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I mourn the pregnancy experience I could have had

I miss the feeling of warm hugs from loved ones. I miss having friends and family members marvel at my growing belly. I miss having the shared emotional experience of pregnancy with other women.

pregnant woman during coronavirus

A few weeks ago, my friend texted me, "I was thinking. Maybe we should schedule a Zoom girls-night-in dinner and catch up? It'll be a while before we can do a baby shower for you and I guess I won't be able to visit and meet the baby right away?"

I texted back, "That makes me want to cry."


I am a mother of a 3.5-year-old boy. Each day of my son's life brings a new opportunity to practice surrendering and letting go—whether it's a belief, an expectation or desire to be in control.

There are the bigger lessons, such as changing my career course when I decided I wanted to become a mother or accepting the trauma of my delivery and the postpartum depression that came afterward. Then there are the daily acts of surrender that come with raising a tiny human, like giving up on a strict sleep schedule or hopes for a meaningful conversation with another adult while my kiddo's around.

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At its worst, surrender feels like a white flag of defeat and despair. At its best, it is a practice in humility and grace. My days are a pendulum constantly swinging between both ends.

The two opposing sides are more apparent than ever before in this recent plot twist of my motherhood journey—being pregnant with my second baby during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Several months before the word "coronavirus" entered the public discourse, I was already preparing myself mentally and emotionally for another baby. I scaled back on work projects. I preferred staying home to going out. I rearranged the furniture in our kitchen and living room.

But now I can't stop myself from worrying:

Will I be able to have my husband and my doula in the room? Who will care for our son when I go into labor? What is my risk of exposure to COVID-19 by giving birth in the hospital? Is the risk worse if my VBAC fails, and I need an emergency C-section?

These worries are part of my brain's fight-or-flight survival response. I am no longer solely preparing my home for a baby, I am also preparing to stay safe during a health crisis. It will be a fight in the dark because there's no way to gauge how ready I will be, how ready I will feel. No way to know if my body and my spirit can handle it. My opponent is both real and imagined, a future outcome that is faceless and unknown.

For new and expecting mothers, it's crucial to be part of a supportive community of other women and mothers. Social distancing has made pregnancy feel much more isolating than my first pregnancy. Even with emails and FaceTime calls readily available, I feel less connected with my support system than I did my first time around.

I miss the feeling of warm hugs from loved ones. I miss having friends and family members marvel at my growing belly. I miss having the shared emotional experience of pregnancy with other women.

As my due date approaches, I mourn the fact that I will not have one last chance to gather with my closest friends before the baby's here. More than the fun shower games and adorable gifts, I am missing an important rite of passage into motherhood. And it's not just me—I know stories of people who have had their milestones taken from them during this pandemic—canceled weddings, canceled graduation ceremonies, canceled plays or recitals.

Here's what I've learned about surrendering—there is always an ending and a beginning. After death, after loss, comes rebirth. A chance for a new story to begin.

This truth has accompanied me throughout my motherhood experience. I am slowly finding my way to the other side of surrender, where grace and transformation reside. My journey has been made up of thousands of tiny, ordinary moments reminding me to trust the process.

One early morning, I woke up and felt the fluttering of my baby's kicks in my belly. I placed my hand where he moved as if I could touch something fleeting and sacred. For a few precious minutes, I forgot the chaos of the world outside. I forgot to be afraid.

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?

Tenth & Pine: Gender-neutral and butter-soft basics for littles + bigs

In 2016, after a stage four endometriosis diagnosis and a 10 year battle with infertility, Tenth & Pine founder Kerynn got her miracle baby, Ezra Jade. As a SAHM with a Masters in Business, she wanted to create a brand that focused on premium quality, function, comfort, and simplicity.

She sought out premium, all natural fabrics and factories that shared her core values, practicing environmentally friendly manufacturing methods with fair and safe working conditions for employees. As a result, her made in the USA, gender-neutral designs check all the boxes. The sustainable, organic basics are perfect for everyday wear, family photos and any adventure in between.

Lucy Lue Organics: Sustainably and ethically-produced modern baby clothes

This family-owned and operated business was started by a mama who wanted out of corporate America after the birth of her son. Thoughtfully designed to mix-and-match, Lucy Lue's sustainably and ethically produced collection of modern organic baby clothes only uses fabrics that are "environmentally friendly from seed to seam." Their gorgeous, earthy tones and comfy, minimalist styles make the perfect addition to first wardrobes from birth through the first years.

Sontakey: Simple bracelets that speak your mind

Sontakey has been such a hit in the Motherly Shop that we knew it was time to expand the line. And since these beautiful mantra bands look so stunning stacked, more options = more fun.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com 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 support Motherly and mamas.

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As a mom, I say the phrase 'let me just…' to my kids more times a day than I can count.

Yes, I can help you log into your class, let me just send this email.
Yes, I can play with you, let me just make one more call.
Yes, I can get you a snack, let me just empty the dishwasher.

I say it a lot at work, too.

Yes, I can write that article, let me just clear my inbox.
Yes, I can clear my inbox, let me just finish this meeting.
Yes, I can attend that meeting, let me just get this project out the door.

The problem is that every 'let me just' is followed by another 'let me just'... and by the time they're all done, the day is over, and I didn't do most of the things I intended—and I feel pretty bad about myself because of it.

I wasn't present with my kids today.
I didn't meet that deadline.
I couldn't muster the energy to cook dinner.
The house is a mess. I am a mess. The world is a mess.

It's okay, I tell myself. Let me just try again tomorrow.

But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes and the list of things I didn't get to or didn't do well bears down on my shoulders and my heart, and all I can think is, "I am failing."

And I think that maybe I'm not alone.

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