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10 ways to get ready for your newborn before baby arrives ?

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Having a baby is going to blow your mind (in a good way). Getting prepared is one of the best ways to welcome the most awesome transformation of your life.


Here are 10 ways to prepare for postpartum during your third trimester.

1. Arrange those cute clothes.

Really important question: Why are baby clothes so stinking cute? Another really important question: How many baby outfits should you have for a newborn?

Newborn clothes typically fit full-term babies up to 8 pounds, and then once baby lengthens and chubs up, she will transition to 3-month outfits. Pro tip from experienced moms: Don’t overdo your newborn wardrobe, as baby often grows faster than you think. (Think around 1 month, or less.)

You might want to wash baby’s clothes in baby-safe detergent (try The Honest Company’s laundry detergent). Baby’s skin is highly sensitive after birth, so it helps to make sure clothes are freshly laundered with gentle ingredients.

To bring baby home, it helps to have the newborn basics. Here’s our newborn clothes shopping list:

  • 5 onesies (short or long sleeve, depending on season)
  • 5 soft pants, ideally with footies
  • 5 sets of socks
  • 4 sleepers (fleece or heavyweight for winter, lighter for summer)
  • 3 sweaters or layering items
  • 1 sleep sack
  • 1 all-purpose swaddle
  • 1 crazy-cute-OMG-I-can’t-wait-for-baby-to-wear-this outfit splurge ?

2. Think about your postpartum wardrobe, too.

Postpartum recovery is a crucial time for new moms.

You will still look pregnant for some time after baby is born—it’s normal!—but your body has unique needs that differ from pregnancy, so it helps to get your wardrobe ready. First, if you’re breastfeeding you’ll want shirts that have easy access for nursing. You’ll also want a few nursing bras. On the bottom side, you’re likely to need roomy pants to make way for your post-pregnancy hips and belly, as well as pads or adult diapers in the early postpartum.

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Here’s our postpartum wardrobe shopping list:

  • 3 nursing-friendly postpartum shirts
  • 3 nursing bras with various features (sports bra, structured bra, sleeping bra)
  • 2 pairs of roomy lounge pants
  • 1 recovery robe
  • 1 postpartum yoga pant to smooth belly
  • 1 mama’s-still-got-it outfit that makes you feel amazing (size up from pre-pregnancy)

3. Set up a nursery nook.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that baby rooms with mom for the first months of life; moms love that they don’t have to go far to care for baby during those middle-of-the-night feedings. When you set up a small nursery nook in your bedroom, you can keep the decor simple and keep baby close.

For the closeness of co-sleeping without the stress, try a co-sleeper next to your bed. Read more on inspired ways to make a small space for baby.

4. Install the car seat safely.

Installing the car seat that you’ll tote your baby home in means that it’s really happening! It also means you’re a responsible mama who can totally be trusted to raise a tiny human from infancy to adulthood.

Buy the right seat.

Consumer Reports’ top-performing car seats for infants include:

The products review site also puts out a guide to car seat safety, with full rankings available here. (Note: Available to subscribers only.)

Install it properly.

Here’s what you need to know about safely installing and using infant car seats, from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

Make sure it’s rear-facing.

All infants should ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. For infants, rear-facing-only seats and rear-facing convertible seats are best.

And tightly in the back seat.

On where to install the seat, according to the AAP: “It may be best to ride in the middle of the back seat. However, it is sometimes difficult to install a car safety seat tightly in the middle if the vehicle seat is narrow or uneven.”

“Also, most vehicles do not have lower anchors for the middle seating position. It is safest to put the car safety seat in a position where you can install it tightly with either the lower anchor system or the seat belt; in some cases, this may be on either side of the back seat rather than the middle.”

Check out the video below for more details on how to safely install a rear-facing infant car seat, from the AAP.

Check your work.

You’ll want to make sure you install the seat properly before you head to the hospital, so consider having your work checked by a Child Passenger Safety Certified Technician (find a location near you). It can be trickier than it looks—and it’s crucial that you get it right.

