The celebrity mamas who told the truth about motherhood in 2020 👏

You can love motherhood with your whole heart and still be real about how hard it can be (especially this year).

The celebrity mamas who told the truth about motherhood in 2020 👏
Kristen Bell/Instagram

Trigger warning: This article addresses pregnancy and infant loss, and may be upsetting for some readers.

Celebrity mamas really are just like us. No matter how many followers you have or how much money is in your bank account, there are some hard facts of motherhood that you can't escape...especially in the dumpster fire that has been 2020.

This year several celebrity mothers opened up to talk about everything from birth, to miscarriage, to breastfeeding and how to decide if one child is enough.

In a year that challenged us in so many ways, these high profile mothers are refusing to pretend that being a mom isn't incredibly challenging (especially in a society that doesn't really support moms).

We're clapping for these famous mamas who got real about motherhood in 2020:

Kristen Bell's 5-year-old daughter started 2020 'still in diapers' because every kid is different

Back in May, Kristen Bell inadvertently caused a massive controversy on the mom internet when she said "currently, my youngest is five and a half, still in diapers." Some people were critical of the comments, but 2020 brought a lot of changes, including Bell's daughter graduating out of diapers by July. 👏👏👏

Bell was also super open about how hard home schooling was for her family. In May she explained that she ripped up her daily homeschool schedule (remember those viral schedules that were floating around during the early days of the pandemic?) and just did what works for her family.

After taking the summer break, when homeschool was back in session Bell kept it real, telling the world that two days into the semester she was already exhausted.

Jodie Turner-Smith opted for a home birth to avoid America's racist healthcare system

Joshua Jackson says his British wife, Jodie Turner-Smith, opted to birth at home rather than risk experiencing the racism in the American healthcare system.

"She wanted to be in a place where she was as comfortable as possible, understandably," Jackson told EsquireEsquire. "And I wanted her to be in a place where she felt like she was being heard at every step along the way, rather than having to go through that filter of being a Black woman interfacing with the American medical system."

Smith and Jackson welcomed their baby girl in April and in an interview for British Vogue's September Issue Smith opened up about her birth experience. She didn't sugarcoat how hard birth can be on the human body and mind.

She labored at home for four days with her husband by her side.

"We had already decided on a home birth because of concerns about negative birth outcomes for Black women in America," she explains, pointing out how systemic racism in medical care means Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely than white women to die during or right after pregnancy than white mothers in the United States.

That's why Smith originally wanted a home birth, a decision that was reinforced by the pandemic.

"We never imagined that in the coming weeks, hospitals around the country would begin restricting who could be present in the birthing rooms, forcing mothers to deliver without the support person or people of their choice," she said. "Delivering at home ensured that I had what every single woman deserves to have: full agency in deterring my birth support."

Delivering a child into the world is so hard, but it was especially hard in 2020.

"Sometimes I wonder how I will explain to my daughter what it meant to be born in the year 2020," says Smith. "The historic events, the social unrest, and me—a new mother just trying to do her best. I think I will tell her that it was as if the world had paused for her to be born. And that, hopefully, it never quite returned to the way it was before."

Smith recalls how, on the third day of her labor, she shared a quiet moment with her husband that gave her strength.

"I was fatigued and beginning to lose my resolve. Josh ran me a bath, and as I lay in it contracting, I talked to my body and I talked to my daughter. In that moment, he snapped a picture of me. An honest moment of family and togetherness—a husband supporting a wife, our baby still inside me, the sacred process of creating a family."

Amy Schumer on why she might be done having kids: 'I can't be pregnant ever again'

Amy Schumer's first pregnancy was famously hard, and that's why it might be her only pregnancy.

As People reports, on an episode of Sunday Today with Willie Geist, Schumer explained why, after suffering through hyperemesis gravidarum (a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness) during her pregnancy with son Gene she's not going to be pregnant a second time.

