One Word That Could Make All The Difference In Your Labor

 “I’m in labor!” one of my friends recently texted me. And as I started to pray for her, I immediately had the thought, Why do we call it labor? What if we called it co-labor instead?

Like what if she texted me and said; “I’m in co-labor!” Because truly that’s what God created it to be. And that’s the frame of mind we want to have as we enter the wild journey birth.

Labor is what came after the fall; a labor and toil that God never intended us to experience. But co-laboring is what we were truly designed for; what the Garden of Eden was all about. God gave Adam and Eve work to do but it was to be done in a joyful, intimate co-laboring with Him.

TOGETHER they named the animals.  In perfect fellowship with Him, they tended the garden and ruled over the earth. In Holy partnership with Him, they would be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. As Adam co-labored with God while tending the ground, there was joyful fellowship and fulfillment. As Eve would co-labor with God in bringing forth children, there was to be a similar joyful fellowship and fulfillment.

In co-laboring there’s no striving. No fear. No toiling. No pressure. No lack.

It was only after the fall that Adam and Eve experienced separation from God and suddenly found themselves “laboring” in their work instead of the peaceful “co-laboring” they were created for.

But Jesus bridged that separation for us and restored God’s original intent for perfect fellowship and co-laboring. So that can now be our experience once again! But we can miss it if we still see ourselves in a season of needing to “labor, toil, and strive.”

So what if we changed our language to reflect the truth of what’s available to us now?

What if we said, “I’m going into co-labor!” And as we said it, it served as a powerful reminder to us that we are not alone in this beautiful journey of birth.

What if we used it as a declaration that we are going to peacefully co-labor with God, our husband, our baby, and with peace, rest, surrender, and trust.  

What if served as a reminder that we will end up co-laboring with something and that we have already made a decision that…

We refuse to co-labor with fear. We refuse to partner with control. We refuse to co-labor with discouragement or worry.

That with all our heart, mind, and body, we choose to co-labor with God. With joy. With peace. With our baby. With excitement. And with Heaven.

I’ve already decided that with our next birth, I’m going to call it “co-labor.” I’m going to ask my husband, friends, and birth team to use that word as well.

If a friend calls me, I want her to ask “Are you in co-labor yet?

I want to call my husband at work and say “I think I’m in early co-labor!

I want my midwife to say “Looks like you’re in active co-labor!” 

And I’m excited to see how that word and the frame of mind it puts us in will impact the “co-labor” and birth!

I encourage you to embrace and use this word too! Our words are extremely powerful and this one word could radically impact your pregnancy and birth experience!

Proverbs 18:1 says “The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  So let’s use our tongues and the language we use surrounding our birth to bring forth abundant life, the Kingdom of Heaven and all that’s available to us!

To your beautiful “co-labor” and birth,

Kierra

p.s. If you want more tools to transform your mindset and prepare you for a beautiful birth with God, come join my online Kingdom Childbirth Class! You’ll be empowered to truly enjoy the gift that God created childbirth to be and learn how to birth your baby in His joy and presence! Plus, you get to connect with amazing moms all over the world who going after the same thing! Come join us!

 

 

6 Reasons You Want a Doula at Your Birth!

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As you seek God’s heart for your birth and prepare for the type of birth you long for, make sure to pray about adding a doula to your birth team!

After experiencing one birth without a doula and one birth with a doula, I can honestly say that it made a HUGE difference and I can’t imagine giving birth again without one.

A birth doula is someone who provides physical, emotional, spiritual, and informational support to you and your partner throughout the labor and birth.

Here’s what that looks like…

  • She gives you amazing massages
  • Knows all the right pressure points to make you feel more comfortable
  • Gives you yummy drinks and snacks throughout labor to keep you strong and feeling good  
  • Suggests positions or activities to help labor progress faster
  • Helps you make informed decisions
  • Makes sure you feel empowered, heard, and that you call the shots for the birth
  • Makes you feel like the most loved, cared for, supported woman on the planet (so much so that in my case, I didn’t even want labor to end for a while)

From my experience both as a doula and a mom in labor, here are 6 reasons you want a doula:

1. Shorter labor

Um, yes, please! Statistically, birth doulas shorten labors by an average of 6 hours. For me, that’s worth the investment right there! They are able to offer suggestions throughout the labor to help the baby move down quicker and keep you at peace so that labor is able to progress faster. They also help you labor at home longer so that you don’t get to the hospital or birth center too early, which can slow or stall labor.