The Car Seat Ladies, a doctor-nurse (and mother-daughter!) team with deep expertise in car seat safety, are also a great resource for specific questions you may have. They offer one-on-one appointments in Baltimore and NYC, and have a huge range of tips and insights for keeping your little one safe.

This video below on safely securing your baby into her car seat is also helpful.

5. Stock up on easy-to-make power meals.

Make-ahead frozen meals

You have so many options when it comes to prepping tasty eats in advance of baby’s arrival (check out BuzzFeed’s 23 fave make-ahead meals for new moms to freeze).

But you don’t have to just stock up on frozen food—you can also fill your shelves (and freezer) with power foods that will help provide great nutrition during the early days of breastfeeding.

Healthy “fast” food

Nutritionist and wellness expert Shannan Monson recommends that you stock your whole house with healthy “fast” food. Premade smoothies, protein shakes, frozen egg quiches, grilled chicken, all the prepped food you can get your hands on.

Being prepared with quick things you can eat with one hand while nursing a baby in the other will save you from skipped meals and cookie cravings the rest of the day.

You can also stock the ingredients to make hearty, healthy lunch and dinner bowls to power you through the early days of breastfeeding. Don’t overcomplicate it—just rely on shelf-stable grains and frozen veggies to power you through and mix in whatever cheese, produce and beans you have on hand.

Grain bowls

Need a quick and healthy dinner idea? @nutritionsimply here again with my favorite I-forgot-to-plan-and-we-need-to-eat dinner idea. I usually take 1⃣2⃣3⃣ and blend for baby food and voila! Din. Din. Tag a mama who'd love more quick dinner ideas and spread the love 😘 Farmer's Market Grain Bowl (serving suggestions are for 1) 1⃣ The Grain Base: quinoa, farro, wild rice, amaranth, buckwheat, etc.-- 1 cup cooked or about the size of a baseball 2⃣ The Veggie Toppings: dark leafy greens, crunchy cruciferous veggies, starchy root veggies (you can’t go wrong here--1 cup cooked or about the size of a baseball 3⃣ The Fruit Toppings: mangos, cherries, pears, and other soft, sweet fruits--¼ cup or about the size of an egg 4⃣ The Cheese Toppings: soft cheese like feta, goat cheese, and Brie are my favorites, but hard, finely shredded cheese work as well (use nutritional yeast or goat’s cheese for dairy-free option--1 ounce or about the size of a pair of dice 5⃣ The Nut Garnish: all nuts and seeds, but we tend to go for soft crunchy nuts like walnuts, peanuts, cashews, macadamia nuts and pine nuts-- 1 ounce or about the size of a pair of dice Dress with 1 TB each olive oil and balsamic vinegar or dressing of choice and serve warm for a hearty and nourishing quick weeknight meal.

A photo posted by Motherly (@mother.ly) on

And smoothie bowls

Just like the grain bowl, smoothie bowls are easy to whip up for breakfast and dessert as long as you’ve loaded up your freezer with organic fruits and berries—and stocked your cabinets with hearty ingredients like goji berries, coconut flakes, nuts and chia seeds.

Um, YUM.

6. Get the right breastfeeding support.

We know as first-time moms it’s easy to focus on overcoming labor and delivery, but the truth is that while labor is intense, it usually lasts just a day or two.

Your breastfeeding relationship will be one of the most demanding parts of life as a new mama. As Motherly’s expert lactation counselor Megan O’Neill shares:

Breastfeeding truly is one of the most unnatural natural things you will do. Mama needs to learn, and baby needs to learn. 

Learn the basics.

For some women, breastfeeding is easy. For others, it’s super demanding. Take the time to learn the basics of how breastfeeding works in new motherhood, and how often you can expect to nurse.

Lactation consultant Wendy Wisner provides an overview of what to expect as a new mama.

Take a class.

We love the idea of taking a class with popular breastfeeding expert and lactation counselor Lindsay Shipley to learn the basics so you’re not so surprised when you’re attached at the boob to your little one 24/7.

