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I know I have much to be grateful for, and a canceled baby shower is not necessarily worth being upset about during these unprecedented times.

Except that it is.

While the world tries to deal with the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, many people have had to cancel joyous milestones and big life events. A baby shower might not seem worthy enough of a loss to grieve over, but for me it is. And your pregnant friend might feel the same.

After the initial shock of the pandemic wore off and I had made the call to cancel my baby shower, a disappointing thought finally set in. I would never get to be properly celebrated for the miraculous and arduous journey my body had been through during my twin pregnancy.

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I had thought about rescheduling my baby shower, but my twins are due in June and I might even go early, so it didn't make sense to reschedule the baby shower for May. Besides, nobody knows when this devastating health crisis will be over anyway. I would possibly have to cancel it then, too.

My friends and family suggested we host a "Sip and See" party—where guests stop by to see the baby and sip refreshments—in late summer or early fall. By then, the babies will be here, the pandemic will (hopefully) be over and friends and family can safely meet the babies and visit with me. People would still bring gifts and it would essentially be just like a baby shower.

While a Sip and See is a lovely and kindhearted idea, I wasn't as excited about it as I was for my baby shower. That's because I wasn't throwing a baby shower for the gifts—I had planned it as a celebration of motherhood. A celebration of pregnancy. A celebration of my body, which has been strong enough to grow two babies at the same time.

Because I feel so ready to finally celebrate my body—a body that had disappointed me for 19 months while my husband and I tried to conceive. It was around the time when I felt so ready to give up trying, so ready to accept the fact I'd never be able to get pregnant—that I saw a positive pregnancy test for the first time in my life. And at our first ultrasound, we were blessed with not one but two precious heartbeats.

At 18 weeks, I started to plan my baby shower. It was going to be a celebration of womanhood, I'd decided. A high-tea concept. We'd break out the fine china and antique silverware. There'd be mini cakes and scones, and every woman would feel proud to be there, together, a sisterhood of motherhood. I was excited to wear a dress that showed off my enormous twin bump I'd spent years wishing for. I wanted to celebrate being a woman, being a mom, and yes, I wanted to celebrate me. After all, a woman is only pregnant for the first time once.

After I have my babies, I know the focus will no longer be on me. Don't get me wrong, I want my babies to be loved and welcomed—I can't wait to become a mother. But I also know when babies are born a mother often becomes invisible.

I've heard the stories. I've read the articles. I've seen it with my own eyes. When a woman gives birth, everyone's attention turns to the new bundle of joy. And why shouldn't it? A baby is a beautiful gift of hope—a tiny, helpless being who deserves to be loved, held and doted on.

But so does a mother.

And that's why we shower her with love, attention and gifts before the baby arrives. Now, because of the coronavirus, we can't celebrate our pregnant friend the way we normally do.

So I'm asking you: Please don't forget about your pregnant friend whose shower was canceled because of these strange times.

She still deserves to be celebrated for everything she's been through—the years trying to conceive, maybe the painful shots and surgeries she endured to get pregnant, giving up wine and coffee and sushi for nine months, her swollen feet and aching back. Not to mention her likely new fears of giving birth during a pandemic.

What can you do to celebrate her despite the circumstances? Send cupcakes to her house. Decorate her apartment door with balloons and cards. Let her know you love her. Write her a letter expressing how strong and brave she is during this time. Still buy and send gifts from her registry if you are able to.

Just don't forget about her.

No woman should turn invisible when she becomes a mother. And she certainly shouldn't become invisible before she gives birth, either. She deserves to be celebrated for the life she has created. She deserves to be acknowledged for her sacrifice.

So please, even if you host a Sip and See when this pandemic is all over, please don't focus entirely on the babies and forget about the new mama who stands before you. Because a lot has happened, and she's still standing. Remember to celebrate her when this is all over.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

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

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.

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Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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