2. Less pain

Once again, yes, please! Through their comfort techniques, massages, pressure points, and position suggestions, they greatly help reduce any pain you are experiencing. Plus, they really help your mental game and help you stay in a relaxed place of peace – both of which play a big part in decreasing pain.

3. Peace of Mind

This is probably the most important thing for your labor experience. If you are able to keep your mind and body at peace, your labor will be much more comfortable and progress quicker. And you’ll be able to enjoy it for the gift God created it to be! A doula will offer the information and assurance you need to keep you at peace throughout the labor. She’ll help you know the best time to head to the hospital and help you make decisions throughout the entire labor that you feel confident and peaceful about. Her expertise and knowledge can provide the assurance and encouragement you need when anxiety starts to creep in.

4. Less likely to need any interventions

This is huge! Moms who have a doula have a 40% less chance of the birth ending in a C-section, and 30% less chance of feeling like they need an epidural. They also have fewer inductions, Pitocin intervention, and vacuum or forceps deliveries. Isn’t it amazing that the presence of a trained and caring doula can produce those types of results?

It’s because she is able to help you make better-informed choices, stick up for your rights at the hospital, labor faster so the hospital doesn’t pressure you for a C-section, help you arrive at the hospital later so that they don’t put you on a clock too early or pressure you for Pitocin early on, and feel comfortable and empowered so you don’t feel the need for an epidural or pain meds.

She helps you labor in the best positions so that your body is able to naturally birth well the way God designed without needing interventions.

5. You and your partner get to enjoy the birth more!

Don’t we all want that? I so believe that God designed childbirth to be a gift for us to enjoy. And having a doula present really helps both of you enjoy the whole process and gift. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my labor with my husband and doula loving on me, worshipping with me, massaging me, affirming me, bringing me drinks & snacks, and hugging me through my strong contractions. It was truly heavenly.  And I can honestly say, I ENJOYED it!

But that’s because of the confidence and peace she brought into the room, the suggestions she had that felt so heavenly, and her tender care for both of us. I was able to trust her judgments and suggestions and turn my thinking brain off and just get in my birth zone and enjoy. I let her and my husband do all the heavy thinking and discussing while I just enjoyed being in my zone with God.

And my husband was able to enjoy the birth so much more. He didn’t feel pressure to be there for me every single second and always know the perfect thing to say or the perfect place to touch to make me feel more comfortable. He didn’t have to run from massaging me to getting me a drink to trying to get a second to pee and send a quick text. He could leave the room for a minute without feeling guilty because I was in great hands with my doula. It took the pressure and anxiety off him so he could just be present and enjoy the whole experience with me.

6. Enjoy the postpartum time more

Statistics show that moms who have a doula at their birth report a greater satisfaction in motherhood in the following months. They report that their babies cry less and report greater feelings of bonding with their babies. Pretty amazing!

We don’t know all the reasons for this, but some of it is because moms with doulas tend to have more satisfying and healthy birth experiences. And a great birth experience allows you to enjoy your postpartum time more. If you have a traumatic birth experience, it takes a while to emotionally and physically heal from that during the postpartum time.

Researchers also believe that having a female present throughout the birth to care for you empowers you as a new mom. If you feel extremely cared for in the birth, you get filled up with all you need to care for your new little one now. The confidence the doula gives you during the birth transfers into motherhood.

Less postpartum depression and more enjoyment in the first few months of mommyhood? Yes, please! Sign me up for a doula!

So there you have it, 6 reasons I highly encourage you to get a doula for your birth! 

If you want to learn more about what a doula offers, the difference between a doula and a midwife, and why I recommend hiring a doula, check out this video I made :). 

And if you’re looking for a Christian doula in your area, click here to check out my doula page. I’m starting to populate it with like-minded doulas around the U.S. (And if you know an amazing doula you think I should list on here, send her to my doula affiliate program where she can sign up!)

And if you are a doula who would like to be added to the list, you can read about my doula affiliate program here.

If a doula made a difference at your birth, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below! Why would you recommend getting one?

