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1. Oh. My. God. We did it! We made a human! This is magical. This changes everything. I’m going to be the BEST mom. I’ll be the CHICEST mom. I’m going to do ALL THE PRENATAL YOGA. I’m going to eat nothing but organic kale and the eggs of fair trade, free-range chickens! I’m going to nurture my baby in a mystical maternal cloud of pregnancy fairy dust. Everything will be amazing.


2. I’m dying. I’m going to dieeeeeee. I’m going to die in a pile of my own vomit. I hate everything. I hate my husband. YOU DID THIS TO ME. I can’t go on. I can’t make it. Why did I ever think this was a good idea? Why is a fetus the size of poppy seed making me want to throw up everything I ate in the last year? I’m surviving on a diet of Preggie Pops, Gatorade and air. Can I go on maternity leave now?

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3. ... I ... think? I’m feeling bet-VOMIT.

4. No seriously, I think I’m feeling better. I’m 13 weeks! Here we come, second trimester! I can eat again! I can sleep again! We’re going to make it, baby! Now to share my baby news in the most amazing way on Facebook. Wait... my mom already did???

5. I’m 3-6 months pregnant! I’m an adorable pregnant lady! I cleared out the maternity section at Target! I bought the cutest stuff from Zulily! And maybe I’ll even make it to prenatal yoga. At least once. Gotta get there at least one time. Must plan the most perfect baby nursery! Must buy all the things! And, wow, I can feel the baby! Here--you feel the baby. HEY! Stop touching me, crazy lady!

6. Woah. I’m still pregnant. And I’ve grown out of my maternity clothes. I couldn’t POSSIBLY get any bigger than this... could I? And am I really ready to be a mom? Why do pickles taste better with ice cream? Why is my scale lying to me? Why does life have so many existential questions?

8. I am the most pregnantist woman who has ever walked the face of the earth. I will never tie my shoes again. I will never put my own pants on again. I’ll never roll over in bed again. Is prenatal yoga still a thing? Ha! So not happening. I’m not moving from downward facing sleeping lady. I don’t think these bad boys even count as cankles anymore. They’re like swollen knees on top of my feet. Can I self-induce labor? Does that make me a bad mom? Am I failing at being a mom before I’ve even become one? It’s harder to be 9-months pregnant than to have a newborn, right? Because this is already really freaking hard.

9. It’s a baby! I’m a mom. This is magical. This child is 7 pounds 10 ounces of newborn perfection. Those crazy nine months? Totally worth it. I’m in <3 with my little one. (And I’m sure it gets easier from here... RIGHT?!?!)

*There is no #7. Because THE MOM BRAIN STRUGGLE IS REAL.

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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

This article was sponsored by Kinder. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


Our Partners

by Clare Green for Nameberry

Names meaning hope can be a source of optimism and positivity in an uncertain time.

Welcoming a baby into the world is a powerful act of hope… and if predictions of a December 2020 baby boom are to be believed, there could be a lot of hopeful people out there right now.

Parents through the ages have given their children optimistic names. You might especially think of the Puritans, who used virtue names like Hope and Grace (as well as ones that haven't aged so well, like Diffidence and Silence).

Sometimes such a name can signify that a child is a medical miracle, or born in difficult times. Sometimes it simply expresses our wishes for their future. We hope for a world in which Maverick will make changes, or Bear will still be able to see his namesake in the wild, or Charlie won't be pinned down by their gender, or Khadija will be proud of her heritage.

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I can't put it better than Abby, our Name Sage, in her latest newsletter: "no matter how daunting our moment, I believe that naming is an act of optimism."

So if you're looking for a baby name that signifies better things to come, here are some ideas. Encompassing literal and subtle, popular and rare, and from around the world, there's a hopeful name for everyone.

Baby names meaning hope

The English language gives us the word name Hope, and other languages have their own equivalents. They could be a way to honor heritage or a special connection, as well as looking forward to the future.

The best-known are Nadia and Nadine, from the original Russian Nadezhda. For a male equivalent, Nadan is a Serbian and Croatian name from the same root. Amal Clooney bears a unisex Arabic name, and long before Game of Thrones, Asha was an Indian name with the same meaning.

Others include Spanish Esperanza, Icelandic Von (a feminine name), Finnish Toivo, Swahili Taraji, and Japanese possibilities like Kazuki and Nozomi. And let's not forget fictional languages: step forward Estel, from Tolkien's Elvish languages, and Laini Taylor's heroine Karou.

