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Nine months of sacrifice. A lifetime of love.

I was excited to be pregnant, but the thought of giving up her first love was hard to swallow.

Nine months of sacrifice. A lifetime of love.

For #MotherlyStories | I can still hear my mother-in-law’s cautionary voice ringing in my ears from twelve years ago: “You know, the Wilsons are very fertile.”


My husband, Andy, and I were just dating at the time, but now, after being married for nearly five years, I can attest to this truth.

I knew I was pregnant about two weeks after conception. I could just feel it. After one try at tracking my ovulation on the Kindara app and then “making things happen” on the appropriate date—boom—science!

Congratulations!

You are officially with child.

There’s no going back now.

Really.

Ready or not.

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Life just changed forever.

Call me cold, call me ungrateful, call me (gasp!) normal—after the tiny purple plus sign-on-a-stick confirmed my suspicions, I didn’t cry happy tears and immediately begin nesting.

Instead, I sat there in disbelief, pondering the cells madly multiplying inside my body.

Then I went to GoDaddy.com to check if the URL pregnantisweird.com was available.

(In case you’re wondering, it was. But for fear of judgment, I abandoned my purchase.)

Because pregnancy is weird, and it was hard to feel much excitement in those first few weeks. Really, I just felt trepidation.

When it came time for our first eight-week ultrasound appointment, Andy and I about leapt out of our seats at the sudden, fast, booming sound of our baby girl’s heartbeat.

It was as if someone had said, “Hey, listen to this real quick,” and then handed you some Bose headphones with the audio cranked up to their full degree.

It rocked the room and made our hearts beat a little faster, too.

It was a sound neither of us had ever heard.

The sound of a new life.

I immediately choked up, and I know Andy did, too.

We came to this first appointment armed with a long list of questions scrawled on a piece of paper: Can I eat sushi? Can I sit in the hot springs? Can I have caffeine? Basically every answer to every question I had was “no,” which I expected, but I’ll never forget my doctor’s response to the question whose answer I confidently thought would be a precautionary, yet definitive “yes.”

Can I ski?

Let me preface this by saying that, while I may be a native Iowan, Andy and I moved out to Colorado immediately after we got married, first and foremost, because of our love for downhill skiing.

Every weekend in the wintertime, we look forward to getting up early, putting on our base layers and beanies, strapping our skis to the roof rack, grabbing our coffee, and making our way to the mountains for a day or two of fresh powder.

We recently started doing double black diamond runs, weaving in and out of trees, jumping off boulders, and we love racing each other down the mountain, regularly hitting speeds of 50 to 60 miles per hour.

My doctor’s response? “Absolutely not.”

“You could be sitting there hemorrhaging on the side of a mountain, and no one would be able to get to you in time.” Those words stung—even though they might have been true.

I still well up thinking about it as I’m writing now.

She said that I could ski if I could do it within the next month (it was September, so that would do me no good), but anything after that was out of the question.

As she explained further, I looked at Andy in desperation, and everything went blurry as the tears started streaming.

“You have a placenta growing inside of you—someone could run into you, or you could fall, which could tear the placenta from your body, causing you to bleed out, killing both you and the baby. You could be sitting there hemorrhaging on the side of a mountain, and no one would be able to get to you in time.”

Wow.

She doesn’t beat around the bush, and why should she? It wasn’t so much the margaritas or the vanilla-hazelnut coffee, the brie or the feta, the every-four-week hair colorings or the five-dollar foot-longs I would miss (okay, I really miss all of those, too), but the skiing was the ultimate for me.

It was the hardest I’d cried in a long time.

Not surprisingly, no one feels very sorry for me when I tell them this story.

They say, “It’s just a small part of your life that you’ll work around this year as you’re growing your baby.”

And it’s true. I’ll make it.

I’m already planning more snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trips this winter to stay active and ease the pain.

I’m trying to make it a point to keep myself physically and mentally strong, and hopefully, sowing some snow sports into my baby girl’s DNA along the way.

Being pregnant is still weird.

And uncomfortable.

And frustrating.

It’s a strange personal sacrifice, but it’s one that I hope will lead to my life’s greatest adventure, and some of our little family’s proudest moments, yet. I’m envisioning snowfall on the ski slopes and selfies only made sweeter with a mini-us smashed in between. Mornings sipping coffee while watching her play. Family adventures (maybe fourteeners?) with Andy pack-muling a little girl through the brisk, thin air.

It’s hard to say at this early stage, but stay tuned. You’ll be the first to know.

Abby Elise Wilson is a Denver-based writer and publishing industry transplant who spent years editing and writing for national magazines and New York Times best-selling cookbooks before becoming an advertising copywriter. She credits her creative writing education at the University of Iowa for shaping her love of language. When she’s not traveling, skiing, hiking, or mentally preparing to be a mom, Abby is freelance copywriting for B2B and B2C clients or writing for fashion, travel, and design magazines. View more of Abby’s work here and follow her on Twitter.


These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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