Wearing mask birth

The coronavirus pandemic isn't showing signs of slowing down just yet, with new hot spots now popping up across the U.S., Health experts agree that there's an easy way for Americans to help stop the spread, and yet the idea of wearing a mask has become a hot-button issue.

We've seen video after video of beleaguered retail workers confronting customers who won't abide by mask rules, and complaint after complaint about how inconvenient or annoying it is to have to don a face covering to go about your day.

But if spending a few minutes in a grocery store in a mask feels like too much to ask for some people... how about giving birth to an actual human child or supporting your partner during labor?

Many hospitals across the country are now requiring partners and even laboring moms to wear masks while giving birth. If a woman in the midst of what can be one of the most painful, physically grueling experiences ever can wear a masks for hours and hours at a time, can't we all?

Mom Kristen Theriault shared her experience of a whopping 33 hour labor in a mask, and her annoyance about those who complain covering their faces.

Moms Sarah Richard and Melissa Fairbanks spent two days in the hospital welcoming their baby girl after an IVF journey.

"I had to wear a mask the whole time, and my wife did the majority of the time she was in labor. Our daughter was born at 41 weeks and 1 day, we had a scheduled induction for 41 weeks and 3 days. Because the induction was a scheduled procedure, my wife (Sarah) was required to have a Covid test to ensure she was negative," Fairbanks tells Motherly.

She continues, "Our daughter came two days before the induction. Sarah pushed for 3 and a half hours. So thankfully, and probably because she had the COVID test a day prior, the doctors and nurses allowed her to take the mask off at the end of pushing as she was exhausted and needed and needed to be able to take those deep breaths."

Once labor was over, both mamas had to keep their masks on unless they were eating.

Mom Shazma Palliagath can relate, tweeting: "I need a shirt that says 'I gave birth wearing a mask. Where is yours?' for anytime I enter a store in #Florida." Her home state has emerged as the new epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., yet politicians there can't agree on a mask strategy according to the Tampa Bay Times. While some local lawmakers there have ordered mask usage, others have actively spoken out against them.

She tells Motherly: "It's just really disappointing when you're trying your best to slow the spread of the virus, especially at such an special and intimate time as giving birth, and people don't have the courtesy to do the same when they are on a 10 minute grocery run."

The current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call for face coverings to be worn in public and in any situation where people can't maintain social distancing. The CDC says they can help prevent sick people (including those who don't even realize they're infected, or are asymptomatic) from spreading COVID-19 to others. But there's an important caveat: "face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings."

Research bears that out—a model from the University of Washington predicts the U.S. death toll will hit 180,000 by October, but that about 33,000 of those deaths could be prevented if 95% of the country would wear masks.

Though there have been conspiracy theories flying around about masks lowering your oxygen levels or leading to carbon dioxide poisoning, those claims have been repeatedly debunked. If pregnant women have proved that wearing a mask during intense physical exertion is totally fine, what excuse does anyone else really have here, when lives are literally on the line? They do it to protect themselves, their babies, all the doctors and nurses in the delivery room, and every other patient in the hospital.

It's a small act with a much larger meaning, and everyone should be following these moms' lead.

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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


'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."


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

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.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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