Did you miss the "Pregnancy Box Experience"? Yeah, us too...

I recently took a quick trip to NYC. One meeting was with a holistic OB practice on the Upper East Side. As I walked in, I saw Noobie Boxes stacked up against the wall. I looked them up online, shot a quick email through their website and within a week was on the phone with their founders.

Noobie Box was launched by 3 Dutch friends, Renske Gosselink, Steffanie Possel and Jiska Smits. They all gave birth to their kids here in the US, and missed the “Pregnancy Box Experience” so well developed & loved in their home countries. Charlotte Torris, French, and mom of 3 kids also born in the US soon joined and completed the team.

These four women are vivacious and determined to bring a quality experience to moms here in the U.S. that they missed out on, and they're doing it in style! 

This post was written by Charlotte, one of their fearless founders. Welcome her warmly!
xo,
Rebecca


The motherhood journey is long and multi-layered. But, in its beginnings, it is utterly imperative to receive tons of attention and support. You’re making a new person, for goodness’ sake!

You, yourself, may feel a little bit lost, confused, overwhelmed, or even too excited to know what you may need in the time ahead. We felt the same way being 3 Dutch mother's and one French mother away from our homelands when we gave birth. Countries that welcome new moms with a pregnancy box before they leave the hospital or birth center.

That's why we created Noobie Box, a fabulous gift box for expecting moms. Noobie is full of awesome products, coupons and information. Our box is different from the existing mother and baby boxes out there, because it’s free, easy to order and home delivered. No strings attached!

It is a complete care package that is to be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s own home. 

In Europe, many governmental, healthcare institutions and baby product companies send all mothers-to-be, regardless of income, a box full of baby basics and information on what to expect when baby is here! Isn’t this a great and comforting thing to do? Doesn’t every mom-to-be deserve special care and attention? We think so too.

Today, expecting women living in the New York Tri-state area can already have the same nurturing mail delivery for free. Do not worry if you do not live in that area, Noobie Box has plans to quickly expand to other states in the Northeast, and eventually countrywide!

We're excited to bring Noobie to you Mother Lovers in hopes you'll share it with a friend, so please spread the word! The box is FREE, and now, for a limited time (until November 10th). You can get free shipping on your order as well just using the promo code "LMH" at checkout.

How Can I Be Better With My Patients?

  Photo by @monetnicolebirths

Photo by @monetnicolebirths

Behind the scenes, I have had a handful of OBGYN's approach me on how they can do better.

Better - to ensure their patients feel secure, safe, supported by their care. Better communicate with women when her birth might be the first time this doctor has met a woman and her support team. To take care of a woman's heart better. The concerns all come straight from these providers hearts, because they're concerned about everything they're hearing and reading and seeing on the internet.

Being a maternity care provider is a political event, as much as a calling to provide excellent health care for many. Because the maternal health system in the U.S. has pulled us far apart - "us" the midwives from the doctors - is a fairly recent event. In fact, doctors started doing the majority of deliveries in the U.S after 1920.

By pulling us apart in training, education, and practice settings, it's unfortunately caused a chasm between professions. However, today in 2016 - from where I stand - I keep hearing the call to come together and work together because everyone is over it. We are over the chasm of care.

Everyone I know wants to do better, even if they're providing excellent care. Why? Because, they hear you and they see you.

This OB approached me via Instagram stories, asking this very fundamental question after providing emergency obstetrical care to a woman who came into her care attempting a TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean) at home that resulted in a fetal demise. The woman chose a home birth, because her hospital experience was a terrible experience. The OB asked me, "Any creative ideas on how I can debrief better with my patients after traumatic births!? I hate that this has to happen. 😔"

I told her to show up. This is the first step to care and follow up with a woman who has a traumatic delivery - be by her side more than your license or training tells you. It's more intuitive care than medical or midwifery care training teaches. 

Her message made my heart tug in many directions. As a result, she wrote this reflection.

We'd love to hear from you, now. What more you would have liked or loved to experience in your postpartum care? Alternatively, what was one thing you LOVED about your postpartum care? Tell us in the comments below. It will help us help the larger collective of providers who want to give you better care.

With big, big love,
The LMH Team


I’m writing this as a reflection – I’m writing about this because it seems like the right thing to do.

I became an OBGYN for many reasons – but the pivotal moment for me was watching a woman lose her baby after a breech delivery complicated by head entrapment in a small hospital in a developing country. I wrote my personal statement for medical school about how I wanted to learn the skills to be able to someday handle such a situation with not only knowledge about how to keep her safe but also the skills to navigate the sorrow that she had to experience when she found out that she lost her child.

Fast forward 4 years later, and I’m a newly graduated OBGYN, working in my dream job as a hospitalist – I am honing in my skills for obstetric emergencies. I’m helping to develop protocols for preventing obstetric hemorrhage, reviewing safety events, and training a fresh set of OBGYN residents.

