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Inside RHOP’s Monique Samuels’ Underwater Maternity Photo

Real Housewives of Potomac star Monique Samuels had the most dreamy and serene maternity photos when she was expecting her third child, after suffering a miscarriage.

The underwater photography session with photographer Kristina Sherk was captured during filming of the hit Bravo TV series.

Samuels blogged about the experience in her blog, Not For Lazy Moms, in a post titled, “I tackled my fear of water with a fierce underwater maternity photo shoot.”

She wrote: “For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the biggest fear of water, which is quite funny since my husband and children absolutely love it! They always encourage me to step out of my box when it comes to water and this time I decided to take it a step further!”

She continued:

I wanted to do something that speaks about life and rebirth

As I was preparing to have my third child, I wanted to do something super special for my third maternity photo shoot! Twice before I took photos to document our amazing moment of cooking a WHOLE human, but this time, being that I suffered a miscarriage previously, I wanted to do something that speaks about life and rebirth. What better way to represent this than water!

She concludes that the shoot was a risk and had her step out of her “comfort zone” but laments that the fact the photographer was willing to home made it the experience less intimidating.

It looks like she later got the entire family involved though this might have been the magic of editing I’m not sure.

Samuels, who is married to retired NFL great Chris Samuels, gave birth to son Chase Omari last November 2018. The couple are parents 5-year old Christopher and 3-year old daughter Milani. 

The results are beyond amazing!

How To Ensure Your Family Has Clean Water

We all know how important water is to all forms of life. It is all around us, in the clouds, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. It is the single most essential aspect of our lives, and we can’t survive without it.

With a lot of tap water being known to contain contaminants, it is a good idea to look into alternative options, such as filtration systems to ensure that the water you and your family drinks is safe, clean, and tasting like water should.

Tap Water and Known Contaminants

Tap water has been shown time and again to contain contaminants that can be detrimental to human health. This is bad news for anyone who doesn’t have bottled water handy, who don’t have a refrigerator with a built in water dispenser, or just folks who want to know they are drinking safe water.

Did you know that estimates provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that around 60,000 chemicals are added to public water sources in the United States? Shockingly, only 91 of these are actually regulated by the Safe Water Drinking Act. With the alarms sounding in many folks’ heads over lead discovered in the Flint, Michigan water supply, it is quite easy to understand why so many people are worried about the safety of their tap water.

Just two of the contaminants that are known to be in tap water include:

Chlorine and Chloramine: Disinfectants added to the water supply, chlorine is usually thought to be the main chemical added to swimming pools to make the water blue and crisp. This doesn’t, however, mean that it is safe for human consumption. Chlorine (and its longer-lasting and harder to filter chemical twin, chloramine), are known to have links to cancer, miscarriages, and more.

Lead: Lead finds its way into public water supply through outdated pipes. It can cause blood disorders and brain damage, and is also known to cause even more issues in children, such as developmental disorders and mental deficiencies.

With contaminants that are known to cause so many issues floating around in public drinking water, it is no wonder many people are looking into other sources for getting their drinking water, such as bottled water, digging a well, or looking into a whole house water filtration system to get all these bad chemicals out.

Home Water Filtration

Whole house water filtration systems can be an excellent way for you to filter out all these contaminants in your drinking water. There are all sorts of filtration systems out there for you to choose from, with great benefits such as easy installation, systems that can filter out the bad chemicals and leave in the healthy minerals that actually do help, and some that soften the water for you! A recent review by iPropertyManagement that compares the pros and cons of many whole house water filtration systems is worth reading.

With a whole host of filtration systems on the market, it may seem like a daunting task to decide which one is the best for you and your family. Luckily, affordable filtration systems are within reach for almost anyone looking to get into the water purification game. Companies like iSpring, Home Master, and 3M have you covered with wallet-friendly filtration options, so you can rest easier knowing you are putting only the good minerals found in your drinking water into your body, and not the potentially harmful contaminants.

The Good News

You don’t have to be content with the fact that public drinking supplies seem to be ridden with things that are known to be harmful to humans. There are many options available to you to make sure you are getting only the best from your water supply, and knowing just how important it is to drink plenty of water, you are naturally only going to want to drink pure water, not something laced with contaminants.

Well water is one way to truly own your water supply, but it can be out of the question for many families, as it can be quite pricey to dig a well. Many families opt to exclusively bottled water, but depending on how many people are in your family and how much water they drink, this can be a pricey option as well.

