6 Holiday Gifts for the Expecting Person

It’s the time of the year for gift-giving! I can’t be the only one who gets butterflies when I know I have found the perfect little something for someone special. The lightbulb goes off and then watching them unwrap makes time stop. I may be romanticizing gifts but I just LOVE it.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

That being said, gifts do not always have to be material items. Think outside of the box store and look for handmade goods, food items, secondhand wonders, and experiences. Things are really what make life memorable, moments are.

I’ve picked the items below because they could be of help or comfort to someone expecting, or holding a new bundle, this season. They are also all local businesses (plus one non for profit) that could use extra love and support this year!

Holiday Gifts for Your Expecting Person

  1. Onderbroeks Robe 

Postpartum magic lives inside of these STUNNING pieces. Not only are they the perfect thing to wear during the lay-in time post-birth, but they also make a great accent piece later on.

  1. All The Rave Cloth Pads

Save the planet one period (or a lot of postpartum bleeding) at a time with these handmade reusable cloth pads. They come in different sizes and quirky patterns!

  1. Purebalanxed 

I didn’t place a product here because as far as I’m concerned, Pure Balanxed is as comfortable as it gets. You really can’t go wrong with a crew or joggers though. Pure Balanxed clothes are made in Canada from ethically sourced fabrics.

Me wearing one of many of my Pure Balanxed pieces, a ridiculously comfy top!
Photo Courtesy of Kendra Deen
  1. Whitney Haynes Jewelry 

Whitney’s pieces all feel like they have a beautiful story behind them. Gifting her pieces to someone special is simply sweet. If your expecting person has let you in on the name of baby you should check out her hand stamped pieces. I have one and I adore sporting my girls’ initials. Follow the link above for gifts under $100!

  1. LadyBug Cleaners

Stick with me because house cleaning may seem like a boring gift, but I assure you, it is not. Many, if not every, new parent struggles with keeping it all up after birth. The truth is, no one should care. But the reality is that most of us like to see our house clean. Gifting a couple of weeks or months of cleaning service would be a gift that’s not soon forgotten!

  1. Childbirth Courses by Doula Support Foundation

If your expecting loved one hasn’t already signed up for a childbirth course, there is a ton of value in doing so through the Doula Support Foundation. You will be funding their learning experience and therefore gifting them confidence and empowerment. How special is that?

This season, spread gifts of kindness and love, we all know we need it! 

With love, laughter, and holiday magic,

Mama (Lauren) Miller

Feature Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

How to Get Help (Without Asking)

Something many people know about me is my history of knee surgeries. I have had four pretty serious surgeries (two on each leg) and I could talk to you for hours about them all, but that’s not why I am here writing to you today.

I have seen first hand what people do after surgeries. I was always lucky enough to receive care from family members. Meals cooked, hair washed over the side of the couch when I couldn’t stand up without searing pain, activities given and mailed to me, and so much more. My village of family and friends were a huge part of my recoveries and they did things for me that I will never forget. 

I was also fortunate in this way after giving birth, family cooked meals for us, travelled to visit us, and were a source of love and support. However, what I didn’t know at the time was that we needed (I needed) so much more. Of course, they asked how they could help but that question is uncomfortable to answer. I never felt like I wanted to say “can you heat up some food for me?”, or “I would love a shower”. Instead, I did most of the things or my husband did the things while I was nursing. 

In a dream world, he and I would have spent days in bed snuggling our newborn. So, the question is, how can I help YOU get the dream scenario?

Photo by nappy from Pexels

Obviously, I want to shout from the rooftops to hire someone like me who can come in and wrap you with loving support, but that doesn’t work for all families or all situations.

So, here are 5 ways you can get the help you need, without asking for it!

  1. Dress the Part

I preach this all the time, check out my TikTok about dressing the part! If you want your guests to come in after birth and be helpful instead of waited on, look like you need help. Stay in your comfy clothes, keep the robe on, don’t style your hair, and forget about make-up. If people see you looking vulnerable and real about the state you’re in, they will be more likely to offer help, even if it’s snuggling baby so you can get some rest. 

  1. Leave the Laundry Out

If you’ve had the time to wash it all, but it’s needs folding, leave baskets of laundry on or near where people would sit when they come to see you. Some (I hope most) people will fold the laundry as they visit. Don’t be afraid to tell them how you like it done!

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels
  1. Visible To-Do Lists

Leave a list on the counter or coffee table with nice big writing of what needs to be done. Empty checkboxes, of course! Along the same lines as the laundry, if an obvious to-do list is out, visitors will be more likely to say something  “I see you need the dishwasher emptied – can I do that for you”.

  1. Pre-plan The Tasks

Before giving birth there are two ways you can plan for the help of others. Seeing as we’re currently in a pandemic, ask for house cleaning services for your baby shower. This way you won’t need visitors to get stuff done! Even without a pandemic happening, this is a smart idea and will go more appreciated than an expensive diaper genie!