I know in my heart what it means to be an OBGYN. My goals as an OBGYN were to walk with women in both joyous and tragic experiences that are all wrapped up in what God gave us as pregnancy. But I am also faced with many women in my community who have a misconception of why I go to work everyday.

So many of my patients have had a history of a traumatic birth, often related to their hospital experience, which they carry with them and unfortunately I become the new representative of that prior experience. How can I dig out from underneath that pile of misconceptions?

My family knows why I wake up at 5am and return home at 7pm, they saw the sacrifices I made when my daughter was a newborn and I was in training, only seeing her for 20 minutes per day – if that. My husband has seen me wipe tears away after crying on my way home thinking about a mother who lost her uterus to postpartum hemorrhage. He knows I wake up in the middle of the night recounting the events of a shoulder dystocia trying to make sure I did everything right.

How can I explain my motivations to my patients? Why is it even important to me to explain?

I work as an OBGYN hospitalist – meaning I don’t have an office, I don’t see patients in clinic or follow them throughout pregnancy. I am specialized to meet a woman, make a connection, and be with her throughout her hospital stay. I am like an emergency department physician – specifically trained in obstetric emergencies so that hopefully I’m the best person to care for you when pregnancy doesn’t go just right.

Where I live, this means that I often take care of women who don’t want to be taken care of by me. There is no other unit in the hospital where patients wish they could be doing the same thing but at home. No one chooses to have surgery at home, be evaluated for a heart attack at home, or recover from a major car accident at home. But because of how amazingly natural pregnancy and delivery can be, some women choose to stay in the comfort of their own home. I respect their decision – I can understand how sterile, isolating, and uncomfortable the hospital can be. I sometimes feel that way in the hospital, and it’s become my second home.

This is not a reflection on if home births should happen or not; it is a reflection on how I can care for those women better who end up with me in the hospital when they don’t want to be there.

It was surreal to sit in a room with a father, a 10 year old daughter, and a newborn girl who hadn’t lived through delivery. I felt like I knew what to say, how to sit in silence with them. I didn’t feel bad tearing up when I looked into the father’s eyes telling him how sorry I was that this had happened to his family.

But sitting in the waiting room later on with the two midwives who had been caring for my patient, attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean at home, with subsequent rupture of her uterus at home an hour away from the hospital, is still a place I don’t want to be. I want to scream out loud “WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE SAME TEAM!” or… “WHY DID YOU NOT CALL US FOR HELP?!”

I was trained by midwives. A midwife delivered my one and only child. I look to the midwives in our practice for advice, grounding, and new perspectives on how to take care of women. During residency, I often told patients that I was “minoring in midwifery” because of how much I admired the way a midwife can walk through pregnancy and delivery with all types of women. I jokingly call myself a “high risk midwife who also does surgery,” but this is actually what I aspire to be.

That said, how can we all get on the same team? In a time where maternal mortality is escalating, and depends on where you live and what color your skin is, how can we all come together with the same goals in mind – taking good care of women and the families they are making? How can I rebrand myself to help my patients see how badly I want to help them? How can I show that my 4 years of medical school, 1 year of graduate school, 4 years of residency, and $291,000 of student loan debt is all worth it to be able to help save a life?

I know I can. I know I will. 

A Lot Can Happen in a Year

 No such time as spare time
No such thing as free time
No such thing as down time
All you got is life time
Go
 - Henry Rollins

"It's beginning."

These are words I've heard over and over the last couple weeks from friends, family and mother lovers as LMH landed in the hands of women and men around the globe.

When I look back at the last 365 days, they've been absolutely transformative and I didn't know what to expect. The outcomes have been incredible; and the feelings felt have been big and tender, vulnerable and real. 

In all honesty, I can say 2015 was a WILD ride. Srsly. Wild.

It was one of the biggest years on my personal record, even though I'll never compare it to the mentally and emotionally exhausting years after my dad died and a love of my life died. And, I can't compare it to the years of being a midwife and the hard, and easy births I was part of. Those are different stories. 

This year was wild and big, because I felt how much I give a massive sh*t about improving maternal health outcomes from an "on the ground" perspective and nurturing the growth of this community. This year was wild and big, and hard, because I learned a lot about asking and receiving help. This year was big, because finally, I feel like I am doing exactly what I was born to do in this lifetime and I'm really comfortable in my skin.

Alongside all the hard work it takes to do the work I love, and the constant hustle - I won't stop, can't stop, because this community is it. Improving maternal health is it. Building and expanding this business for you and future generations - it's everything. 

In 2013-14, I knew what was possible - in my head. I didn't know how to execute fully. It took time, and research, to listen to myself deep enough to hear how I was going to help. 

