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I didn't know when I was younger—when the future seemed to hold so much promise and possibility—that the same future would also bring with it heartbreaking grief.


Of course, no one stops you in the midst of your wedding plans as a bright and shiny 23 year old and says, “Just so you know, when you get pregnant you might have a miscarriage."

It never dawns on you, when you imagine your life down the road with the person you love, that sometime in the promised forever you will spend a night (and the whole next year) holding each other in tears while mourning the loss of your born-too-soon baby boy.

I never thought to think about something like that.

And for good reason, really. It would be horrifying if someone genuinely quipped to a newlywed couple, “I hope you get to carry all of your babies to term." We would have looked at them and scoffed, incredulous with contempt at their audacity to speak. But now, here I am, 35, married for 12 years, and I find myself in the middle of all this grief.

My husband and I waited for five years after getting married to start having children. I felt ready in my heart right away, but he wasn't. He wanted time to just be married, to be young, to make some money before blowing it all on vast amounts of oversized brightly colored plastic toys.

I was bummed initially, but slowly came to see his wisdom as I waitressed nights and weekends and started graduate school. Once I completed my master's degree I thought, OK, now we're ready! But he said, “You just got a master's degree, way to go! Don't you want a job?"

I didn't want a job, I wanted babies. I have always wanted to stay home and rock babies to sleep at night, to go on play dates and spend long days at the park catching toddlers from slides.

So, I stayed patient while I dreamed of being pregnant and thought about baby names and eyed baby clothes at Target while imagining someone to put them on. Never did I imagine that having a football team worth of children wouldn't be perfect.

And to be honest my first pregnancy was. My second as well. When I became pregnant for a third time, I didn't know I could be 15 weeks along and one moment sitting at dinner with friends laughing and 20 minutes later be hemorrhaging and having a miscarriage. Maybe I was incredibly naïve.

Maybe all the other women knew this, had been prepared for this sort of thing. But I wasn't. My husband said it was the worst sound he ever heard, my scream from the bathroom upstairs.

The night we lost our baby the doctor on-call did an ultrasound and told us our baby no longer had a heartbeat. We sobbed together, the doctor with us, and then I asked her to check again, just in case. She is still one of the kindest people I have ever met. I delivered our unbreathing baby the next morning and got to hold him in my arms the whole day. We couldn't touch him directly because at only 15 weeks his skin, so paper fine, would have torn.

He had 10 perfect fingers and 10 perfect toes. We named him Ciaran. Our parents visited us in the hospital and they probably thought we were crazy. There I sat, all puffy-eyed and blotchy from hours of crying, holding my dead baby wrapped sweetly in a tiny hand-knit stocking.

But I couldn't let him go. He was a whole human life and he was mine.

Later that day we eventually had to say goodbye to him and we were alone again. My husband and I knew then how important we were to each other. How important it is to marry someone who will hold you up even when they are falling apart. Who will let you hold them while you crumble. We learned about taking turns and talking and being silent and we learned it all in about one day. Part of each of us was gone and a part of our family was gone. Forever.

It is an amazing thing when you have a child made up of two people. It is a tragedy when something you made together dies. The grief settled in my bones and in my heart where it lasted for a very long time.

My children cried for days after they lost their brother. My son drew a picture of him and told our neighbors that our baby died and it broke my heart and made the grief that much more solid. It was not just my own I realized, but it was my son's, my daughter's, my husband's, all of us together who lost this person, this boy.

It has been three years and my son still tells people about his brother, our baby Ciaran in Heaven. If he ever fails to mention him my daughter reminds him. They will never let him not exist. In this way, he will always be ours.

But so will the grief. There is no cure, no quick relinquishment of such a powerful thing.

I never tried to push it away, or carry on without it I guess. I had to hold it tight for a while and then slowly, I set it all down. Of course, it never goes away completely. I have learned to let the grief come and go as it does, and try not to settle into it as it tries to settle into me.

But then a friend loses a baby. And I sit with her and we cry. We gather with more women, so many women who have had miscarriages, and we share our stories again. At lunch with two friends just the other day, six babies between us we had lost. Six. How is that possible?

The grief is big and heavy and we go on with our lives, taking care of each other and ourselves. We share our stories to keep moving away from the grief. And it helps.

I think there is beauty in knowing the similar paths others have walked before me, and after me. The grief they have borne in holding their little babies just as briefly or not at all, in having to set them down from their strong arms forever, feeling weak and broken. Then in being filled back up with hope and love over time. Grief has become not just a part of my story but a part of my marriage, of our beautiful family with all its flaws. It is a part of the bonds of some of my closest friendships, a small ingredient that glues us so swiftly together.

Before my own miscarriage, I didn't know it was such a common thread. Now the thread is dark and thick and pulls us all into this place together, so we are not alone with it.

When I was younger I didn't know there would be so much grief. But I didn't know there would be so much courage and love and friendship either.

