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Pregnancy loss is a term to describe many different losses—miscarriages, both in first and second trimester, and later pregnancy loss, often referred to as neonatal loss, including stillborn babies and babies who live for a short time after birth.


Pregnancy loss is devastating.

All the hope, excitement, anticipation and planning the future around a new baby comes to a shocking halt.Instead of progressing with a pregnancy and planning for a baby's arrival, parents are propelled into a world of emotions sometimes too difficult to label. Anger, despair, sadness, shock, numbness, heartache and yearning are amongst some of the emotions.

The grief is intense.

Death and loss are uncomfortable topics in society. It can be challenging to know what to say or how to react when someone you know and care about has a pregnancy loss. It is normal to feel uncertain or anxious on how to comfort someone who has experienced loss.

Below is a list of phrases and comments to avoid, along with helpful things to say and do for grieving parents.

Please don’t attempt to comfort by saying the following:

1."It was for the best; something was wrong with the baby."

Parents don’t want to hear this. Many babies are born every year with struggles, health issues and developmental concerns. While yes, it can be challenging for parents to have a child with such concerns, there is also an enormous amount of love for their child. So highlighting how the baby died because of a flaw or "defect" will likely not comfort grieving parents.

2. "You're young, you can always have another baby."

When a person has lost a pregnancy, there is no replacement for the lost baby. Fast-forwarding time to encourage a parent to think of a future pregnancy and another baby diminishes the pain and grief they are currently experiencing. They want the baby they lost, and there is no replacement.

3. "Everything happens for a reason."

Phrases like this can infuriate those who are grieving. One of the mysteries of life are why there is suffering and loss, especially when it happens to babies and children. Parents can seldom find a reason their baby is not with them, and this comment only further isolates parents who are grieving and diminishes the loss

4."The baby is in a better place." Or, "You now have an angel in heaven."

While the intent is to comfort, comments like this discount the pain and tap into the fact that not all people have a belief system regarding the afterlife, or find comfort imagining the baby is better away from them.

5."You weren’t that far along; technically it wasn't a baby," or, "You were so early in the pregnancy; it's better it happened now than later."

The experience of pregnancy can cause intense physical and emotional changes prior to any evidence a woman is “showing.” It's unfair to presume just because you may not believe it was a meaningful pregnancy, that a parent shares your point of view. For all you know, a parent may hold religious and spiritual beliefs that the moment of conception, or when a heartbeat is present, signifies life. Minimizing the loss through emphasizing the gestational time frame is not helpful.

6."Be thankful for the kids you do have."

Parents who have lost a pregnancy are thankful for their child or children; they do not need reminders of gratitude after a pregnancy loss. While it can be challenging for grieving parents to resume activities and responsibilities to care for children, many parents find having children forces a structure, rhythm and routine of finding a new normal after a loss.

7."I don't know how I would go on if that happened to me."

Comments like this take the focus off the grieving parent and turn it onto someone else. Parents who have lost a pregnancy have limited energy as it is, so refrain from making grief-stricken parents take care of your needs, insecurities or fears.

8."Are you going to feel jealous or uncomfortable being around me because I am pregnant?" Or, "Are you uncomfortable being around me because I have a baby (or child)?"

Losing a pregnancy can increase feelings of sadness, anger, discomfort and longing for a baby. But the key understanding here is that they want their baby back, not yours. A parent who has lost a pregnancy may not have the emotional reserve to be around other pregnant women or new babies. Instead of making comments like this, imagine how you would feel if you were in the place of a grieving parent. Coming from a place of empathy and compassion is more supportive than placing your fears and worry on the grieving parent.

9."How come you didn't tell me you were pregnant?" Or, "I had no idea, I wish I had known you were pregnant, hearing it now is hard."

While it can be shocking to find out about a pregnancy when a loss has occurred, refrain from making such insensitive comments. Many people choose to keep a pregnancy private until completion of the first trimester, when they are ready, or if medical information indicates issues or concerns parents are not yet prepared to share. Don't take it personally, everyone has a different way and timing when sharing pregnancy information.

10."I know how you feel."

If you have never experienced loss, telling someone you know how they feel can be upsetting. If you have experienced a loss, instead of talking about your loss, keep the attention focused on the grieving parent.

11."Time will make it better."

Refrain from offering false hope. Time may not make it better. The passing of time may diminish the intensity of emotions, but this is not always a guarantee.

