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I hear your heart breaking as the doctor tells you over the phone, "I'm sorry, but the pregnancy isn't viable." I hear the silence inside you while your brain is trying to comprehend these words, begging yourself to wake up from what is obviously a nightmare.

In a single sentence, your life has changed from what it was supposed to be…to this.

All you want to do is run to a friend or family member, but the door has become a blockade to a life outside that is no longer one of physical contact and hugs that you so desperately need right now.

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You can't go to the hospital because it's currently experiencing an outbreak and your immune system would be compromised. So, you do this by yourself, at home.

I'm here to tell you I will hold your hand through this. I am with you, because I am you. My body went from holding three hearts down to one—just mine—and it felt like it was barely beating.

I instantly regretted each moment we told our nearest and dearest that my husband and I were expecting. We had to return to each one and give them the update.

I regretted buying the adorable matching snowsuits I purchased after an appointment with my OB-GYN that confirmed there were two heartbeats.

I regretted my initial feelings of fear and overwhelm while wondering, What the heck are we going to do with twins?!

Did I will this to happen? Was I not woman enough to handle twins? Why would I be given the gift of not one, but two babies, only to have both taken from me just days before that terrible first trimester ended?

Please, mama, do not ignore this stage. Cry, scream, doubt, everything. Just FEEL it. This is the only way we'll get through this period of time. It will be brief in the grand scheme of things, but it feels eternal while I live it.

I'm here to tell you that you are stronger than you think you are. You will survive, and you will come out of this.

We are the one in four and if you add up all of those ones, you will find a group of women from all walks of life, from all over the world who will form the biggest group hug around you. Right now, you are the center of this, and one day you will join the outside circle and wrap another in your love and understanding. Surviving this can come from leaning on the women who have lived this before you and gathering the strength to help the women who are destined to follow after you. It's unfortunate but seems inevitable nonetheless.

It will get easier. Those maternity clothing ads that keep popping up while you scroll through a seemingly endless amount of pregnancy announcements or bump pictures on social media will stop. Pregnant women will warm your heart, rather than crush it. The joy will return, but it will be different and that's okay too. If you have other children, the pain of imagining them as a big brother or sister will fade and you will have a stronger bond with them. Your appreciation for your body will increase.

Your rainbow will appear after this storm.

It may be in the form of another baby or a new hobby you discovered while healing your heart. It could be a newfound love for yourself and your strength or a closer bond with someone else, formed because of this. The options are endless.

Experiencing this while our life is "normal" is hard enough. Experiencing this during the COVID-19 pandemic is extreme. Never again will I take for granted the things we deem so common in our day-to-day life like in-person doctor appointments rather than over the phone, a coffee with a friend, a browse through a retail store to get my mind off of things, a hug from someone outside my own home, a smile from a friendly face.

These are the incredibly simple things I long for while I am forced to experience this during a time of isolation and social distancing.

It's okay though. I can feel myself reaching the other side of this. Each day I get a bit stronger and the pain dulls a bit more. I am proud of myself; I have been forced to completely submerge myself in this experience, no distractions from the outside world. I am healing on my own, in my own terms and I can take as long as I need without judgment.

We have the time to show ourselves compassion.

We have the time to work on piecing ourselves back together.

Whether this ends tomorrow or months down the line, it will end. Just take your time.

We've got this.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.

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Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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