Baby names meaning new life

Nova, meaning "new", is a smash-hit name that perfectly sums up the hope a new child brings. Neo is the sci-fi version, and Nordic Dagny literally means "new day".

Dawn, while lovely, is more likely to be grandma's name than baby's nowadays. More in line with current trends are international variants like Alba, Aurora, Roxana and Vihan.

Names meaning life are undoubtedly optimistic, and many are firm favorites with parents, especially for girls. From Hebrew, there's the Eve family of names; from Greek, Zoe and all her variants; from Latin, Vivienne and co; and Scandinavian Liv.

Baby names meaning light

Light is a strong symbol of hope, and there's a wealth of names with light-related meanings.

Classic Lucy is part of a whole name family, including international Lucia, suave Lucian and modern Lux. Evergreen Helen and her variants may also come from light-related roots, and the Clara / Claire contingent have a similar meaning, "bright".

Noor is branching out into the mainstream, and unisex Kiran is a highly international option. Liora has a melodic sound that's right on trend now, and Abner is growing in popularity for its vintage-biblical style.Some of the best offbeat options include underused Irish gem Sorcha, and Faro, which means "lighthouse".

Baby names meaning hope

"Hope is the thing with feathers," as the poet Emily Dickinson wrote. If Feather itself is too much of a word name for you, you could try a name with a hidden feathery meaning, like Penna, Pluma or Quill.

There are plenty of bird names with positive meanings. Phoenix rises from the ashes. Lark heralds the morning. Dove is an ancient symbol of reconciliation and peace (along with its equivalents such as Callum, Jonah and Paloma). Chirpy songbird names like Robin and Wren are upbeat, and names with a more general meaning like Birdie, Avis, Aderyn and Enda strike a similar note.

Baby names meaning happiness

Names with a positive meaning signify hope for a child's future happiness. They include English word names like Joy and Blythe, and currently stylish names like Felix and Felicity.

Among the less common choices, we love Cornish twins Lowen and Lowena, vintage nickname Lettie, unusual biblical Tirzah, and streamlined Rafa, from Arabic roots.

Which of these names do you like? Would you consider using a name with a hopeful meaning?

This post was originally published on Nameberry.

Learn + Play

[Editor's note: Dr. Anna Zimmermann is a mom of three, a neonatologist and the voice behind Mighty Littles, a blog and podcast about NICU families. When her own son contracted COVID-19 her blog and social media posts about his illness went viral. Excerpts from those posts have been republished here with her permission.]

When I started Mighty Littles, I never intended to write about my children being in the hospital. I planned to write about the resiliency I see in parents in the NICU, how parenting changes over time, and how big events shape who we are as parents. However, seeing as how the world has been taken over by COVID-19, and now so has my family, I need to write about it. I have to write about it. COVID-19 has consumed my thoughts and fears for the last week, and I'm not the only one.

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As a physician, I followed the outbreak of COVID-19 in China and Italy closely. Although no state or federal mandate was in place, we pulled our kids out of Jiujitsu and swimming lessons early, because we believed this virus was dangerous before many people started to take it seriously. The kids continued to go to preschool and kindergarten, and their last day at school was March 12th. The state of Colorado closed schools starting March 16th.

Since March 12th, the kids have not left the house. My husband went to Costco once. I went to Target once. My kids never went on a playdate. I wouldn't let them go across the street to talk to their neighborhood friends. We adopted the stay-at-home recommendations early and stuck to them. We did everything right.

But Lincoln got sick.

On March 21st, Lincoln sneezed a few times, I thought it was allergies. The following day he got a stuffy nose and slight cough. He didn't have a fever and I wasn't super worried, I assumed he picked up a little cold. On March 27th, he got a fever—a high fever to 104.5. He looked miserable and pathetic. I started to worry.

We saw the pediatrician first thing in the morning on March 28th, got a diagnosis of pneumonia after a viral illness (totally reasonable) and we did oral antibiotics and oxygen at home for the next 48 hours. He had moments where he looked totally fine, and other moments where he looked sick. But overall, I thought he was okay.

By Monday, March 30th, he was needing more and more support and oxygen and was admitted to the hospital.


COVID-19 cough youtu.be

I knew walking into the hospital that we would be there for a few days—I thought three, maybe four. I knew that he would be placed on a "COVID rule out"—where they treat him as if he has it until the testing comes back negative. And because I am familiar with hospital policies on COVID, I knew that I would not be able to leave his room until his testing was negative.

