We had the good fortune of connecting with Lo Mansfield and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lo, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
To be honest, I never would have predicted that I would be in the place I am now. My first degree was in business, my second was in nursing, and my third was in healthcare administration, so each step I took was working towards some sort of nursing administration/clinical liaison type career.
Then, I had a baby – and my mama was actively dying at the same time. I had to step away from my career (I was working acute care as an RN at the time) to be with my mama, care for my baby, care for myself – and then ultimately, to grieve and try to heal after losing my mama. I (relatively) quickly had 2 more children – so I found myself happily home with them but also incredibly bored. While I had always felt that in that (this) season, home is good and right for me, I knew I needed to figure out a way to work too.
The pandemic was actually an interesting catalyst for me. I had already been trying to figure out ways to work virtually and was freelance writing in the healthcare field to fill my cup a bit. I’ve never been an active consumer of social media, but as the pandemic continued and more and more was being done virtually (and via social media), I started to wonder if my education, knowledge, and experiences related to maternal/fetal health and wellness was something I too could share with the masses. The Labor Mama was borne from this – and it felt clear pretty quickly that there were families that were interested in what I had to say/teach. Today, it’s been about 18 active months – but it didn’t take me too long to realize that I didn’t want an “influencer” platform on IG – I wanted MY own business, something that was truly mine. That is the point when I decided to build my own courses and offer those to my community.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I took a pretty circuitous path to where I am now. I’m a first generation college student who didn’t have financial help, so there were definitely some bumps along the way as I tried to figure out what to do, how to do it, and what to do next. When I was getting my undergrad at the University of Washington, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. During that time, I realized that though I loved my Business degree (that’s my first bachelors), I really wanted to be a nurse. Immediately after graduation, I went back to school to become an RN.
To be honest, my sick mama (who did pass during all of these years) absolutely set the trajectory of my career. Watching the way those in healthcare loved her (and my family) made me long to be a part of that type of care as a professional. That was the door getting cracked open – and it didn’t take me long to realize that was exactly where I should be.
While working on the floor as an RN (in labor, delivery, and postpartum), I did find that I longed to be a leader, to “do more.” I also loved my business degree and all that I had learned – and saw gaps in the way care decisions were made by professionals in a boardroom who had not actually worked with patients. This spurred me to go back to school to get my masters in healthcare administration. We can’t have professionals at the top making choices for those at the bedside – professionals who have no idea how their decisions actually impact the staff trying to provide care to patients.
In all of this “professional journey” – I was also becoming a mama and losing my own. These two things have by far been both my greatest joy and my greatest grief – all wrapped up in each other. It’s been brutal, trying to navigate all of that at the same time. Interestingly, I have found that sharing that part of my story – as well as all the education and knowledge from my career as an RN/as a mama – has actually become one of the sweetest parts of The Labor Mama business. Certainly, I teach about babies, pregnancy, postpartum – but I’m incredibly transparent in that I’m doing all of this as a mama who is grieving a mama, muddling around in hopes and dreams that won’t come true, and trying to find a path forward that brings joy even inside of my greatest loss. There are so many out there who share this story, and I do believe that part of my story (the broken, messy part) helps all that I’m doing feel more real.
In regards to being proud: I am incredibly proud of the fact that I am a first generation college student. My parents worked SO hard when we were little – but post highschool education was never on the table for us unless we figured out how to do it with government loans, work, scholarship, etc. I am also really proud of what I’m doing right now – figuring out how to be a mama and work, how to live in grief (but still with joy), how to mother well but also be VERY okay with the fact that I LOVE working (and this is allowed).
In regards to what I would want the world to know: I want this brand to encourage others to let go of the idea of “perfection” or “good mom” in all of these spaces. I want my brand to speak to the truth that being the “right” kind of mom, wife, woman, sister, etc. isn’t about meeting a certain set of parameters or goals. We are far too individual and nuanced for that. Being a “good” anything is about recognizing what is right for YOUR life, YOUR body, YOUR relationship, YOUR child – and letting go of all the prescriptive lists that get sold to us as ultimate goals.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My family and I live in the Highlands – I love this part of the city! We are super walkable to so many great streets and shops. I would absolutely show someone 32nd street and Tennyson – snagging coffee at Novo, Allegro, and Downpours. We would definitely need to grab breakfast from the Wooden Spoon and Rise and Shine as well, while dinner favorites are Root Down and Senor Bear.
The Rhino area is one of my favorite areas for drinks and dinner – so many great breweries, wineries, and restaurants all packed together offer limitless opportunities to grab a drink while you wait for your dinner reservation. We love Work and Class, Bigsby’s Folly, Death & Co, The Populist, and Acorn (at The Source).
Union Station is a really fun area to explore as well – so many great restaurants tucked in the streets around the area.
To get out of the city, you’ve got to check out Red Rocks. Bonus if you can do Yoga on the Rocks or see a concert. I love making people try the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs too. And for the REALLY adventurous, hiking a 14-er is always a trip (and tough). If we had time to go to the mountains – we’d definitely choose Steamboat. We love it there – Cafe Diva will forever be one of our favorite dinner spots.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This would be those I worked with at my first job. I learned SO much from the other RNs, the physicians, the midwives, and the anesthesiologists at my hospital. The team on our labor and postpartum unit truly showed me what collaborative, patient-centered, evidence-based care could look like. Today, I am incredibly passionate about encouraging families in chasing the birth and postpartum experience they deserve – and I KNOW that there are care providers and facilities that offer this because I got to work in it (and have my babies in it) every single day.
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thelabormama
Monet Nicole Moutrie for birth photography Chelsea VK photography for studio shots