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At Home with Lindsey Bliss

Carriage House Birth’s co-founder invites us in on the eve of her baby's birth.

At Home with Lindsey Bliss

If there’s anyone who knows the magic of giving birth, it’s Lindsey Bliss. As one of the three co-founders of Brooklyn’s famed doula collective Carriage House Birth, she’s seen her share of that birth magic, guiding moms as they bring their babies into the world. And with seven kids of her own -- including two (yes, we said two!) sets of twins -- she’s been on the magic-making side a few times too. And yet, she admits, it never gets old.

Even more magical though, are the little people who come from those births (Luke and Rocco: 4; Birdie & Hazel: 6; Mia: 9; and step-daughter Bella: 20), who create the “beautiful chaos” that is evident in Lindsey’s Brooklyn home. “I get so much joy seeing my kids together,” she says. “And I never take from granted how lucky I am.” We visited Lindsey just days before the homebirth of her youngest baby, Olympia Pearl, and chatted about weekend rituals, her birth plan and why she’d carry this baby two months past her due date if she could. Tell me about a typical weekend day in your home. The kids are up at about 6 a.m. and we try to hide out in our room for an extra hour to catch up on a little sleep. It usually doesn’t last long. Because there’s so many of them, it’s hard to focus our attention on all of them all the time, so they’re good at playing with one another. They’re imaginative and play together in groups, so while we’re sleeping (more like laying in bed listening to them), they’ll be playing with legos or working on an art project. We try to keep the schedule clear on the weekends, but there’s so many kids, so we’re always going to one of their social events or birthday parties. We try to go to brunch every weekend at one of our restaurants (husband Dan is the restaurateur behind Urban Rustic and Lodge in Williamsburg, as well as Playland Motel in Rockaway Beach). When the weather is nice we go to the beach. The theme of most of our restaurants is family friendly -- we do like to go out, but it is daunting to go out with all of these kids, so at least at our own restaurants, they can’t kick us out.   Are you nervous about adding a newborn baby to the mix? I’m not worried about once the baby is here...after having two sets of twins back to back, I’m ready for everything. Adding another baby is really not that scary, but it’s been hard to be pregnant and have five little ones. I can’t just sit down or not pick them up from school. A baby will just go with you. And once I’m not pregnant anymore, I’ll be feeling more energetic. How has this 4th pregnancy been different than your other pregnancies? This one has been really nerve wracking. I had 1st and 2nd Trimester bleeding, so the viability of the pregnancy was being questioned for about 18 weeks. The pregnancy wasn’t planned -- I was shocked to even be pregnant -- but then I was loving the idea of one last baby. Feeling like I was going to lose this baby for the good portion of it was really hard. My body and intuition was telling me everything was fine, but I had anxiety and wasn’t trusting it. I transferred from the care of my midwife to an OB because I needed some more scientific care. Thankfully the baby ended up being healthy. Still, for a long period of time it was filled with anxiety. There was no magic and it just sucked. How does being a doula impact the way you experience pregnancy? I became a doula after the birth of my first set of twins. There was so much fear in that pregnancy. I got angry because there were so many people doubting what my body could do, and I wanted to be the one to dictate my pregnancy. But because i’m in the birth business, I hear so much about people’s infertility struggles, miscarriages, stillbirths...and sometimes knowing too much is actually a bad thing. My first, I was so naive, and it was a really easy pregnancy, whereas this pregnancy I had so much information. How have you balanced your doula work during pregnancy? It’s been my only break! My doula work lets me check out of my own life for a little bit -- I’m completely involved in someone else’s journey. I get to watch babies being born and families being created. If I’m going to be away from my kids, I want to be around magic. My last birth was at 36 weeks -- it was my sister.   What’s your birth plan? I was with an OB up till about 36 weeks, and I just switched back to home birth plan with my midwife. I knew I was in good hands with the OB, but once my anxiety went away, I was like: this is going to be awesome! My partners at Carriage House (Domino Kirke and Samantha Huggins) are my doulas. I don’t think my children are interested in being involved in the birthing part. Birthing is hard, and I go kind of introverted. I don’t know if I want to be in “Mommy mode” when I give birth. How has your doula work helped you prep for this birth? I’ve been to some pretty scary births, but during the majority of the time everyone ends up being ok. That’s reassuring to me...and knowing and trusting that if something doesn’t go ok, that’s part of a greater plan. I’m very spiritual. I have a lot faith in my care provider. Also, I know that labor is temporary; there’s always an end. And you can handle anything for a temporary amount of time. Labor isn’t scary to me anymore.   How do you feel on the eve of this baby’s birth? It’s exciting but it’s also really sad. I’ve spent a decade having babies, and I know this is the last time. There’s an end to this part of my life. So I’m ok with going past my due date and carrying her another 2 months if I have to, because I know this is it. What are you most looking forward to sharing with this new little baby? I love looking at my kids together and the bond they’ve created. Having this baby be received by them, and be a part of that, is the biggest thing I’m looking forward to. It’s the gift they give one another. I’ve always felt like someone was missing -- we have dogs and turtles and kids -- but this is the one we were waiting for. Photography by Jonica Moore Studio for Well Rounded NY.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

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Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

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