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To my virtual mom friends, I'm so thankful I found you

They're my hype women, my confidants and my therapists. I couldn't imagine a world without social media.

To my virtual mom friends, I'm so thankful I found you

I recently took some time to reflect on the friendships I've had in my 31 years. Each has its place in the story of my life, replete with peaks and valleys. Some ran their courses quickly while others remain strong to this day. But now, as I stand firmly in my new identity; a bereaved mother of a medically-fragile, premature twin, I can finally say that I've met my "people." And the funny thing is, I've never actually met any of them.

I joined Reddit when trying to conceive my twins. I did not personally know anyone else struggling with fertility, so the decision to turn to the internet was an easy one. The TTC and infertility communities were very active, but also wildly competitive as women disappear left and right once pregnant. It was great to be a faceless name, supporting those who experienced the same ups and downs as I waited for my two pink lines.



Once I became pregnant, I joined a subreddit specific to my due date where I felt free to discuss my similar symptoms, hopes and plans. Once my pregnancy became complicated, my Reddit subgroup then broke down further into the few other moms expecting bed rest or NICU time.

We often commiserated about results of growth scans, swapped questions for providers, and cheered each other on as we made it further into our seemingly doomed pregnancies. These few moms became my outlet and my source of strength as time marched on. Of the 1,000+ women in this group, four of us lost babies. Like me, these moms each had a baby fighting for their life in the NICU, and just like me, needed the hope, reassurance, and impartial opinions of those in their exact situation.

The hands we were dealt were absolute garbage, especially when compared to the others in the larger group, but at least we weren't alone. We had each other.

Over time, our children's needs began veering in different directions. These women continue to be my friends and we try to remain in contact as much as our hectic lives permit, but I strived to find someone who understood my newfound role as medical caregiver and the complex needs of my child. I turned to Instagram, and there, right before my eyes, was a ready-made group of soulmates. Women who advocate with such ferocity for their children, who pull night shifts and live on three hours of sleep, who know reference numbers and caloric values and fio2 conversions off the top of their heads. My people.

My friends live all over the world; Pennsylvania, California, New Jersey, Maryland, Wisconsin, Texas, Canada, New Zealand, England, and South Africa to name a few. They each offer a unique perspective into the world of tracheostomy, medical complexity, prematurity, and child loss. I have friends who have surviving twins, who have babies born smaller than a Coke can, who went through fertility treatments, who have seen that horrific screen with no heartbeat. I can DM them in the middle of the night during my shift when I'm exhausted and trying to stay awake. Or when my daughter is acting strangely and I need to rattle off symptoms. We share medical supplies, test out hacks and products, and listen when this life feels insurmountable.

They're my hype women, my confidants and my therapists. I couldn't imagine a world without social media. I have fully embraced this online community that I had no idea existed a mere 10 months ago. The world of medical fragility is inherently isolating, but we have carved out a small but mighty corner of the internet to call our own.

It's unfathomable to me that I have not been physically present in a room with some of these most important people in my life. They have seen me through the most difficult season of my existence, and it is to them that I owe my confidence in navigating this new life. To my people; my PCOS pals, Nov2018bumpers, NICUparents, #rebeltrachmoms, thank you.

In This Article

    An expectant mama's to-do list can feel endless… but here's the good news: A lot of those tasks are actually really exciting. Planning your baby registry is especially thrilling: You get a say in what gifts friends and family members will buy for your new addition!

    But it can also feel a bit overwhelming to make sense of all the gear on the market. That's why we suggest mentally dividing your registry into two categories: items you need to prepare for your baby's arrival and items that sure would be nice to have.

    Here at Motherly, our editors have dozens of kids and years of parenting experience among us, so we know our way around the essentials. We also know how mama-friendly the registry-building experience is with Target, especially thanks to their recently upgraded registry and introduction of Year of Benefits. Just by creating your baby registry with Target, you'll snag a kit with $120 in discounts and samples. The savings keep coming: You'll also get two 15% off coupons to buy unpurchased items from your registry for up to a year after your baby's expected arrival. Change your mind about anything? The Year of Benefits allows for returns or exchanges for a full year. And as of August 2020, those who also sign up for Target Circle when creating a baby registry will also get the retailer's Year of Exclusive Deals, which includes ongoing discounts on baby essentials for a full year.

    Here are 10 items we agree deserve a spot in the "need" category on your registry, mama.


    A crib to grow with your baby

    Delta Children Farmhouse 6-in-1 Convertible Crib

    First-time mamas are likely creating nursery spaces for the first time, and that can get expensive. Adding a quality crib to Target registry gives friends and family members the option to join forces to make a large purchase through group gifting.

    $269.99

    A safe + convenient car seat

    Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat

    The list of non-negotiable baby essentials is pretty short, but it definitely includes a car seat. In fact, most hospitals will not allow you to leave after delivery until a car seat check is performed. We recommend an infant seat, which can easily snap into a base in your car.

