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Motherhood shouldn’t be this hard

What if we stopped making mothers feel guilty? About everything.

Motherhood shouldn’t be this hard

I have been an editor at Motherly for a year now. I have owned a motherhood wellness center for two years. I have been a mom for six years, a midwife for seven years and a nurse for 10 years.


I've met a lot of moms. I've heard their stories, attended their pregnancies, caught their babies and watched their children grow.

Through it all, I've heard the same declaration over and over and over again.

Sometimes it comes in the form of a wail or a sob. Other times it presents as glazed-over eyes and a third cup of coffee before noon. And sometimes it's nothing more than a deep sigh. The tone is different, but the message is the same—

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Motherhood is hard.

Not 'wow this is kinda tough' hard.

Motherhood is raw-soul-baring-ly, down-to-the-core shaking-ly, I'm-not-sure-how-I'm-still-standing hard.

When I talk to women about birth I tell them that there's comfort in knowing that it's supposed to be hard. Nature designed this feat for us to persevere through. No matters how birth happens, we are warriors on the other side of it—I think that's on purpose.

But motherhood is not supposed to be this hard. It was never supposed to be easy, but I don't think it was supposed to be like this. Mothers are exhausted to their cores. They are unsure of themselves. They are scared.

And I don't think it needs to be like this.

What if mothers didn't ever get to the feeling of desperately needing a moment designated as 'self-care,' because self-care was woven into the tapestry of our daily lives, without guilt or even thought?

If we listened when our bodies told us to rest instead of powering through to achieve some notion of perfection that doesn't even belong to us.

If we cut our to-do lists down to the essentials that were actually essential. And if that list left ample room for enjoyment and moments of quiet and nothing.

If we ate food that fed our souls, not calories that don't fill a daily quota.

If we had a glass of wine to celebrate a day well-lived instead of to numb the defeat of a day basically survived.

What if mothers could make choices about our lives without the incessant doubt and “are you sure's" swirling around us and permeating every step, thought and feeling?

If mothers didn't have to choose between a career we love and spending time with our children. If we could choose CEO and PTA.

If we could choose to stay home without the need to defend that choice to the “what do you do all day" side-eyes.

If we could say words like 'homeschool,' 'au pair,' 'attachment parenting,' 'big family, 'only child,' 'me time,' and 'my choice' and have those words just be‚ without question or judgement.

What if, from the moment a woman finds out that she's pregnant, she received health care that gave her the message that she is important?

If she could choose the place and type of birth that she knew was best for her, and proceed with confidence.

If her healthcare providers could have a manageable number of patients, with just a tiny bit of breathing room, so they could spend time talking to her, informing her, supporting her.

If she had access to birth classes, breastfeeding support services, and information that sought to validate and empower her, not to instill fear and doubt.

If she was encouraged to heal after birth instead of to 'bounce back.'

If she wasn't told “yeah that happens" when she complained of painful sex after giving birth, or roaring emotional shifts, and instead given connections to people who could and would help her—today, not “at the next available appointment."

What if mothers were looked to as the voices of love and compassion and reason in a world that's seemed to relinquish those aspects of our humanity?

If mothers didn't have to explain the words 'hate' and 'phobia' to children who don't yet know how to read.

If a mother didn't have to fear for the safety of her child—STILL—because of the color of his skin or the subject of his love.

What if we stopped making mothers feel guilty? About everything.

What if motherhood didn't feel so lonely?

What if motherhood wasn't so hard?

But.

What if we are the generation to stop saying 'what if,' and start saying 'here's how'?

Here's how I am going to weave self-care into my daily tapestry—and encourage others to do the same.

Here's how I am going to make choices the complete me, that serve me.

Here's how I am going to demand access and care and support for the things I need. Here's how I am going to help my fellow women find it too.

Here's how I am going to make sure I am a voice in this world, and not an echo. Here's how I am going to be a voice for those who's voices have been taken away,

Here's how I am going to stop feeling guilty.

Here's how I am going to find my village.

We're not changing the discourse overnight. It's taken a lot to get us here, it's going to take a lot to reverse course.

But by taking one step, by solving one problem, by flipping the script on one dialogue, we can start.

We have to make motherhood better. And we can.

We are here, fellow mothers. Now let's show them how.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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