A water filtration system is a one-time, affordable purchase that will allow you to get the good from your water, without having to worry about the bad, and that is something to feel good about!

RHOP’s Ashely Darby Welcomes First Child, Son

Ashely and Michael Darby posed at BravoTV event

Congrats to Bravo TV‘s Real Housewives of Potomac star Ashley Darby and her husband, restaurateur, Michael Darby on the birth of their first child, a son.

The athleisure wear founder shared the news of the arrival with her fans and followers on Instagram by posting a photo of her Michael holding their son in the hospital while she rested.

“I never thought this day would come,” Ashley shared with her fans.“When I learned I was pregnant, I started thinking about when I’d feel the first kicks,” she added. “Then, when I was feeling the flutters, I wanted to know when I’d finally start to show. After watching the bump grow, my mind went to birthing day (WILL THIS REALLY HAPPEN?!) And when the day finally came that this sweet child came into our world, it felt like the sunniest day after a sky filled grey. The most sensational day of our shared life. Mickey and I are savoring every moment with our wonderful son.”

Just six days ago, she shared a sweet Instagram post about making it to the finish line and reaching 40 weeks.

The couple announced they were expecting this past February after suffering a miscarriage which was part of their storyline in their hit reality TV show.

The story line also includes open discussions about their marital problems, near divorce, Michael’s strained relationship with Ashley’s mom, their disagreement about whether to have children and finally, this season, their reconcile and work on starting a family.

Congrats! No news on the name of the bouncing baby boy yet.

Slick Woods: Rihanna Spanked Her Into Labor; Doula Erykah Badu Delivered Baby

slick woods erykah badu and rihanna

Model Slick Woods was told after suffering two miscarriages in her youth that she would never have children, naturally, so she didn’t think she was pregnant when an agent told her she was looking chubby in her bikini at Coachella last year.

It turns out she was well into her third trimester!

In a feature for Vogue back in February, Woods wrote about her surprise pregnancy, and shared that after that exchange with her agent, she visited the doctor and learned the news.

“A few appointments later, a nurse was doing a sonogram,” she continued. “There he was: my son. I started crying tears of joy. I had life in me, and felt like I understood the true power of my body for the first time. If I could bring another human being into this world, nothing was out of reach.”

She eventually decided to get a doula and in and interview with Elle UK said why she picked singer Erykah Badu for the job. She had always loved the “Baduizm” singer’s profile as a mother.

“She’s a mommy role model. A mother I look up to, who kills her shit and is a boss-ass bitch,” Woods said of Badu.

A lot of people are now learning that Badu has brought a lot of babies in teh world. The neo soul queen talked about her doula life in a 2015 interview with Pitchfork.

“I became a doula by default,” Badu said at the time before opening up her own practice. “A home birth is about being able to create exactly what you want, because it’s such a violent moment inside of the body that you want everything else to be as beautiful as it can be. So I started studying to be a doula and got my certification in 2011 and now I’m in training to become a midwife. I’m almost there and before I know it I’ll be able to open my own practice, if that’s what I desire.”

And if that isn’t enough, singer, business mogul and actress Rihanna unknowingly helped usher Woods into labor.

By the time Woods was ready to give birth, she had already made news by walking in NYFW shows while pregnant.

She was walking for the Fenty X Puma collection and eventually had to be rushed to the hospital room to deliver her baby boy.

As Hip Hop Hollywood writes, it was in September 2018 when Woods was at the end of her pregnancy when she was modeling in one of Rihanna’s shows wearing what she describes as “pasties, thigh-highs, stilettos, and not much else,” when then 22-year-old went into labor.

“My last memory before going into the hospital is of Rihanna spanking me with a whip,” Woods recalled. “I was already 2cm dilated when I left the show, and I was in labor for another 18 hours.”

In that Vogue piece, Woods wrote about FaceTiming Badu during the birth, the only person there along with the father of her child and her agent.

Badu convinced her to return to the hospital after Woods had talked herself out of having an emergency hospital birth.

“Every day since, my son has healed me, invigorated me – and helped me come to terms with my past,” Woods says. “I never had a normal family. Now I’ve created my own. Who knew you could miss someone your whole damn life without ever having met them?”

h/t hip hop hollywood

Alanis Morissette Talks Pregnancy at 45, Infertility and Motherhood

Third-time mom-to-be Alanis Morissette-Treadway sat down with Self magazine writer Nicole Cliffe for an in-depth interview on pregnancy, labor, delivery and achieving motherhood in her 40s after infertility.

