I'm postpartum with no baby

This is the postpartum no one talks about.

I'm postpartum with no baby

[Trigger warning: This essay discusses one woman's journey with pregnancy loss.]

This is the postpartum no one talks about.

Rapid weight loss because literally nothing sounds good and you have no appetite. But your breasts are full — full of milk — milk that isn't going to your babe, but to another one. A sore, tender, fourth C-section scar that aches now more than ever before, almost like it knows its occupant was vacated 17 weeks earlier than he should have been.

Meds to help the pain, but merely only dull it, because nothing can ever fully take away the lingering ache in your belly. Dark circles under your eyes from not sleeping, longing to have just one sleepless night due to a hungry, screaming babe but instead you're restlessly awake, mind racing and yearning for what could have been. Tears that flow like endless waterfalls, triggered by the littlest of things that set you into an emotional tailspin.


It's been four weeks since our son passed away at 22 weeks. Four weeks. Twenty-eight days. Six hundred and seventy-two hours. Forty thousand and three hundred twenty minutes. And every single one of them I've spent thinking about our baby in some capacity.

Missing him tremendously. Missing carrying him. Missing hearing his heartbeat on my doppler. Missing seeing him on the ultrasound screen. Missing the dog snuggled up nestled sleeping on my growing belly.

Missing making plans for his late February arrival. Missing his big brother and sisters talk about their new little brother coming soon. Missing everything about him.

Why do we tend to only share the happy when it comes to having babies? Sometimes the happy is shattered and devastation happens and that can't be ignored or glossed over—it needs to be shared too.

And that fourth trimester—that postpartum period for mom—is seldom talked about because everyone's focus is on the new baby.

But what about when there is no baby?

You're still dealing with all of the hormonal shifts, the night sweats, the leaky boobs, the excessive bleeding, the extreme fatigue and soreness yet there's no baby there to take care of, to have your energies focused on. Instead, you have a tremendous hole in your heart, and every possible postpartum feeling is exacerbated times a thousand because that's all you can focus on.

Postpartum recovery after loss is quite possibly the most devastating event a woman can go through.

But it's something that a staggering amount of women endure and yet, so many of them experience wordlessly; they grieve in silence for what they'll never get back all while in the depths of postpartum.

Sharing this part of life is something I felt like I needed to get out. People need to see it, need to hear my words, need to perhaps feel uncomfortable to the raw and real postpartum that is rarely shared. This is why I share my postpartum after loss story.

I want them to know they are not alone. That it's okay to talk about, share, cry, be angry, be sad, feel whatever they need to feel, and do it out loud if that's what they want.

In breaking that silence and talking about my experience, I have found that support pours in from places and people I never would have expected. Long-lost high school friends dropping off cookies and a warm meal, Facebook mom groups rallying together to pool money to send flowers, a breast pump company reaching out to send a free pump, cards pouring in in droves from people I haven't heard from in 20 years, and so much more.

Opening myself up to this support network has been a glimmer of hope in a dark and shadowy time. I have reconnected with old friends, made new ones, and most importantly, felt that I have not been alone in this loss journey.

Navigating the unknowns of the every day and what is to come has been made so much easier with the community of support behind me. Behind us. And all because I broke the silence and vulnerably opened myself up to talk about something that is far too much kept as a hidden secret for many.

So, grieving mama, speak up, share your story, and know that you are not suffering alone. It might just bring you some light in a very dark time.

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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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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