THE ‘MAGIC’ OF MOTH­ER­HOOD

Amer­i­can TV per­son­al­ity, pre­sen­ter, en­tre­pre­neur and phi­lan­thropist, Kavita Channe talks about her mir­a­cle baby

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS - BY CHAR­LENE FLANA­GAN PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY CHRIS HEAD­SHOTS, LYN­DAH WELLS SARAH NATASHA & ELEANOR PRES­LEY HAIR & MAKEUP BY AM­BER BAER STYLED BY CRISTINA CELLINI

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?

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