She and hubby, Mario “Souleye” Treadway, are parents to 8-year old son, Ever Imre Morissette-Treadway, and almost 3-year old daughter, Onyx Solace Morissette-Treadway, but getting there was not easy.

The “You Outghta Know” singer shared that she had always wanted a family of three but had a rough go at it.

“Between Ever and Onyx there were some false starts,” she said in the interview. “I always wanted to have three kids, and then I’ve had some challenges and some miscarriages so I just didn’t think it was possible.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage and as Cliffe pointed out, “as a society have only recently (so recently!) begun to be more open to discussing miscarriages and reproductive struggles in general,” sharing an email communication where Morisette wrote about her pregnancy losses: “I […] felt so much grief and fear. I chased and prayed for pregnancy and learned so much about my body and biochemistry and immunity and gynecology through the process. It was a torturous learning and loss-filled and persevering process.”

The singer calls herself an overplanner and took over the goal and task to have a family by researching and doing everything possible to make it happen.

“I had done tentacles of investigation on everything, from hormones to physicality, every rabbit hole one could go down to chase answers,” she told Cliffe. “I have different doctors who laugh at the thickness of my files. So, for me I’ve tried every different version from heavily self-medicating, to formal allopathic medications, to now.

“I’m also an over-preparer for those things,” I told her. “I always get that dreaded question, in the first meeting: Do you have a medical background?, at which point I have to be like ‘No, I just want to know.’ I want to know things, I’m curious.”

She gave birth to her first two children at home, with Ever’s lasting 36 hours in total, with 12 hours of intensity. Wowza!

With each, the “You Learn” singer says she suffered from Post Partum Depression:

“For me I would just wake up and feel like I was covered in tar and it wasn’t the first time I’d experienced depression so I just thought Oh, well, this feels familiar, I’m depressed, I think,” she said. “And then simultaneously, my personal history of depression where it was so normalized for me to be in the quicksand, as I call it, or in the tar. It does feel like tar, like everything feels heavy.”

For the remainder of the interview, she opened up about her “birth stories” and motherhood in a fascinating way. READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY HERE!

Photo: courtesy Self; Steph Wilson. Wardrobe styling by Kirby Marzac. Hair by Dimitri Giannetos at The Wall Group. Makeup by Kayleen McAdams at Starworks. Manicure by Whitney Gibson at Tomlinson. On Alanis: Top by Paco Rabanne. Jeans by Levis. Earrings by Leigh Miller.

Celebrity Dads Celebrating First Father’s Day

A few celebrity dads covered on the blog this past year had their first Father’s Day this year.

They include:

Andy Cohen

On February 5, Andy Cohen welcomed his first son Benjamin Allen Cohen via surrogate.

Trey Songz

The R&B crooner, real name Tremaine Aldon Neverson, had long wanted to be a dad and just this May, the artist surprised fans with the news that he became one when he posted a photo of his baby on Instagram with the caption, “My son Noah. We are blessed and overjoyed. Peace.” He has so far kept the identify of Noah’s mother private.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry and wife Duchess Meghan (neeMarkle) welcomed their first child on May 6th, 2019. The baby boy is named Archie.

Jerry Ferrara baby
Credit: Jerry Ferrara/Instagram

Jerry Ferrara

Famous for his role on Entourage and POWER, actor Jerry Ferrara welcomed Jacob born in early May 2019 with his wife Breanne. The couple had previously experienced a pregnancy loss via miscarriage.

Congrats and Happy Father’ Day to all the new dads!

‘It was the worst experience of my life,’ LHH’s Rah Ali On Losing Baby at 20 Weeks Pregnant

rah ali and husband

“It was the worst experience of my life,” is how Love and Hip Hop star Rashidah Ali describes losing her first child at just 5 months gestation, in a recent exclusive interview with PEOPLE magazine.

The celebrity shoe consultant who owns a chain of boutique shoe stores told the magazine that she woke up the morning of May 26 experiencing excruciating pain that she just chalked up to normal pregnancy symptoms.

When the pain became too much to bear, Ali, also known as Rah Ali, explained, she got help.

