The Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Friends and Families
2023 has already been a busy year for our team! We spent the last few days tag-teaming the birth of four new little ones. We had to cancel a few appointments and move some stuff around but we managed to get all these sweet kiddos earthside. Our Saturday Mindful Movement class was canceled last minute and I know a few folks showed up having not seen the posts on social media so I apologize for the inconvenience. I adjusted the registration settings so now you can RSVP on our event calendar. Once you're registered you will receive direct emails about any future cancellations so hopefully that will help. The only certainty in birth is that nothing is certain! We appreciate you all understanding that babies come with or without our permission, we're all just along for the ride.
Keep the feedback coming!
We've received over 20 responses for the survey we sent out last week and we appreciate what you have to say! If you've received care from us in anyway or have been a member of the Whole Heart Collective, please take a few minutes to let us know about your experiance HERE. The more details the better! I'm working on adding some new programming based on the feedback we've already received and I can't wait to share it with you soon!
A newborn can be great for our taxes. Most tax breaks come in the form of tax deductions, which reduce the amount of income we use to calculate our tax bill. Most child related tax breaks, however, are tax credits. Tax credits directly reduce the tax we owe and can even result in a refund if they reduce our tax bill to zero. Common child credits include:
Child tax credit
The child tax credit is an automatic $2000 per child, even if your little one was born late in the year. My daughter was born in November, and I greatly enjoyed writing off thousands of dollars before I had even returned from maternity leave.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The EITC is a tax credit for low- and moderate-income earners. While the amount of this credit varies depending on your filing status and number of dependents, if your household made less than $50,000 in 2022, your newborn likely qualifies you for extra money through the EITC.
Childcare (or dependent care) tax credit
If you pay daycare, babysitters, nannies, or camps for childcare so you can work, you can claim a percentage of your childcare costs as a tax credit. You need an address and a social security number (or tax id number) for every childcare provider to claim this credit.
Each of these credits phase out as your income grows. If your income is too big to qualify for the tax credits above, there are additional tools you may use to offset all current and future baby costs.
Dependent Care FSA
Some employers offer this benefit. If you sign up, up to $5000 in 2023 can be withheld from your paychecks throughout the year and put into a savings account. You can then withdraw from this savings account and pay for childcare without ever paying taxes on this money. Choose the annual amount you want withheld in advance and be aware that any unused savings will be returned to your employer at the end of the year.
If you’re not married, having a kid means you can change your filing status to head of household. This new status would raise your standard deduction and your tax brackets, giving you a big advantage on your overall tax bill. You must pay more than half your little one’s expenses to qualify.
Saving for college and other education costs
There are special investment accounts for education expenses called 529 Plans. Any money in a 529 plan grows tax free and can be taken out tax free for qualifying education costs. Saving as little as $50 a month can result in thousands of dollars in income you don’t have to pay taxes on, as this table from investor.gov shows:
I really like 529 Plans because more education costs qualify than you might think (like buying your high school student a new computer), there are no income limits for using a 529 Plan, and anyone, including friends and extended family members, can make contributions in your child’s name. The College Investor is a great resource to learn more about 529 Plans and other ways to save for your newborn.
These are some of the simplest ways a new baby can reduce your tax bill. Dedicated savers and the self-employed have even more tools available to them and may want to consult with a tax professional to set themselves up for success. I’m cheering for everyone in the HOH community and can be reached at email@example.com if you need further support.
Meet Joli Ammons!
Who are you?
Doula and Childbirth Educator and Mom
How do you serve/help the pregnant and postpartum communities? By title I am a Doula and childbirth educator. In my heart I am an advocate and a nurturer. I guide families through the process making sure that they know their choices all along the way and take care of them in whatever way they need. Sometimes people need information and sometimes people just need someone to rub their back and listen to how they feel. Labor has a language and It’s my job to translate what is happening so that we can decide what we need to do. This could mean positioning or different comfort techniques or facilitating important conversations. I also love creating community. At my office all four doulas communities come together to support each other and connect.
How did you get into this line of work?
