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Prior to becoming a mom—and for most of my young adult life—I was plagued by worries and insecurities. While on the outside I worked hard (so hard) to project an image of someone who had it all together, in my lowest points, I was crippled by so much self-doubt that I wondered if I would ever get out from under it.

I hated feeling that way—and hated how self-centered it made me feel—and, one day, I decided to try to change my thinking. And while I did a lot of the heavy lifting on my own, something kind of magical happened when I became a mom: Suddenly, all those doubts, insecurities, and worries I had held onto for years...stopped mattering to me.

It wasn't that they completely disappeared—I can still look in the mirror and rattle off a handful of things I would change or provide you a laundry list of things I want to work on in my life and relationships—it was just that everything instantly popped into perspective and became just as important or unimportant as it should be.

Here are 10 things I don't worry about or put up with now that I'm a mom:

1. Having a million friends

Don't get me wrong—I firmly believe in the importance of "the village" and can't imagine getting through my day without the support of my closest circle. But that pressure to be good with everyone and have a million social media "friends"? Not even on my radar anymore. Parenthood has this way of focusing and refining your inner circle naturally, and when you pause to actually reflect on it a year or two after having a baby? You realize that the ones that really matter are still there—and you don't really miss the ones that didn't stick around.

2. Bras that aren't comfortable

8-In-1 Evolution Bra, Knix

Would you believe that for most of my life I've never had a bra I truly loved? Instead, I've made do with styles that were just a little too tight (or loose) or gapped (or pinched). And then I thought, Why am I doing this? So I stopped accepting the discomfort. (Because if I want to be poked and prodded uncomfortably, I have a toddler who does that on the regular.) Now I only accept bras that get it. (This is the most comfortable bra I've ever tried.)

Bras that get that, while I'm small-chested, I have a wide rib cage, and that needs to be accommodated. Bras that get that underwires suck, and that straps should always adjust to adapt to whatever shirt I feel like wearing (or is, at the very least, clean that day). Uncomfortable bras? No mama has time for that.

3. Those last 3-5 pounds

Like most women, I haven't always felt immune to societal pressure to conform to a certain body type. And I would say that from age 16 on, I was probably perpetually on some kind of diet or exercise regime designed to lose weight. Even after I left some of my more crippling insecurities of youth behind, I still found myself plagued by those "last 3 to 5 pounds" that I was sure my life would be so much better without. But when I became a mom, something shifted (and it wasn't just the number on the scale).

Motherhood came with an entirely different appreciation of my body, along with the responsibility to project a model of a confident, healthy woman to my daughter. I stopped worrying about what the scale said (or the if the backs of my thighs were smooth or if my stretch marks were fading fast enough) and focused on how I felt instead. And, you know what? It turns out my life can be pretty amazing, no matter what I weigh.

4. Accepting products or services that don't actually serve me

Evolution Tank, Knix

One of the quickest ways to get under a mom's skin? Waste her time. Every day, I'm pulled in a million directions as I try to keep on top of #allthethings, from keeping my kids alive and happy to getting all my work done to maintaining the relationships in my life (and, you know, keeping us from living in squalor at home).

When a product or service doesn't deliver on a promise, it's enough to incur some scorched earth mama wrath. But on the flipside, it has also made me fiercely loyal to the products that get it. Whether it's a hair care product that never fails me or the perfect tank top that leaves me feeling supported and confident, when I find a winner, I stick with it.

​5. Having all the answers

Prior to having a child, I felt an immense pressure to never look stupid. As a result, I sometimes pretended to understand things I didn't, or didn't ask questions when I could have used more information. But as a mom, that's not only a dangerous strategy for yourself—it could also affect your child. So many women have walked this path before me, and I realized quickly that I could either learn everything the hard way—or benefit from their wisdom.

I also want to make sure my children understand that curiosity and a desire to learn are so much more important than faking looking smarter than you are. Now, I ask so many questions. I admit when I don't know what someone's talking about. I keep a humble mindset about my own smarts. And I feel more informed than ever.

6. Stressing about my period

Leakproof Underwear, Knix

Since I was 13, my period has given me a mild amount of anxiety. I always worried it would arrive without warning, that I would leak through my tampon, or that somehow it would humiliate me in some other unexpected way. And then I had a baby, and, possibly for the first time, I truly understood the importance of my (at times unwanted) monthly visitor.

While I wouldn't say I love getting that visit from Aunt Flo, I appreciate my period like never before—and, thanks to my Knix Leakproof Underwear, it doesn't get to dictate what I wear or don't wear anymore. Now, instead of stressing, my period is just part of what makes my body amazing (and I rock white pants whenever I feel like it).