My mom was worried about my future. Sometimes people said I should consider quitting. But I knew in my heart I wouldn't stop. I'd make it work.

On Dec 20th, 2014, I sat on a plane bound for Colorado to spend the holidays with my family and read an intense amount of research on maternal health and postpartum mental health...and that's when I got "the download" on LMH.

From there, I started taking action. Daily action. And, LMH was conceived.

Highlights of 2015:

  • With the help of a rad editing and peer-review team scattered across the country, we wrote LMH.
  • With the help of this incredible rockstar community, LMH was born on Kickstarter. This was the light of my year. You are.
  • The funding of LMH on Kickstarter re-wired my heart, reminded me "love goes a long way," and helped prepare my soul for the next three months. The next decade.
  • After Kickstarter, the wild ride started with publishing deals, conversations with potential investors and broker firms, pushing myself to re-develop the business model and plan for growth strategically, sustainably, and wisely. I said, "Yes, please," and also learned when to say no. Everyday was a new adventure and I was learning to navigate new waters - it was hard. 
  • I stopped working with women one-on-one in October.
  • In November, I realized I couldn't be an army of one CEO. With the help of an stellar design and developer team, legal team, and a lot of support from smart family and friends I've taken big leaps, and landed in a pretty sweet spot.
  • We've pitched LMH to six innovative institutions that provide maternity care (aka hospitals & birth centers) and they love it. LMH is three months old.
  • We re-established our mission, visions and values in preparation for our growth, which felt incredibly grounding; and helped me envision what we will accomplish in 2016.
  • We went global. WHAT!?
  • We shipped LMH on time. Phew!
  • You thanked us, kept us in the loop, asked your questions, and told us to keep going. We delivered and we will keep delivering. Pinky swear.

This is what's in store for 2016:

  • As we re-established our MVV's, watched LMH place herself in the right hands, we felt the inevitable and impending growth. In 2016, we will make some important (and crucial) hires.
  • We will partner with projects that are fun, and the right fit for our family and community.
  • Our mission changed from solely focusing on postpartum health, to providing tools for women from childbirth to post-menopause.  We will do this through online and mobile apps, beautifully designed self-care tools (like LMH) as we strive to protect and preserve the wellbeing of strong mother's, healthy families and connected communities. Basically, we're getting down to business and there will be a lot of dirty handwork.
  • We will push out LMH #2, on restoring your core and pelvic floor, and expand the LMH model.
  • You'll see more content, and not just from me, from experts that span the gamut - body, mind, heart and soul. Experts who speak real talk and want to help improve women's health.  
  • There will be more opportunities to meet up, all over the country (and fingers crossed the world) with speaking engagements, workshops and retreats. It's really important to our growth that we show up, in person, to meet and engage with you more regularly. 

That's the gist. 

As we make these changes, I will keep you in the loop. It's exciting and my focus in unwavering on building a strong foundation to help women for generations to come.

Finally, tomorrow is my 40th birthday. Recapping the last year and setting stride into the next year feels just about right. My wish, my one wish, is that more women get solid and loving beginnings into motherhood over the next 10 years.

Thanks for riding with me on the tail end of my 30's. I hope in some small way I've helped you, because you've changed my life. For the better and brighter.

As the Kings of Leon say, "You've got to shine before you blow them away." Let's blow them away Mother Lovers, in this next decade. I am ready.

I love you with all my heart!
XO,
R

 

Hanging Out with The Girls

 Getty

Getty

Today's post is written by our resident Women's Health Therapist, Meredith Larrabee, PsyD. 

After I posted a picture of a card from LMH on Insta the other week, she texted right away, "I wanna see more pics of boobs after nursing- to normalize it. Great we see nursing moms. Now? Show the after effects. Trust me: there is likely a direct correlation for many women between sagging tits and depression."

So we are, today. She wrote the words. I collected the images from mother lovers around all over. 

The comments are turned off to protect the vulnerability and integrity of the moms who were willing to expose themselves fully. We LOVE their hearts and having the ability to take such a brave leap (and share) deserves deep respect. 

xo,
Rebecca

tatstatas.jpg

“Your breasts may or may not return to their pre-breastfeeding size or shape.Some women's breasts stay large, and others shrink. But sagging or staying full can be as much a result of genetics, weight gain during pregnancy, and age as a result of breastfeeding.”
                                                                     –babycenter.com

Maybe you have read about how women’s breasts can change during pregnancy, nursing and childbirth; but, like most things with pregnancy, you don’t know what is going to happen to you… and what won't.

For example, some women really like their breasts during pregnancy because they are “fuller”, while others hate how large they become because lets face it, there is a point where they get so sensitive you cant run or exercise without pain, your bras don’t fit, and they are just…enormous.

