Top 10 COVID-19 Resource Guide for Pregnancy, Childbirth and PostPartum Mothers

Times are tough. These days, none of us really know how to navigate the waters but for Pregnant Moms right now, this is scary. We are being told that we may have to deliver alone, we are worried about our children’s health (and our own) and we are constantly adapting to new policies and learning to accept the changes being made for us. There has been too much disappointment for Mamas that are being forced to cancel their baby showers and go it alone at appointments.

I am currently 7 months pregnant with our second child and I cannot begin to tell you all the fears and worries that have crossed my mind during this shelter in place. I was beginning to feel a bit lost and then I remembered something that my sister in law told me when she was going through her infertility journey. She said that a friend had told her “If you cannot control your own situation, I want to encourage you to try and help someone else.” So, this is my attempt to help other Pregnant Mamas out there who are dealing with all the “what-ifs” right now. The following list is compiled of ten resources that I hope will aid Moms in finding some sort of relief during this time.

#1 The Natural Mama Book

This was my Go-To Guide during my first pregnancy. A friend recommended the book and although I had a feeling that I would not be taking the all-natural birth route, it was nice to have all the information. In reality, you never know what is going to happen when babies decide to make their way into the world. My birth plan most definitely involved wanting an epidural or some kind of medical relief but this book prepared me for the possibility of delivering without any interventions. I also loved this book because it had a week by week guide to pregnancy (and was pretty spot on). My favorite part of this guide was the positive affirmations laced throughout the text. Those excerpts were just the boost of confidence I needed to get through each trimester.

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#2 LouLou and Company

Do yourself a favor and splurge on this one baby item. Head to the LouLou and Company website and get yourself a knotted Newborn gown. Styled for both boy and girl babies, this is all we dressed our first baby in for the first few weeks of life and I promise you this purchase is worth every penny!

The gowns are super soft, designed to dress baby from the bottom up and have little cuff fold overs to prevent those tiny scratches. Dads will love the knot at the bottom for middle of the night diaper changes and Moms will love that Dads are letting them get a few extra minutes of sleep. The founder/creator of Lou Lou, Karen, was a NICU nurse and is a mom of 4 who designed these gowns with moms and babies in mind so each detail has been meticulously designed for comfort and ease! I love all their products but this gown is my go-to for that 4th trimester!

lou lou and company gown

#3 Join your local Hospital Facebook Group

I delivered our first child at a North Texas Health Resource Hospital and I found that the Texas Health Moms Facebook Group has been a huge support system. Whether I needed consultation on lacatation, recommendations for registry items, fitness routines or simply questions about sleep patterns, this community provided answers and resources that Could not be rivaled. In fact, I have found the best advice to come from other Moms that are in the same stage of life and this group was a game changer for me.

#4 Dive into the magic that is Kati Terek’s Birth Story Blog.

Her Birth Story chronicles autobiographical encounters of real live birth stories from courageous women who chose to spill the tea on their experiences! Some of these birth stories are fairy tale-come to life retellings, some are harder versions to swallow but all of them are a beautiful ode to the process of bringing new life into the world. Each story has a different purpose. For some women, informing others is transformative. For others, simply to unburden the trauma or stress is therapeutic. The “Her Birth Story” platform’s purpose is to spread awareness and help Mamas prepare for everything from that first positive test to the tender days of newborn life.

Admittedly, Kati Terek says that her birth experiences were, although beautiful, quite scarring and she wanted an outlet. If you are a first time Mama and you want to read up on real birth stories instead of diving into YouTube videos, this Blog is your go to! And, did I mention that Kati is a talented birth, Fresh 48 and Newborn Photographer who loves nothing more than to capture those raw and real first moments with your bundle of joy. If you are a Pittsburgh native, Kati is your girl to go to for documenting those first moments. She captured her own Fresh 48 photos when her little guy made his appearance in the spring of 2019 and was kind enough to let me show them off below! Check it out! Her rates can be found at www.londynnkate.photography/.

