To the mama who had a baby during the pandemic

You deserve hugs, love, recognition and so much more. But I will settle for the next best thing, which is to write you a little love letter.

To the mama who had a baby during the pandemic

I am a midwife, and that means two things:

  1. I am a total birth nerd
  2. I want to hug every new mom I see

But we are in a pandemic, which means that the latter is impossible—and this makes me impossibly sad. You deserve hugs, love, recognition and so much more. So I will settle for the next best thing, which is to write you a little love letter.

Darling new mama. Here are seven things you need to know:

1. This is hard

Welcome to the mom club. It's a really awesome club, but there is a sad underlying truth you need to be aware of: Moms are notoriously hard on ourselves (often for things that we have no control over). Like, say, a pandemic.

So many new mothers are wrought with guilt that they are doing this "wrong." Mama, there is no wrong here. Not even close. This is just hard. And it's okay to admit that. Saying that this is hard or disappointing does not diminish anything about your quality as a mother. This IS hard. And it's okay to say as much.

But that brings me to my next point...

2. You can do hard things

Motherly's co-founder and CEO, Jill Koziol, often says, "This is hard, but we can do hard things." I'm not sure it has ever rung more true than right now.

You have a long history of doing (and rocking) hard things. Perhaps getting pregnant was hard. Perhaps you had a hard pregnancy. Then a baby came out of your body—um, hello! Or perhaps you became a mama through adoption, surrogacy or with a gestational carrier—that can be super hard, too.

The point is, you have been met with challenges before, and you have overcome them. Yes, this is tough. But mama, so are you.

3. People are on your side

On #TeamMotherly, we often remind each other of the Mr. Rogers quote that says, "When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world."

Maybe it feels impossibly scary to be bringing a baby into the world, but there are so many helpers right now.

Public health officials are figuring out policies to keep people safe.

Scientists and doctors are researching treatments and vaccines.

Activists and policy-makers are working to make the world a more just place for everyone.

Remember that even when it feels helpless, people are working around the clock to make things better for you and your sweet baby.

4. The statistics are on your side

We are still learning a lot about COVID-19, but what we do know is promising when it comes to outcomes for pregnant people and newborns. I won't bog you down with details here—though if you want the details, check out Motherly's extensive COVID-19 coverage.

In short, there is reason to be hopeful that you and your baby will be just fine through all of this.

5. Prioritizing yourself is more important than ever

Self-care as a new mom is paramount. Self-care during a pandemic—well, it's everything. In fact, the word "self-care" actually needs to be upgraded during this time; instead of self-care, think of it as self-adoration. Adore yourself, mama.

This is incredibly hard, and the potential negative consequences are very real: stress, depression and health problems, just to name a few. It is, therefore, essential that you prioritize taking care of yourself.

This means eating deliciously nourishing foods, preferably ones that you don't have to prepare yourself. (Try this: The next time a friend or family member says, "Can I do anything to help you?" get very specific. "Actually, yes! I would love a meal that will help me recover; I love the salmon from XYZ restaurant. Could you bring me that for dinner tonight?")

This means sleeping. (Try this: When you put your baby to bed, dive into your bed. I mean immediately. Not after you "just check Instagram for a few minutes" (totally, ahem, hypothetically, of course). Use every moment that you can for sleep, and know that even cat-naps are helpful.)

This means putting off the to-do list (by a lot)—people will understand. (Try this: Send out a mass email or text message to everyone that sent you a baby gift saying, "I want to convey my deepest gratitude for the thoughtful presents! They mean so much to the baby and me! I will be writing handwritten notes to each of you, but it might take me longer than I'd like since we are settling into parenthood during a wild time; please know that I truly appreciate the gifts!")

Give yourself permission to do whatever it is you need to do to lovingly—adoringly—take care of yourself.

6. You are not alone

I know that this feels cliche. I also know that it doesn't feel particularly true right now, as you start motherhood in isolation. But, mama, it is so true. You are an esteemed member of a collective of mothers who love you, care about you, and are holding space for you.

I love this series of illustrations from Common Wild.

Even when you feel so alone, remember, your light is part of a collection of lights that is illuminating the world.

7. This is part of your story

Have you seen this video yet? (Side note: Grab the tissues first.)

Motherhood is a love story—and goodness, what a story you have.

Yours is a story of resilience.

Yours is a story of power.

Yours is a story of hardship.

But yours is a story of strength.

Because at its core, yours is a story of love. You've got this, mama.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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