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And then there is the after.

The after of nursing and pregnancy can mean a number of things for boobs, but for some, its shocking. I remember a close friend of mine who kept commenting on her horrific “post nursing breasts." 

Honestly, she has always been prone to exaggeration, and is often dramatic and self-aggrandizing in service of making me laugh so I assumed that was the case. I mean I knew that most people experienced a “loss of fullness,” or stretch marks, but whatever, right?

sxbbs.jpg

How bad could it be? 

You should know that while she was nursing her boobs were truly glorious. She is a petite, athletic gal and usually an A cup so when they ballooned to a DD she thought it was fun! And they looked unreal…almost. prosthetic. She had huge, perfectly round ta-ta’s. 

 

So one day, while drinking endless cups of coffee and hanging with our 1 year olds I challenged her. She kept referring to “bags of skin” and I said, “I don’t believe you. I wanna see ‘em. They can’t be THAT BAD.” 

So she set her coffee down, and flashed me.

 

Look I’m not gonna lie to you, and I didn’t to her. They were exactly what she had been saying, “Two empty deflated bags of skin.” I was stunned. The point is that going from small chested to Pamela Anderson , andthen to this, was truly disfiguring.

It had psychological and emotional consequences for her; and no, she didn’t get implants or anything. I know she considered it for a hot minute, but she felt alot of shame about it. She didn’t want her husband to see her boobs and it took her awhile to grieve the loss of what they once were (not the Pamela Anderson's, but the little A’s).

When you hear women say their boobs are "messed up" from nursing, you should know what it might mean. And know, that like other parts of our body that transform in pregnancy, these can really change dramatically, too.

And lastly, what you do with your boobs is up to you, wholeheartedly up to you as long as you feel good and confident hanging out with your girls. 

 

 

"In Need of Grounding."

"Every age has its turn, every branch of the tree has to learn. Learn to grow, find it's way. Make the best of this short little stay...take your time, build a home, build a place where we can all belong"
- José González

Last week, I received an email from a mom and the subject line read, "In need of grounding and woo woo websites." Two of my favorite words! She was looking for some insight on seasonal shifts and how to help our bodies adapt, as well as our souls. The beautiful part was when she said, "I'm trying to change my life to something better, one that I truly want while I work full time and have less and less time for myself." We are all, and I love this!  

My first contact with "the woo-woo" was when I was 19. We had a rocky family moment and I lost my shit. More or less. I was a driven, pre-med student with my eyes set on med school straight out of college, residency done by 29 and family started. When it all broke loose, I started to look for things that helped me understand the depth of life. Something bigger than myself that would help me heal. 

I explored the new age phenomena in books and experiences. Yoga and meditation were two early practices that helped me pull the pieces back together again, and some therapy.

Even though I didn't go to med school, I pursued my intense interest in studying the origins of medicine, and how we heal as I continued throughout my college days. Ultimately, I graduated with a minor in holistic health and alternative medicine from a hippy school in Arizona. My major, education.

In order to dive into this question of grounding, connection with the earth, and seasonal changes I'm going to do a little series for the next couple weeks.

Each week, I'll add some websites to the posts that I go to regularly for insight, grounding, and connection.

The first go-to for me is something a teacher reminded me of recently, as life has been clipping by with opportunities and experiences that I never dreamed of experiencing. Sometimes, I've been completely overwhelmed an run down and this simple activity brought me back to center.

I have a teacher I've worked with for 10 years, she's taught and guided me through some incredibly hard years and beautiful ones too. The bright/messy years. Recently we talked and she said, "You have so many things coming at you all at once. Make sure you get outside, work in the garden, get your hands in the earth, go for a run, just be out and moving. It'll keep you grounded."

When I start feeling overwhelmed, outside I go. Sometimes I just sit or lay on the ground, and breathe. Other times I work in the garden, go for a run, do something in the yard or walk around, but also I take the time to stop, look up and absorb the energy (yep, woo-woo) that is the sunlight coming through the trees as they change colors or the wind rustling through the trees. 

Not rocket science, or even something you don't know, but if I had to be reminded I bet it helps you to have the reminder too. So many of us right now busy ourselves and it gets too hard to stop, and give ourselves time to just be. 

Try it this week if you feel frazzled. Take yourself outside and ground down. 

Regular go-to-woo-woo websites:
Chani Nicholas (astrology) 
Georgia Nicols (like having your grandmother tell you about the stars; she's awesome!)
Vidya Living (ayurveda, yoga, coolness factor on high, love Claire and what she offers)
The Local Rose (Shiva Rose's blog + follow her IG, she's lovely)

Do you have any simple grounding techniques you love? Let us know in the comments below. 

More on this topic next week! Until then, shine on and have a beautiful week.

Big Love!
XO, Rebecca