7. If my house looks perfect

Pinterest can do a real number on your head. And while I'll never stop searching for new recipes or outfit ideas, one thing I've stopped worrying about is whether or not I have a perfect, HGTV-approved living room. While part of me would love a cream-colored couch, delicate throw pillows, and a spotless living room rug, the fact is that my kid is just going to slam toys into whatever furniture I have and probably spill whatever is left in her sippy cup on the rest of it. In this season of life, I've realized there are so many more important things that boasting a "pinnable" living space—I'd much rather have a house full of life anyway.

8. Comparing myself to others

The more moms I befriend and get to really know, the more I realize that we're all just winging it. Whereas, a few years ago, all it would take to send me into a self-deprecating spiral would be an Instagram post of a woman who seemed to have it all together, now I realize that, odds are, this is really just a snippet of her life.

While she might be one of those mystical unicorn moms who truly never gets split ends or only serves her children homemade, organic, Whole30 meals every day, it's a lot more likely that she's just like me—her hair is that full because she hasn't washed it in days and there's a pile of (week-old) unfolded laundry just out of the frame. Instead of worrying if I'm keeping up, mama me knows how to keep the superficial stuff in its place. We're all working hard to be our best, whatever that means to each of us.

9. Feeling self-conscious

There have been so many things in life I've passed up or chickened out of because I was worried I would be embarrassed. Singing in front of groups, meeting new people, going on that adventure—I would let the fear of failure or looking foolish talk me out of what could have been an amazing, fun, or life-changing opportunity. But the thought of my child letting life pass her by—or not letting her full, incredible personality shine—due to fear? It guts me.

So I'm learning to put my own nervousness away as much as I can. I dance in public whenever my daughter asks, in wild, flailing moves that draw stares. I sing at the top of my lungs in the middle of gymnastics class because our jam just came on and my kid needs a duet partner. I throw on the swimsuit (without worrying about any curves on my body) because it's 80 degrees and we need to hit the pool now! And the more I pretend to be brave, the more I start to truly feel myself leaving all that old self-consciousness in the dust.

10. What society says I "should" do

8-In-1 Evolution Bra, Knix

Seemingly from the moment those two lines appear on the pregnancy test, the world seems to be bursting with "well-meaning advice." You know the kind: suggestions on what to eat (or not eat), tips for avoiding stretch marks, grandmotherly scolding about whether or not your baby is dressed warm enough or if she should be touching that.

On top of that, women battle a lifetime of people telling us what we can do, shouldn't do, will never do. We should be perfect mothers, with bodies that "bounce back" from pregnancy. We should listen to what everyone says instead of trusting our own judgment. We should put what we want on hold for what we should be doing.

You know what I say? Forget that noise. Becoming a mother has taught me how strong and capable I am—and how much I innately know because I know what my family and I need better than any outsider. And that is exactly what I plan to do from now on.


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

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna

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2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$349.95, Nuna

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3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

PIPA™ base
(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95

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4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

Diaper bag
$179.95, Nuna

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5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

SENA aire mini
$199.95, Nuna

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With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

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


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Seeing your baby for the first time is an amazing experience for any parent. For most parents, the months preceding this meeting were probably spent imagining what the baby was experiencing inside the womb, trying to paint a realistic picture on top of that two-dimensional black and white ultrasound photo.

But thanks to Brazillian birth photographer Janaina Oliveira and a baby boy named Noah, parents around the world are now better able to imagine what their baby's world looked like between the ultrasound picture and their first breath.

While most babies are born without their amniotic sac intact, Noah entered the world (via C-section), still cocooned inside his. This is known as an en caul birth, and while it wasn't the first Oliveira has captured through her lens, it is likely now the most famous of her photographs.

After she posted Noah's birth photos to Instagram, Oliveira's photos went viral, making headlines around the world.

This slideshow is amazing.

In a Facebook post, Noah's mom Monyck Valasco explains that she had a tough pregnancy with Noah, and is so grateful that he did not arrive too early.

Noah is now something of a celebrity in his hometown of Vila Velha, Brazil, but local media reports he was actually one of three en caul babies born at the Praia da Costa Hospital in just one month. Birth photographer Janaina Oliveira actually captured all three en caul births on camera. Little Matais arrived before Noah, and baby Laura came afterward, both en caul.

These photographs are as breathtaking as the babies featured in them and remind mothers around the world that our bodies were once someone's whole world. And now they are ours.

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Alexis Ohanian has made a lot of important decisions in his life. The decision to co-found Reddit is a pretty big one. So was marrying Serena Williams. But right up there with changing internet culture and making a commitment to his partner, the venture capitalist lists taking time off after his daughter's birth as a significant, life-changing choice.

"My understanding of showing up and being present for my wife was taken to a whole new level when Olympia was born. I was able to take 16 weeks of paid leave from Reddit, and it was one of the most important decisions I've made," Ohanian says in an essay for Glamour.

