I was not prepared for the rollercoaster that is trying to conceive

It's all so isolating and it makes me feel like I'm constantly hiding something from someone.

I was not prepared for the rollercoaster that is trying to conceive

Before we started trying to conceive, I thought the hardest part was making the decision to expand our family. I sat thinking for hours about the logistics of having two children, how expensive it was going to be living in a major city, and the fact that we would probably have to move for them to have enough space to play and sleep.

When the decision was made that we could do this, we could totally welcome another child into our current life situation, I was excited because from now on it was all fun—or so I thought.

The thing I was not prepared for was how to handle the anxiety that accompanies trying to conceive. It hit me especially hard because our first pregnancy was not planned. I kind of felt off, took a pregnancy test, it was blazing positive and nine months later we welcomed our baby boy. It had been so easy the first time around that I was sure it was going to be easy this time around.


It hasn't been easy at all.

I've had one missed miscarriage that required surgery to prevent major infection, waiting for my period to return and then monitoring and trying and monitoring again. And even though I have an extremely supportive husband who has reassured me multiple times through this journey and reminds me that we are in no rush, I still feel so alone.

Because this is the thing: It's all very one-sided.

I'm the one tracking my period and taking notes on an app about when it starts and how heavy my flow is.

I'm the one taking my temperature every morning at the same time and recording it on a different app that then charts my basal body temperature to understand my cycle better.

I'm the one who (based on what those apps tell me) pees on ovulation prediction kits to see if, in fact, my body is about to ovulate or not, and then add those results to yet another app (yes, we are on three apps in case you weren't counting).

I'm the one who checks my cervical mucus, inspecting it so closely you could confuse me with a scientist working on a world-changing project. Alas, it's just me trying to figure out if my body is doing what it's supposed to on cycle day 15 because I don't fully trust everything mentioned above.

I'm one making sure we have sex during my fertile window, and that we hit all the important days. This is the part of the process my husband is most excited about, but I honestly don't think he knows how much work I've done to get us there.

It's not always easy, we both travel a lot and sometimes we totally miss our window to do it, which then turns sex into such a scheduled chore and not the fun thing it should be.

Then it's the waiting—that dreaded two-week wait where I try not to assume that everything I feel is a sign of pregnancy. Trying to avoid calculating when the due date would be if this time around it did happen and failing at it.

I've tried to get better at this, but in previous cycles, I was peeing on pregnancy tests as early as nine days post ovulation without telling anyone in hopes that I could surprise my family with a positive result. This meant tons of hidden tests and trash cans filled with negative ones.

And then managing the hormonal rollercoaster of yet another failed cycle with lots of ice cream and trash television. Let's not forget having to smile and try not to cry every time someone asks you when we'll be giving our son a little sibling to play with.

It's all so isolating and it makes me feel like I'm constantly hiding something from someone.

Sometimes this all makes me question if I want to keep trying.

We already have a healthy adorable son so why keep doing this to my mental health? I wonder if I just let go and stop tracking every single change in my body throughout the 28 days my cycle lasts if it'll make me feel better. Or will I be subconsciously still doing it because it's already such a part of my day?

If you are out there trying to conceive—whether for the first time or the fourth—know that you are not alone and I 110% know how lonely you are feeling.

For me, having all this information about my body has been two-fold: I love being so connected with myself and knowing what to expect as the days go by, but some days it turns into the only thing I can think about.

So I suggest we all pause, take a big breath and thank both our bodies and our minds for doing all this work. And, hopefully, we'll get those two pink lines soon.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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Every parent can relate to these funny tweets about the presidential debate

If you've refereed siblings you can relate to Chris Wallace.

Wendi Aarons/Screenshot

The first presidential debate was painful to watch for many reasons. The sitting president of the United States failed to condemn white supremacy when asked, and while both President Trump and Joe Biden spoke nearly constantly, they didn't say much of value.

It was disappointing for stressed parents who would have rather heard more about policy and the future of America instead of watching two men interrupt and insult each other.

The candidates spent a significant amount of time talking over each other, asking the other to shut up and deflecting questions from moderator Chris Wallace, whose position was instantly relatable to any parent who has had to ask their children to stop squabbling at the dinner table.


These viral tweets sum up the debate perfectly:

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