Holistic Health & Wellness, Homebirth & Motherhood

12 Must-Have Products for a Healthy, Holistic Pregnancy

Finding out you’re expecting a bundle of joy can be one of the most exciting times in life. Then, the thoughts of having a healthy pregnancy creep in along with the stresses of what to eat/what not to eat, what to put on your body/what not to, and so on.

I’m currently expecting our fifth child and I’m here to tell you that those thoughts don’t lighten up just because you have a house full of children. I’ll also admit that although I’m way more healthier now than when I had my first 12 child years, I still battle(d) with thoughts of having a healthy pregnancy.

There are several precautions we can take as expecting mothers, much of it being taking into consideration past and current health status, and the willingness to make the necessary changes. This is where my suggested list of must-have products for a healthy, holistic pregnancy comes in.

A Little Disclaimer

I want to give the disclaimer now, versus at the end of this blog post, because it should be noted that I am not claiming to have all the answer. I am not a licensed healthcare professional, and you should always seek your personal healthcare professional if you have any questions about products you’d like to use during pregnancy.

I’ll also admit that while there is certainly a place for Westernized medicine, most healthcare professionals beyond the naturopathic field are not quite “familiar” with nor do they primarily suggest products that are natural and pure. This is where your right and freedom to your own research and advocate for your own health kicks in.

Let me also share that I have been on both sides of the fence. I was a mainstream mama who went the traditional route of “do what the doctors say because they know best.” I also experienced trauma and unnecessary medical procedures during my first labor and delivery… resulting in an emergency c-section that almost claimed the life of me and my son.

The other side of the fence is where I’m currently building my house (LOL). I understand my right to research information, as well as my ability to take my healthcare (and that of my family’s) into my own hands. I am not afraid to seek assistance when necessary, but rarely are they ever needed (for my family personally).

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way… let’s look at some must-have products for a healthy, holistic pregnancy!

 Vitamins

The key to considering any type of vitamin is to know what’s in it. And believe it or not, knowing what’s in it is only half the battle. The other half involves understanding what the ingredients in them actually do for your body. Most “multivitamins” are synthetic with lots of additives (no bueno).  They also offer big doses of vitamins and minerals that cannot be wholly and properly absorbed. This ultimately throws off nutrient balance (the exact opposite of what we need, right?).

So what constitutes a good vitamin? They should include some form of:

  • organic herbs
  • vegan base
  • gluten-free
  • MTHFR-safe
  • natural and pure

Another rule of thumb is if you can pronounce the ingredients. If it has words that look like a foreign language, I suggest staying away from them. Vitamins I do recommend considering are:

  • Nourish Her Naturally (packed with nothing but herbs: nettle leaf, red raspberry leaf, dandelion leaf, catnip leaf, alfalfa leaf, and spearmint leaf all extracted in sustainable palm-derived glycerin)
  • Immune-Aid Vitamin C Powder (powder-based with: camu camu powder, acerola berry, orange peel, and stevia – and that’s it!)
  • Energy Plus – Herbal Iron (consists of: yellow dock, dandelion leaf, spearmint leaf, nettle leaf, and rosehips with organic palm-derived vegetable glycerin and filtered water) *I take this supplement daily!*

There are many other vitamins out there (especially those that claim “natural”) but the ones listed above are a few that I personally and highly recommend.

Teas & Other Beverages

It wasn’t until my first homebirth that I was awakened to the world of teas, especially those that are amazing for expecting mothers. I’m not sure if I’ve heard this anywhere, but it just came to mind – A cup of tea a day is the natural, holistic way!