So walking into the hospital, I had one sick 4-year old, two near-empty oxygen tanks, and three bags—one for our clothes, one for his comfort items and snacks and my computer bag. I also had four hours of built-up anxiety rolling around in my head wondering what was going on with my son and why he was quickly getting worse.

The admission was smooth and we got settled into our room: IV, labs, swabs, meds, oxygen all got done by the wonderful staff. At the time of admission, he needed 2 Liters (L) of oxygen. That same night, he progressed up to needing 4L. By the next day, he was on 6L and then 9L.

He was working so hard to breathe—using all of the muscles in his chest, abdomen, and neck to help him breathe. As a doctor, I knew he was working hard to breathe. The medical terms used to describe respiratory distress—seesaw breathing, nasal flaring, grunting, retracting, tachypneic—he had them all.

As a mom, it was torture watching him struggle.

Over those first two days in the hospital, labs and information started coming back. His Complete Blood Count (CBC) didn't show classic signs of COVID infection. His other measures of infection—CRP and Procalcitonin—were not significantly elevated. His chest X-ray looked pretty good. He was changed to two IV antibiotics—Ampicillin and Azithromycin. He started receiving Albuterol treatments. And viral testing was pending.

During that first two days, he just continued to get worse. His labs and Xray didn't look like Coronavirus, but he was just getting worse quickly.

At about 7 pm on our second night in the hospital, we got the news. The nighttime doctor came in and introduced herself and took a look at Lincoln. Then she told me—Lincoln had tested positive for COVID-19.

I just started crying. He was getting worse quickly and now I was scared.

His timeline didn't fit. His labs didn't fit. His X-ray didn't fit. We took all the precautions.

How did this happen? Why did this happen? I don't understand.

How sick is he going to get? How long will this last? How long will we be in the hospital? What if the rest of my family gets as sick as Lincoln?

I did everything right. I was supposed to keep my family safe and I failed. And, yes, I know I didn't. But how can those thoughts not go through your head when your little boy has the scariest virus in on the planet right now?

How did this happen? How? I still don't understand. I cried for nearly four hours off and on that night. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't turn my brain off. I was terrified.

At the same time, I was relieved. If his COVID test had been negative, I would be terrified to go home and constantly be wondering "what if he gets COVID now?" At least now I know he has COVID. And I know he shouldn't get it again.

After five days in the hospital, Lincoln is starting to feel a better and after seven days he was finally discharged.

Being in the hospital was completely isolating. I wasn't allowed to leave his room. No one was allowed to come into his room. The nurses and physicians came in to assess him wearing all their personal protective equipment (PPE), but they minimize the number of times they entered into the room to preserve gear.

My husband was at home with my girls. We can't hug each other. I can't hug my girls. My family is split up and we feel so far away.

Despite the isolation here in the hospital, all around me, there has been a huge outpouring of support from our community. Both of our employers have been nothing but supportive. Our school community put together a meal train to deliver dinner to Chris and the girls nightly—which turns out to be a Godsend since they can't leave the house. Our neighbors dropped off healthy fresh berries at the house and sent a care package to me with shower wipes, face cleaning wipes, and dry shampoo. Did I mention I don't have a shower???

We live in a world where people are becoming more and more separate. More divided—by social status, by wealth, by politics, and by religion. If one thing is positive about our COVID journey, it is that our community came together to support us. People we barely know. People we don't know. Friends of friends of friends.

We are forever grateful and blessed because our community supported us. And no one blamed or shamed us for our son testing positive. I hope that this sense of community will persist after we move back towards our daily lives after COVID.

Please stay safe. Please stay healthy. Please take this virus seriously—it is no joke. And please reach out to your friends and neighbors and friends of friends who are struggling through this pandemic.

Lincoln was released from the hospital one week after his admission. He remains on oxygen at home and Dr. Zimmermann will continue to update her blog and social media sites about his recovery over the next several weeks.



News

We don't doubt the importance of school and learning—whatsoever. I think most parents are feeling extra grateful for the teachers, aides and other school staff members in their children's lives these days.

But we also don't doubt the amount of emotional, physical and mental labor that is placed on mothers around the world right now due to the coronavirus pandemic. With many workplaces closed, no childcare, no school, no activities, mothers are being asked to not only continue maintaining their workload, but also to teach their child(ren), set up and maintain their Google classroom/FaceTime call schedule/Zoom meeting calendars, as well as cook, clean, do laundry, order groceries or go grocery shopping and attempt to care for ourselves on top of all that.

