To my midwife—thank you 💜

You believed in me. You, quite honestly, gave me the power to believe in myself.

To my midwife—thank you 💜
Cavan Images/Getty

How do I thank you? Where do I even begin?

You gave me two of the best gifts I could have ever asked for—my baby, and a positive birthing experience.

You helped bring my sweet newborn into this world.

You believed in me.

You, quite honestly, gave me the power to believe in myself.

You shared in an intimate moment with me, my husband, my mother and my baby—and you handled it with leadership and grace.

I have given birth three times in my life. Twice under the guidance of midwives, and once under the guidance of an OB-GYN. Each birth was different and each birth was beautiful and special in their own unique way.

My midwives helped me feel empowered—not panicked.

My midwives lifted me up and helped me move mountains. Because, as a lot of us know—birth is not easy—not even close. It's one of the hardest things I have ever done or will do in my whole life. But, it's life-changing, miraculous and it will prove to you that you are one strong mama. And, as I learned, my provider was hugely important in helping me feel this way.

My midwives helped me take on something I was apprehensive about with confidence and a sense of calm.

My midwives treated me with respect—and gentleness.

They were nurturing, kind, attentive and, well...very maternal in a way.

They made me feel comfortable 100% of the time.

They respected the way I wanted to give birth.

They listened to me—really listened—to my wildest worries and craziest concerns.

They were an integral part of my birthing team. They never made me feel like it was them and me. It was always us.

My midwives helped me trust the journey—and not to waste time on doubt.

They made me feel like I was this really strong, amazing, warrior mama. They taught me how to trust in my body—that it knew what it was doing, to trust in the process of giving birth—that this has happened successfully before (many, many, many times), and to trust in them—that they knew what they were doing and that they had all sorts of procedures and tools and strategies in place should we need them.

My midwives kept their cool.

Both of the midwives who were in the delivery room with me brought a sense of peace and calm and positivity to the room. They didn't pressure me to do anything, they didn't continually ask me how I was feeling. They let me tell them when I was ready to push and they worked with me to get my baby out safely.

With my middle daughter, that actually meant working through shoulder dystocia (basically when the baby's head has been delivered but one or both of their shoulders get stuck) so efficiently and calmly—that I didn't even realize there was a 'challenge' in my daughter's delivery until after the fact.

My midwife Aki, who was about six months pregnant with her first child, did what she needed to do (basically, magical midwife moves) to place my Lucy on my chest without any additional interventions or distress.

I think what's most important to me, thinking back on my birth stories, is that the midwives were with me throughout the whole process of labor and delivery. Not here and there, not just the end when I needed to push—the whole time.

I never felt alone or in the dark.

Which is no coincidence, because the term 'midwife' means “with woman." Their constant presence and support made me feel safe and ready. Ready to labor, ready to give birth—and ultimately—ready to become a mother.

So to my midwives—thank you for being the most incredible source of support and encouragement for my birthing journey. You were with me then, and you'll be with me forever—in my stories and in my heart.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're 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 toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

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.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop 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.


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.


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.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

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.


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.


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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?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

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

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What went viral this week: Pregnant Disney Princesses + an airline nightmare

Now, more than ever, we need to hear those good news stories.

Last week was a week.

We lost a legal and cultural icon with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and deadly wildfires continue to blaze on the West Coast. Now, more than ever, we need to see creativity, kindness and compassion in our world—we need to hear those "good news" stories, but we also need to see the headlines that show us how and why the world needs to change .

And right now both kinds of stories are going viral.

Here are the viral stories you need to read right now:

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