I stumbled into it when my mentor became a client of mine in my previous career. As soon as she told me what she does I never looked back!
What do you wish everyone knew about your area of expertise? We are not just for natural birthers! There is no right or wrong in birth. The only thing that matters is that you feel like your voice was heard and that you were the one deciding which path to take. Every type of birth benefits from doula support and advocacy. Every choice leads to another choice.
What is most rewarding about your work? When I know that a person spoke up for themselves because I helped them to gain the knowledge and confidence that they needed!
Tell us about something (or someone) you love? I love my family!!!!!! I have 2 kiddos who are 5 and 6 and hilariously sassy, a wonderful husband who is the house chef, and an array of elderly animals - 2 dogs, 2 cats and a bearded dragon. My favorite place on the planet is home in my recliner surrounded by my family and working a crochet project.
Register now for these upcoming classes from some of our favorite educators!
Rebel Birth Weekend Intensive: January 21 & 22nd Saturday and Sunday 9:30 am to 1:30pm Join the Rebel Doulas of Rebel Birth for a weekend series filled with everything you need to know before you head into your labor journey. You'll get hands on instructions to prepare you for your big day and all the days leading up. Class is $250 a couple, HOH clients and WHC members receive a 10% discount! Register here.
The Bradley Method: Thursday evenings 6:30 pm February 2nd - April 13th Though every class has a specific topic which is covered in detail, each class will also cover nutrition, exercise, positive communication, and coaching. A different relaxation technique will be demonstrated and assigned for practice each week. Classes may also feature a video presentation. Register Here
This Week's Events
January Upcoming events
Evening Core Class, Stages of Labor: Wednesday 1/18 We HIGHLY encourage all expectant clients and their support person(s) to join us for this session. We'll cover ways to support the laboring person at each stage of the laboring process.
Postpartum Support Circle Babywearing 101 : Thursday 1/19 This postpartum circle will be lead by Angelique Geehan, a baby wearing expert! Bring your favorite baby carrying device so we help get you going. Partners and other caregivers are welcome to attend! This event is for current HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members.
Core Class: Newborn Care: Sunday January 22nd 2-4pm Our friend Dr. Shirley Ramirez-Chan of Blossom Pediatrics and Lactation will be join us for a Q&A about all things newborn. Free to HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. $25 for non members.
Infant CPR and BLS: Saturday January 28th 10-12 $45 per person. Email instructor Gail Gould to register and pay.
Ask the Experts: Sunday 1/28 2-5pm Newborn parents will spend time answering questions from expectant folks in this laid back setting . Get hands on training from new parents! This is a Whole Heart Collective Members Only event.
Save the dates!!
Anxiety Support Group: Every other Monday starting February 6th 12-1pm This six week circle will be led by interning Family Therapist Mary Alice Carpenter (Under supervision of Kim Jones LMFT-S). Each week will work on mindfulness and tools to help manage the unavoidable anxieties of pregnancy and postpartum. Registration is open!
2023 Baby Gear Swap!!: Bring your gently used clothing, maternity clothing, baby and kid gear to swap with fellow HOH and Whole Heart Collective members. Drop your items off on Saturday the 18th from 10am to 2pm and come shopping on Sunday 2/19 from 12-4pm. **Please do not bring items any sooner than 10am on 2/18-we do not have storage space.** All items not claimed by 5pm on Sunday will be taken to local organizations for donation.
New address 6550 Mapleridge Ste 100
Monthly Ongoing Events
Wednesday Virtual Postpartum Support Circle: Second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 10-12 on Zoom. HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. Email Jessica if you need more information.
Thursday In Person Postpartum Support Circle: 10-12 in the community room. Open to current HOH & WHC members. Feeding clinic first and third Thursdays of each month.
Queer Parent Circle: Second Sunday of every month 2-4pm Open to the public.
Babywearing Meetup: Third Saturday of each month 4-5pm
Birth workers Circle: Second Sunday of every month 11am-1:30pm midwives, student midwives, doulas, birth assistants, Obs and L&D nurses are all welcome to attend.
Mindful Movements: First and second Saturday of each month 10:30-12