Consider, instead using the following statements to comfort and talk to someone who has experienced loss:

  • “I am so sorry for your loss.”
  • “I am here for you if you need to talk.”
  • “If you don't feel like talking, I can just sit here with you and keep your company, I have nowhere else I need to be.”
  • “I feel so sad, and I can't imagine what you are feeling.”
  • “What can I do for you? Or Is there anything I can do to help?”
  • “How are you feeling?”
  • “Talk as long as you want, I am here for you and have plenty of time.”
  • “Anytime you need me, whatever time of the day, I am here for you.”
  • “If you want to talk about the baby, I am here to listen.”
  • If you have experienced a loss, you can say, "I remember having some of those same feelings you are feeling when I lost my baby.”
  • “I know nothing I do or say can take away your pain. Please know I am thinking of you and your family. When you're ready, let me know how I can help.”

Additional ways to help grieving parents:

1. Identify your feelings and thoughts before you talk to the grieving parent.

What does pregnancy loss stir up for you? Discomfort, fear, memories of a loss you experienced? Before talking to the grieving parent, speak to a friend or family member about your feelings so when you talk with the grieving parent, you can approach the situation with clarity, awareness and focus on the person who has experienced the loss.

2. Continue to call and reach out.

Don't ignore the person or stop contact. Initially after the loss, grieving parents are surrounded by support. As time passes, well-intentioned family and friends may not think about how the loss continues to impact parents. Continue to reach out and offer support.

3. Don't take a grieving person’s behavior personally.

Grieving parents may not return phone calls or texts and decline visits. When a person is experiencing grief, time takes on a whole new meaning and is experienced differently. Minutes can feel like hours and days can blend into weeks. Be compassionate and patient. It's not personal—grieving parents are likely focused on working through pain and healing.

4. Acknowledge the loss.

Don't ignore the loss. It is important for parents to have their pregnancy loss recognized, even if that is all you do. Expressing your condolences is meaningful.

5. Follow the grieving parents’ lead.

When talking with grieving parents, use words and language they use. It can be comforting for parents to hear their words reflected and repeated by friends and family. For example, if the parents share a belief system with you about the afterlife regarding their baby and mention their baby is an angel, or they imagine the baby in the care now with a deceased relative, listen and acknowledge their beliefs.

6. Ask what you can do.

Offer to coordinate meals, help with housework or host playdates if there are siblings. Gestures like this not only provides practical support, but allows parents time to grieve or time to take care of themselves.

7. Listen.

Allow the parent to talk about the loss. Telling one's story is often part of the healing process. Active listening through undivided attention, eye contact and compassionate statements show care and support. It's not your job to fix or take away the pain—no one can do that for the parent. While it may not seem like much, listening goes a long way providing support to those grieving.

8. Suspend problem solving.

It can be challenging to see someone in pain. While your natural instinct may be to go into problem-solving mode, that may not be in the best interest of a grieving parent. Instead, ask, "Is there something I can help you with?" or "Do you want me to give you some ideas on things to do right now?" Be thoughtful to ask what would be most helpful rather than assume what could be helpful.

9. Gift giving and donations.

After a pregnancy loss, it is common for people to want to give something to acknowledge the loss. While it's not a requirement to give a gift, the closer you are to the grieving parents, the more accepted it is to provide a gift. Gestures of condolence can include any of the following; a thoughtful card, a donation to an organization or cause, flowers, groceries, prepared meals, or planting a tree or flowering plant.

Pregnancy loss is difficult for parents, family members, friends, and acquaintances. While you may not always know what to say, taking the time to be thoughtful about your words and behaviors can go a long way in helping grieving parents heal.

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While breastfeeding might seem like a simple task, there are so many pieces to the puzzle aside from your breasts and baby. From securing a good latch, boosting your milk supply and navigating pumping at work or feeding throughout the night, there's a lot that mama has to go through—and a number of products she needs.

No matter how long your nursing journey may be, it can be hard to figure out what items you really need to add to your cart. So we asked our team at Motherly to share items they simply couldn't live without while breastfeeding. You know, those ones that are a total game-changer.

Here are the best 13 products that they recommend—and you can get them all from Walmart.com:

1. Medela Nursing Sleep Bra

"This fuss-free nursing bra was perfect for all the times that I was too tired to fumble with a clasp. It's also so comfy that, I have to admit, I still keep it in rotation despite the fact that my nursing days are behind me (shh!)." —Mary S.

