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.

mama natural

#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. 

doula

#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 

 

Mommy & Me Mini Session

My favorite little ladies are back up on the Blog this week! Last week, my good friend, Pida, stopped by with her little ones, Zoee & Paizlee, to set up their Mother’s Day shoot! Every couple months, these girls participate in our Mini Sessions and I swear each session gets better and better.

We started the shoot at one of my favorite locations, Bear Creek Park. In all season, this space provides ample light and gorgeous backdrops. This time would be no different. We headed to the park and immediately made our way into the Spring Wildflower patch. Full of Indian paintbrushes, blue bonnets and sweet pea, this spot would be perfect for the girls to run around!

I was a little nervous about heading deep into the flowers. Last time I headed out with these girls, we ended up in a sunflower field. Though the photos turned out adorable, it was definitely a nightmare shoot. Though now we laugh about it,  all of us were badly bitten by chiggers as we made our way through the flowers. For the whole story on how my husband came to the rescue, head to their Summer Session.

After taking a few quick photos in the wildflower patch, we decided to head into West Lake. A short drive up the street led us to a series of water features located on a walking trail near Vaquero. The girls were loving it. They immediately jumped right into the overflowing pond.

We ended the shoot at a series of columns near 121. As the sun set in the west, Mama Bear, Pida, jumped in for a few pictures with her monkeys! They were sweet as ever. It’s always so cute to see them battle for their Mama’s attention. Zoee just snuggles in, always wanting to be closest while Paizlee waits for their Mama to give her direction.

It is always a joy working with these sweet girls. They are always flexible and Pida is the best stylist I’ve got. Her girls always come dressed to the nines. I learn more and more about each child’s personality after their shoots. I’m also learning more about their relationship together.

Watching these sisters love on each other is something I look forward to doing year after year. Each time they surprise me and each time, I find myself loving them a little more. They are so comfortable with me taking their photo and they seem to thoroughly enjoy being a part of the process. In fact, at the end of every shoot, we have a small photography lesson and I let the girls take a few photos with my camera! I hope we keep this ritual up and one day, these girls can become my assistants/stylists!!

If you would like to book your Mommy and Me Session before Mother’s Day, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I am offering a 20-30 minute portrait session within Dallas Fort Worth for just $100! I’ll include 15 hi resolution images and special surprise for Mom!

***Special note for all the dads out there, I will honor this price and package in the form of a gift card if you want to surprise your special lady this Mother’s Day!

Highlight on Whitney Bowman Photography

Today, we are going to take a minute to talk about Community over Competition. Every forum, book, blog touches on this particular business model. In the creative world, I have found that this idea plays an essential role that every business needs in order to define their voice. Having the support from your peers or colleagues creates a sounding board for positive change, for forward motion.

This idea provides opportunity for growth and change. I have found that the biggest struggle in being a small business owner is balance. Balancing work and ambition can be a tumultuous task so when you find a fellow creative that you can bounce ideas off of, the possibilities for innovation become endless and somehow, easier to bare.

Whitney Bowman is a force to be reckoned with. She is a mom to this amazing little guy, Jake, a wife to her highschool sweetheart, Billy, a consultant for Rodan + Fields and runs her own photography business in North Texas. This girl knows how to get things done and fortunately enough for me, she’s graciously made her self available to help me out and answer some questions about how to keep that balance.

When it came time for Christmas card pictures, I had only one person in mind for the job. Whitney took the time to meet us at Bear Creek Park in Keller, TX and managed to capture some beautiful portraits of our family. Today, we’re going to sit down and chat with this sweet Mama about what drives her and how to stay on track.

RN: How do you balance life as a mom, entrepreneur and Rodan + Fields consultant? Any tips for staying on course?

WB: Well, I have only been doing all three together since June. I have learned it’s tough but to never procrastinate. I have a white board in my office where I keep a to do list. I also make daily to do lists. Lists keep me focused and off of Facebook. I feel accomplished when I check things off. Plus, my husband, mom, mother-in-law and Mother’s Day Out help A LOT! 😉

RN: What type of camera do you use and what is your favorite feature the camera has to offer?

WB: I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II. I’m not a very “techie” person so I really can’t tell you why this camera body is better than another, or what feature I like the best. I just know it takes great photos and it’s easy to use.

RN:  When/Where did your passion for photography begin?

WB: My mom enrolled me in 4H when I was in 3rd grade. I got to take photography lessons at a photography studio and enter contests. My grandfather bought me a subscription to National Geographic and I would just look at the pictures and try to recreate them.

RN: What are some challenges ran into when starting your Photography business and any advice for budding photogs like myself?

WB: Pricing. I don’t want to be the cheapest and I don’t want to be the most expensive.  I want my prices to be fair for both parties involved and reflect my talent and time.
As far as advice… I would say to stick with your price. Don’t change because you think your customer isn’t going to like it. If you think it’s fair enough to advertise then don’t change it.

RN: Any particular lens you enjoy using more than others?

WB: I really really like shooting with a 70-200mm. It makes the images especially crisp and from a long distance.

RN:  Indoor or Outdoor? Which types of shoot do you prefer? Any desire for an indoor studio?

WB: I LOVE to shoot outdoors! One, because that’s what I am comfortable with, and two, because it has the best lighting. I would like to have an indoor studio but really just for bad weather days.

RN: Editing or Photographing? Which element of this career sparks more of an interest for you?

WB: I dislike sitting at a computer just editing which is why I am more concerned with getting the image right in the camera first. Doing this allows me to get the images back to my client quicker.

RN: Where do you see Whitney Bowman Photography in 5 years?

WB: I would LOVE to see Whitney Bowman Photography as the, or one of the, premier senior photographers in the area. I don’t much see myself in a studio or hiring other photographers, just because I want to keep this a small operation.

RN: Any locations or events you really hope to snag in the future? (more weddings, more seniors, etc?)

WB: I really enjoy photographing seniors. They are so shy at the beginning of the shoot but by the end they have stepped out of their shell and are working it!

RN: Lastly, recommendations to clients for best possible shoot? (attire, time of day, props, Pinterest, lighting suggestions).

WB: Be as natural as possible. Don’t go buy a new outfit that is uncomfortable because then your photos will be. I am a less is more kind of person as well as in my photographs which is why I don’t use a bunch of props. In my opinion, you have family photos taken to capture your “people”, your family. Why take away from that with props? When you look at a portrait, what is the first thing you look at? Faces!

Here is a sneakpeek of our shoot. For more information on how to book with Whitney Bowman Photography, check her out on Facebook page (Whitney Bowman Photography) or her IG account (whittyb82). You can scroll her Blog, http://www.whitneybowman.wordpress.com, give her a call at 817-223-7406 or shoot her an email at whitneybowmanphoto@gmail.com.

Big thank you to Whitney for taking the time to sit down and talk with me and for choosing to share her knowledge of achieving the dream. Hopefully one day soon, we get a chance to collaborate ideas and put one in the books!