“I called my husband and he rushed home,” the former Bad Boy and Def Jam records intern told PEOPLE. “The ambulance came and they took me to the hospital. That’s when they told me that my cervix was completely open and that my water had broken.”

At just 20 weeks along, she was forced to deliver but sadly, the doctors told her the baby was too young to survive outside the womb, and the newborn who she had decided to call Sanaa passed away.

“I held her … and she slept in the room with us until the morning when they took her away,” she shared solemnly. “I felt like I lost my soul.”

Ali said she has found solace from reflecting on the strong bond she developed with her baby when in utero and said she believes the strong connection was because God knew she would not have much time with her child.

“Every single day, I would get up and feel her kicking and I would talk to her…Not like a baby, but like a person,” she shared. “I would say, ‘What are we eating this morning?’ Or, ‘Okay, you’re getting agitated and feisty. I know you’re hungry and I’m going to eat something.’ “

Still, the unexpected delivery blindsided her, she explained.

“When you’re pregnant with your first child, it’s a whole mental thing just knowing that you’re going to deliver,” she told the mag. “Every day you count down and see [your due date] getting closer and closer. At five months, I hadn’t even come to the realization that it was going to happen. It was the worst experience of my life.”

Since this horrific event, the reality star said she found comfort from loads of messages she has gotten from other women who survived similar losses, while ignoring any mean-spirited comments about her former friend, Remy Ma who has previously suffered a miscarriage

LHH’s Rah Ali Loses Baby Born At 23 weeks

Sad news to report for the VH1 Love and Hip Hop community.

Cast member Rah Ali and her husband of lost their baby girl who was born prematurely at 23 weeks this Sunday, May 27th.

The baby would have been her first child with her hubby.

TMZ reports that the online boutique owner experienced her water break at home immediately followed by intense labor contractions.

She was rushed to the hospital, the site reports, and delivered the baby but the doctors were unable to save the newborn’s life.

Ali shared a tender moment celebrating her wedding anniversary last year on her Instagram account with 1.1M followers.

“You are an honorable man,” Rah captioned a photo with the two of them but featuring only his silhouette. “One of principle and character that can never be questioned. When I stand beside you and hear you speak, I feel honored. Words can’t begin to express my gratitude and appreciation for you being an amazing man and provider each and every day. Thank you for all that you do. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in life.”

She has not revealed any other information about him and keeps private the identity of her husband.

We send out condolences on this loss.

So Men Have Biological Clocks Too…

By Mark Trolice, M.D.

Women aren’t the only ones with a proverbial biological clock.

Despite many misconceptions and misperceptions, men are affected by infertility at almost the same rate as women. Not only that, as men age, their sperm is impacted—affecting the length of time it takes to get pregnant, the mother’s health during pregnancy, chances of miscarriage, and even health of the baby.

Only recently have any large-scale studies focused entirely on the impact of older fathers. One of the most recent and largest studies analyzed more than 40.5 million births at the Stanford University School of Medicine, concluding that “more than 12 percent of births to fathers aged 45 years or older with adverse outcomes might have been prevented were the fathers younger.”

The Stanford researchers also found that men over age 40-45:

·         Take five times as long to impregnate their partner compared with men under 25;

·         Are 14 percent more likely than men in their 20s and 30s to have children born prematurely with a low birth weight; 

·         As the fathers’ ages increased, their babies were more likely to need help with breathing and require neonatal intensive care;

·         Have a higher chance of the mother getting gestational diabetes;

·         Have a higher chance of the mother miscarrying, and;

·         Have a higher chance of children being born with birth defects, autism and mental health disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia.

We are learning more and more about the impact of older fathers as the rate of births to men 40 and over continues to rise. Since the 1970s, the birth rate to men over 40 has doubled to about 9 percent as of 2015.

Biological Clock

While women are born with their lifetime supply of eggs, men start making sperm at puberty and continue this for the rest of their lives. As women age, declining egg quantity and quality puts them at increasing risk for infertility, miscarriages and having children with health problems due to chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down’s syndrome.

While women are technically considered fertile until menopause, their monthly odds of pregnancy decline from 20 percent at age 30 to 5 percent at age 40…until it eventually hits zero. These same ages see a miscarriage rate rise from 10 percent to 33 percent and continue to rise with her age.

Because sperm production doesn’t end, it was long believed that men would remain fertile their entire lives, without age having a significant impact on length of time to conceive or the mother and child’s health.

