It might not seem like it, but I know there's a bright side at the other end of this

When we emerge, we will be weary and we will be altered. May we be better—more alive, more in tune and kinder.

family outside

Spring is here and it's hard not to take notice. The sun is brightening the days and its warm beams of light are shining through the glass. Birds have returned to their perches and their melodies are ringing through the walls. Little green buds are sprouting from tree branches. The tiniest of green shoots are emerging from the ground and will soon blossom into a colorful array of flowers.

I want to throw open my windows and let the fresh air into a house that is tired and stuffy from a long winter. But even though the signs of seasonal rebirth are upon us, it is difficult for me to feel we are on the precipice of rejuvenation.

Because the coronavirus is prowling in the background, trying to steal from us the beauty of spring.

It is lurking like a burglar; quietly waiting and watching. It has already robbed many—of lives, of family members, of friendships, of jobs, of events and celebrations. Of normalcy. It is a thief in the night, indiscriminate in its pursuit of a host.

And it just sits there, depriving us of the many activities this season usually brings. Of the chance to go out and see friends. Of the chance to celebrate proms, weddings, the end of the school year, graduations. Things we have anticipated, things we have worked for.

This bandit is trying to deprive us of our joy.

I get angry, but I am able to sit and watch what is happening in the open air around me. Grass is growing and turning a deeper hue of green. Rabbits are frolicking in the yard as ducks are returning to puddles of water. I have a difficult time reconciling this new beginning of life with the fear of other's lives ending.

My body is ready to throw open the door and embrace the warm sun, the newness of the world and the brightness of life. But, just as nature is awakening, our world is screeching to a halt.

But then, I wonder—is it really?

I stare at these four walls around me and realize we are all collectively doing the same thing. Our hearts may be breaking, but they are also awakening. We are surrendering ourselves and the things we love for each other. We are enduring a small disruption in this busy, complex world in order to take a giant deep breath.

And maybe we can use this time to continue to breathe a little deeper. To tend to each other as we would care for delicate flowers. To embrace those who are in isolation with us. To gaze at the wonder of nature unfolding before us. Let us take heart in the people out there who are fighting every day to keep us safe, warm, healthy and fed. Let us console ourselves with the realization that we are in this together. That we are one and we are collectively waging war against this bandit.

And may we not dwell on the anxiety and terror this virus is filling our heads with. Yes, we will take its threat seriously and adhere to medical advice, but we will not let it solely dominate the thoughts in our heads or let it take control of our hearts. Instead, may we find joy in the simple delights of this world that have always been there but maybe we've taken for granted. Like the wind blowing its soft, soothing breeze.

When we emerge, we will be weary and we will be altered. But may we also be like spring—flourishing and new.

May we continue to take comfort in the beauty of our families and in the sun shining on our faces. May we elate in the robin landing on our porch and the nest of bright blue eggs she is carefully shielding.

May we relish in the hellos to our neighbors and the leisurely joy of sitting on their porches to chat. May we feel freedom in dropping by our parents' or friends' homes and sharing hugs, laughs and love. May we be serene, but also awakened.

May we be better—more alive, more in tune and kinder to the natural, connected world around us.

May we experience a beautiful rebirth—just like Mother Nature is going through right now. Let it be our reminder that ours is to come.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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