"I decided that I can't be pregnant ever again," she says. "We thought about a surrogate, but I think we're going to hold off for right now."

Schumer tried IVF this year in the hopes of giving Gene a sibling but that, too, has proved to be really difficult.

"We did IVF and IVF was really tough on me," she says. "I don't think I could ever do IVF again."

Having one child has been so awesome, Schumer's not in a rush to have more right now. She calls Gene "the best thing in my life."

Jamie Otis: Postpartum checkup revealed 'I have HPV'

Married at First Sight star Jamie Otis opened up about her HPV diagnosis in 2020. During her most recent pregnancy, the mom of two had an abnormal Pap test in her first trimester.

"They told me I'd have to wait until my six week check up after delivery to investigate further so I didn't risk losing my baby," she explains in a recent Instagram post.

During a postpartum checkup, Otis had a biopsy and will likely be receiving the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to treat her HPV.

According to the Mayo Clinic, "most HPV infections don't lead to cancer. But some types of genital HPV can cause cancer of the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina (cervix)."

That's why Otis is so thankful that her doctors were on top of this and that her HPV was caught early and she wants other moms to take care of themselves, too.

"Don't let life get too 'busy' to get your check ups," she says, adding that while she'll likely be fine she really only ended up getting a Pap test because she got pregnant. Had that not happened she would have no idea about her HPV.

Jenna Dewan: Breastfeeding 5-month-old can 'be really challenging'

Even if you've breastfed a baby before, nursing your new newborn can come with its own challenges.

That was the case for Jenna Dewan, who noted in a recent Instagram post how breastfeeding her 5-month-old son is "incredible and it can also be really challenging."

It's been different than it was with 7-year-old Everly, Dewan says.

She continues: "At least it was for me the second time around. From latching issues, to my son loving one side vs. another, making more milk, when to pump... EVERYTHING was different and I found myself asking a lot of questions."

(If you need some help with breastfeeding here are the top 50 breastfeeding tips, according to lactation experts).

Chrissy Teigen was real, raw and so vulnerable after losing her son Jack

When Chrissy Teigen suffered a pregnancy loss this year she didn't hide it or minimize her pain. She grieved big and out loud, and her bravery led to other mothers opening up about their pain.

Motherhood makes us strong, but loving someone so much also makes us vulnerable to immense pain.

In a powerful essay she wrote weeks after her loss, Teigen thanks everyone who reached out to her to share stories of their own or offer support without expecting a grieving mother to respond.

"I feel bad our grief was so public because I made the joy so public. I was excited to share our news with the world. Stories leading up to this had been chronicled for all. It's hard to look at them now."

By being so incredibly truthful about what was happening in her life, Teigen gave a kind of social permission to other grieving mothers to seek help and support.

Ali Fedotowsky-Manno: I didn't feel 'I deserved any sort of support after' miscarriage

Pregnancy loss is one of the hardest things a person can go through, and it's also a topic that is still shrouded in a lot of secrecy and shame, even in 2020.

Bachelorette-turned-blogger Fedotowsky-Manno knows this all too well. In July she revealed she'd had a miscarriage and in an interview with People she explained that she wasn't sure at first how or when to share that news.

"I think a lot of the reasons women don't share about miscarriages is because there is shame involved," she explains. "I always thought the shame was because your body couldn't carry a baby in that moment...But for me, where the shame came was not feeling that I deserved any sort of support after—feeling that what I went through wasn't the same as someone who goes through it when they'd been trying for years or they were 20 weeks pregnant."

She continues: "I have two beautiful children. So my experience didn't begin to compare to those, so I felt shame in being supported."

But pain isn't something we need to compare or measure. It is possible to honor and hold space for a friend who suffered a stillbirth and still honor and seek support for your own grief over an early pregnancy loss.

Miscarriage is painful. No matter when it happens. No matter how many children you already have or how many miscarriages you've already had. We need to talk about pregnancy loss so that we can find community and support and, importantly, reduce the shame.