Find a breast pump.

Figure out how you can get (or rent) a breast pump. Many hospitals, birth centers, lactation consultants and mother resource centers offer rentals, but they can get pricy.

Look for a breast pump ahead of time instead of waiting till baby arrives and scrambling to pick up and pay for it. YummyMummy, a breastfeeding supply store, offers rental through its website and works with your insurance.

Get 1-on-1 support.

Ask your OB, your girlfriends or your future pediatrician’s office who they recommend. You might also want to find lactation consultants who can visit you in-house in case you have tricky issues around feeding (like some of us at Motherly did!) that require support at home.

Some lactation consultants, like Lindsey Shipley, even offer Skype sessions.

Locate a support group.

La Leche League, a breastfeeding advocacy group, offers support groups in all 50 states to help you bond with other mothers learning how to breastfeed, or find other women figuring out how to make breastfeeding work. Find one near you.

7. Prep stations around your house.

There will be a ton of diaper-changing and baby-feeding (not to mention newborn-snuggling) going on all over your house in the next few months, so we love the idea of making it easy on yourself by creating stations in several key places.

For a nursing station, you’ll want:

Where you’ll need it:

You’ll likely find several comfy spots in your home that work for feeding after baby arrives—likely in your bedroom and living room—so it’s easy to have a cluster of goodies in each station, especially if you’re going upstairs and downstairs.

For your diaper changing station, you’ll want:

  • Size 1 diapers (oh so teeny tiny and cute!)
  • Wipes (those little behinds are so precious you’ll barely mind cleaning them, we promise!)
  • Diaper cream (we’re big fans of The Honest Company Healing Balm)
  • A changing pad (either a full-size changing pad or a compact changing kit)

Where you’ll need it:

You’ll likely be changing diapers in baby’s nursery, in your bedroom and in the living room/playroom (not to mention on the go around town), so depending on your home’s layout, you might consider setting up baskets full of diaper goodies in each location. The Diaper Genie caddy makes it easy to organize, but any basket will do.

For a bathroom station, you’ll want:

We know it can feel overwhelming to find the right doctor for your baby, but it’s easier with advice from Dr. Tiffany Knipe, Motherly’s expert pediatrician and a mom of two little ones!

Here are Dr. Knipe’s 3 tips for finding the right pediatrician.

1. Start in your third trimester.

Start looking for a pediatrician in your last trimester. If you have local friends or family who have children, talk to them. Do they like their doctor? If yes, why? If they don’t, why not? What fits one family may not fit another. In fact, as you move forward as a parent this is a good message to keep in mind for all things.

2. Interview around.

If you live somewhere with a few local options, meet at least two or three doctors.

Get an idea of what features are found in all pediatric practices and which things are variable.

3. Ask the right questions.


Is this office convenient/accessible?

Remember, you are likely going to be traveling with a baby and baby paraphernalia, in cold or wet weather, and, at times, with a sick or fussy infant. You want a doctor’s office that is easy enough to get to.

Do they take their time?

If a pediatrician doesn’t have the time or patience for you before your baby is born, they are unlikely to have the time for you after.

Are there sick and well waiting rooms?

Ask your doctor or their office staff the policy for newborns and sick children. Newborns should not wait in a busy waiting room because of their susceptibility to infection.

Can you reach them after hours?

Is your doctor accessible? What are the office policies for after-hours? Babies rarely get sick Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. So, how will your doctor handle these situations?

What hospital is your doctor affiliated with?

If your child needs a specialist or an emergency room, does your pediatrician have a reliable network of physicians and affiliations to get your child the help he needs?

Do you have chemistry?

Much like choosing a partner or a friend, you should get a good vibe from your pediatrician. For overly anxious parents, your doctor should help to mitigate your anxieties (not exacerbate them). And for overly relaxed parents, your doctor should make it clear to you when to worry.

9. Take an infant CPR/ first aid course.

Learning how to help a choking baby or what to do if your little one ever stops breathing can put your mind at ease as you transition to life as a new mama.

