collective offering natural childbirth classes, placenta encapsulation, doula support, newborn photography, and (coming in Sept. 2017) home birth. Currently, Guiding Star Cedar Valley offers Fertility Awareness Education, pregnancy and childbirth support, breastfeeding education through community classes, and a family medical practice. They have great hope for future growth and hope to add a child-watch area and a hygiene bank for women featuring diapers, menstrual supplies, and hygiene items. In a unique effort to help women not only in their current circumstances but also in the future, Guiding Star Cedar Valley hopes to create an established credit/scholarship program for women who attend community classes. For example, a pregnant woman struggling with finances and unable to afford working with a doula would be able to get assistance to receive this service by earning credit through attendance at a community class.
Increasing access to holistic care is very important to Jamie. She believes that when we have the facts and the truth about how wonderfully created we are, we are then able to say “fiat,” or “let it be” about our bodies and the babies that result from the gift of our fertility. This is holistic health: saying yes, or fiat, to our bodies and to what it truly means to live a natural lifestyle. “Women don’t need to use artificial means to get an end result that “suits us” and instantly gratifies us. Rather, women can bask in the beauty of what naturally ‘is.’ Increasing access to holistic care changes women’s perspective of themselves.
Jamie truly inspired me. Her belief that being part of the Guiding Star Project means being part of a movement bigger than ourselves, part of a reproductive revolution, gave me so much hope that my own daughters will grow up knowing the real choices that they have- choices Jamie believes actually serve their body, mind, and spirit. Jamie noted that if “a woman is not given all of her options, she actually isn’t choosing. I believe that many women today aren’t actually “choosing” the way they are cared for (regarding fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, etc.). They weren’t even given an option otherwise!”
Finally, I asked Jamie what advice she has for someone who wants to spread the word about the Guiding Star Project. Her response was simple. “Don’t be shy! The Guiding Star Project is the best kind of news for women, a service that celebrates a woman’s unique functions. When we focus on the reality of what that means for women, we will begin to see women no longer ashamed of the greatness of their abilities but women who feel proud, who feel like the best version of themselves. When speaking with others about this work, be sure to talk about the positive message we are sharing about the wonderful nature that is called womanhood.”