Thank you, Ali, for speaking your truth!

Helping your 2-month-old thrive: Tips and activities

Routines create a foundation for learning how to love and developing good self-esteem as baby grows.

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

Your life may still feel like a blur of feedings, diaper changes and short spurts of sleep. That new baby fog means you usually have no clue what day it is or why the car keys are in the fridge. But this month is the perfect time to actually start a routine. Having a basic schedule helps the day flow, which is good for you and baby.

According to Dr. Tovah Klein, head of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of How Toddlers Thrive, routines help even 2-month-olds anticipate what's going to happen next. She explains:

Bath? Check. Song? Check? Feeding? Check. Zzzz.

This kind of predictability helps her feel safe, calm and trusting of parents and caregivers. This creates a foundation for learning how to love the important people in her life and developing good self-esteem as she grows.

To help support your baby's development and track routines like sleep and feeding, you can try an app like ParentPal™. ParentPal is the only all-in-one parenting app with everything you need to support, track, and celebrate your child's healthy development. Developed by Teaching Strategies, the leaders in early childhood development, and the creators of Baby Einstein, ParentPal provides trusted, research-based guidance and parenting tools at your fingertips. You can use the Daily Plan of age-appropriate activities, Milestones, Sleep, Health & Wellness Trackers, and a vast library of age-based resources for your middle-of-the-night parenting questions.*

Week-by-week activities

And speaking of learning, this month your kiddo is becoming more interested in pictures and objects. You'll see the beginning of hand-eye coordination, too. (You're still her primary focus, so keep up the talking, singing and silly faces.) From story time to play time, these week-by-week tips from child development psychologist Dr. Holly Ruhl will help you navigate the month:

Week 1

Instilling an early love of reading can strengthen language skills and parent-child relationships. Squeeze in that oh-so-important 20 minutes of reading by visiting your local library or bookstore for story time. This activity will deepen your tot's love of books and promote mama-baby bonding.

Week 2

Infants have an innate love of gazing at faces. Spend a few minutes each day attending to baby's favorite faces: the ones staring back in the mirror! Make silly faces and label baby's facial features. Gazing in the mirror may promote baby's sense of self-recognition. This understanding will appear slightly later and is the basis for baby's later self-confidence.

Week 3

Your little bundle is developing rudimentary hand-eye coordination. Promote coordination by fostering interaction with baby's fascinating surroundings. Help your tot gently stroke household pets. Dangle a textured, crinkly toy for those little hands to swat. Lay baby on an activity gym and soak in the baby bliss as your little one intently reaches for toys overhead.

Week 4

Are family and friends antsy to cuddle with the new addition? Take baby to visit loved ones for exposure to new faces, voices and styles of play. Plus, social support from friends and relatives around 3 months can help you be a more responsive mama and give baby supplemental support, leading to more secure attachment by 12 months.

Baby

One of the greatest joys of parenting is getting to introduce your baby to the great, big world. Even from a young age, travel can open our eyes to new environments, teach resilience and adaptability and create a meaningful bond between family members.

The problem? The logistics of traveling with a baby can be, well, challenging. For too long, one of the biggest obstacles standing between parents and their traveling plans has been the hassle of managing an infant car seat on our journey.

The new Nuna PIPA lite rx is changing all that. The Nuna PIPA lite rx is an infant car seat made for everyday life and more enjoyable adventures. With a combination of features that make travel easier, you can skip the question of "how" to go with your baby and move onto asking "where" to go.

From trips around the corner to trips across the country, the new Nuna PIPA lite rx car seat solves so many pain points of traveling with a baby. Here's why you'll love it...

It is amazingly light-weight

We're all for a good workout—just not every time we need to carry the car seat. Weighing in at just 6.9 lbs., the PIPA lite rx truly earns the title of lightweight champion. Combined with a luxe leatherette handle for comfortably carrying in your hand or the crook of your arm, this dreamy travel car seat is great at getting from Point A to Point B—whether you're in the car or not.