The Red Cross offers classes around the country (find one near you here) but you can also ask you health care provider about where to locate one. You’ll feel good knowing that you know what to do in an emergency.

10. Plan your maternity leave.

Whether you’re going to be staying at home for good or will be heading back to work, you’ll want to prep your new working life after baby is born.

Make sure you’ve checked in with HR on your company’s procedures, and find out if there are any state-specific benefits you’re eligible for while on leave. If you’re staying at home, start doing some research on new-mom support groups or mommy-and-me programs to connect with other new moms.

Find out what you need to know for a successful leave with our maternity leave transition plan.

BONUS! 11. Sleep! ?

We know it’s so hard to catch those Z’s with leg cramps and a big belly in bed and constantly feeling like you have to pee. We get it. But if you’re wondering if you should clean the house or nap while the end of your pregnancy draws near, we promise: THE ANSWER IS NAP.

New mamas lose a lot of sleep in the first year of baby’s life, so on behalf of all those bleary-eyed new-mama warriors of the world: Sleep now, and forever remember this peace.

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As mamas, we naturally become the magic-makers for our families. We sing the songs that make the waits seem shorter, dispense the kisses that help boo-boos hurt less, carry the seemingly bottomless bags of treasures, and find ways to turn even the most hum-drum days into something memorable.

Sometimes it's on a family vacation or when exploring a new locale, but often it's in our own backyards or living rooms. Here are 12 ways to create magical moments with kids no matter where your adventures take you.


1. Keep it simple

Mary Poppins may be practically perfect in every way, but―trust us―your most magical memories don't require perfection. Spend the morning building blanket forts or break out the cookie cutters to serve their sandwich in a fun shape and you'll quickly learn that, for kids, the most magical moments are often the simplest.

2. Get on their level

Sometimes creating a memorable moment can be as easy as getting down on the floor and playing with your children. So don't be afraid to get on your hands and knees, to swing from the monkey bars, or turn watching your favorite movie into an ultimate snuggle sesh.

3. Reimagine the ordinary

As Mary says, "the cover is not the book." Teach your child to see the world beyond initial impressions by encouraging them to imagine a whole new world as you play―a world where the laundry basket can be a pirate ship or a pile of blankets can be a castle.

4. Get a little messy

Stomp in muddy puddles. Break out the finger paint. Bake a cake and don't worry about frosting drips on the counter. The messes will wait, mama. For now, let your children―and yourself―live in these moments that will all too soon become favorite memories.

5. Throw out the plan

The best-laid plans...are rarely the most exciting. And often the most magical moments happen by accident. So let go of the plan, embrace the unexpected, and remember that your child doesn't care if the day goes according to the schedule.

6. Take it outside

There's never a wrong time of year to make magic outside. Take a stroll through a spring rainstorm, catch the first winter snowflakes on your tongue, or camp out under a meteor shower this summer. Mother Nature is a natural at creating experiences you'll both remember forever.

7. Share your childhood memories

Chances are if you found it magical as a child, then your kids will too. Introduce your favorite books and movies (pro tip: Plan a double feature with an original like Mary Poppins followed with the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns!) or book a trip to your favorite family vacation spot from the past. You could even try to recreate photos from your old childhood with your kids so you can hang on to the memory forever.

8. Just add music

Even when you're doing something as humdrum as prepping dinner or tidying up the living room, a little music has a way of upping the fun factor. Tell Alexa to cue up your favorite station for a spontaneous family dance party or use your child's favorite movie soundtrack for a quick game of "Clean and Freeze" to pick up toys at the end of the day.

9. Say "yes"

Sometimes it can feel like you're constantly telling your child "no." While it's not possible to grant every request (sorry, kiddo, still can't let you drive the car!), plan a "yes" day for a little extra magic. That means every (reasonable) request gets an affirmative response for 24 hours. Trust us―they'll never forget it.