To your beautiful birth,

Kierra

Slowing Down and Enjoying the Gifts of Pregnancy & Womanhood

All Posts, Pregnancy | October 25, 2016 | By

adding-to-our-pumpkin-path-may-2017-2That’s right – baby #3 is on the way in the Blaser family! We are so excited about the newest addition to our family and to meet him or her in May of next year!

I look forward to walking this pregnancy with you and sharing what the Lord is teaching me through it all.

It is truly such a special and sacred season and I’m excited to fully enjoy the gift that God created pregnancy to be.

So part of that for me right now means slowing down. It means allowing myself to nap when my kids nap instead of work. (Hence, I haven’t been releasing a podcast every week like I had planned – but you can catch up on any you missed here – so many amazing birth stories that will build your faith and intimacy with God.)

And as I slow down and honor this season, I encourage you to also. Our culture isn’t always great at honoring the different seasons we go through as women and encouraging us to savor them and slow down, but I believe it’s so important.

Especially if we want to enjoy and celebrate the gifts of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood for the gifts that God created them to be.

In Bible times, women rested when they were on their period. They sat over a hole in the “red tent” with all the other women on their period and they basically had a girl week. They rested, chatted, talked about girl stuff, and had the week off work.

I LOVE that!

I’m a firm believer in treating ourselves to a week of rest as much as possible during our periods as well. We miss something of the gift and beauty of womanhood when we are expected to do life as usual and trudge through our regular work responsibilities. Tampons and pads are great, but in allowing us to “do life as normal,” they’ve stolen some of the gift and beauty of being a woman and getting a week to rest where we don’t do life as usual.

So if you’re not pregnant right now, I encourage you to think of a way to treat yourself and rest at least the first day of your period this month. Know that resting and honoring the beautiful gift of your cycle honors God. As you celebrate the gift of being a woman with a womb that can carry life, it honors your Creator and His perfect design.

And if you’re pregnant like me, let’s make sure to honor this sacred season as well. No need to push through and work like you’re not pregnant. Because you ARE pregnant! And your body is now putting all efforts, energies, and nutrients into forming that little life. In the first trimester, it’s actually using the same amount of energy you would need to run a marathon each day. Wow!

So take care of yourself, slow down, take naps, eat well, and remember that you and your baby are more important than trying to meet the expectations of those around you. Part of the gift of this season is that you get to slow down. So enjoy that gift!

When God blessed Eve in the garden with the gift of being fruitful and multiplying, He meant every part of the pregnancy, birth, and journey of motherhood to be a BLESSING. But sometimes we miss the blessing because we don’t slow down to honor and enjoy it.

If Eve had gotten pregnant before the fall, I think she would have fully enjoyed the pregnancy and felt no pressure to work hard through it. I think she would have rested, laughed, celebrated the life growing in her, and enjoyed the journey with God.

So that’s what I want to do. I want to experience God’s original intent for pregnancy. The fullness of this blessing. And part of that comes from partnering with His design to take time to rest and enjoy it instead of striving and laboring through it.

Bless you beautiful one! As I’m off to take a nap now, ask the Lord what He wants YOU to do to celebrate the season of pregnancy, mommy-hood, or womanhood that you’re in today. And then share it in the comments section – I’d love to hear what He shares with you. And make sure to do it this week!

Much Love,

Kierra

7 Ways I’m Preparing for an Awesome Pregnancy (Part 2)

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Last week I shared the exciting news that Michael and I are going to start trying for baby #3 in a couple months!

And I shared 3 of the ways I’m starting to prepare NOW for an awesome pregnancy.

Because the truth is, there’s so much you can do in the months leading up to conception that can make such a difference in your pregnancy and birth.

So here’s Part 2 of that post with the other 4 ways I’m preparing for an awesome pregnancy…

*note – this post contains some affiliate links

4. Carrying His Peace and His Presence

I have a goal for this next pregnancy…

I want to walk through the whole thing in God’s perfect peace without worrying about anything!

It might sound crazy, but I think it’s possible.

Graham Cooke (one of my favorite speakers) says that he can’t remember the last time he worried about something – it must have been 18-20 years ago. Wow! I want that! I know it comes from his deep intimacy with the Father, his close friendship with Jesus, and his confidence in who God is and who God will always be for him.