Teas work much like vitamins, but that also means that they need to be natural and pure in ingredients as well. A few of my favorite go-to teas are:

  • Lemon-Ginger Pregnancy Tea (made with: lemon peel, ginger root, raspberry leaf, green rooibos, dandelion leaf, nettle leaf, and catnip)
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea (made with: raspberry leaf)
  • Birds & Bees Ripe & Ready Tea (made with: raspberry leaf, hibiscus petals, rose petals, cinnamon bark, allspice berries, and crystallized pinapple) *Should only be drank during 3rd trimester!*

Other beverages I recommend:

  • Smoothies (made with natural fruits and vegetables)
  • Super Foods Powder (made with: acai powder, blueberry powder, raspberry powder, strawberry powder, tart cherry powder, beet powder, cranberry powder, ginger root powder, burdock root powder, and chaga mushroom powder) *perfect for entire family and can be mixed in smoothies, yogurt, and apple sauce!*
  • Coconut Water
  • Vegetable Juices
  • Milk
  • WATER!!!

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The Body

Growing bellies and rapid weight gain (or loss) are definitely contributing factors to the dreaded stretch marks. However, no fear mama! Beyond embracing the beautiful changes our bodies endure, we can prepare our skin for all it may endure – from stretch marks to becoming increasingly dry and itchy!

Some go-to body creams, butters, and serums I suggest are:

  • Soothing Belly Butter (ingredients: mango butter, organic cocoa butter, organic comfrey leaves, grapeseed oil, and organic rosehip seed oil) *This one’s coming in my next order, woot woot!*
  • Vitamin D Cream (ingredients: cod liver oil, emu oil, avocado oil, organic mango butter, and candellila wax) *Can’t wait to try this one too, and for the hubby who has a Vitamin D deficiency!*

There aren’t many suggestions for this one because once you find something that’s good (and works), why look for more?!

Other Aids

I for one experience horrible sinuses while pregnant, not to mention a few rounds with morning sickness. These are no fun when trying to get used to the changing hormones, growing belly, and the physical feels of a baby (or two) growing within you. Below are a few products that can help with those other pregnancy side-effects:

  • Mama’s Tummy Relief (made with: organic fennel seed, organic ginger root, organic catnip, organic blackberry leaf, organic dandelion root, organic palm-derived vegetable glycerin, and filtered water + alcohol free!)
  • Sinus Saver (made with: organic nettle leaf, organic elderberries, organic turmeric root, organic black pepper, organic dandelion root, organic cane alcohol, filtered water)
  • Postpartum Balance (made with: organic herbs (turmeric, black pepper, dandelion root, catnip, alfalfa) organic alcohol, filtered water)
  • Natural Balance (made with: licorice root, dandelion root, shatavari root, catnip, ashwagandha, organic alcohol and filtered water)

And There Ya Have It Mama!

Of course there are numerous other vitamins, teas, body creams, and other aids you can find and incorporate into your pregnancy regimen, but be mindful of ingredients. The ones I’ve suggested above are those I’ve either tried and/or currently use or plan to use, but most importantly trust.

If you’ve taken the time to click on the suggestions, you’ll notice a trend with some (if not majority) of the products. They mostly come from a company called Earthley WellnessThis company has been an answered prayer and the end of an almost two-year journey of finding a company that is true to the calling of creating 100% pure, clean, and natural products.

If you’re interested in learning more about why I trust this company so much, and what sets them apart from the other hundreds of wellness businesses out there, click hereYou may also notice that I’m an Earthologist, too! That’s a fancy way of saying that I’m an Affiliate/Representative with them. But no worries, they are not an MLM and we only get a percentage of those who order using our link!

(Thanks in advance if you choose to order using my link! It helps this mama help her hubby pay bills!)

In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have. If you’re interested in trying Earthley Wellness, I can hook you up with a complimentary consultation and product suggestion list! Simply click here and fill out our contact form!

Here’s to healthy, holistic pregnancies – and beyond!

CHIME IN: What are your go-to products for fostering a healthy, holistic pregnancy? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Home Education, Homebirth & Motherhood

What to Expect When You’re Expecting & Homeschooling

Not too long ago we found out we were expecting baby blessing number five. I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming because my husband had been talking about wanting more children. I also lifted my “heck no” ban and told God to have His way with our family, surrendering my will.