10. Let them take the lead

A day planned by your kid―can you imagine that? Instead of trying to plan what you think will lead to the best memories, put your kid in the driver's seat by letting them make the itinerary. If you have more than one child, break up the planning so one gets to pick the activity while the other chooses your lunch menu. You just might end up with a day you never expected.

11. Ask more questions

Odds are, your child might not remember every activity you plan―but they will remember the moments you made them feel special. By focusing the conversation on your little one―their likes, dislikes, goals, or even just craziest dreams―you teach them that their perspective matters and that you are their biggest fan.

12. Turn a bad day around

Not every magical moment will start from something good. But the days where things don't go to plan can often turn out to be the greatest memories, especially when you find a way to turn even a negative experience into a positive memory. So don't get discouraged if you wake up to rain clouds on your beach day or drop the eggs on the floor before breakfast―take a cue from Mary Poppins and find a way to turn the whole day a little "turtle."

Mary Poppins Returns available now on Digital & out on Blue-ray March 19! Let the magic begin in your house with a night where everything is possible—even the impossible ✨

Pregnancy has taught me so much—about myself, my body and my marriage.

It has proven that I can handle much more than I've ever given myself credit for—mentally, physically and emotionally.

It has shown me that I am brave. The thought of getting a human out of your body in any way, shape or form can be...well, terrifying. But it must be done. And I did it. Twice.

It helped me discover how strong and capable my body is. What our bodies do to accommodate these little humans growing inside of us is totally wild and impressive—to say the least.

It deepened my love for my husband, the father of my children, in unimaginable ways. (I guess creating a baby together can do that to you.)

Pregnancy has given me two of the most precious gifts of my life.

And I'll deliver one more this fall.

My daughters are my heart and my world. They are these wonderful, awe-inspiring, creative, strong, intelligent humans. I don't know how we did it, my husband and I, but we made some good ones. And I thank my lucky stars every single day for these children.

Pregnancy and I have had our ups and downs, but (luckily) mostly ups.

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I've experienced pregnancy by surprise (twice!) and I've experienced it in a planned, scheduled manner (once!). Both are exciting and nerve-wracking. Seeing those two little pink lines or the word 'pregnant' appear (because, let's be honest, I've taken about 5,729 different types of pregnancy tests at this point) is a mind-blowing experience.

Pregnancy has given me migraines, exhaustion, nausea, gestational diabetes and backaches. It's shown me that I can survive without spicy crunchy tuna rolls and red wine for 40 weeks. And that I can still sleep (...kinda) without my favorite stomach-sleeping-position.

But oh! What wonderful, miraculous experiences pregnancy has also given me.

Sure—there are challenges with pregnancy. 100%. Some women experience extreme nausea throughout their entire pregnancy, some women have to go on bed rest, some women have preeclampsia, some women have bleeding scares, all pregnant women watch their bodies grow and change, and handle it in different ways—there are lots of ups and downs.

Pregnancy isn't for the weak.

But even with the challenges and the 'rules'—there has been nothing like experiencing the miracle of creating and growing another human inside my body.

It will never, ever cease to amaze me.

Feeling those first kicks is absolute magic. ✨

Celebrating the first sign of your baby bump is so, so exciting.

Wearing those first few maternity outfits is...interesting.

Talking about potential names is wild and let's be honest—also challenging. I mean...agreeing on a name is really hard!

Hearing your baby's heartbeat for the first time just about makes yours explode.

Seeing your future son or daughter at each sonogram is truly humbling.

Prepping the nursery and nesting is satisfying. ✔️

Letting go of fears and getting ready to welcome your baby into the world is e v e r y t h i n g.

And knowing when your family is complete is...a bit...confusing.

My husband and I have talked about this baby being our last. That once she is here, our family will be complete. It feels right to us. But it also feels final. It feels like I am 100% ready for this to be my last pregnancy. But it also feels crazy thinking about never being pregnant again.

I've been feeling so many big emotions accepting that this really could be it for me. It's strange, but I have this unexplainable feeling in my heart that three is the right amount of children for our family.

