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I was afraid of gaining weight during pregnancy, but then something changed

"I'm not fat, I'm pregnant!" I cringe as the joke leaves my mouth yet another time. I keep telling myself I am not going to say that out loud anymore. I am well aware of how hurtful and dangerous it is. Yet I feel powerless to the body shaming that is seeping into my pregnancy, just as I feel powerless to the changes occurring within my body.

I did not think I would be triggered as much as I have, but as the zippers stop closing and the scale numbers climb, I find myself panicked. Feeling as though I'm slipping down into a chasm I won't be able to climb out of.

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Am I more afraid of the weight gain or the obsession with getting thin that overtook my life for so many years?


One day I'm craving a bigger bump, looking up hashtags of the week I am on, and wondering when I will "pop/" The next I am missing my hip bones and praying to the pregnancy gods that I will be able to breastfeed for calorie burning purposes. All at the same time, my heart keeps screaming "you are growing a human being inside of you! You are creating a life" and I try with all my might to hang onto that incredible truth.

We know that our bodies change in pregnancy, but mamas our minds need to too.

Every single thing that happens to and within us during the miracle of carrying a child has a purpose—to create a human being. Perhaps if we could remind ourselves of that more often, our symptoms would not seem as disconcerting.

A lot of weird things happen to our bodies in the process of making a life. Things that seemingly have no rhyme or reason, like my first-trimester alopecia (so much for long luscious locks in pregnancy!) or gingivitis (remind me how bloody gums help my baby?). And we don't need to like them. No benefit will ever outweigh the throbbing pain of a migraine.

What we can do however is help mitigate our suffering, by starting to understand and appreciate these untoward symptoms in a different way. To appreciate the 'why.' You see every time we curse our body for something, we are doubly suffering. I especially do this with my physical appearance as it changes during and after pregnancy.



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It does not help that the media celebrates women who are rail-thin with just a bump or lose their baby weight upon delivery. This "skinny is better" culture leads us to obsess about how our body changes during pregnancy and about how to get our bodies back after they give birth. But our body will never be the same and frankly, nor should it be. We have performed a miracle. We have created life. That is worth much more than a 6-pack.

Yet, here I am scrolling #bodyafterbaby on social media and celebrity crushing all the actresses and models who starved and sweat their way back into their size 2. Celebrating Beyonce in her documentary 'Homecoming' for getting her body back in 4 months, ignoring that she herself noted it was an unhealthy regimen and one she would not do again. But hey, whatever works, right?

Well, I propose a new order.

One where we celebrate one another's pre, during, and post-pregnant bodies exactly as they are at this moment!

One where we embrace our changing bodies by remembering the 'why.'

One where we can look in the mirror and say, "You are beautiful and I am so grateful," recognizing the privilege it is to grow a human being.

Some of us will gain 17lbs, some of us will gain 70lbs. Some of us will lose our baby weight right away, some of us never will. It does not determine who we are as human beings. In fact, the better we can learn to love and accept ourselves, the better mamas we will be.

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.

$30

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!

$75

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.

$40

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.

$120

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.

$30

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.

$100

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.

$40

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.

$121

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$179

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

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I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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Life

Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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Life