To my best friend: Thank you for letting me be a part of your birth experience

I will always cherish this experience with you.

To my best friend: Thank you for letting me be a part of your birth experience

It has always been a dream of mine to watch a child come into this world—one that wasn’t my own.

I wanted to experience the thrill of waiting for those contractions to start—that weren’t my own—and be there to offer whatever was needed, from water to encouragement. I wanted to be able to watch and fully take in the flurry of behind-the-scenes action of what all goes on. Because for a lot of my own birth experiences, my eyes have been closed and I have been focused on the intense waves going on inside my body during the birthing process.


It finally happened when you—someone who has helped me in my own birth experiences and postpartum periods—invited me to attend your birth.

...and not only that but you gave birth in my home.

Your beautiful family of (now) eight has decided to go against the grain of society, sell practically everything you own and go where you feel called to, together in an RV. It’s amazing. However, as your labor neared, I am so glad you high-tailed it up highway 95 to park nearby so that you could use my master bedroom suite for laboring, birthing and a few days of postpartum resting.

Because of that choice you were able to have the extra space to move about during the long, slow dance of labor—and later, have the water birth you craved in the same tub that I birthed in last year. And I—the birth enthusiast that I am—got to witness my first birth.

To say that I was honored hardly touches the surface of my gratefulness. I am grateful that you trusted me enough to allow me to be present for the birth of your child. I am grateful that you felt safe and comfortable enough in my home to bring forth your sweet sixth addition.

I know the importance of feeling safe for birthing, both in environment and in the people present, and I’m glad you felt that as you welcomed your baby earth side. Your days of laboring were beautiful to watch from my view and I tried my best to capture what I could.

I watched you sway and surrender to the process, waiting patiently for the baby’s perfect timing—even if it felt like she was taking the long route down. It fascinated me how you could still sit with me talking or eating while your contractions came and went. Who would have thought making it to nine centimeters could be such a breeze! You were amazing!

What a beautiful example you are to mamas, showing that slow labor over days can be normal and even having a relatively painless birth is possible.

When your waves grew closer and stronger right before baby’s arrival, I could almost feel them with you. Having done this a few times before myself, I knew the intensity you were feeling. I knew that hip pain as baby moved lower and the need to moan with each mountain as it peaked before you.

You’ve held my hand and rubbed my hair as I breathed down one of my babies, this time it was my turn to be that for you. I was happy to provide any amount of comfort I could.

As you worked and breathed, I prayed I was being helpful just as you were for me three years ago. Your touch was a welcomed distraction from the intensity and your presence a sense of calm within the storm raging in those last moments before crowning. I so hope I was that for you, too.

When baby finally decided it was time to join us in the outside world, it was fast!

The adrenaline was tangible as we all assumed our roles for her arrival—myself with the task of videoing it. (Sorry if it’s shaky!) What an immense privilege it was to be among the first people to know baby’s gender, to be among the small intimate crew that got to watch you meet your youngest daughter, while you fell in love with each other in an instant.

I remember the tender moment your big girls woke up, still bleary-eyed and bed headed, to meet their new baby sister and announce her name.

There is nothing quite like those first few glances at the newest person on the planet.

I will always cherish this experience with you. It was everything I expected and hoped it would be from my view. It was beautiful. And inspiring. And pure magic.

You are truly a birth goddess. Thank you for letting me be part of this experience. I will never forget it.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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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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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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