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I experienced pregnancy loss—but for a moment, I was a mother

I questioned how to remember our baby, how to know my relationship with him, my son.

I experienced pregnancy loss—but for a moment, I was a mother

[Trigger warning: This essay describes one woman's emotional journey with pregnancy loss.]

I am not sure if I became a mother as soon as I saw those magical pink lines appear on the home pregnancy test, or once we had established the viability of pregnancy at my eight-week ultrasound. What I am sure of is that a few fleeting months after our little boy was conceived, he was lost to us, at least on this earth and in this lifetime.

We got a few months of wonder. A few short months. And in that time, for a moment, I was a mother.

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My husband and I wanted a baby very much. We had waited two years after marriage to start trying to conceive, as we felt it was important for us to establish a family as a couple, prior to adding to our duo. So, after our two-year anniversary, we found ourselves eagerly wondering if and when our "big fat positive" would arrive.

Conception came quickly, two months after we began the process. We were excited and grateful. We reveled in all the wondrous milestones of a first pregnancy: the first time we saw our little walnut via ultrasound, the first flash of his heartbeat, the first reveal to our parents (of their first grandchild, on both sides), the first time we spoke to him, sang to him (knowing he couldn't hear yet).

We marveled at the process of creating a tiny human. With waning hesitancy, we checked off each of those initial breakthroughs with relief and reassurance of viability, and soon, began to allow ourselves to trust in the potential promise of a beloved baby.

The comfort and excitement we began to rely and build upon soon collapsed into devastation at our 12-week ultrasound appointment when we learned that our growing walnut had been unable to develop normally. In fact, growth and development were so severely affected that our prognosis that day was given sternly as "preparation for fetal demise." We left an appointment for which we had been excited and eager to see Baby again with burning tears and numbing disbelief.

Over the next few days, shock gave way to anguish, to heartbreak, to sorrow, to somewhat of a painful acceptance. And a short time later, we said final goodbyes to the baby we had only just started getting to know.

I felt so empty without him. My body, which had begun changing and showing signs of new life just a few days prior, seemed to be suddenly drained of it. There were days after when it felt as if I couldn't tell which was reality: that I had even been pregnant or that Baby was gone. Everything was a haze.

Part of the grieving, processing and confusion was a certain ambiguity in how I viewed myself. I had only just begun envisioning myself in, and defining myself by, the role of mother. And then, suddenly, I wasn't.

I questioned how to remember our baby, how to know my relationship with him, my son. Early motherhood had always seemed like such a different world: strollers, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, and perhaps encompassing all of that, a mysterious state of being fully, intimately and sacrificially connected to a helpless human being.

When we had our boy, even in those first few months, I was giddy over the thrill of beginning to know that "thing," that previously unknown experience of what makes a mother. It seemed, before being able to fully realize and settle into that knowledge, it dissipated, leaving lingering questions of "What if?" and grief behind.

One afternoon, as I continued to mourn Baby, I made my way up to our multimedia room where we had set up an arts and craft corner. I picked up a paintbrush, as I had done in past seasons of stress, and allowed thoughts to take a backseat to impulse. Yellows and whites seemed appropriate initially, as the brush made hopeful swaths across the canvas.

Soon, I found myself outlining a tiny human form in a corner and nestling it in swirls of blue and green. Then, somehow, black found its way onto the brighter colors, covering more and more of the light underneath.

With brush resting and lungs breathing deep, I paused to take in what was in front of me: Black covering light, loss enveloping life. That wasn't how I wanted to remember him. After the initial paint dried, I returned to the easel and painted streaks of brightness back into the black, light accentuated by darkness.

I did not want my first endeavor into motherhood to be negated by its loss. I was gifted, at least and for now, the experiences of conception—of feeling the promise of life, the beginnings of drastic changes in mindset, perspective and plans. I used to think motherhood would be a role that would settle in, slowly and surely, over the course of pregnancy—I am now awakened to a more salient understanding of an identity that begins even before baby's birth.

And so, perhaps each moment marked by motherhood should be taken instead for the moment it is worth; to know that hearing my baby's heartbeat for the first time was not simply a preview of future joy but a moment that stands on its own for its impact on my being. Viewing a first sonogram was not simply a stepping-stone in the journey to motherhood but a lovely piece of motherhood, whole in its independent capture of a transformative experience.

For a moment I was a mother, gifted bright streaks of wonder and expectation. For now, I am a woman who lives with the glow of motherhood etched into sweet memory, nurturing the flickers of that experience against the darkness of loss.

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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

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

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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.

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Balance board

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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!

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Detective set

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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.

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Wooden doll stroller

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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.

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Sand play set

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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.

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Water play set

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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.

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Mini golf set

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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.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

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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.

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Wooden rocking pegasus

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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.

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Croquet set

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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.

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Wooden digital camera

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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.

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Wooden bulldozer toy

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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.

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Pull-along hippo

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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.

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Baby forest fox ride-on

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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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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com 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 support Motherly and mamas.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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