It is incredibly safe and secure from day one

With an additional GOTS™ certified infant insert and harness covers, 7-position height-adjustable no-rethread headrest, Aeroflex™ foam and side-impact protection, you can travel with the confidence that your baby is well-protected from your baby's first ride and beyond. And because any parent knows the trickiest part of travel is getting baby in and out of the car seat, the PIPA lite rx simplifies the task: The 5-point no-rethread harness can be held to the side with magnetic buckle holders while you're getting your baby in or out of the seat. (Meaning no more searching for straps under a wiggly baby!)

Your baby will be cozy for longer excursions

When it comes to keeping your little travel companion content, comfort is the name of the game. With foam cushions and a memory foam headrest, your little explorer will have the best seat in the car when buckled in. For a little extra privacy, pull down the breathable Dream Drape and quietly attach it to the side of the car seat with magnets. Or, enjoy some time in the sun without concerns about harsh rays with the full-coverage UPF 50+ canopy.

Base or belt... the decision is yours

The Nuna PIPA lite rx offers two ways to secure the seat to the car: with the (included) PIPA RELX base or by buckling in through the belt path on the infant car seat with the vehicle's seat belt, meaning one less thing to take along when you travel by taxi or airplane. Better yet, the car seat securely installs in just seconds so you can get on with the adventure.

Stroll on with the full travel system

Compatible with Nuna's extensive line of strollers, the Nuna PIPA lite rx lets you create a travel system that works for your lifestyle. From single strollers to rides that can grow with your family, you can click the Nuna PIPA lite rx into place and go—wherever your travels might take you.

The Nuna PIPA lite rx is available now in two color options. Take a closer look at this fully featured infant seat on nunababy.com.

This article is sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
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10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.


1. "You're safe here."

If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

Back to School

15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are 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 indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


Stomp Racers

As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.

$19.99

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

$139

Secret Agent play set

Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Stepping Stones

Stepping-stones

Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

$99.99

Sand play set

B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.

$17.95

Sensory play set

kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

Filled with sand or water, this compact-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.

$19.95

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.

$121

Foam pogo stick

Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

$16.99

Dumptruck 

green-toys-dump-truck

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

$22

Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

$14.99

Pull-along ducks

janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

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.

$16.99

Rocking chair seesaw

Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

$79.99

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.

$79.99

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.

$24.75

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.

$40

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You can now shop at HomeGoods online—YES PLEASE

Moms everywhere will be thrilled to know they can shop at their favorite home decor store right from the couch.

HomeGoods/Instagram

This is not a drill: you can now shop at HomeGoods from the comfort of your own home. Yep, that's right, everyone's favorite home decor store has officially launched its own online store!

Beginning Tuesday, you can browse right from your browser and take a gander at the extensive collection of home decor and fun odds and ends that make HomeGoods, well, HomeGoods.


It's no surprise the store basically has a cult following—the items at HomeGoods are pretty much always adorable and affordable. And now that so many customers have increased their online shopping habits due to the pandemic, HomeGoods decided to hop on board.

We are excited to expand HomeGoods' digital footprint so customers can shop whenever they'd like," said Mark DeOliveira, the President of TJX Digital US, Homegoods' parent company, in a press release. "HomeGoods.com will provide a complementary experience to our stores, allowing shoppers to pair in-store purchases with online finds to bring their vision to life."

When TJ Maxx launched its online store a few years ago, I remember every woman in my office dedicating their entire lunch breaks to shopping for purses and shoes. Now we can add shopping at HomeGoods (its sister store, FYI) as one of our favorite ways to avoid productivity—and with winter weather not too far away (sorry for the reminder), there's no better time to add some Christmas decor to our online.

"We are thrilled to bring a second way for our passionate shoppers to discover and shop an assortment they know and love," says John Ricciuti, the President of HomeGoods. "We hope our customers find the same excitement shopping HomeGoods online as they do exploring the aisles of our stores."

