THE ‘MAGIC’ OF MOTHERHOOD
American TV personality, presenter, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Kavita Channe talks about her miracle baby
So, tell me, what is it like being a mother? How has motherhood changed you?
Kavita: Being a mother has been the greatest gift and role I’ve ever dreamed of having. Since the day I found out I was pregnant, I felt my daughter’s soul – her presence – and even her personality so strongly. So when deciding on names, we chose Micah, which means “gift from God.” Since then we refer to her as ‘Magical Micah’, because she is my magical, miracle baby.
As far as changes in my daily life, I’ve always been a very busy, active, spontaneous, and adventurous person with a full schedule no matter where I was in my life. My days were filled with workouts in the mornings and meetings and/or shoots in the afternoons, with events or networking most evenings. I also travelled for work and pleasure whenever I could! After becoming pregnant, life became different for me. From what I ate, to what I put on my body, to where I went, to what I did – everything was with her in mind. And I did this willingly and gratefully. What some may perceive as “limiting” was really a pleasure to me. My baby was my priority and she still is.
How did you begin planning for a baby?
Kavita: My pregnancy planning started with nutrition. I’ve always been health conscious, so I continued to eat nutritious vegetables, fruits, and proteins, and steered clear of any raw fish or meat as well as shellfish and non-pasteurised cheese. But, of course, I had constant cravings for pizza and toast. Who doesn’t love carbs!
I also consulted numerous people, including my father who is a nutritionist. We came up with a tailored daily supplement plan for what my body would need to nourish my baby. I knew I needed a great, all-natural prenatal vitamin with folate
along with DHA, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and a fabulous prenatal probiotic. I’ll share with you guys what worked for me (and these are not paid endorsements): Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal (3 x daily) Garden of Life Once Daily Prenatal Probiotic (1 x daily) Carlson Mother’s DHA (2 x daily) Carlson Calcium + D3 Gummies Healthy Delights Naturals Magnesium Soft Chews
From there, I did inventory of all the beauty and skincare products I was currently using and swapped them out for all-natural products without any parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, retinol, lead, formaldehyde, or any other toxins – which, by the way, does not leave much to choose from.
After that was the fun part. I had a stylist I work with take me to an amazing store in Miami called Genius Jones. I literally bought all my nursery and baby items in one store. It was so convenient! And, of course, the best part about having a girl is being able to dress her up. We bought some amazing baby clothes in Paris and had our stylist grab some unique stuff for our baby while she was visiting her family in Italy. Now even though she outgrew most of her clothes pretty fast, I’ve saved the best dresses for Micah if she has her own daughter some day.
When did you first realise you were pregnant? How did you break the news to your partner and family?
Kavita: It’s actually a funny story. Shortly before I got pregnant, my partner Jon DeLuca and I, were considering freezing my eggs for down the road. I went to the doctor to do all the testing to make sure everything was working correctly and thankfully, it was. A few weeks later, we were in Los Angeles for business and I was in and out of meetings as well as attending events and dinners the whole trip. But something just felt off. I just didn’t feel like my normal self. So, when we got home, I immediately took a pregnancy test. The second I saw the positive sign I literally froze. We didn’t officially announce we were having a baby until I was about five months along, but we did tell our close family. Everyone was really excited for us. At that time, both my sisters had one child
each however my little sister became pregnant a few months after me. And you can imagine how much fun it was for us knowing we would both have babies the same age.
Tell us about your pregnancy. Was it as magical as you thought it would be?
Kavita: Throughout my first and second trimesters, I felt really happy and energetic, and I didn’t have morning sickness like many pregnant women experience. I kept up with my same weekly workout routine, three days of weight training and one day of vinyasa yoga. I also kept my normal, active work schedule but just toned it down wherever I could. Not sure if that helped much because I seemed to be working even more so during that time. I also hired a hypno-birthing coach to help calm any fears I had of childbirth and had weekly chiropractic adjustments, which I read can contribute to shorter labor. Luckily, Jon and I were able to take some fun trips the summer before the baby was born. We went to New York as well as my cousin’s wedding in Croatia and had our “babymoon” in Paris! By the eighth month, I wanted to stay home a lot more and rest in the evenings, eat pizza and just chill out with my family. I am grateful that I had such an easy and beautiful pregnancy, because I know how hard it can sometimes be. My little sister experienced extreme nausea for almost half of her pregnancy. We tried so many things but nothing really soothed her. It was hard to watch as her big sister. However, she now has a beautiful baby boy!
Was there a baby shower?
Kavita: My sisters live in Las Vegas, my best friend lives in Atlanta. I, on the other hand, live in South Florida; It was just easier to plan my baby shower myself. I enlisted a good friend, Bailey Smith, who is a wedding and event planner, to help bring my vision to life. Also, since I was launching a rosé wine brand from Provence, Channé Rosé, at the same time, we figured why not incorporate that into my shower – combining my two babies at one event. So, we did a rosé-themed shower with a variety of delicious passed hors d’oeuvres, gorgeous white cake pops dipped in gold sprinkles, and a rustic semi-naked cake with a strawberry compote filling and peach roses on top. We played a few games and my best friend read the most heartwarming poem that she wrote herself. We were all in tears, happy tears. I also flew in my filmmaker friend, Will Harris, who does sports documentaries, to make a new kind of documentary. It was such a fun day! We decided to donate all of Micah’s gifts to mothers and babies in need at the hospital where I planned my delivery. It just felt right, and I hope Micah carries this same sentiment throughout her life.