A nearly four-month parental leave is something too few American mothers, let alone fathers, get to take. Even when fathers work for companies that offer generous parental leave packages, they often don't use the benefit for fear of being sidelined or seen as uncommitted. A recent survey by Talking Talent found fathers typically use only 32% of the time available to them.

In his essay, Ohanian recognizes that he is privileged in a way most parents aren't.

"It helped that I was a founder and didn't have to worry about what people might say about my 'commitment' to the company, but it was incredible to be able to spend quality time with Olympia. And it was perhaps even more meaningful to be there for my wife and to adjust to this new life we created together—especially after all the complications she had during and after the birth," he explains.

(The GOAT's husband is making the same points that we at Motherly make all the time.)

He continues: "There is a lot of research about the benefits of taking leave, not only for the cognitive and emotional development of the child but for the couple. However, many fathers in this country are not afforded the privilege of parental leave. And even when they are, there is often a stigma that prevents them from doing so. I see taking leave as one of the most fundamental ways to 'show up' for your partner and your family, and I cherished all 16 weeks I was able to take."

👏👏👏

By first taking his leave and then speaking out about the ways in which it benefited his family, Ohanian is using his privileged position to de-stigmatize fathers taking leave, and advocate for more robust parental leave policies for all parents, and his influence doesn't end there. He's trying to show the world that parents shouldn't have to cut off the parent part of themselves in order to be successful in their careers.

He says that when his parental leave finished he transitioned from being a full-time dad to a "business dad."


"I'm fortunate to be my own boss, which comes with the freedoms of doing things like bringing my daughter into the office, or working remotely from virtually anywhere Serena competes. My partners at Initialized are used to seeing Olympia jump on camera—along with her doll Qai Qai—or hearing her babbling on a call. I tell them with pride, 'Olympia's at work today!' And I'll post some photos on Instagram or Twitter so my followers can see it too," Ohanian explains.

"The more we normalize this, on social media and in real life, the better, because I know this kind of dynamic makes a lot of men uncomfortable (and selfishly I want Olympia to hear me talking about start-ups!)," he says.

This is the future of family-friendly work culture. Take it from a guy who created an entire internet culture.

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Trigger warning: Some of these responses describe a women's experiences with child loss.

Anxiety is one of those concepts you can never truly grasp until you face it yourself. And, each person's anxiety can announce itself in different ways—for some, it's postpartum anger, while for others, it's an overwhelming feeling of worry about a pregnancy. This can be especially prevalent if you're at high risk, concerned about telling your boss or undergoing medical issues. If you suffer from anxiety, know you're not alone in this mama. In fact, women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men.

These mamas shared how they manage and cope with their anxiety on Chairman Mom:

1. Hypnobirthing class

"I took a hynobirthing class at a nearby parents resource center—it was phenomenal. The class changed my emotional forecast for both the pregnancy and delivery. I uncovered a calm existence that lived dormant inside a very anxious body. For quick help at my fingertips, I love the Headspace app. My favorite quote pops up on the screen before I tap to complete a meditation 'Rather than the mind leading the breath, allow the breath to lead the mind. Keep glowing!'" —Jenny

2. Journaling

"It took my husband and I three years to have our IVF miracle baby after a devastating miscarriage last summer. I was wracked with anxiety for the entire duration of my pregnancy and it got worse as I got closer to his due date. The one thing that helped me was to journal. I wrote to the baby constantly about every step of the process and was very raw and real about the emotions I was experiencing each step of the way."—Anonymous

3. Set some ground rules

"[While I was on strict bedrest for 10 weeks] I tried to set ground rules for myself—I 'indulged' in worst case scenario/message board/Googling for exactly 30 minutes each day, and had to fill the rest of the bedrest time with other positive activities. I controlled for the factors I could, and just tried to chill out about everything else. Easier said than done, but I forced myself to breath deeply and try to limit the physical effects of my anxiety."—Milo

4. Therapy

"I feel like this could be my answer for many questions, but I say get to therapy. Anxiety can be a normal part of parenthood and it's a good idea to take the time before baby comes to build your tool kit and to feel like, even though it is full of unknowns, you have prepared your heart for the wild ride that is motherhood. I am an anxious person by nature, a worrier, a big feeler— learning that this is okay and that I can use it to my advantage has been empowering beyond measure. You are not alone and you will get through this. Hugs to you. If you are an "action person" and can't/won't get into therapy right now, this workbook has a lot of good, practical exercises."—Stratton

5. Reading this book

"I found a book called Finding Calm for the Expectant Mom useful. The major anxiety reducer for me during pregnancy was walking, because it was the only time I didn't feel sick early on and then later it was the only time the baby wasn't kicking me (which is supremely comforting and yet not). I found going with a mid-wife rather than a doctor helped alleviate a lot of anxiety. In Ontario (Canada) this is covered by OHIP (provincial health insurance). Midwives have way more time and patience. All appointments are booked for 30 minutes, so you never feel rushed."—Sian