I’m going after it, Mamas! Babies feel our emotions in the womb. And they also receive the hormones we release. So if we release stress hormones and Cortisol during pregnancy, the baby receives those stress hormones as well.

I long to create an atmosphere in the womb for our next baby that is filled with only joy, peace, trust, and the presence of God.

I wonder how that would affect a baby’s spirit. What type of peace would a baby carry if they felt no stress or worry during their 9 months in the womb?  What type of foundation would that lay for their life?

I want to find out! So I’m starting to ask God how to get there.

I’m pressing into His heart at deeper levels and learning to abide continually in His peace and presence.

I’m learning to take each situation in my life to him immediately to get HIS perspective and thoughts on it (cuz He’s definitely never worried about it).

I’m learning to absolutely refuse to worry or to entertain the whispers of the enemy.

I’m learning that my peace, contentment and joy in the Lord is more important than anything else: the bills, the to-do-lists, the unknowns in the future, etc.

So I’m practicing and pressing in to His heart to prepare for my dream of a worry-free pregnancy!

5. Charting My Cycle

I’ve been charting my cycle using the Fertility Awareness Method since Michael and I got married 7 years ago. And I LOVE it!!!

It has seriously been one of the most empowering things I’ve done as a woman and I love being so in touch with my body and really understanding what’s going on with my hormones each month.

I take my waking temperature each morning and chart it on a graph, along with changes in cervical fluid and a few other things. Through this method I’m able to tell exactly which days of the month I’m fertile and not fertile and the exact day that I ovulate and the exact day I’m going to start my period. It’s amazing!

We’ve successfully used this method to prevent conception throughout our marriage, as well as to conceive quickly when we were ready to try.

But the other cool thing about charting is that I’m able to really understand what’s going on with my hormones. I’ve been able to tell in the past when my progesterone or estrogen levels were low and then was able to take steps with a natural doctor to fix those levels.

So I’m starting it up again. I want to make sure my hormones and cycle are looking good before trying to conceive.

Plus, through this method, I’ll know the exact day we conceive and our exact due date for the baby. Ultrasounds don’t always give you an accurate due date and that can cause problems if your doctor thinks you’re 2 weeks overdue and wants to induce when you’re actually only 3 days overdue.

If you’re interested in learning how to chart your cycle, understand how your fertility works, and how to naturally prevent or try for pregnancy, come join my online Understanding Your Fertility Class: Natural Prevention & Conception! You will come out of this class so empowered and excited to partner with the beautiful way God designed your body and fertility! I seriously believe every woman needs to take this class!

Also, my favorite book on this topic is “Taking Charge of your Fertility.” It walks you through the whole process of charting your cycle step by step and gives you charts to photocopy and use.

6. Getting the Best Maternity Insurance

It’s important to think about the kind of birth of you might want and to work on getting insurance that will cover that ahead of time.

Personally, I would love another homebirth and signed up for insurance that will cover that for us. It’s important to do this ahead of time because most insurance companies will only cover full maternity costs if you are a member before conceiving.

I joined Samaritan Ministries for this pregnancy and birth. It’s a Christian Sharing Network that isn’t technically insurance, but still meets the government requirement for everyone to have health insurance.

What I love about them for maternity is that they cover:

  • Any type of birth (hospital, birth center, or homebirth)
  • Any licensed doctor or midwife (they don’t have to be in a certain network)
  • $500 towards a birth doula
  • Prenatal supplements
  • And if needed, prenatal massage, acupuncture, or chiropractor visits. So awesome!

If you look into it and decide to join as well, will you give my name (Kierra Blaser) as the person who referred you? Thanks – It will help support this website and ministry!

7. Replacing My Beauty Products with Natural Ones

I’ve been meaning to do this forever, but the thought of growing a baby inside me gives me the motivation to actually do it!

Sadly, there are no regulations on beauty products in the U.S. and many of the products we use every day have chemicals in them known to cause cancer, reproductive issues, and more.

And everything that enters my body goes to the baby as well. So if I use a shampoo or sunscreen filled with toxic chemicals, my growing baby will be affected by those chemicals as well. Yikes! Time to clean out my bathroom!