#5 Sign up for Diaper Delivery Mamas.

A few I love and have used, Amazon, Hello Bello or Honest Company will deliver both wipes and diapers for every stage (even split sizes for Mamas with kids in diapers at different stages). Save your selves the time and energy (and cash) by ordering a Diapery Delivery service! Every month, they just show up. No carrying the boxes out of the store or having to remember when to go grab them at a PickUp. Trust me, this is worth it.

#6 Use your Natural Birthing Technique Experts!

A sweet friend of mine, Hannah Laboon, is a certified doula and has made her self available for questions from you Mamas that are worried about having to deliver alone due to new hospital visitor policies or how to conquer Home Birth, Natural Birth and all those crunchy Mama ideals!

She has sent me so many positive affirmations, information on prenatal yoga classes that are live streaming (@mamatotoretreat), support groups focused in coping skills (@forwardwellnesscounseling) and placenta encapsulation benefit details! She recently said “We [as women] are divine, feminine oracles of the universe” and hopes to help you come to terms with that truth! Find her on Instagram at @hannapropaganda or reach out on email at hannahschultz@ymail.com. She wants Mamas to know that they can reach out for support simply because she is a woman wanting to help, honor and support other women. Her goal is to provide pressure free communication and be a pillar of support in the birthing community. 

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#7 A Quicklist of Postpartum Items that will make your life so much easier when you bring that sweet new baby home!

Every Mama and each baby has different needs but I know that these items are the ones we will have ready to go when our second baby makes his way into the world!

#8 Tips for Taking your Own Newborn Photography!

Having a baby during a pandemic doesn’t make your birth any less special, it just kind of puts a meter on the amount of joy you are supposed to feel and that isn’t fair! New moms are having to cancel their baby showers, forego perusing the aisles of Buy Buy Baby and worst of all, are being forced to cancel their Newborn Sessions.

I cherished my Fresh 48 session with our firstborn and it has made me terribly sad thinking that I won’t get to have this experience with our little guy this summer so trust me when I say, I feel you! Those first few weeks with your babe is time you simply don’t get back. Once that baby leaves your belly, they just keep on growing and capturing those first details are such a sweet reminder of those crazy newborn days and the abundant amount of joy you feel when you bring that baby home.

Well, I found a solution for all you Mamas out there who are bummed about missing out on this milestone. Sabrina Gebhardt Photography, out of Fort Worth, Texas, has come up with a beautiful guide for Spring and Summer Mamas being forced to forego Newborn Photos. Check out her Photos below and you will see exactly why I am recommending you read her Guide! Her guide gives you tips and tricks for how to take your own Newborn Portraits. All you need is a squishy babe and some sort of camera and yes, your phone will do! sabrina-gebhardt-fort-worth-texas-documentary-at-home-family-photographer_2104-1022x1024**Photo Credit: Sabrina Gebhardt Photography*

#9 Meal Train

Oh Mamas, there is nothing worse than worrying about what’s for dinner or how you are going to concoct something when your new baby is having a fussy day. If your family or friends are looking for ways to help you/sneak a peek at your new baby through a window or door, please suggest meal train. Meal Train is an American crowdsourced platform designed with the intention to help schedule and organize home-made meal giving for those in need.

How does it work? Someone sets up the account (dietary restrictions can be included) and then that person sends out the invites to your loved ones who can then schedule a day to provide a meal and drop it off. Everyone who signs up can see what you are bringing and what day and time you will be there so no one overlaps! Dare I say this is a Must Have service for those first few weeks!

meal train

#10 For many families dealing with COVID-19 repercussions, Financial Resources cannot come soon enough.

This pandemic has stolen livelihoods and replaced any sense of security with fears about where their next meal is coming from or how their mortgage will be paid. If you are one of those people, please let me know. There won’t be any questions asked. You can simply email me at therustienailhead@gmail.com with the COVID BABY subject line and I will do my best to provide you with the help you need.

