Sakara Life Co-Founders Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise Talk empowered pregnancies.

By Colleen Crivello

Straight from our childhood dreams, Danielle and Whitney, co-founders of Sakara (only our fave plant-based meal delivery service ever), are goals. Besties since forever, these high-vibe beauties are pregnant with boys—Whitney with her first and Danielle with her second. 

From a distance (Sedona and NYC, respectively), this dynamic duo share their hopes for each other and the realities of pregnancy: feeling empowered, prioritizing (yet not always succeeding) self-care, texting constantly “Are gigantic nipples normal?”, birthing centers, nourishing everything, and eating veggies (of course).

Pregnancy feels?

Danielle: I feel good. I’ve finally found my pregnancy groove at 25 weeks. Although, with a toddler at home, I’m generally less focused on this pregnancy.

Whitney:  Emotionally it’s been a lot; this has been the craziest time any of us have lived through from a work and life perspective. But, physically I don’t have anything to complain about and have felt pretty good, especially when you hear all the stories from severe morning sickness to bed rest. It’s been a wild ride, but also terrific. I’m thankful that Danielle and I have each other plus a great team to support us.

Pregnant together, what a dream! Was it planned?

Danielle: Definitely not, but it’s beautiful that we are. Although I wish we were in the same state. Whitney has been in Sedona and I’m NYC.

Whitney: It’s been hard not to be in the same place, especially while pregnant. I think we have only seen each other for an hour in the past four to five months! I can hardly believe it.

Danielle: But, we are on Zoom together all day, every day. We’re in digital meetings for eight-plus and do our best to catch-up between sessions. The beauty is, we’ve known each other for so long that we can drop in and cover ground quickly—sometimes 5 minutes can feel like 5 hours because we can pack so much in. Since we started Sakara Life, we’ve prioritize friendship time, not just work time.

Daily conversations?

Danielle: I try not to impose my thoughts or advice on Whitney…or any new mom for that matter. If she comes to me with a specific question, then I have ideas, but otherwise, I try not to give unsolicited advice. Everyone’s path is different, and each is entitled to their unique journey.

Whitney: Except on average I send about 40 texts a day with questions like, “Is this normal?

Danielle: Usually, the answer is “YEP! It’s normal!

Whitney: Literally our day starts with everything from, “Is it normal that I’m not sleeping at night?” to, “Is it normal that my back is so achy?” or my recent fave, “My gigantic nipples!! Is that normal? This can’t be normal!” accompanied by a full frontal pic of my nipples with the question, “No, but really, does this look right?

Danielle: My answer? “Yes. Normal.” Everything that can go weird, does.

Managing double maternity leave as co-founders?

Whitney: We’re building a company culture that supports being a mother and a career. Our team includes a ton of moms—in fact, we just had two new-moms return from maternity leave this week.

Danielle: Plus, we have an unlimited vacation policy and encourage pregnant team members to take personal self-care time…they deserve it! Too often, we tend to work until we give labor, and I think each woman (and baby) deserves to prepare themselves emotionally and mentally to give birth. Even if this just means taking an extra day off for yourself, it’s essential.

As for our maternity leave, the universe had it planned to a T. Not only do we have an unlimited vacation policy, but everyone is eligible for a three-month mat-leave. With that, I wanted to make sure Whitney had a proper break with her new little family wherein she wouldn’t worry that I was out too. Enter divine timing. It turns out I’m due three months to the day after her! It worked out so beautifully that each of us can take our full maternity leave stress-free.

Whitney, chic as ever in The Knit Onesie

And how are you taking care of yourself?

Danielle: Oh man, I talk a big game, but I haven’t truly been looking after myself. It’s hard enough to prioritize self-care with your first pregnancy, let alone with your second and a toddler in the mix. Thank God for Sakara Life! I don’t know what I would do without it. On the days that I don’t have my meals, I usually end up making poor food choices or not eating. As I said, I’m 25 weeks and only now feeling pregnant. Therefore I’m trying to eat well, rest, and not overdo it. I have to remind myself that pregnancy and birth are marathons, and if I don’t fill up, train, and prepare, at some point, I’ll hit a brick wall… I’d like to avoid that.

Breaking the baby news to each other?

Danielle: We were walking on Houston to the office when Whitney told me she was pregnant, but I already knew. It’s a funny thing to be so close to someone your entire life. We have spent more time together than any other human side from our moms, maybe. With that closeness comes familiarity and the ability to pick up on the smallest details from body language to energy shifts. Therefore I was excited, but not surprised.

Whitney: We went hiking in Sedona (which was basically our only time together pregnant), and Danielle told me she was pregnant on that hike. No wait, maybe it was before she came here to Sedona. Ugh, pregnancy brain!

