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My next adventure? Having a child

Becoming an American girl was a journey. Becoming a mother, I know, will be the greatest adventure yet.

My next adventure? Having a child

I always wanted to be a mother.

I always imagined having two kids.


And now, on the verge of trying for the very first time to have a baby, I realize that my whole life has been leading to this moment.

Growing up in the Soviet Union, things seemed simple. I would have a career—back then, I imagined becoming a dancer touring with Michael Jackson. Then I would find a husband. And then I would have babies.

But my family’s immigration to the United States in 1991 meant that my life took many more twists and turns.

I became an American girl and the entire world seemed open to me. I was incredibly motivated to understand the conflicts my family escaped from. I wanted to know why wars occurred and why we had to leave everything behind. More importantly, I had great ambition to succeed because my family and I were given a chance to start anew, and I wanted to make them proud.

I majored in international relations in college, and, shortly thereafter I got my master’s degree in international security with a regional focus on Eurasia. Since finishing college and graduate school, I’ve had the honor of working on the key international security issues our country faces.

I achieved the American dream.

And I’m proud to say that I became a successful career woman.

But at the same time, my immigrant family’s culture reminded me that motherhood wasn’t just something I eventually wanted—it’s what was expected of me. I come from an Armenian and Russian family; making babies has been ingrained in me since I can remember.

I once made the dire mistake of sitting in the corner of the table during a family dinner when I was in high school. Several family members and friends yelled at me, because in ancient Russia it was usually the unmarried older women who took the corner seats. So then, according to the tradition, sitting in that seat meant that I wasn’t going to get married for seven years and procreate Armenian-Russian babies. They made it seem like a family tragedy.

Meanwhile, I mostly ignored them. For the past decade I’ve lived a great D.C. lifestyle. I figured I’d live in Washington my whole life.

Then, one December evening a few years ago, I swiped right on Tinder. A handsome man holding a koala was too much cuteness for me to handle.

I went on a date with this handsome Navy guy, and the rest is history.

We were very lucky to get stationed in Hawaii. I’ve lived here since fall 2015 and have adapted very easily to the aloha life. I continue to work in the international security field, but with the beach in my line of sight.

Being a military wife is difficult because I don’t see my husband for months at a time—but the challenge has only made our relationship stronger. It’s also made me stronger, as I’ve realized how independent military wives have to be.

I know it’s a cliché, but when you marry your best friend and love of your life, things align naturally.

So many things in life are difficult. Love should be easy. You grow together. And one day you’re ready to start a family. At least, that’s how it unfolded for us.

So that is where we’re at now —on what I hope is the verge of parenthood.

Becoming an American girl was a journey. Becoming a woman was an experience.

Becoming a mother, I know, will be my greatest adventure yet.

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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

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?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

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

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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Life