It would be my pleasure to unburden the load of worry from your shoulders. If I can help in any way, I will. I can try to provide you with information on how to sign up for WIC, where to find a food bank, how to seek religious/mental health counseling, safe shelter, gas for your car or diapers for your little ones. Whatever I can do, I promise that I will advocate for you. It takes a village and I will do my best to provide you with the information you need to build up that village for your family.

 

Cover Photo Courtesy of @StefanieRosePhotography 

 

TRAVIS: A Soldier’s Story on NETFLIX

WHAT WHAT!?? This is crazy guys. If you haven’t seen this remarkably uplifting documentary, it’s past time you add it to your Netflix Queue. At the heart of this courageous tale lies a love story about a family who rose to the occasion and proved that life is a matter of overcoming immense obstacles, together.

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Travis: A Soldier’s Story is an award-winning documentary showcasing the life of Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne Division. In April of 2012, while on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, an IED exploded costing Travis an immense loss, his limbs. He is 1 of 5 quadruple amputees to survive the injuries he sustained during the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Upon arriving home, this soldier went to work. He spent months in rehabilitation at Walter Reed Medical Center. While gaining his strength and learning how to take care of his infant daughter, Chloe, Travis used his struggles to help motivate other wounded soldiers. It wasn’t long after that he met Katie Norris of Fotolanthropy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to capturing true stories of those who have overcome adversity through photography and film. From there, the award-winning documentary, Travis: A Soldier’s Story, would take flight. The film has premiered in over 30 cities nationwide, including our great nation’s capital and gained huge press coverage all over the United States.

While traveling the country premiering his debut film, Travis continued to push the limits. With the unfailing help from his devoted wife, Kelsey, there would be no ceiling that he couldn’t attempt to crash. From shooting clays in his backyard in Maine, learning to drive a pick-up truck and even skydiving with the United States Army Golden Knights, Travis couldn’t be stopped.

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After his debut on the big screen, Travis, along with author, Marcus Brotherton, decided to put his tale to paper and wrote a novel chronicling the before and resilient after of his Alive Day, Tough as They Come. This inspirational New York Times Best Seller is available through the Travis Mills Foundation and on Amazon!

tough as they come

His story wasn’t quite done yet though. He spent time traveling and speaking for motivational platforms and universities. After months of book signings and television and radio spots, Travis, his wife, and his daughter returned back to Maine for a well-deserved gift, their new smart home. Through the generous donations from the Gary Sinise Foundation (Lieutenant Dan Ya’ll), the Carrington Foundation and Tunnel to Towers, the Mills Family would finally have a place to call home. Controlled by an iPAD, this home is equipped with an elevator and a broad range of handicap accessible utilities  throughout the house and on the property.

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His story and the choices he made after that fateful day in April of 2012 would inspire millions. In true Travis form, he chose to Never Give Up. Never Quit. And now, he’s hoping to help reintegrate wounded soldiers back into society. In September of 2013, Travis created the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to benefit and assist combat injured veterans. Over the last 2 years, the Mills Foundation has devoted their time to creating a retreat for soldiers that are wounded or suffering from TBI or PTSD. They have purchased cosmetic mogul, Elizabeth Arden’s estate in Rome, Maine and plan to open their doors in the summer of 2017. It’s been years of renovations in preparation for the incoming wounded veterans and their families but Travis says it’s been worth it. He is living a life for those who didn’t make it back and now able to provide a safe haven for our nation’s bravest.

He’s not slowing down anytime soon either. This guy and his buddy, David Vobora of Adaptive Training, were recently featured on the Ellen Degeneres Show promoting their missions and sharing some pretty big news…

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The Mills family is expecting their 2nd child, a baby boy, this August! Congrats to you guys!! It has been an amazing pleasure watching this young couple’s journey and I can’t wait to see what’s in future!

Travis is redefining what it means to be a wounded warrior. -CNN

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So, what are you waiting for? Go watch the movie and when you love it, share the inspiration with #travisthemovie. For more details on where to purchase this documentary and how to donate to the Travis Mills Foundation, head to the Travis Mills Foundation’s website.