I am sad and happy and relieved and confused and excited and scared—all in one jumbled mix of emotions. (WARNING: Motherhood involves ALL the feels.)

I'm trying to appreciate every moment of this pregnancy all while mourning the inevitable closing of this chapter in my life.

These feelings are hard to process, but I know I will be at peace with it soon. I'm looking toward my future with my heart wide open, ready to welcome our third baby into our family and focus on what I do have, not what I may never have again.

One year ago, a video brought parents around the world to tears on World Down Syndrome Day. It's been viewed almost 5.5 million times since then, and the message behind it is still gaining momentum today. The Carpool Karaoke style video was produced by a parent-led Down Syndrome awareness organization called Wouldn't Change a Thing as a way to show people that families dealing with Down syndrome are just families like any family raising children.

In the video 50 moms from the UK and their 4-year-old kids sing along to 'A Thousand Years' by Christina Perri (aka the Twilight theme). It's a song about love, and it couldn't be a more perfect soundtrack for this group of mamas, who use a simplified form of sign language, Makaton, to amplify their message in the video.

Regardless, the 50 moms were a little shocked (but happy) to see their video go as viral as it did. "We definitely wanted everyone to see it," one of the mothers, Rebecca Carless told the BBC. "The idea is, we are just normal mums, we love our kids, they love us, and they are just like other 4-year-olds, we wouldn't change them."


This year, Wouldn't Change a Thing created another musical number to raise awareness about the lives of kids with Down syndrome.

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This one is set to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" and shows the kids just being kids and having fun. It has already racked up nearly 40,000 views as of this writing.

These kids are clearly so very loved, and the parents behind these videos want the world to know it every day, but especially on World Down Syndrome Day.

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Many families travel for vacations and family events, especially in the summer months. Taking trips with children has many variables to consider, but one that many parents worry about is their little one's nap schedule while on vacation.

You certainly don't want to resort to staying home and give up all of those potential memories to be made. Instead, devise a plan ahead of time and then be open to going with the flow once you arrive at your destination. You can always get back on track when you get home.

Here are a few questions to consider before leaving for vacation:

Does your child sleep well in the car?

If they do, then you should plan your travel time so they can nap for part of the car, train or plane ride. Or, some families decide to travel late at night so their child sleeps for the majority of the trip. However, if your child does not usually sleep well in the car then don't fool yourself into thinking this trip will be different. In that case, travel right after they wake up, dress them comfortably, and plan to keep them entertained if they won't sleep.

Can you break your journey into segments with stops along the way?

The longer your child is in that car seat, the more likely they are to become upset and struggle to fall asleep when you need them to. Planning a few breaks can give them the exercise and exploring they need to be able to nap later. If you are traveling on an airplane or a train, you can plan to use the aisles for walks occasionally.

When they have trouble sleeping in an unfamiliar place

Once again, preparation is so important when it comes to getting your child to nap in an unfamiliar place. You will not be able to use the exact routines that work for you at home, but try to follow much of your usual routine to create a similar sleep environment for your child.

If your little one sleeps in a crib at home, bring along a portable folding crib.

You can even let your child sleep in that portable crib at home ahead of time so that it becomes familiar. Pack your child's usual blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, white noise, lullaby music, and night lights.

If your little one sleeps with you, create a safe sleeping place for your child in the new location.

Check out the room where you will be sleeping and rearrange as needed. Check to see if you can push the bed against the wall or replace heavy bedding to make things safer. (Always move things back the way that they were before you leave.) If you are staying at a hotel, many are understanding and accommodating. And they may even help with these type of arrangements.

Daily cues are another important factor when it comes to daily naps, and these are the things that often change while on vacation.

Try to serve meals of familiar foods at regular times, expose your child to normal daylight in the morning and dimly lit activities at night, avoid the pre-bed wrestling matches or ice cream treats. All of these small things can help keep nap-time and bedtime more regular and restful.

If you are traveling out of your time zone, you will need to be patient and aware of this transition.