Price: $15.99

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2. Dr. Brown's Baby First Year Transition Bottles

"My daughter easily transitioned back and forth between breastfeeding and these bottles." —Elizabeth

Price: $24.98

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3. Multi-Use Nursing Cover

"When I was breastfeeding, it was important to me to feel like a part of things, to be around people, entertain guests, etc. Especially since so much of being a new mom can feel isolating. So having the ability to cover up but still breastfeed out in the open, instead of disappearing into a room somewhere for long stretches alone to feed, made me feel better."—Renata

Price: $11.99

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4. Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Pack

"I suffered from extreme engorgement during the first weeks after delivery with both of my children. I wouldn't have survived had it not been for these packs that provided cold therapy for engorgement and hot therapy for clogged milk ducts." —Deena

Price: $10.25

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5. Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump Wipes

"Being a working and pumping mama, these quick clean wipes made pumping at the office so much easier, and quicker. I could give everything a quick wipe down between pumping sessions. And did not need a set of spare parts for the office." —Ashley

Price: $19.99

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6. Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter

"This nipple butter is everything, you don't need to wash it off before baby feeds/you pump. I even put some on my lips at the hospital and it saved me from chapped lips and nips." —Conz

Price: $12.95

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7. Medela Double Electric Pump

"I had latch issues and terrible postpartum anxiety, and was always worried my son wasn't getting enough milk. So I relied heavily on my breast pump so that I could feed him bottles and know exactly how much he was drinking. This Medela pump and I were best friends for almost an entire year" —Karell

Price: $199.99 Receive a $50 gift card with purchase at walmart.com

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8. Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads

"I overproduced in the first couple weeks (and my milk would come in pretty much every time my baby LOOKED at my boobs), so Lansinoh disposable nursing pads saved me from many awkward leak situations!" —Justine

Price: $9.79

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9. Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump

"This has been a huge help in saving the extra milk from the letdown during breastfeeding and preventing leaks on my clothes!" —Rachel

Price: $12.99

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10. Medela Harmony Breast Pump

"Because I didn't plan to breastfeed I didn't buy a pump before birth. When I decided to try, I needed a pump so my husband ran out and bought this. It was easy to use, easy to wash and more convenient than our borrowed electric pump." —Heather

Price: $26.99

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11. Milkies Fenugreek

"I struggled with supply for my first and adding this to my regimen really helped with increasing milk." —Mary N.

Price: $14.95

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12. Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags

"I exclusively pumped for a year with my first and these are hands down the best storage bags. All others always managed to crack eventually. These can hold a great amount and I haven't had a leak! And I have used over 300-400 of these!" —Carla

Price: $13.19

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13. Kiinde Twist Breastfeeding Starter Kit

"The Kiinde system made pumping and storing breastmilk so easy. It was awesome to be able pump directly into the storage bags, and then use the same bags in the bottle to feed my baby." —Diana

Price: $21.99

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

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If you're about to be a parent, whether it's for the first time or not, then you've probably thought about all the changes in your life that are coming—especially in the area of finances. Having a baby alters your financial picture. If you take maternity or paternity leave, those changes can be even more pronounced.

If you have student loans in repayment, you may find it difficult to make monthly loan payment with a new baby, and you might be wondering how to make it work.

So how do you handle student loan payments while on maternity leave?

Here are the options available to student loan borrowers:

Family leave deferment

If you have a federal student loan, you can ask for a parental leave/working mother deferment, which offers you time without payments. Becoming a new mother isn't cause for an automatic deferment, like a job loss or serious illness, and so you'll have to work with your servicer directly to request this type of deferment. Navient, one of the largest federal loan servicers, offers information about this deferment on their website.

To be eligible, you'll need to either be pregnant or have a baby less than six months old. You must prove this via a birth certificate or doctor's statement confirming your pregnancy.

In addition, you cannot be working full-time or attending school during the deferment period. If you're hoping to ask for a deferment without taking the time off work, you'll find your request denied. The maximum length of a deferment is six months.

Forbearance

A forbearance allows you to either make a smaller payment or postpone payments completely. Like the deferment, you'll need to contact your servicer and request it. If it's approved, you can take some time off of your student loans while you're off work. Just be aware that even during forbearance, interest continues to accrue, which means your total balance will increase during that time.