Thoughts on raising boys?

Whitney: I’m mostly focused on bringing him into the world and haven’t thought as much about what it will be like to raise him. Generally speaking, regardless of gender, I want him to have strong morals, a big heart, open-mindedness, compassion and to embrace his uniqueness.

Danielle: I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’m terrified! We have a girl, and I’m very comfortable with her energy. For the most part, she is chill, wild, but chill. Whereas my friends with boys, seem to be dealing with a whole other level of output. Therefore, I’m doing my best to mentally prepare to be the mother of a completely different child and ultimately know that I will love it.

Danielle curing her cravings in The Sora Dress

Pregnant during COVID?

Whitney: I am grateful for this forced time of slow down because I’m terrible at taking time for myself. I tend to keep working, going to social events, and living that nonstop NYC life no matter if I’m exhausted or not. This time has forced me to slow down and care for myself because there is nothing else to do. While these times have been tough for so many, I’m thankful to focus on growing this baby and being home with my mom and family, which is rare.

Danielle: The hardest part of quarantine is having a toddler at home—all you moms out there with young ones running around, I know you get it—which has made working from home near impossible. Everyday takes some logistics and planning to get out of the house to work.

Additionally, I’ve felt unsettled. While lovely, our apartment is a loft and not great for a family of four with no walls, doors, or bedrooms. We’ve recently talked about moving upstate slash everywhere in the world—name a place, and we’ve considered it—but haven’t landed on a decision. Usually, I feel aligned with a particular path, but with three months away, and still no plan, I’m feeling influx. In general, the pandemic has seemed to make everyone noncommittal, so I’m learning to surrender to whatever will be, will be. In the end, all that truly matters is that our new baby, our daughter Star, myself and my husband are all healthy. The rest will sort itself out.

Cravings, much?

Danielle: I have never eaten more croissants in my entire life than I have over the past six months!

Whitney: Specifically, the almond ones, right?

Danielle: I went back and forth. Plain, almond, you name it.

Whitney: These days, I’ve mostly been craving fruit. Although, earlier in my pregnancy, I craved weird things like frosted chocolate donuts with sprinkles, of which I can’t remember the last time I ate something like that! Nonetheless, I would have a dream about it or see it somewhere, and have to have one! So I would and then never need to have it again. One and done.

Birth Plan?

Whitney: Danielle introduced me to an intimate birthing center about an hour outside of Sedona; I love the vibe and all of the midwives there. Plus, I’ve been listening to Hypnobirthing meditations and we just hired a doula, which I’m excited about. Ultimately, my goal is to stay as relaxed as possible.

Danielle: We rented a little house in upstate NY for a few months, near a birthing center. The plan is to go there and cozy-up as a family before and after the birth. While this will be a different delivery altogether, I’m thankful to have one birth under my belt. Having done it before gives me a bit of confidence and eliminates some fear of the unknown.

Books on your nightstand?

Whitney: I just started ‘Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering.’

Danielle: This time around, between work and a toddler, I’m not reading anything. Closer to my due date, I might try a Hypnobirthing book as a refresher.

Hope for your children and each other?

Whitney: Mostly I’m hoping for a healthy baby; that’s my sole focus. I keep repeating to myself, “healthy baby, healthy mama.”

Danielle: I wish for all mothers, everywhere, to have an empowered birth, no matter if it’s a C-section, hospital, home, or water birth, it doesn’t matter as long as you feel empowered. That’s the peak experience—empowered during labor, after labor, and through to motherhood.

Danielle in The Sora Dress

Support system?

Whitney: Having people you trust that you can talk to and ask questions is so important. Sometimes you simply need someone to say, “Yes, that’s normal.”

Danielle: From my family to our community and my husband’s loving support, I don’t know what I would do without all of them.

Any advice?

Whitney: We’ve recently been talking about this concept of “living like you’re pregnant before you’re pregnant,” by creating space and giving your body what it needs as if you’re already nourishing a baby inside of you. I love the idea of taking things a little slower and being a little more gentle with yourself in preparation for pregnancy.

Danielle: I usually recommend ‘Spirit Babies,’ to anyone trying to get pregnant; it’s an incredible read that explores the concept of divine timing and connecting with your baby’s spirit. This book is a beautiful reminder that even if it’s not working right now, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, only that it’s not yet time. We often think of babies and fertility in a very clinical way instead of thinking about the spirit we’re bringing into the world.

Also, we get a ton of questions here at Sakara Life around prenatal and pregnancy nutrition. The short answer is: any time you can get an array of organic vegetables into your diet, do it, you must. While always important, it’s especially true when you’re pregnant. I often hear women worry about what not to eat instead of what to eat and what to eat is veggies, veggies, and more veggies.