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*We’ve partnered with Earth Mama® to help you handle some of the less glamorous parts of pregnancy and postpartum.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

As if the nausea, headaches, flatulence and random aches and pains weren’t enough to deal with, there’s another common preggo problem that no one likes to talk about—hemorrhoids. Caused by increased pressure on the veins below your uterus and triggered by constipation, these things (ranging from the size of a pea to the size of a grape) are…well, a pain in the ass.

If you’re tempted to quickly Amazon yourself the over-the-counter topical treatment for hemorrhoid pain you saw on TV, WAIT! Some of those salves can be quite harmful, containing fragrances, parabens, diazolidinyl urea and sometimes even small quantities of formaldehyde (Um, do you love your hemorrhoids enough to want to embalm them? We think not.). That’s quite a harsh mixture for quite a sensitive area, especially during pregnancy or postpartum.

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Here are some natural ways of relieving hemorrhoid pain (before and after delivery):

1. A sitz bath can be wonderfully soothing for hemorrhoid pain. You can sit in a tub of warm water for 10-15 minutes a day, or purchase a small plastic basin from the drugstore that fits neatly into your toilet. Add herbs like yarrow, lavender and calendula to the water, which are naturally soothing and have antiseptic qualities.

2. Earth Mama® makes a completely natural ointment that is like magic. It provides rapid relief for prenatal and postpartum hemorrhoids, postpartum vaginal swelling and bruising, and even perineal tears and episiotomies. The salve contains herbs such as St. John’s wort, yarrow, calendula and witch hazel, making it gentle and naturally soothing without toxic chemicals that can be absorbed by your ladyparts. You can even store it in the refrigerator for extra relief.

3. Take a seat on a donut cushion (named for their distinctive shape) and take the pressure off. It can help improve posture and blood flow, and relieve discomfort to the affected. Donut cushions come in a variety of shapes, sizes, fillings and some are even inflatable. You can use them in your car, at home, or even sneak one into work to use.

4. Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. Take whatever measures you can to avoid getting hemorrhoids in the first place. Since constipation increases the likelihood of hemorrhoids, keep things moving with a high-fiber diet and lots of water. Don’t strain when you go, and try not to sit or stand for too long. Kegel exercises can also help by increasing circulation to the area, and can speed up recovery after birth.

Photography by Jonica Moore for Well Rounded.

*This post was sponsored by Earth Mama®.

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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