I am humbled and blessed to have both.

Original story by Krissy Dieruf for Moms & Stories.

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Sometimes inspiration just strikes.

Diana, our Motherly Experts Editor, had a moment just like that. The result was magic. "I was tucking my middle guy in, and he was all toddler-perfect... lost in a sea of blankets, so cute and little, and I just had this moment of, "wow, one day he is going to be a grown up, and someone else is going to love him..." And the rest is history :)" These poignant moments of motherhood touch the heart in immeasurable ways...balh able bla

After the tears have dried, this unique story, inspired by the overflow of love in a mother's heart, stays with you for a loooong time and is bound to resonate in your heart fas long as a mother's love remains for her child, long after they've left home. That's motherly. And, that's Motherly.

"To the person who falls in love with my son" went viral.

This video, more than the sum of its parts, has provided an overall experience that has transcended its concept, writing, execution, quality of craft—and heart.

• It has been viewed 26,387,039 times.


• It has reached 58,287,532 people.


• It has garnered 2,363,086 social engagements (comments, likes, and shares).


This video elevates what is in plain sight to something timeless, universal, and memorable. Bound to live in the heart of anyone who views it, this video is destined for legend in the parenting community online. Our innovative strategy, tactics and creativity combine to succeed at truly engaging our community.

Motherly not only has over 3X the engagement of competitors in the parenting space but also across women's interest and lifestyle categories.

FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS VS. ENGAGEMENT RATE

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With a clean and direct design aesthetic, our content does not get lost in the overload that is so endemic to other brands. Our unique sense of honesty and our authentic and emotional content connect with our community of engaged Millennial moms across channels to deliver results that empower and inspire. Through the powerful lens of motherhood, our content generates mom-to-mom sharing and valuable conversation, unlike any other brand.




Meet Motherly.
We are a community–driven lifestyle brand redefining motherhood. Motherly occupies a unique position in the media landscape, sitting at the intersection of parenting, lifestyle and women's interests to address her entire life and connect her more fully.

At Motherly we have a voice.

We are the only positive, encouraging parenting site reaching and influencing Millennial moms when they are looking for and absorbing more information, products and services than during any other life transition. How we think, act, and express ourselves is why we have built such a strong community of mamas.

Our community engages across all platforms, at Motherly, on Instagram and on Facebook, because mamas are on the move.

Motherly supports mamas through their entire parenthood journey, delivering women-centric content that addresses her whole lifestyle through thousands of articles, images, videos and classes each month with Mom-to-mom insights, inspiration and empowerment.

Our innovative strategy, tactics and creativity combine to succeed at truly engaging our community.

With a clean and direct design aesthetic, our content does not get lost in the overload that is so endemic to other brands. Our approach to content and how it is presented crosses all platforms for a cohesive and truly branded aesthetic that is fresh, clear and direct, always light and enlightening.

With a unique sense of honesty, our authentic and emotional content connects with our community of engaged Millennial moms across channels to deliver results that empower and inspire. Through the powerful lens of motherhood, our content generates mom-to-mom sharing and valuable conversation, unlike any other brand.

Motherly not only has over 3X the engagement of competitors in the parenting space but also across women's interest and lifestyle categories.


FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS VS. ENGAGEMENT RATE

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Sources: Facebook Analytics 2018


The synergy of our compelling content, pure aesthetic and fully engaged community has afforded us staggering fan growth.

In October, 2017, we doubled down on our engagement strategy to reach our community with our innovative approach to content and realized a stunning fan growth of 442% over the following twelve months.



That "something" extra...

Through our social presence—encompassing concept, creativity, content, structure, visual design, functionality and interactivity—women are encouraged and have the confidence to know, "I've got this". As savvy, digital natives, Millennial mamas take Motherly everywhere for information, inspiration, and empowerment—we are the brand that helps her redefine what it means to be motherly, every day.

Vacationing with a baby isn't for the faint of heart. But while it typically means more luggage (hello, travel-friendly bassinets, clothes for all seasons, and more diapers than you can shake a boarding pass at!), it's still possible to have a fun, memorable adventure with your little ones―especially with the right equipment.

Our favorite family vacation saver? The right baby carrier, like BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air. The breathable, mesh design is perfect for a variety of climates, while the supportive construction will help you stay comfortable while you trek across your favorite destination.

One of our favorite family-friendly locales? Los Angeles. That's why we teamed up with LA mama extraordinaire Magin Birrenkott to share the best places to play in La-La Land when you have little ones in tow.

DO

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Perfect for your little dinosaur lovers, the famous Tar Pits and art museum feature something for everyone. Take the tar pit tour to learn more about excavation, or simply let the little ones run around the park to see the variety of sculptures. The museum features a Fossil Lab, atrium, and even a 3D theater to learn more. "You can have lunch and play on the grassy areas around the tar pits and fossil areas, as well as grab a coffee and stroll through the different art exhibits around the park," Birrenkott recommends.