Causes of Male Infertility

About 12 percent of women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, with the cause equally divided between men and women at about 40 percent. In about 33 percent of couples with infertility, both a male and female cause is found.

The most common causes of male infertility include abnormal sperm production, function or delivery. Other causes include overexposure to certain pesticides or chemicals; significant alcohol, tobacco or marijuana use, and; the use of particular medications like anabolic steroids, antihypertensives and some types of antibiotics. Additionally, radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer can cause infertility by significantly impairing sperm production.

Can Men Optimize Their Fertility?

There are ways for men to protect and maximize their fertility:

Body weight. Higher body weight is linked with decreasing both sperm count and motility.

Diet. Choose plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin C, vitamin E and CoQ10, to improve sperm quantity and quality.

Manage stress. Stress can cause lower sperm function and sexual performance anxiety – think stage fright! If you are experiencing stress with difficulty conceiving – and who isn’t? – reach out to your partner and/or a counselor for health coping strategies and stress-reduction techniques.

Exercise. Moderate physical activity can have positive or neutral effects on sperm, but intensive exercise can reduce sperm function. So, remember there’s a sweet spot with exercise intensity.

Don’t smoke. Men who smoke cigarettes inhale passive smoke are more likely to have impaired sperm and higher rates of genetically damaged sperm.

Limit alcohol. While there is debate on alcohol’s effect on sperm, prolonged abuse can cause impotence.

Talk to your doctor about medications. Many medications impact fertility, including calcium channel blockers (reduce fertilization), testosterone and anabolic steroids.

Avoid exposure to toxins. Exposure to environmental toxins, especially phthalates (used in many plastics and hundreds of products) may reduce sperm function.

Stay cool. Increased temperature to the scrotum can impair sperm production. Wear loose-fitting underwear, avoid saunas and hot tubs and limit scrotum exposure to warm objects (such as laptops.)

About the Author

Mark P. Trolice, M.D., is a Board-certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist who founded and directs Fertility CARE-The IVF Center in Winter Park, Fla. He also is associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando.

RHOOC Alum Gretchen Rossi Shuts Down ‘Fake Pregnancy’ Trolls

Shahs of Sunset‘s MJ Javid isn’t the only Bravolebrity to get trolled during her pregnancy.

Real Housewives of Orange County alum Gretchen Rossi has been battling fans trolling her in the comments suggesting that she really isn’t pregnant at all but is using a surrogate and faking it!

“There’s the line in the middle of my stomach that you don’t really get unless you’re pregnant, and my belly button’s starting to pop out,” she pointed out in her story to shut down the allegations. “So, really? I’m definitely pregnant. I’m not faking it or have a surrogate or all of the other crazy things some of you are saying.”

The fit mom-to-be is carrying small and that is throwing fans off.

“I mean, I guess I could just take it as a compliment, but who cares if a woman’s carrying small, medium, large?” Rossi added. “I mean, shouldn’t it just be about respecting each woman’s own pregnancy journey and what they’re going through?”

To drive home the point, she angled her mobile phone to her tummy to further explain what she learned from her docs told her she isn’t showing as much.

“I mean, my doctor told me I have a longer torso. She also told me it looks like I’m carrying her in my back, my placenta’s in the front, so it takes longer to pop,” she explained. “And she said because I was pretty fit before, it’s just gonna take longer for those muscles to stretch out.”

She dismissed the talk as “just silly” adding, “like, really, I’m gonna fake an ultrasound, I’m gonna fake a full-blown pregnancy? It’s just like some of your comments are ridiculous.

“Anyways, have you ever thought about the fact that maybe I just know how to take pictures at good angles? Or maybe I just know how to find maternity clothes that are more flattering? I don’t know. Like, it’s just silly the things that people come up with.”

Not to give all the attention to the haters, she ended her talk by shouting out the supporters.

“By the way, I do see the other like 952 comments that are kind and sweet and uplifting and encouraging and all the other things. So I love you guys for that. I’m working on the four or five comments from people that are being silly. I think it’s just because I’m laying in bed, and I’m grouchy because my back hurts,” she said. “Anyways, I really do love all of you out there that put [out] such kind, nice things, so muah [blows kiss].”

Rossi and her husband Slade Smiley announced that they are expecting their first child together in December after suffering a series of miscarriages and losses.