My name is Caitlyn and I am the owner and founder of Lila. Some may know me as Mrs. United States 2020, some know me simply as the creator of the viral Tik Tok labor gown. I originally designed my birth gowns after spending years working as a Labor and Delivery nurse and as a birth doula. I have never cared for the use of hospital gowns in the labor and delivery setting. Their design may make some sense for sick patients receiving care inpatient, but pregnant people are not sick. Laboring women and birthing people should be free to wear (or not wear) anything they want, and experience labor and birth in whichever way makes them feel most comfortable.
As a doula I know that the way we feel when we are in labor significantly impacts our perception of labor pain, and can even impact our physiological progression through the different labor stages. As a nurse I know what parts of the body medical personnel need access to in order to do their jobs. Hospital gowns are entirely unideal on both fronts, simply because they weren't designed for labor. They don't allow our nurses and doctors access to our belly, and they open totally down the back leaving us exposed. When I searched for alternatives to recommend to my clients, most of what I found were loud, gaudy, unflattering gowns almost as unthoughtfully designed as the hospital gown. Of the ones with adequate accessibility, the quality lacked, and of the ones with great quality, the accessibility lacked. So I decided to design my own. For awhile, my labor gowns were exclusively for my doula clients, but after an overwhelmingly positive response online, it was clear they needed to be available to everyone.
I officially launched Lila only two days before the unexpected early arrival of my twin boys. Our first preorder launch was scheduled to happen the very next day. I made my babies hospital room in the NICU my office as I juggled my recovery, my new role as a mom, and my brand new business. It felt as though I had three babies at that point. My husband and I spent the next six months attempting to fulfill thousands of orders and care for two preemie babies, just the two of us. 2021 was easily the most chaotic year of our lives, but we are so incredibly grateful. Lila, our third baby, is growing up and slowly evolving. We hope that one day we can offer all sorts of different pregnancy, labor, and postpartum necessities. We are here to serve families by offering products that prioritize the interests of mother's while providing accessibility and functionality compatible with new and expecting motherhood.
As a woman and a mother myself, I have felt that once I stepped into the world of motherhood I wasn't allowed to want to feel beautiful or sexy. I was no longer entitled to quiet time, privacy, and I wasn't allowed to seek the fulfillment of my own needs. Mothers are expected to tough it out, and put others first. That is the virtue of motherhood it seems. I hear people say things like "labor isn't a fashion show" and "your doctors and midwives aren't going to care what you wear in labor." I find it bold to assume that our choice of clothing, on what can easily be one of the most physically and emotionally challenging days of our lives, is for anything other than our own comfort. My products are for the women and birthing individuals that wear them, no one else. They are made beautifully, not for vanity, but instead to reflect the beauty of the wearer, and the quality they deserve.
Our goal is to provide thoughtful products to aid the journey into motherhood while recognizing the humanity, diversity, and beauty of our customers.
To follow along, and to watch us grow follow us on Instagram @lila.laborwear and follow me, Caitlyn Schollmeier on Tik Tok @mrs.unitedstates2020