6. Find a super knowledgeable OB

"I'm currently pregnant (second trimester) with two complications one of which can cause stillbirth. I found the best way to reduce anxiety was finding a super knowledgeable OB that I could talk to about treatments and milestones. Ask them about what kind of monitoring they'll do for you in the third trimester (NST/BPPs). Talk about contingency plans. I also found a doula that has been wonderful to talk with about the process of birth and the potential of NICU time and emergency c-sections (both not that uncommon with other women that have the same condition I do.) I whole heartedly recommend finding a therapist that you can talk with about your fears and anxieties. Look for ones who specialize in new moms. If there are any support groups for mamas with your high risk condition I also urge you to seek them out. Setting a limit for how much time you spend there is also extremely wise. And know that there are women who will experience loss in those groups. That doesn't mean you will." —Anonymous

7. Yoga, working out + meditation

"[After a miscarriage] what I've learned is that all that worrying didn't make a difference. It didn't make me feel any more prepared or okay once I lost the baby. And it limited how much I enjoyed those three months that I was pregnant. Next time I'm not going to read anything or Google anything or read any odds. I'm just going to take everyday as a gift. I know that's easier said than done. Yoga, working out, meditation. Being around people who don't know because then you can't talk about it or obsess about it. Warm baths, tea. Just be super super nice to yourself. Don't worry about what you should be eating or shouldn't be eating, etc."—Anonymous

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Having a new baby is incredibly hard. And beautiful and fulfilling and rewarding, of course—but definitely, definitely hard.

Especially the nights.

Watching the last rays of sunlight disappear would make my heart race. My 3-week-old baby didn't sleep for more than an hour and a half at a time and had zero regard for what time it was.

She was so tiny and helpless—and it was my responsibility to keep her safe and fed and healthy. For me, that was easier during the day. Because at night, it felt unfair knowing my husband and toddler were fast asleep a few rooms over.

The minute our newborn would wake, I would spring to action. Bottle, breast, pacing the floor, bouncing on an exercise ball, loud shushing into her tiny ear—I would do whatever it would take to get her to quiet down so she wouldn't wake the rest of the house.

The evenings also started to feel very isolating. It's hardly appropriate to call your mom or friend or sister at 1 a.m. when your baby starts spitting up a curdled milk mixture so hard it comes out of her nose. And even if I did call anyway, it wouldn't matter because they wouldn't answer because they'd be sleeping.

I was used to anticipating a lack of sleep each night, which was terrifying. I felt such dread knowing I would only get a collective two and a half hours of sleep before my toddler would wake up at 5:30 a.m, ready for his morning dance party.

Fear would strike me at night, too. An incapacitating, all-consuming fear that something might happen to my sweet baby girl while she was lying peacefully in her safe crib, in her baby-proofed nursery. I often wondered how I was even supposed to sleep with such intense worry on my mind.

I would stare for hours into the pitch black night, half of me thankful my baby was healthy, the other half of me terrified something would happen to her.

I'd feel irrational in the late hours of the night (or more likely, the wee, wee hours of the early morning) often reacting with full-on annoyance because as soon as she'd started to fall asleep I'd think, this is it—I can finally get some rest, only for her to wake up a few minutes later. I'd snap, "Seriously? All you do is eat!" at my tiny baby, which would automatically trigger intense guilt over what felt like such an uncontrolled emotional response.

"It gets better" and "sleep when the baby sleeps" are two sentiments I hope never to hear again in my life because—does it get better? Well, yes it does. Children don't usually turn into adults who only sleep for 90 minutes at a time. And sleeping when the baby sleeps sounds good in theory but it's impractical. Plus, neither statement helps at 3 a.m., TBH.

I went to extreme measures to quell my anxiety. I sent my husband to Walmart in the middle of a tropical depression to buy a rock 'n play. Then I sent him back when he returned with the version that didn't vibrate. I put a $300 Owlet monitor on a credit card. I used Amazon one-day shipping to obtain a copy of Dr. Harvey Karp's The Happiest Baby on the Block.

I eventually found there's no magic solution to aid in this season of parenting. It helps to find a community of women going through the same struggles. Prioritizing self-care and spending time connecting with your significant other are also healthy ways of dealing.

But I'm going to level with you—for the first three months of my baby's life, I didn't have time to seek out a support group, wash my hair or converse about one meaningful thing with my spouse.

I was in survival mode and the only thing that helped me was time passing and binge watching Downton Abbey.

And walks around the block. And coffee.

If you loved the newborn stage and came through it with fond memories—I applaud you.

If you gave it all you had and emerged on the other side with a baby who (mainly) sleeps through the night and is somewhat happy, most of the time—you deserve a standing ovation.

You managed to prevail in a time that required intense mental and physical stamina, and you nailed it. Great job, mama.

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