We also recently entered into our 6th year of homeschooling, having slowly merged into a year-round style mixed with a relaxed, eclectic approach. A new baby was not part of the plan. Perhaps you are an expecting mother who homeschools as well. Maybe you have no idea how this is going to work.

Allow me to ease some of your stress, concern, and worries by sharing 5 things to expect when you’re expecting and homeschooling, and how to handle them. Yes, some of it will be humorous… but that’s the point. 😉

Panic Mode!

This mode happens to most of us, especially if you’re expecting baby number two, or three. After four (or more) the attitude is usually, “Oh, what’s one more?” followed by the thought of how much crazier can our circus get, LOL.

Either way, it’s common to slip into panic mode for a bit until reality sinks in and you realize that you can do this. You’ve been blessed with this gift, and the Giver is just as merciful to see you through. You’re homeschooling the others, so this one will naturally fit right in.

Instead of panicking, or at least staying in panic mode more than you need to, begin counting your blessings. Choose praise over panic, and take control of your thoughts in the process by choosing joy in the journey.

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Throw Your Current Plans Out the Window!

Okay, maybe not all your plans – but, what I strongly suggest is to give yourself some cushion (especially if you can be a little OCD). However, cushion, in my opinion, doesn’t mean to let everything go.

In my personal experience, cushion may look like less busy work and more field trips. Or, more read-alouds and documentaries.

Instead of thinking that your plans have to drastically change, consider naturally adding the journey of expecting a new baby into your homeschooling journey. Not to mention, the kiddos will get to see you physically growing, and at some point they will be able to feel baby move. Invite them to workout with you, and get them in on eating and preparing healthier meals.

One Million Questions

Yep. If you have little ones, expect a million questions. I am asked no less than ten times a day, “Mama? Do you have a baby growing in your belly?” And my response is always the same until I can show them how much baby has changed, which thankfully is on a weekly basis.

This kind of goes back to my last suggestion of including the pregnancy journey in with homeschooling. I want my children to be a part of this pregnancy journey just as much as they want to be.

So, instead of getting exhausted about the million-question-askers, jot down their questions and work them into your homeschool schedule. If you’re a morning basket mama, include age-appropriate books that talk about having a new sibling or even the growth process of baby. If you choose traditional medical care, see if your children can go to your appointments with you.

There are many, many ways to use your kiddo’s questions as fuel for lessons that you know they’ll be interested in because they keep asking! Use their curiosity for your benefit, and theirs.

Where am I in All of This?

You know what I’m talking about? Those recurring thoughts of keeping up with homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, making sure everything is in order – on top of dealing with what comes naturally when you’re growing another tiny human inside you.

It can become really easy to forget about you, what you need, your alone time, and so on. If your life is anything like mine, you’ll get the occasional question of, “How are you feeling?” and then attention quickly shifts to the other kiddos and what they think, how they feel, etc.

Instead of feeling like you’re even more invisible (besides the growing belly, LOL), find time to journal and just focus on you and baby. Journal Scriptures, affirmations, and even prayers. This goes back to the praise over panic suggestion. When your focus is on the blessings of this journey, you’ll start to see yourself as the superwoman you really are!

CHECK OUT MY PREGNANCY-TRACKING JOURNAL HERE!

Mom Guilt Overload

I edited this post to add this because a dear follower of ours reminded me of the realities of mom guilt. Whatever you choose to do because of expecting a new bundle of joy, never allow yourself to wallow in the mom guilt of not measuring up, not doing enough, or wishing you could do more.

The pregnancy journey is a unique one, no matter how many children you have. Each pregnancy is different. Each birth, and each child. This is true for your homeschooling journey as well. What it looks like this year may be totally different this time next year.

Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE IN TO THE MOM GUILT! Instead, do what you can do when you can do it and leave the rest alone. Don’t feel bad for hiring a babysitter to get time alone. Don’t feel bad about planning extra play dates just to get adult interaction. And don’t feel bad if homeschooling takes a total back seat.