Another tip for planning ahead is to ask anyone who plans to visit or be around more if you can send them your chore schedule. Create an email group or family group chat, and send them the days garbage and recycling goes out, laundry schedule, and anything else you like done on certain days or times. The more people know without asking, the more they will do without asking!

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
  1. Meal Train

If you haven’t heard of a meal train, sit down because I am about to blow your mind. First of all, no actual train is involved (although now my wheels are turning!) There is an actual Meal Train service where you can have people in your area deliver meals to you based on your preferred schedule and tastes. Choo-choo!

If working through an app isn’t your thing, consider placing a cooler outside your door and via email/group chat organize family and friends to drop you off meals for the first few weeks after birth. Not having to worry about meals is truly magnificent.

There needs to be a shift in society so that people pay more supportive attention to the birthing person after birth than the sweet baby. Until that happens, use these tips and tricks to get the most village out of your visitors!

With Love and Laughter,

Mama (Lauren) Miller

Feature image: Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

10 Random Questions

Fact: This heart flutters hardest when I have a chance to share what really drives me. Talking about the things that light my fire —like postpartum nutrition, healing, and baby basics— makes me buzz to life!

Here are some other completely random facts about me in question format, because who doesn’t love a good question and answer blog?

What’s your favourite article of clothing and why?

Hands down, my absolute fav right now is a long sleeve dark green top with tiny black pin stripes. It’s comfy, flattering, and the back is long… so no cold drafts! Did I age myself with this answer? Yikes.

What’s your favourite drink?

This is tough. Coffee and water are both delicious. I drink more water, but savour every drop of coffee. I choose both!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Why?

Trick Question! I haven’t been everywhere so how can I choose? Of the places I have been, I would live in Barbados for the sun, beaches, and the Friday night fish fry in Oistins!

What is the best way to start the day?

I mentioned my love for coffee, right? Good. Add on an early morning stroll through neighborhoods in Toronto —alone or with company. Out before the hustle of the city day, to admire architecture and watch squirrels dance about the trees, all while sipping a giant latte. Even writing this is relaxing.

I can barely remember what it felt like to be exploring those quiet streets now that I have two children and we live in the burbs. Pure bliss is all that comes to mind.

What website do you visit most often?

We have a three way tie here. Because I’ve been designing my own… this website, Doula Training Canada, and Reddit is an informative guilty pleasure!

Which of your scars has the best story behind it?

I have an interesting collection of scars, but the S shape scars on my knees have a funny story with them. The scars themselves are from a double knee surgery when I was a kid. I was put in fiberglass straight leg casts for recovery. I know this doesn’t sound very funny but just wait…

I have the most thoughtful caring aunt (Hi Aunt Laurie!) who sent me a care package with all kinds of crafts in it. Everything that would appeal to an immobile kid during recovery! One item of interest was a bag of multicoloured popsicle sticks. If you’ve ever had a cast you know the itch is UNREAL. Times that by two and imagine both of your entire legs covered with that itch. That was me… and itchy me had a genius idea.

I glued those popsicle sticks together and created a scratching device that only the great creative mastermind, Dr. Seuss would be able to name appropriately. Did it ever work… until it didn’t. One of the popsicle sticks fell of the end of the scratching contraption into the abyss of my cast!

When you have something pressed into your skin for a long time, do you know what happens? Your body tries to consume it. That’s right, skin starts to grow right over it! Luckily for me, my legs shrunk so much that my cast needed to be swapped a week or so later. Now it is a “remember that time you get a popsicle stick stuck in your cast” family tale. Stay tuned for “remember that time you put the cat in a stroller” and other embarrassing moments by Lauren.

What makes a good life?

Challenges + Generosity + Self Care + Unconditional Love = Happiness

Happiness = A good life. 

What do you strongly suspect, but have no proof of?

Before having M, I thought my water broke in a slow leak kind of way. I went to Labour and Deliver and was seen by a resident who chose to use a speculum to check for amniotic fluid. I strongly suspect that she punctured the amniotic sac and M’s head put pressure down on my cervix, sealing the hole.

Why do I suspect this? I didn’t lie down again until a few hours later and almost immediately my water broke! I didn’t go into labour when it broke and was later induced. I always wonder what would have happened had I declined that speculum check. It is one of many reasons I want to educate women on birth empowerment and knowledge about your choice.

What’s the last adventure you went on?

I took our 4 month old with me for a week in Jamaica. If that’s not an adventure I don’t know what is!!

If you could make a 20 second phone call to yourself at any point in your life present or future, when would you call and what would you say?

I would call myself while pregnant with my first baby and say:

“I know you think you’ve got this and that is truly amazing. You are meant to be a mother and you will get through birth. But, take the time to research birth affirmations, breathing, comfort measures, and postpartum care —as well as take the time to teach these things to your sister and your husband, or hire a Doula! Then, not only will you get through your birth… you will own it. You’re powerful, and there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. P.S. Future you could really use a new car, so start saving!”

And that’s a wrap! Thank you for taking the time to learn some random information about me. If you have further questions or comments, please feel free to email me.

Lauren (Mama) Miller

Feature image by rawpixel.com from Pexels.
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