I think of the Sandy Hook families every school drop-off

My heart remains with you. Today—on the fifth anniversary of the horrific tragedy—and always.

I think of the Sandy Hook families every school drop-off

Dear Nicole Hockley,

My heart remains with you. Today—on the fifth anniversary of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary—and always.

I feel your pain today as clearly as I felt your pain on that December morning when I remained frozen—tearfully staring at my computer reading about the shooting that had just occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. An inexplicable wail came out of me and I sobbed uncontrollably as my heart broke for all of the children and families whose lives were changed in an instant.

The children who were subjected to this insane crime were only babies. The pain felt all too real to me since having had my own baby less than a year before. The pain these parents felt was unfathomable.

And then the thought of having to send my child off to school one day—without me—struck me deep in my heart. How could I willingly send him off, not knowing if he is safe? How will I raise him in a world filled with uncertainty and terror?

I remember that night vividly.

My husband and I sat together and cried. We shared the pain of all of the parents who felt the same way we did—and we wept for the parents in Newtown who lost their children that day. We cried for the innocence that was lost.

We cried because we knew that the world we lived in would never again be the same. We whispered through tears that if the gun laws didn’t change after this, if the massacre of first graders didn’t change the laws in this country...then what? I wonder every day why and how we go on the way that we do.

It’s now five years later.

My heart is still with all those who were lost, who lost loved ones, who cry with us as we dream of change, who work tirelessly every day to bring forth change.

My heart is with you, Nicole—you, who poignantly expressed a grief no mother should have to endure. Our hearts were with you while we felt your pain from the privacy of our homes and with the comfort from our families who we had the luxury of holding in our arms. You could have been any of us.

I want you to know how brave and amazing I think you are. I want you to know how much of an impact you and the other parents have made with the Sandy Hook Promise.

I know so much work still needs to be done to change the gun laws in this country, and I applaud you for having the courage to keep working towards these goals. I salute you for the progress made and I stand by you for the efforts that will continue.

My baby boy started kindergarten this year. Not a day goes by that I don't think about all the beautiful children and educators who lost their lives that morning at Sandy Hook. I think about it every single time I drop my son off at school. Our nation will never be the same; the holiday season will never be the same.

This is the world we live in now. A world of fear and uncertainty, and yet a world of love and hope.

Nicole, from one mother to another—thank you. Thank you for dedicating your life to preventing gun violence, for honoring your beautiful butterfly Dylan and for fighting to ensure that no parent has to experience the pain you experienced.

I made a promise that day that I would join you in this movement. I have and I will continue to fight this fight with you.

I will fight with you for Dylan and the many beloved children who lost their lives, including Ana, Josephine, Chase, Charlotte, Madeline, Avielle, Catherine. I will fight with you for Benjamin, James, Olivia, Caroline Jack, Allison, Noah and Jessica. For Jesse, Emile and Grace. For Daniel.

For all of our children, my heart remains with you.

Join with us, and over one million others, in taking the Sandy Hook Promise.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

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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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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