Preparing for the birth of a baby is an exciting time and with it comes many necessary functions such as creating a nursery, ensuring your little one has adequate clothing, and that you have other equipment and materials for your new motherhood experience.
But ask any mother the things they needed in those months during and immediately after birth and a new baby carrier or playsuit doesn’t top the list. Instead, it’s home delivered meals, postpartum physical therapy, and doula support.
In this month’s Mothersphere, we chat with Erica Ignjatovic of Little Honey Money, a cash registry that helps moms gently ask their friends and family for financial support to use for services, products, and community care that they genuinely need. It’s a lesson that Erica learned as she went on her own birth journey. Read more about her experience and many other pearls of wisdom about caring for mothers and new families below!
Q: Firstly, can you share with us a little bit about your family? How many members in your tribe?
A: My husband and I have been blessed with two babies. They’re two and five years old now.
Q: Did you know you always wanted to be a mother?
A: Not at all. When I was younger, I didn’t think there was a maternal bone in my body. After I had my first baby, I realized my maternal instincts were there all along, I just never knew it. Having children has grounded me in all the best ways, and enhanced who I am as a person. Molly Nourmand, LMFT calls this being 2.0 — a better version of my former self.
Q: We’d love to learn about your pregnancy. How was your experience carrying? What were some of the exciting moments and some of the challenges?
A: Both of my pregnancies were great and they were exciting times to reset intentions for how I wanted the journey to look for me and for the baby I was carrying. It’s important to note how powerful the mind is and how much influence it can have over a pregnancy. Both times, I wanted to have a positive experience, and I fully envisioned that journey for myself every day. But, since I’ve always been in tune with my body, I was very sensitive to the changes it was going through, and it presented new challenges along the way. I gave myself grace, took it one day at a time, listened to my body, and intentionally gave it what it needed. I spent a lot of time in nature and found new rituals that brought me joy. I loved discovering holistic remedies and new wellness services for discomforts — and I learned new ways of natural healing, many of which still contribute to my everyday general wellness.
Q: Did you feel any major shifts during this period of your life — whether they were physical, social, or spiritual?
A: Absolutely. Motherhood put me on an entirely new wavelength in every aspect of my life. What stands out is how I’ve always appreciated my time alone, but I especially loved it during that time. It allowed me the space to connect with how I was feeling physically and mentally, without external influences. I experienced so much clarity because of it, which helped me navigate pregnancy and new motherhood in a way that was authentic to me. I’m grateful to have been pregnant during a time where I had power to make choices for my body and my baby. I don’t take it for granted anymore.
Q: What supportive practices and tools did you use to nourish yourself and your growing baby during pregnancy?
A: I had a doula’s support during both pregnancies. She helped me find my own intuitive rhythm and discover things that helped my body thrive. She helped me tune out a lot of fear-based messaging so that it wouldn’t throw off my own intuition and the incredible wisdom she was sharing. I also enjoyed finding ways to feel my best through wellness practice like yoga, pilates, acupuncture, reiki, sound healing, and massages. I spent a lot of time at Vie Healing in Los Angeles, both during pregnancy and postpartum — it became a sanctuary for me and I loved their extensive list of wellness treatments for new and expectant mamas.
Q: Over the first 40 days of your little one being earthside, how did you feel? Did you have a supportive network around you or did you remain fairly private?
A: I’m so glad you asked. After my first baby was born, I realized new families need so much more support than we are led to believe. When my second was on the way, my husband and I really prioritized having as much support around us as possible. I couldn’t believe how much time I spent obsessing over baby products the first time around, when really it was the support that our family valued the most. That’s why I founded Little Honey Money, to help new parents give a little more thought to the intangible necessities like wellness, self-care, and support as they’re preparing for a baby’s arrival.
Q: Birth is incredibly individual. Each mother’s journey will be unique. However, sharing our stories can provide universal insights for other mothers to be. What is one thing you loved about your experience and one thing you’d do differently?
A: I had two fast, easy labors. My birth doula encourages me to tell everyone this, so that more women know that it’s not supposed to be a dreadful experience! We recorded a Podcast by Little Honey Money episode about it, called The Power Of Positive Birth Stories with Lori Bregman and I highly recommend hearing it from Lori herself. If I could do anything differently on my journeys, I would definitely take advantage of ancient healing rituals like the closing of the bones ceremony and abhyanga massage during postpartum. Also, I would have spent more time doing PT in the early postpartum weeks.
Q: Since becoming a mother how has your self-care changed?
A: The biggest change is that my self-care isn’t just about me anymore. The more I prioritize my own wellness and self-care, the better off my entire family is. We all know that.
Q: What are some of the resources — be they books, nutrition, practitioners, or rituals that you’d recommend to other expecting moms or mothers in the parenting years?
A: I always tell my friends to hire a doula during pregnancy and postpartum, no matter the birth setting they’re planning to have. Doula support made the journey infinitely better for our entire family, and we discovered so many other wellness providers through our doulas’ referrals. Also, I recommend a little-known treatment called Mercier Therapy during postpartum — Dr. Jenny Stofer, DC in Los Angeles is amazing and one of the few practitioners of that specific type of therapy. I also recommend Spirit Gate Acupuncture & Wellness in LA as they support whole maternal wellness. However, cost is a big challenge that comes with the consideration of hiring professional support services, even as it relates to our health. There are ways to overcome and mitigate that burden. For one, take every opportunity you have to accept gently used hand-me-downs and baby gear, so that you have more money to put towards your family’s wellness and care. And, this is a tough one, but try not to buy too many products in advance of the baby’s arrival. Get some basics, but consider buying the majority of the items in real-time, when you discover what you really need. By managing your consumption of goods, you’ll make a positive impact on your budget and the planet. Lastly, our Little Honey Money registry exists for the very purpose of helping you pay for the invaluable support items that all new families deserve — in addition to baby products. Our goal has been to make it easy for new families to ask for support and receive it through the love and generosity of friends and family.
Q: What rituals or routines do you implement to foster a deeper connection with your little ones? If you are a mom of multiples, do you set time aside to be with each of them individually?
A: We love self-care Sunday, and we make it a very ritualistic event. We indulge in everything — long baths with salts, minerals, scrubs, spa music, low lighting, and whatever else inspires us. Post-bath, we sit on blankets surrounded with candles, crystals, and lavender and drink tea as we do facials and massages with masks, oils, and lotions. We spend this time simply connecting with one another. We use products that are safe for both me and my babies — The C & The Moon collection is our family’s fave. The importance of self-care was passed down to me and I hope to continue the generational gift so that my children always find space for it in their lives.
Q: Motherhood often means finding peace within the chaos. We are big believers in managing our mood in order to show up consistently as the mother we know we are and want to be. What are your favorite products from THE FULLEST Shop that support your mood and help you stay centered?
A: I consider baths the ultimate luxury, so naturally the Inheal™ probiotic saffron milk bath and Exheal™ soothing saffron salt bath are my favorites. I love the spirit of ancient rituals, and these products have so many healing benefits. One of the best parts is that I trust THE FULLEST products for my babies, so we get to indulge in the milk bath and salt bath all together.
Little Honey Money is a holistic baby registry that helps expectant and new moms register for wellness, self-care, and community support. The registry has a cash fund at its core so that new families can get the intangible essentials, like doulas, midwives, massages, meal deliveries, prenatal and postpartum education, and so much more.