It is a good idea to switch to the new time zone once you arrive at your destination because powerful biological cues also shift, such as the timing of meals & naps. Make sure that your child stays well-fed and well-hydrated and avoid letting them nap longer than they typically do. Don't over-schedule your first few days if at all possible.

It's important to be flexible! If your child naps well in a stroller or on a beach blanket, then let that happen. When away from home, always do what works best for everyone.

No matter what you do, it will take a few days to adjust to a new rhythm so it is important to be sensitive and flexible with these changes.

Originally posted on Elizabeth Pantley.

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My sweet child,

You wake up every morning with the same struggles as us all. Sometimes you're grumpy, sometimes you're just too tired to be happy, but you're always kind. That's just how you are. Even when you're sick, you're more worried about how others are feeling than yourself.

You see, you're tired in the morning because even though you were exhausted the night before, you stayed up talking to yourself about things and going over conversations in your head for the next day at school. I know because I hear you.

You told me you think about a lot of stuff before you fall asleep. You worry about others constantly, including what impression you'll make on others. You want to make sure that you'll say and do the right things, so no one gets upset with you. Because when someone is upset—especially with you—it hurts you deeply.

It stinks, baby, I know it stinks. It is so tiring to be so concerned with others and their feelings that you forget your own.

You're an old soul. You're caring and nurturing. You once gave weeds you had picked to a stranger outside of Walmart because "they looked sad," even though two minutes earlier you were having a meltdown. You quickly forgot that you were also upset because that man's sad face hurt you worse than melting down over a toy.

You let your cousins get the first pick of the prizes at Grandma's. You'd rather be last and get something you didn't want than to hurt someone's feelings. Because if they were sad, that would make you sadder.

I see you, sweet child.

In the front yard picking up shiny rocks from the driveway. They're for me, because you can tell I had a rough day. Your TV show can wait right now, you just want to make me feel better.

I feel you, sweet child.

When you see me laying on the couch and you cover me up and kiss my forehead. I'm not really asleep, you know—I'm watching you, studying you, listening to you—because it's the most beautiful thing I've ever encountered. Beautiful, yet dangerous in a way.

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Dangerous because I know what happens when a heart is too pure. When you care about the feelings of others more than your own. When you can read the emotions of others and feel them too. And I want you to know—although you should be loved and cared for because of your heart, not everyone has the same heart as you.

Not everyone is as loving and kind as you. Not everyone will give you the same love that you give them. Not everyone will appreciate you, and I never want you to be taken advantage of.

I wish I could protect you from anything bad, ever in the world—but the truth is, I can't. All I can do is show you that your deep empathy is a gift that can change the world. And you shouldn't be ashamed of it.

Recently, when I picked you up from school you told me a girl was saying ugly things to you, you said you just ignored her and you were okay, but I could tell you were sad about it. And that's okay.

I explained to you that everything and everyone doesn't deserve your energy (something that you taught me unknowingly), and if she is being unkind then it's because she doesn't feel very good about herself. You understood. You said maybe you can do something to make her feel better.

And that kills me.

It kills me because I'm helpless. I can't go everywhere with you and make sure no one is mean to you. I can't promise that you'll never be hurt or heartbroken. I can't save you from the world's coldness. But that kills me even more because you save me. Every day.

And I want to thank you for that. Thank you for saving me from… well, everything.

From depression. From anxiety. From my own mind attacking me. I get overwhelmed and you can tell. You know when I'm having an episode and I need a long tight hug. You can sense when something happened at work, so you make sure to tell me I'm "the best mom a girl could ever have." I want you to know that you're the reason I am here. You're the reason I keep pushing.

Your nurturing gives me what I need to cope and heal and move forward in life.

So… thank you, sweet girl.

For having a heart as pure as gold. For loving others and showing your empathy and kindness no matter what. For reading emotions and body language like a book. For always being there for me and others. For teaching me to be kind and see the beauty in all things. For showing me that I can get through this wild thing called life, as long as I have you.

I love you always,

Mom

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