Tell us about your experience when it came time to give birth.
Kavita: Exactly one week before my due date of Sunday, November 26, 2016, I was doing my
first 5k run for the American Heart Association. Then, on Monday, I did yoga in the morning and went about my day, as usual. But by the evening, my water slowly broke. I say slowly, because you would think it was gushing out right away like in the movies. That is not often the case. In fact, some women’s water never breaks and has to be broken by their doctors. I always had a feeling Micah would be born on Tuesday, November 21, and I was right! We went to the hospital late Monday night after my water broke. I didn’t start feeling any contractions until the middle of the night, but my contractions were irregular. By morning, I was only two centimeters dilated, and since my water broke the night before they gave me Pitocin to speed things up. I had hired a Doula to assist me during labour but by the time she arrived, I was ready for my epidural and it was almost ready to give birth. I remember only pushing three rounds and by the fourth round, Micah was here. At first she was crying, but as soon as I started singing her a song, one that I would always sing to her in my belly, she immediately stopped crying and looked at me almost as if she recognised me. It was the most spiritual moment I have ever experienced in my life. It’s going to be hard to ever top that day!
Did you take to motherhood easily, or was there a learning curve?
Kavita: From the gentleness of handling Micah, to best care practices, to preventing others’ germs from getting her sick, to sleep training and breastfeeding, it has all been a learning curve. Being type-A, I wanted everything to be a certain way, so we hired a baby nurse who specialised in lactation and sleep training to assist us after birth. She was and is a lifesaver in teaching me how to best care for Micah in the ways I want to. I remember her asking me if I was sure I wanted to breastfeed because it is huge commitment. She was not discouraging me by any means, it was more that she knew my crazy work schedule and wanted me to know what I was signing up for. And I am still breastfeeding to this day! I get really sad when I think of all the new mothers who do not have help like this. I truly feel having help is also preventative with postpartum depression. I wish more countries would consider offering this to women, in addition to maternity leave.
Did you face any trouble while breastfeeding?
Kavita: From the very beginning, we used a nursery scale to weigh Micah before and after feeds, to determine if she was eating enough. I love this product because it records data straight to an app on your phone and it has really helped with sleep training. For example, Micah was born at 6lbs 3oz. By two and a half months, she weighed 12lbs, was drinking 25 to 30oz. a day, napping three times a day and sleeping through the night. She would sleep 7p.m. to 7a.m., only waking up once or twice to look for her pacifier. We would put the pacifier back into her mouth and she was back to sleep again. Of course, there were fussier nights due to growth spurts or preteething but, overall, the scale has been a huge help. In fact, it is the most useful baby item I have ever bought. I’m a total data geek! I love data! We record everything from her intake, to her sleep and nap patterns, to the foods she has tried, to her dirty diapers. Also, one thing I will say that has really helped and is so important is I am still taking all of my supplements that I took during my pregnancy. I am still eating healthy. And Micah takes a daily probiotic herself that I mix with my breast milk. I also pump twice during the day and wake up at 3a.m. to pump once in the middle of the night because that’s when I yield the most milk. I have a huge stash in my freezer for Micah’s night feeds which are anywhere between 12 to 14oz. now. It’s a huge commitment, like my baby nurse told me it would be, but it’s one I chose to take. Besides the fact that it’s great health-wise for the baby, it also creates such a special bond. I think of it as the healthiest fast food ever invented and it’s only for a small blink of our lives in the grand scheme of things, so why not give the best to your child, if you can?
So, what is Micah like?
Kavita: Magical Micah is such a force in our lives. She is such an expressive, joyful baby who does not miss a beat. She observes everything and has a fabulous temperament. The best part of her soul is her joyous and happy aura.
(Breastfeeding is) a huge commitment, like my baby nurse told me it would be, but it’s one I chose to take. Besides it’s great health-wise for the baby
When she smiles at you, it’s contagious. When she was two months old, I recorded a minutelong conversation I had with her. I was speaking English and she was obviously gurgling baby talk, but she was so chatty, it was amazing! And she is so driven and focused. She picks things up pretty easily. By six months, she was trying to stand up by herself. That was when we got her a walker AKA her “office.” When Mommy is in her office working, Micah is in her “office” doing her own work, too! I have so much fun with her. She even helps me make decisions on her or my outfits. We give her two choices and whatever she grabs is the winner. As far as her looks go, she is all her daddy at the moment. But her personality, I like to say, that’s from me.
Tell us about her firsts...
Kavita: Micah’s first word was at six weeks. She unintentionally said, “hi” and we even got it on camera! She has also said “mom” here and there, which gives me bragging rights to her daddy! We joke around a lot about that. By the way, Micah adores her father. If she even hears his voice downstairs or sees him walk by, she stops whatever she is doing – even feeding – and she stares and smiles at him until he comes over to kiss her. I melt seeing those two in action. Also, since we live in Florida and there are a lot of pools here, we enlisted a baby swim coach to teach Micah how to swim early on. Babies pick up so much at a young age. At five months, Micah was going underwater, assisted, of course. By six months, she could hold herself up on the pool wall, unassisted. She even has better biceps than me!
What future do you envision for Micah?
Kavita: I am really excited to see what Micah’s interests are and to help her do more of whatever they are. I am also very excited to travel with her and show her the world. I am most excited to share with her the joy of giving back and making a positive imprint on this universe. I want Micah to always feel supported, encouraged, nourished and loved, and to pay that forward, herself. Isn’t that what we all crave in the end?