Income-based repayment plan

If you'd prefer to keep making payments but just need the amount reduced, you can apply for a new income-based repayment plan. The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan caps your monthly payment at 10% to 15% of your discretionary income. And since it's also based upon the size of your family, it will account for the fact that your family size has changed, and your discretionary income has decreased. To apply, contact your loan servicer.

Pay as you earn (PAYE) plan

Another option is the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan, which allows you to pay 10% of your income, but only up to the payment amount you would have paid on the standard plan. Because the income and family size are reassessed each year, this plan is great for growing families. It allows you to get a temporary reprieve with lower payments. Then, as you further your career and increase your income, your payment gets back on schedule. Your servicer can help get you set up with the PAYE plan. Your spouse's income is only counted if you file taxes as married jointly.

Revised pay as you earn (REPAYE) plan

Under the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) plan, you'll pay the same 10% of your income, with annual reassessment of your situation. You won't, however, get a break from counting your spouse's income. With REPAYE, all income counts regardless of how you file your taxes. The good news is that anything left on your balance will be forgiven after 20 years. Talk to your servicer to see if it's a good fit.

Income contingent-repayment (ICR) plan

The Income Contingent-Repayment (ICR) plan is either 20% of your discretionary income, or what you'd pay on a fixed repayment for 12 years, whichever is less. Just as in the other options, you must update your income and family size each year even if nothing changed. In addition, you may have to pay taxes on any amount that is forgiven because the government considers it income. It does, however, work on subsidized, unsubsidized, PLUS, and even consolidation loans, and can be applied for with your servicer.

Budgeting for a baby

There's no way around it—having a baby brings a lot of new expenses. From the things you'll need to buy before the baby comes, to the amount of diapers, bottles and other things your child will need in their first year, you'll need to figure out how much that will cost and how to correctly budget for it. Babycenter.com has a calculator that can help you break down what your child will cost in a given year. You can divide that number by 12 to understand the monthly costs.

Then, you'll want to identify where you can cut back, if possible, to continue meeting your monthly student loan obligations. For some, that might mean eating out less and bypassing the afternoon latte. For others, it'll require a full restructuring of the budget, especially if you plan to take maternity leave that's not fully paid. Since most maternity leaves are unpaid, you'll need to consider expenses, monthly bills, or other obligations that normally comes out of your paycheck and add those to the budget for the time that you're home.

After you get a handle on what your finances will look like and you have a functional budget, don't wait for your child to arrive before trying to live on that budget. In fact, the sooner you start cutting back, the better. That way, you can get a head start on saving, and you'll also be able to adjust any facets of your budget that prove unworkable.

The bottom line

Having a baby is a joyful experience. But caring for a newborn brings enough stress without the anxiety of how you'll pay student loans while you're on maternity or paternity leave. The best time to plan for your new family member is long before you bring them home. Take the time to talk to your servicer, make a budget and prepare your finances for your baby.

Originally posted on lendedu.

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Learn + Play

Michael Bublé knows how to make music that makes us feel all the feels, and his viral lyric video for his song "Forever Now" proves it.

If you've got kids heading back to school, watch this at your own risk and with some tissues handy, mama.

Michael Bublé - Forever Now [Official Lyric Video] youtu.be

The video is a simple animation of a child's room as it transforms over time from a nursery to the packed-up bedroom of a young adult leaving the nest. We held it together until it got to this part: "It wasn't so long ago, we walked together and you held my hand. and now you're getting too big to want to."

The video reminds us of the classic children's book Love You Forever, and that the babies in our arms today will one day be in someone else's arms.

Right now, when our days are filled with bottle washing and shoe getting and making sure that no one falls asleep in their car seat the days sometimes feel so long, but Bublé's telling us something that we sometimes forget: One day we will be looking back and wondering why these long days went by so fast.

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It would be easy to look at one of Tori Roloff's (of Little People, Big World) stunning maternity photos and think everything is going perfectly for the soon-to-be mother of two, who is expecting a baby girl with her husband Zach. But Tori is keeping it real: Though the photos may show her in a pretty dress, cradling her baby bump against a stunning backdrop, Tori isn't loving every second of her pregnancy. And you know what? That's okay.

The pregnancy is so rough, Tori initially didn't even want to commemorate it with photos (though we bet she's glad she did upon seeing the finished product!).

"I'm not one of those women who loves being pregnant," Tori writes alongside one maternity photo, which she posted to Instagram. "In fact there's not a lot of times I do love being pregnant. Don't get me wrong. I thank God for this amazing gift every single day and I know how blessed I am but it definitely hasn't made me feel my best."