In the End

When it comes down to it mama, you are awesome, and you are blessed. Choose to be intentional in everything you do… from being a wife, a homeschooling mom, and whatever other hats you wear. Choose to love and embrace this journey you’re on. It’s yours.

CHIME IN: What are some funny tips you’d like to share about expecting and homeschooling? Let me know in the comments below!

Homebirth & Motherhood

My Top 7 Must-Have’s for Labor & Delivery

You may have been able to deduce from previous posts that we are a homebirthing kinda family. So as we prepare for our third homebirth, I wanted to share my top seven must-have’s for labor and delivery.

Even if this labor and delivery goes just as fast as the last one (30 minutes from transition to holding baby), the items I talk about below will definitely come in handy!

Music

I love music, and I love what it has added to my last two labor and birthing experiences. I don’t necessarily make a special playlist; however, I do have a couple of apps ready with music that I listen to frequently.

Last baby, I actually went through two days of prodromal labor… so every time it kicked in, I kicked on the music and allowed it to help me relax through the intense waves. Something that is pretty funny, though, is after a certain point of labor, the music has to go! LOL! But up until that point, it is definitely a relaxing and comforting aid for me.

A Warm Bath

It’s so funny how you can plan things out, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will happen exactly how you plan it. Case in point…. last baby, hubby started to run the bath water, only to deter to get ready to catch the baby!

I didn’t actually get in the tub until after the birth, but it was nice to have it there waiting for me and baby! Not sure how it will happen this time, but best believe there will be a warm bath involved!

Essential Oils

My go-to essential oils are lavender, geranium, and frankincense. There are lots of others that some mothers choose to incorporate; however, these three are good enough for me. Again, it doesn’t mean that I’ll be able to use them like I want to but to have them on hand is awesome.

I use lavender to support a calming atmosphere. Geranium is used on my abdomen to support a nice transition from birthing baby to birthing the afterbirth. Frankincense is used to “anoint” baby.

If you are interested to learn about the essential oil brand we use here. Psst… save $10 on your first order (you’re welcome)!

Towels

For my first homebirth, three years ago, our  midwife gave us a list of things to have prepared for her. On that list was no less than 10 towels. I laugh about that now because two births later and we have still yet to use even more than two.

Last birth we only used one… the one my husband wrapped in the baby in after he delivered him. Towels aren’t too far out of reach, but once the action starts, I’ll definitely have at least one in arms reach.

Cord Clamp/Tie

Cord clamps are a must for us when cutting the umbilical cord. We like to leave the cord unclamped until it has turned white and stopped pulsating. This lets us know that our baby has received all the blood and nutrients the placenta had to give.

I am strongly considering going the homemade tie(s) route as many of my homebirth mama friends have said not only is it sentimental to make for baby, but it is also less likely to snag on diapers, be bulky, and cause infection issues.

Maternity Pads

These are a must for sure! Yes, they are bulky. Yes, they remind me of boats. Never the less, they are needed for several days (sometimes even weeks). I am opting in for a couple boxes of Natracare because they have organic cotton cover, are perfume and plastic free, biodegradable, and made of natural materials.

Stretch Briefs

These are LIFE! At first, I didn’t know that these were washable and reusable! This time, I know better and will hang on to these awesome briefs! Basically, these are mesh panties made from nylon material. I’ll have at least 3-5 pair of these on hand.

Where to Find These Must-Have’s

There are several places you can find these items; however, I like to do all my shopping in one place. In His Hands Birth Supply is where I conveniently shop online for everything I mentioned above (except for items I have on hand at home). Ordering these items at least 4-6 weeks out will guarantee that you’ll receive them before the birth of baby!

This about sums up my “in-arms-reach” list of items I like to have on hand for my labors and deliveries. Keep in mind that there is preparing for baby to arrive (click here for that post), and there will be postpartum things to do as well.

CHIME IN: What are some of your must-have items for labor and delivery? Where do you purchase them? And, how do you prepare for your labor and delivery?

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