Kidspace Children's Museum
Who says vacation can't also be educational? This incredible children's museum helps your little ones learn about everything from physics to biology―all through the power of play. Babies can face out in the Baby Carrier One so they'll have plenty to look at while staying snuggled up to you. Bigger kids will love experiencing the indoor and outdoor exhibits. Note: Several attractions feature water play, so pack a spare outfit for any kids who like to get messy.

Magin navigating a day out in LA with two little people and one free hand, thanks to the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air.

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Lions, tigers, bears...and more! The LA Zoo is home to a variety of animals from around the world―all of which your kiddos will love to admire. The bird show and giraffe feedings are especially popular hits. "Make sure to plan the short trek to the giraffes between 11:00-12:00 and 2:30-3:30. For $5 you get three branches and are able to feed them up close and personal!" Birrenkott says.

Move your little one to your back in the Baby Carrior One Air so they can get close to the action too. "We like to go at the very beginning since they can get full and sometimes walk away if there were too many people in front of you." After letting the kids run out their energy in the zoo, the Botanical Gardens make the perfect spot to relax and have lunch. "There's a beautiful grassy area that's quiet where you can set a blanket and enjoy the beautiful LA weather. And for us struggling tired mamas, there's a coffee shop that has the most amazing lattes and cappuccinos. Huge win."

SEE

The El Capitan Theatre

More than just a must-see on your tour of Hollywood, the El Capitan Theatre is an excellent spot for family memories. There are "Tiny Tot Tuesdays" for families with younger children (AKA, no one will give you a dirty look if your kiddo wants to sing along...or just throws a tantrum mid-show), and all of the family-friendly movies feature something extra, whether it's live Disney cast members, gift bags, or extra effects like confetti. Check the website to find out what is showing during your trip.

Aquarium of the Pacific
If your kids are fans of Finding Dory, they're going to love the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. With everything from penguins to sea otters to sharks (not to mention millions of fish in every shape, size, color), there's something to catch the eye of everyone in your family. The aquarium also features seasonal festivals and events, so check the calendar during your visit to make sure you don't miss their best shows. As for your littlest family members, they'll enjoy a comfy ride through the aquarium in their carrier.

"Our weather is all over the place sometimes, but in the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air, he didn't get sweaty at all!" Birrenkott says. "Plus, after two days of activities, my back is in one piece. I can babywear him all the time now!"

Traveling Tikes
Forget something at home? Traveling Tikes on Santa Monica Boulevard is the perfect spot to scoop up any baby gear that didn't make it into your suitcase―including the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air for easier travel around town. One other store we love? KIDSLAND on Wilshire Boulevard.


Making the time to explore is one of the greatest gifts you can give your family―and yourself. And thanks to BabyBjörn, now everyone can come along for the ride.

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

If there's anything better than dressing your kids up in adorable holiday outfits, it's gotta be matching them.

We rounded up seven of our favorite looks for this season. 🎁

1. Classic Christmas for kids

Go crisp, clean, classic and Christmassy with a Short Sleeve Smocked Holiday Dress from Feltman Brothers.

Short Sleeve Smocked Holiday Dress, Feltman Brothers, $67.95

BUY

Classic Christmas made modern for mama

Match your cotton cutie in a crisp and modern shirtdress that can last you far beyond Christmas.

Kowtow Monologue Shirt Dress, Garmentory, $93.00

BUY

2. Nordic-themed sweater set

Get cozy + complimentary with black and red family sweaters that you can wear all winter long.

Oh Sno Happy Christmas Collection, Hanna Andersson, $68 - $92

BUY

3. Matchy matchy mommy

A super-affordable option for the matchy matchy mama.

Emmababy Mommy and Me Matching Plaid Long Sleeve Shirt Dress + Princess Tulle Tutu Dress, $14.99

BUY

4. Mommy + me tutus

Tutus make everything, including the holidays, a bit more magical. Grab a matching set to enjoy a twirl with your girl.

Mommy and Me Tulle Tutus, Etsy, $110.00

BUY

5. The perfect plaid dress

Quick! This one is perfect, grab it fast.

Ruffle Trim Babydoll Dress for Toddler Girls, Old Navy, $20.00

BUY

Mama's plaid

Mama deserves ruffles and plaid, too.

Relaxed Plaid Twill Classic Shirt, $24.00, Old Navy

BUY

6. Best sweater set yet

Moms and sons can play match-up, too. Grab a sweater set you can return to the entire season.

Festivewear Sweater Sets, Boden, $55.00-$130.00

BUY

7. Big blue

Light up the night with Santa's sleigh and a sleek little number for mama.

Festive Big Applique Dress, Boden, $48.00

BUY

Blue for you, too

The perfect LBD (little blue dress).

Flippy Pencil Dress, Boden, $170.00

BUY

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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