Now off with you—enjoy browsing through bedding, bathroom accessories, throw pillows, kitchen utensils, seasonal decor, mirrors, wall art, and the fun little odds and ends for the rest of your day. (Or the rest of your week—no judgment.)

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To my friends who had kids before me: I am sorry I didn’t know

But now that I'm a mother, I do know. And I promise to pay it forward.

I have never felt more fiercely loved than in the days, weeks and months after my baby girl was born. I felt immense love from everyone in my life, but the love I felt from other mothers was different. It came from deep-seeded understanding and empathy. It came from heartfelt celebration and excitement.

It came from a place that only another mother can relate to.


I recall one very emotional day when my daughter was about a week old. I had been going through the throes of triple feeding coupled with the height of what I assume you would call the baby blues.

My sister sat on the couch with me as I painstakingly tried to pump through severe engorgement, and as she rubbed my shoulders, encouraging me to make it through just one more feeding session, I broke down in tears and told her I was so sorry.

She looked at me shocked. Why, exactly, was I apologizing?

It is so simple to see now—in those moments of raw motherhood, my sister was able to love me in a way that no one else could because she had been there before.

While feeling overwhelmed with gratitude to have her in my life, I suddenly felt so much sadness that I hadn't been able to love my sister in the same way when she was walking through early motherhood.

And so many moments followed that one, moments that made me feel immensely lucky to be surrounded by what can only be described as the best humans on earth, followed by the realization that I wish I could have done so much more, and felt so much more, for my dear friends in their early days of motherhood.

So, to my friends who had kids before me: I am sorry.

To my sister who tried for months to breastfeed her son and spent countless hours with lactation consultants and feeding groups, I am sorry I didn't understand how something as simple as feeding your child could make you feel like a failure. I am sorry that I did not wrap you in the biggest hug every day and tell you that you are a great mom and that if you need to cry about it, it is okay.

To my friend with the baby in the NICU, I am sorry I didn't realize that behind the text saying you were "okay" and "didn't need anything," that nothing would've made a bigger difference than a warm meal and hot coffee dropped off to the front desk of the hospital. I knew you were a strong warrior mom (all NICU moms are), but now I know that even warrior moms need someone listening to what they aren't saying.

To my friends who lost their sweet babies before they arrived, I am so sorry that I never knew how much you could love someone you have never met. I am sorry that I couldn't even come close to imagining your pain and sadness until I felt my own daughter wiggle in my belly, and even then, I still couldn't. Saying I am sorry will never be enough to encompass the pain you are feeling, so I hope saying "I love you" will let you know I am here.

To my friends with the sick children, I am sorry I never fully understood the heart-wrenching agony of seeing your child in pain until I saw my own heart beating outside my body in my beautiful daughter. You are the bravest type of mom there is, and I know there is nothing you wouldn't sacrifice for your child. You hold up the world, but when you need someone to hold you up, I am here.

To my friend who confided in me that she was struggling with postpartum depression, I am sorry I did not know just how heavy that anxiety felt on your heart. I am sorry I didn't understand the darkness you experienced every night when you went to bed and the desperation of wondering when it would all go away.

To my friend who sent me the Starbucks card and heartfelt message on my first day back from maternity leave, I am sorry I didn't take more time to check in with you when you came back to work. I loved looking at photos of your beautiful baby and hearing about her life, but I should've spent more time checking in on you and making sure you felt loved and appreciated, especially as you made the adjustment back to work.

These wonderful, beautiful women have taught me so much. And while I didn't know, I do now. My understanding was almost instantaneous the moment I became a mom, and the sisterhood of motherhood has carried me through the difficult times and celebrated alongside me during the good.

To be loved without pretense or judgment is what this sisterhood is all about, and you just don't know until you experience it for yourself.

I am sorry I didn't know, but I promise to pay it forward each and every day.

This this story was originally published on May 24, 2018. It has been updated.

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