    $99.99

    A traveling nursery station

    Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

    It's hard to beat a good playard when it comes to longevity. This item can be baby's sleeping place when they're sharing a room with you for the first months. Down the line, it can function as a roving diaper change station. And when you travel, it makes a great safe space for your little one to sleep and play.

    $99.99

    A swing for some backup help

    4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

    A dependable swing can be a real lifesaver for new parents when they need their hands free (or just a minute to themselves). Because many babies are opinionated about these things, we appreciate that the mamaRoo has multiple modes of motion and soothing sounds.

    $219.99

    An easy-to-clean high chair

    Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

    Our best registry advice? Think ahead. It really won't be long before your child is ready for those first bites of solid food, at which point you'll need a high chair. We like one that transitions to a booster seat atop an existing dining room chair.

    $99.99

    A diaper bag to share

    Eddie Bauer Backpack - Gray/Tan

    When you're a mom, you're usually toting diapers, wipes, clothing changes, bottles, snacks, toys and more. You need a great bag to stash it all, and if you're anything like us, you'll choose a backpack style for comfort and functionality. Bonus: This gender neutral option can easily be passed off to your partner.

    $64.99

    A hygienic spot for all those diaper changes

    Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad 16X31"

    We can confidently predict there will be a lot of diaper changes in your future. Do yourself a favor by registering for two comfortable, wipeable changing pads: one to keep in the nursery and another to stash elsewhere in your house.

    $29.99

    A way to keep an eye on your baby at night

    Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8

    Feeling peace of mind while your baby sleeps in another room truly is priceless.That's why we advocate for a quality video monitor that will allow you to keep tabs on your snoozing sweetheart.

    $165.99

    A comfortable carrier to free up your hands

    Petunia Pickle Bottom for Moby Wrap Baby Carrier, Strolling in Salvador

    A wrap carrier may be about as low-tech as baby items come, but trust us, this product stands the test of time. Great for use around the house or while running errands, this is one item you'll appreciate so much.

    $39.99

    A full set of bottles + cleaning supplies

    Dr. Brown's Options+ Complete Baby Bottle Gift Set

    Whether you plan to work in an office or stay at home, breastfeed or formula feed, bottles are a valuable tool. To make your life as simple as possible, it's nice to have an easy-to-clean set that is designed to work through the first year.

    $39.99

    Target's baby registry is easy to create from the comfort of your own home. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with the Year of Benefits featuring exclusive deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

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


    Our Partners

    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?

    Rae Wellness: Essential daily supplements to help you shine from the inside out

    Rae Wellness is a women-led company with the belief that nurturing your mind and body isn't just essential—it's your power. Their collection of daily supplements leverage vegan, non-gmo, high quality ingredients to help you "shine from the inside out." With formulas to designed to fuel your calm, sleep, energy and more, consider them your daily dose of self care, mama. Even better, 5% of every purchase goes directly to Girls. Inc., the non-profit organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold through direct service and advocacy.

    Beyond Yoga: Luxuriously soft athleisure you'll want to wear 24/7

    Whether you're lounging or lunging, the butter-soft activewear from Beyond Yoga is designed to support women to live fully and confidently. Their thoughtful, California made pieces are crafted with every woman's shape in mind, complementing curves and laying comfortably on all body types.

    The Dairy Fairy: Feminine, functional intimates for nursing and pumping mamas

    As any mama who has wrestled herself into a less than sexy, over-the-top utilitarian nursing bra knows, it can be quite the demoralizing experience. Add to that the annoyance of having to switch out to a completely different contraption in order to pump hands-free, and it's even more of a let down (pun not necessarily intended.) Frustrated by this all-to-universal dance, founder Emily Ironi made it her mission to create an all-in-one bra that not only works for moms, but celebrates them. Her line of pretty, feminine intimates for nursing and pumping combine function with aesthetics to keep you looking and feeling your best as you rock new motherhood.

    Milkful: The Dairy Fairy's size inclusive sister company

    Part of the Dairy Fairy's mission was to create a line of nursing and pumping bras that would make women feel comfortable and confident. Since launching in 2012, Emily heard from many women of different shapes and sizes, asking, "why doesn't this come in my size?" Adding sizes to the line didn't quite feel like enough. Instead, she set out to create an entirely new way to support their specific needs during such an important time in their lives. Thus, Milkful's line of size inclusive nursing and pumping intimates was born.

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

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    Cameron Diaz on having a baby at 47: 'You really have to work hard for it'

    "The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!"

    This is the decade that saw the face of first-time motherhood change. The number of first-time mamas under 30 is shrinking, while more and more women are becoming moms after 40.

    Cameron Diaz is one of them. The actress and businesswoman, now 48, became a mom in January at the age of 47. In a new episode of Naomi Campbell's YouTube series, No Filter, Diaz opens up about what it's like to become a mom in your fourth decade.

    "A lot of people do it the other way around ... they get married [and] have a family in their youth," says Diaz."I'm kind of doing it in the second half of my life."

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