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Even if we are quarantined with partners to help at home—which not everyone is—the work and worry load piled on us right now is not normal, not okay and frankly, not all doable.

We're finding that some things have to go, or fall by the wayside to keep our families afloat.

This week, Sarah Parcak, mother, Egyptologist, professor and author of Archaeology From Space, announced that for her family, it was keeping up with her son's virtual classroom. She spoke the truth many moms are feeling—that survival and the well-being of their family members are paramount right now. And for many of us, that does not include keeping up with classwork.

She tweeted:

"We just wrote a hard email. I told our son's (lovely, kind, caring) teacher that, no, we will not be participating in her "virtual classroom", and that he was done with the 1st grade. We cannot cope with this insanity. Survival and protecting his well-being come first.

"Don't any of you dare offer help or resources. We both work full time, I also help run my non profit AND manage a complex project in Egypt AND am running a Covid-19 tracking platform. So, his happiness trumps crappy math worksheet management.

"ie, managing his education is a bridge too far right now. I also cook, manage cleaning, have a garden etc (husband does 50% of housework BTW, we are a team). The thought of homeschooling makes me want to barf. It's a f*cking joke.

"He reads a lot. Plays outside a lot. We read to him a lot and talk to him a lot. He gets history lessons. There is an app where he can choose books to be read to him. We watch a fun movie every night. He plays playmobile with my husband (mega imagination)

"Our goal is to have our son come out of this happy and not be long term emotionally scarred (lord knows life will do that anyways).

"PS You do what's right for your family and mental health. Obviously kids 10+ can cope better with independent work (sometimes). The littles cannot.

"I give you permission to Let It All Go. It doesn't matter. School doesn't matter right now. All your kids will remember is how they were loved. Promise."

Parents from all over the interwebs chimed in both agreeing and disagreeing with Parcak. Reasons for opting out of the virtual classroom (or maybe just relieving the pressure of it and doing what they can) ranged from not having a printer available to them in order to print the many worksheets, working full-time and not being able to manage all of the classwork with them, having children with special needs, having children in different grade and skill levels, not having access to laptops and other resources—the reasons ran the gamut.

Some parents are focusing mostly on life skills.


While other families are enjoying the focused time they are able to get their kids involved in the virtual classroom.

But many families don't have access to laptops or desktop computers, which is unfair and problematic.

And many teachers are saying take note, Moms and Dads—the pressure is on them, too.

Countless teachers and counselors chimed in to let parents know that they understand and they support them in doing what's best for their families.




After reading messages accusing Parcak of not appreciating teachers, she took to Twitter again to clarify the fact that she is very appreciative of them, stating in fact that she "cannot do what they do."

Same, Sarah. Same.

I think it's safe to say that none of us really know what we're doing right now. We're sort of flying by the seat of our pants, and that's kind of all we can do.

We're doing the best we can in a really weird, busy and scary time—parents, teachers and most especially, our kiddos, too.

Life

We're used to seeing Dove crank out ad campaigns celebrating body acceptance but this week the company launched a new ad that celebrates something so deserving of attention: The beautiful courage of our front line health care workers.

The new video shows health care workers' selfies, taken when their faces where dented and bruised from their masks, when their eyes were sad and tired and their hearts clearly heavy. These are the people keeping us safe right now, and we need to see them.

Dove | Courage is Beautiful www.youtube.com

The short, now-viral video debuted in the U.S. this week but follows an earlier version that launched in Canada on April 5. The American version of the video notes how Dove is donating to Direct Relief to help health care workers in the U.S.

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As the New York Times reports, doctors, nurses and other health care workers are facing extreme risks right now, and those speaking out about the lack of personal protective equipment and other safeguards are risking their livelihoods. These health care professionals are making extraordinary sacrifices, even separating from their own children to care for other families.

Courage www.youtube.com

This week an ER clerk, a 34-year-old mother of twin 8-year-old boys, died after contracting COVID-19 at work. In Staten Island, a nurse lost her life to COVID-19 this week. And this week reports emerged about the first American doctor to die from COVID-19 and how he had to reuse his masks.

We need to face the courage of these front line workers and Dove's new ad campaign is helping us do that. Women represent 70% of workers in the health care industry. Our fellow mothers are fighting for us and these videos remind us to fight for them.

News
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