But let's make one thing clear: Just because Tori is clearly finding parts of pregnancy unpleasant, that doesn't mean she isn't immensely grateful for the chance to carry her baby.

"This photo truly embodies what I LOVE about pregnancy. My growing bump is a symbol of a healthy girlsie [sic]. It's a reminder that I'm in a position that many women dream of and trust me—I do not take it for granted," she adds.

One Instagram user sums up our feelings on this post pretty perfectly. "Pregnancy is so hard and I think some people assume that if you don't love it, you're ungrateful. I think you can recognize the difficulties of pregnancy and still be grateful for it — they're not mutually exclusive. This photograph is stunning and you are glowing. Embrace your feelings, no matter what they are. You're valid in them! Sending you big love," she writes in the post's comments.

Our take? Pregnancy is not easy...at all! Morning sickness, exhaustion, back pain, hip pain, belly pain...let's just say expectant mamas can be in a lot of discomfort and voicing that discomfort is totally acceptable.

Yes, pregnancy is an amazing blessing (and one that not every woman gets to or wants to experience), but not enjoying every single second of it doesn't take away from the gratitude an expectant mom feels. So to Tori (and all the other uncomfortable preggos out there), here's what we'll say: Don't beat yourself up for not loving pregnancy. It doesn't mean you love your baby — or the privilege of carrying them—any less.

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There's nothing more important than the bond between a newborn baby and their parents. And while an emotional bond and attachment between parents and a child happen overs years of development, the first year is the most important because a baby's brain grows most rapidly in the first 12 months of life.

In fact, According to Scientific American, paid parental leave benefits baby's brain development. Research shows infant's brains form up to a thousand new connections per second, but those connections form best when the babies are exposed to the kind of stimulation parents on paid leave can provide.

Every parent in America should have the chance to bond with their newborn child, and America deserves a national paid leave policy that supports families.

While the nation works on a single policy, there are some very special workplaces stepping up to the plate and leading the way when it comes to helping parents do what they do best: parent.

Here are 11 employers who get it.

1. Patagonia

Holly Morissette, a recruiter at Patagonia, recently went viral with a post on LinkedIn in which she shared her experience as a breastfeeding mama working at Patagonia.

"While nursing my baby during a morning meeting the other day after a recent return from maternity leave, our VP (Dean Carter) turned to me and said...'There is no way to measure the ROI on that. But I know it's huge.'" Morissette wrote.

"It got me thinking...with the immense gratitude that I have for on-site childcare at Patagonia comes a responsibility to share a 'call to action'. A PSA to tout the extraordinary benefits that come along with not asking employees to make the gut wrenching decision to either leave their jobs or leave their babies. TO HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR JOBS OR LEAVE THEIR BABIES."

Morissette is right here. A recent survey found for 49% of expectant women, it can feel like a choice between breastfeeding or job growth and in two-thirds of cases when breastfeeding mothers point out when they are being discriminated against they ultimately lose their jobs.

That is why Morissette wrote her viral post, to raise awareness of how Patagonia is supporting parents. She hopes that maybe parents will reference her post in conversations with their bosses.

"That perhaps just one person will brave the subject with their employer (big or small) in the hopes that it gets the wheels turning to think differently about how to truly support working families. That with a bit of creativity, and a whole lot of guts, companies can create a workplace where mothers aren't hiding in broom closets pumping milk, but rather visiting their babies for large doses of love and serotonin before returning to their work and kicking ass. It's no wonder that Patagonia has 100% retention of moms. Keeping them close to their babies keeps them engaged. And engaged mothers (and fathers!) get stuff done. Thank you, Patagonia, for leading the way," she wrote.

This is hardly the first time Patagonia's commitment to parents has received attention. The company's family-friendly policies are well known and go way beyond breastfeeding acceptance.

As Quartz reports, Patagonia has been a leader in family-friendly policies for decades. It's had an on-site daycare for over 30 years and busses drop kids off at the corporate headquarters after school. The childcare isn't free, but it is quality care run by teachers and is conveniently located for busy parents. Anyone who has been waitlisted for day care or had to add an hour to their commute for drop-offs can understand why Patagonia employees love this so much.

The company also offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave and 12 weeks of paid paternity leave. In 2016, Patagonia reported that for the previous five years it had seen 100% of its new moms return to work after maternity leave, and it's no wonder.

[This post was originally published July 8, 2019. It has been updated.]

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