I’m not throwing products out, but as soon as something runs out, I’m committed to replacing it with a safe, all-natural product.

I love Skin Deep’s website where you can look up any beauty product and see it’s rating for toxicity and the dangerous chemicals in it. I’m trying to only buy products that have a Skin Deep rating of 0-2. My favorite companies right now are Beauty Counter and 100% Pure.

So there you have it friends! The final 4 ways I’m preparing for an awesome pregnancy!

And if you missed last week’s post with tips 1-3, you can read it here!

I pray that these ideas bless you on your own journey towards an awesome pregnancy and birth! Share any other ways you’re preparing in the comment section below!

Much love,
Kierra

Photo Credit: Flickr.com – Thomas Pompernigg

7 Ways I’m Preparing for an Awesome Pregnancy! (Part 1)

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Exciting news… we’re hoping to get pregnant again this summer!

After praying about it and feeling God’s excitement and peace, Michael and I are planning to start trying for baby #3 in a couple months! We are so excited about the new little one that we believe God wants to send into our family.

And even though it’s a couple months out, I’m beginning the preparation process now for an awesome pregnancy. Because the truth is that there is so much we can do during the three months before conception (which some birth professionals consider the real 1st trimester) to really prepare for a healthy baby and enjoyable pregnancy.

If you’re hoping to conceive in the next few months, I pray these preparation tips empower you for a great pregnancy as well. And if you’re already pregnant or already had your baby, these are still great things to implement in your life that will bless you and your baby!

Today I’ll share the first three steps I’m taking to prepare and next week I’ll share the last four.

*Note- This post contains some affiliate links :)

Ok, so here we go:

1. Exercise and Sleep Schedule

Before having kids, I was so disciplined about getting great sleep and exercise on a daily basis. And I felt great! But somehow after having two kids 21 months apart, all that went out the window.

Somehow my exercise has become a stroll with the kids that includes stopping every few feet to inspect a roly-poly, to collect a leaf, or to jump over the crack in the sidewalk. Not quite the vigorous workout I used to get. Not sure it actually counts as exercise :).

And sleep? Well between sleep training two kids and dealing with sicknesses, bad dreams, falling out of bed, etc, I think I can count on my hand the number of times I’ve actually slept through the whole night in the past 3.5 years. Plus, it’s just so hard to go to bed early when it feels like the only time I can really get something done is after they are asleep.

But I know this is NOT going to work for another pregnancy. Growing a baby that first trimester is extremely taxing on your body (it requires the same amount of work as running a marathon each day), so it’s time to rest up, get disciplined and form some new habits.

Because I want to enter another pregnancy feeling rested, energized, and strong. And the good news is, I have a couple months to get there!

So here’s the plan:

Lights out by 10:00pm no matter what! I’m deciding that my health and my baby are more important than anything on my to-do-list. I’m going to trust Jesus with the things I don’t have time to get done and I’m going to honor Him by taking care of my body and going to bed on time.

8-9 hours of sleep each night!

6:20am – sneak out of the house before the kids wake up for a morning walk/jog with Jesus. So needed for the strength and health of my body and spirit!

7:10am – 15 minutes of stretching. I’m excited to get flexible and strong again for pregnancy! Right now I’m so stiff and out of shape that my prenatal yoga video would whip my butt! But not for long!

Daily core exercises to close my diastasis recti. My stomach muscles separated pretty bad in my last pregnancy and I never stayed disciplined enough with my exercises to close them back up. But I know it’s important to work on closing them before another pregnancy to be able to carry the baby well and prevent uterine or bladder prolapsed during birth. https://mutusystem.com has some great info and exercises to close your diastasis recti if you struggle with that too!

2. Get My Gut Healthy

In order to have a healthy pregnancy and to feel great throughout it, it’s really important to have a healthy gut and digestive track. Many current studies are linking morning sickness to a surplus of bad bacteria in the stomach like H.pylori.

So one of the best things you can do before conceiving is to fight off any bad bacteria in your gut, stock up on lots of probiotics, and get your whole digestive track thriving. Here are a few of the steps I’m currently taking to do this:

1. Incorporating lots of fermented foods and drinks into my diet. Fermented foods have tons of great probiotics for a healthy gut.

