Here’s why I think pregnant women are heroes

“Every woman who has gone through pregnancy is heroic.”

Here’s why I think pregnant women are heroes

Welcome to boot camp! Er, I mean, your first trimester. First of all, congratulations! This is a building time—a season in which your hard efforts will lay the foundation of your pregnancy experience.

You will encounter some mothers who will remember (and be honest enough to talk about) the tough days of morning sickness and profound fatigue. You will also encounter those who swear they sailed through pregnancy without so much as an extra hiccup.

Some of these women are trying to gloss over their troubles because they want to sound like Supermom. Others simply forget what they went through. Still others are influenced by cultures that train women to project a “no big deal” attitude about pregnancy, which downplays the vital and sacrificial role of motherhood and undermines the respect that mothers ought to be given. Or perhaps they truly didn’t have as tough a case of nausea and tiredness that others go through. But whatever their story, their bodies literally rearranged the location of organs to make room for the new human life growing within them. Their bodies changed in indelible ways and their thoughts and emotions became preoccupied with someone other than themselves. They had to juggle their schedules and routines to accommodate doctor visits, prenatals and new plans.


In other words, no matter what impression they may give, or how much they might forget or consciously downplay their efforts...

Every woman who has gone through pregnancy is heroic.

The definition of a hero: a person who in the face of adversity shows bravery and self-sacrifice for a greater good.

Ever wished you could be a hero? You are one now. Check it off the list.

So, we’ve officially established that pregnancy is heroic and that every trimester is filled with noble sacrifice. We’ve determined that every mother is deeply affected, whether she ever admits it to you. Knowing that, let’s talk about the first trimester.

The sea of hormones churning within you and helping strengthen your baby’s new life is the same mix that causes that morning (or every-time-of-day) sickness.

And it is completely normal to feel exhausted to your bones.

The pregnancy hormone relaxin can kick in at any point in the first trimester. Its important job is to relax the intrauterine ligaments. But sometimes you may rise too quickly from your chair and feel a pulling sensation or a sharp jabbing, and for this unpleasant sensation you can thank (or blame) relaxin. You may start noticing occasional pullings and even mild to moderate cramp-like sensations that indicate your uterus is starting to grow. It’s a little after that time you’ll start to notice the modest beginnings of a baby bump.

There’s another component to the first trimester that doesn’t get as much attention as it should: worry.

The first trimester is an anxious time. We are frequently reminded that miscarriage risk is greatest during these months, so we worry about the twinges of discomfort and mild cramps, and we keep tabs on whether we’re spotting.

These days, many expectant mothers are offered blood tests to investigate the health of genes and chromosomes. Then they have to wait up to two weeks for the results, wondering all the while whether the results will be normal. Mothers are offered sonograms examining levels of nuchal translucency fluid and examining the chambers of the heart and the parts of the brain and spine. They either refuse these tests and wonder and worry and hope and pray... or they receive these tests, and wonder and worry and hope and pray, holding their breath while the sonographer analyzes the precious life within them with a detached air of objectivity.

In this age of information, we are inundated with knowledge our foremothers didn’t have. In a time that’s already fraught with worry, it can make us question every morsel of food. Is the cheese at this restaurant pasteurized? We cut out alcohol, sushi, deli meats, hamburgers, raw vegetables (to avoid the risk of salmonella), pineapple (to avoid contractions), make sure we’re not getting too much vitamin A but extra folic acid and calcium... and on and on. It’s all for the good, but it can be exhausting.

So how do we hold on to hope during a first trimester that is a grab bag of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, mood swings, ligament pain and anxiety? For many of us, spiritual practices are key: prayer, meditation, contemplation, journaling our emotions and finding inspirational reading material. Friends and family members who offer love and support are a wonderful resource. Funny, brainless movies that make us laugh take the edge off anxiety. Lots of extra sleep and warm cups of caffeine-free tea are great. Perhaps the best way to hold on to hope is to remember what it’s all for: your child. My grandmother, who had six children, told me to enjoy pregnancy because, she said,

“Someday, you’ll know the person your child grows up to be and you will realize what a privilege it was to have once held that person inside you.”

I taught a seminar recently and chose to announce my pregnancy to my all-female class, despite the fact that it was during my first trimester. “There are two people standing before you right now,” I said, and it was fun to watch their eyes widen and smiles broaden as they solved the riddle. Despite the inconveniences, the discomfort, even the pain, my child will never be physically closer to me than he or she is now.

Pregnancy is a unique time of safeguarding the bodies and souls of our children, holding them within us like a nesting doll.

As we carry them, we carry our grandchildren, too... the eventual lives that would not be possible without our sacrifice. And we have a heightened awareness of those who came before us, and hope our children will have the best of their virtues.

What could we ever do that is more important than carrying all of that within our very bodies?

I think it’s that truth that makes mothers wax romantic about their pregnancies years later. I believe it is that quality that makes them reminisce about pregnancy and remember it fondly. It’s knowing that the children they now know as filled with loving warmth, humor, intelligence and quirky wonder uniquely theirs were once folded within them, joined in an unbreakable bond that only grows more sacred as years pass and wisdom grows.

So hang in there. Think about meeting that child, seeing her face, watching her grow. Think of how proud you’ll be.

And now be proud of yourself for making it all possible.

Annabelle Moseley is an award-winning writer and poet, a mother and a contributor to Motherly on meaning and motherhood.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

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

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

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.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

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!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

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.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

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.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

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.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

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.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

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.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

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.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

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.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

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.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

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.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

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.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

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.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

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.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on 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 supporting Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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