When I became a mom, I finally understood how love gets passed down through generations

I realized that a mother, no matter her age or the age of her children, always puts her baby first. Always.

When I became a mom, I finally understood how love gets passed down through generations

I don't think I had ever thought about what it would be like for my mom—or any mother for that matter—to pass the torch of motherhood onto the next generation until the day my older sister went into labor.

As I was excitedly speaking to my mom on the phone that morning, getting updates and details from her post in my sister's hospital room, I heard a slight tremble in her voice.

"Mom, is everything okay?"

She paused, choking back tears.

"My baby is having a baby. I am so happy! But I can't stop worrying about my baby."

The tenderness of her words hit me like a bolt of lightning. At that moment, I realized that a mother, no matter her age or the age of her children, always puts her baby first. Always.

She quickly moved the conversation forward and began discussing something else, but the tenderness of heart at that moment has always stuck with me.

So, when I first saw the word "PREGNANT" staring up at me three years later, two thoughts crossed my mind: 1. I hope my husband gets home soon so I don't start running up and down the street with a pregnancy test in my hand yelling, "I'M PREGNANT!" to the whole neighborhood, and 2. I cannot wait to tell my mom.

It would only be a few hours after taking the test that I would get a call from my mom letting me know that my grandmother—her mom—had suffered a stroke, and it was just days after that my dad was admitted to the hospital with an illness that threatened his life. My mother, being the cornerstone to our family that she always has been, seemed to be holding our entire family up with her fingertips.

I needed to tell her my news but I loved her too much to tell her at that moment. I knew that as soon as I told her, she would be by my side to celebrate with her baby and that just wasn't where she needed to be quite yet.

Over the next few weeks, I watched as my mom split her time between two hospitals. One day she would be in Denver at my dad's bedside, and the next she'd be a state away in Wyoming at her mother's. When my husband and I did tell my parents, it was on their 35th wedding anniversary—a date we celebrated from father's hospital bedside. My mother's joy was palpable—the new life growing inside of me gave her new life too.

In the days, weeks, and months that followed, my new mama heart learned more about motherhood—and honestly, life—than I ever could've imagined by watching my mother. One day she'd be taking care of her mom, patiently sitting with her, helping her remember the details of her life that Parkinson's and the stroke so cruelly stole from her.

The next, she'd be chasing after my sister's kids at the park or at my side decorating our nursery and preparing for the arrival of my daughter. The dichotomy of the two worlds my mother floated in-between often broke my heart, but I never saw anything but happiness and contentment in hers.

We dream about having kids, holding our babies, and one day holding their babies. We dream about what the future holds for them and pray that we'll be here long enough to watch them grow up and embrace their life's passion. But we are never prepared for the moment when we have to hold our parents and the desperation of wanting to preserve the memories they worked so hard to create—memories that we want to share with the next generation before it's too late.

My mother did this as eloquently as any person could, and she continues to do so today. I know that if my grandmother could understand the gravity of her situation, she'd reach out her arms and hold her baby and tell her it's okay because a mother always puts her baby first.

My husband and I asked my mom to be in the room with us for the birth of our daughter. I have a rock of a support system in my husband; I knew we could get through labor and delivery just the two of us, but I also made it clear that if anything unexpected happened during the process, I wanted him to be by our daughter's side. With that, I wanted my mother by my side. I needed her by my side. As I knew from her trembling words years prior, she'd be there for me so I could be there for my own baby.

My mother witnessed the miracle of my daughter taking her very first breath in this world.

We gave her the middle name "Lu" to honor my mother, a name that was given to her by my grandmother to honor her own mother. The day after my Lu was born, my grandmother painstakingly made the hour and a half trip to the hospital so she could hold her great-granddaughter in her first hours of life.

There we sat, four generations of mothers and daughters, soaking in the precious gift of togetherness. I felt relief for my mother that in those moments the four of us were together, she could take a breath for a second and not feel the heart wrenching tug-of-war of her different roles. She was simply mother, daughter and grandmother all once.

After my mom and grandmother left, I knew that the torch had been passed. These women, and the mothers that came before them, had loved and sacrificed so much for their daughters so that I could one day arrive at this moment and put my baby first. Always.

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We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

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

Our Partners

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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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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