  • Kefir water is one of my favorites – a super yummy homemade probiotic drink that tastes like sparkling strawberry lemonade. You can learn how to make it and buy the starter grains here.
  • I also love Bubbies Sauerkraut – we put it on nachos, grilled cheese sandwiches, burritos, and more.
  • Milk kefir is another favorite of mine. I put it in smoothies and eat it as a snack with fruit or trail mix in it. 
  • And I LOVE Kombucha, but it’s a bit expensive and harder to make than water kefir, so I just get it as a special treat every so often.

2. Taking a probiotic supplement.

  • I’m starting to take Ultimate Vaginal Flora for my daily probiotic because it not only helps your gut, but also your vaginal flora to help prevent urinary tract infections and Group B Strep (a bacteria they test you for at the end of pregnancy). I’m planning to take this throughout the pregnancy and am praying I won’t test positive this time for Group B Strep! The other high quality probiotic I love because of the large variety of strains it has is Ther-Biotic Complete. 
  • I’m also getting the Pink Stork Solutions Starter Bundle that includes a great pregnancy probiotic and cocolaurin to kill off pathogenic bacteria in the gut like H.pylori. I really love their products and I’m impressed with the way they focus on healing the gut and aim at the root of morning sickness instead of just treating symptoms. I love their approach and research!

3. Consuming bone broth on a regular basis.

Bone broth can be very healing for the gut if you are having digestive issues and it has a lot of nutritional and health benefits. You can either make it yourself at home, or you can buy it online from bonebroth.com. And my new favorite way to consume it is through Bone Broth Protein Powder! I throw it in everything: smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, etc. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of bone broth, here is a great podcast from Wellness Mama about it.

3. Nutrition and Supplements

For an optimal pregnancy for you and the baby, it’s important to stock up on great nutrition, vitamins, and minerals in the months leading up to conception. That way, your baby will have a rich store of vitamins and nutrients to pull from as soon as you conceive.

Their development begins immediately and they will start pulling from the store of minerals and nutrients in your body. If you start out already low in vitamins, the baby will deplete your body quickly leaving you feeling sick and tired.  

 So here are some of the ways I’m stocking up now:

1. Taking a daily whole food prenatal vitamin. I’m currently taking Baby & Me 2 and love it. I also love Thorne Research Basic Prenatal (but it has a lot of iron, which is great, but if you struggle with morning sickness it may be a little tougher to handle). 

2. Taking Omega-3 Fish Oil daily. DHA found in omega-3’s is so important for baby’s brain development and is important to start before conception. I take Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA

3. I’m also just getting into the habit of eating healthier. I really want my body to feel as rockin’ and strong as possible when we conceive and I know that if I work on creating good eating habits now, it will be easier to maintain them during the pregnancy.

Here are some of the things I’m starting:

  • Cutting out processed foods and sugar from my diet and trying to eat mostly real food :)
  • Morning protein shake with Garden of Life protein powder, spinach, kale, greek yogurt, a banana, avocado, and pineapple. So delicious! And such a great way to start my morning with lots of protein and veggies when I don’t have time to make a whole breakfast and sit down to eat it because my kids are needing something every second.
  • Juicing weekly (we love putting kale, chard, carrots, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, and ginger in ours)

If you’re looking for great nutrition guidance for conception, pregnancy, and the postpartum time, this is an awesome podcast to listen to: Fertility Preparation and Optimizing Pregnancy. So much great info in here!

And this is a great book she talks about in the podcast: How to Conceive Naturally and Have a Healthy Pregnancy After 30. 

So there you have it! The first three areas I’m working on to prepare for an awesome third pregnancy. You can read the next 4 areas in this post!

Until then, I pray you’re inspired to think about your own conception, pregnancy or postpartum journey and one or two steps you can take this week to take care of yourself and your baby well.

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to make too many changes at once, so I encourage you to pick one thing and implement it this week. Then if you’re successful, pick a new one to add next week. And so on!

I’d love to hear what step you’re going to take to this week in the comment section below! Or other ways that you’re planning for a great pregnancy!

You got this mama! Your health matters so much and it’s worth the effort to take care of yourself and your growing baby well. This is an act of worship to God as we care for these temples and provide a healthy strong home for the babies God entrusts to us.

Much love,
Kierra