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How I Overcame Body Image Issues During Pregnancy

Sakara Life co-founder Danielle Duboise tells us how she came to her Mother Self.

How I Overcame Body Image Issues During Pregnancy

The love I have for my body has been a winding road and was ultimately the catalyst for founding Sakara Life with my best friend Whitney back in 2013. As far back as 9 years old, I strove for a body that I thought I needed but didn’t have. What I really needed was to completely change the dialogue I had with food — to celebrate nourishment, pleasure, and food as medicine instead of striving to achieve “my perfect body.” This transformational way of eating ended up transforming my entire way of being and allowed me to truly understand and love my body. But the day that I became pregnant, there was another shift: my body was no longer my body, but a vessel for life. And all of a sudden, my body looked and felt so unfamiliar.

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If you've ever experienced body image issues, you'll understand that even in the midst of such a beautiful experience, a changing, expanding pregnant body can be difficult to deal with. Decades of yo-yo dieting and body shaming do not disappear overnight. That doesn't mean I'm not grateful for the growth (physical and emotional), and it doesn't mean I don't treasure the experience of being pregnant. It simply means that as I release my maiden self and come into my mother self, I must let go of what I thought my body was supposed to be and look like.

Whether my body looks similar post-pregnancy or not, it will never really be the same. It's created life. It's grown and shifted and expanded in ways I can never forget, nor would I want to. I've learned that navigating and getting to know this ever-changing form of mine is one crucial step in growing into the mother I want to become. So knowing that, I wanted to not just cope with body insecurities, but to overcome them.

Here are 5 tips to feel good about your body during pregnancy and to transition into motherhood (and your mom bod') with confidence.

1. Foundation of clean eating. After a lifetime of dieting, the one thing that helped me find a new relationship to food was the Sakara Life nutrition protocol. It's what finally allowed me to look at food as medicine and nourishment instead of calories or carbs. And this lesson has come back to me during this pregnancy — a time when nourishment is not a choice but a must. My food choices are no longer just about me. My body is no longer just about my own desires. My food choices directly impact my ability to grow and nurture life. Having a foundation of clean eating every day has given me peace because I know that nutrient density, my health, and my microbiome are all a priority.

2. It’s okay to celebrate your maiden self. Looking at pre-pregnancy photos of myself allowed me to see and appreciate my body in a whole new way! My body is so different today than it was two years ago.

3. Find your mama mantra. Sakara is a Sanskrit word that means “with form”. It means that our ideas, desires, and thoughts take shape and manifest into the world, becoming our reality. The way we speak to ourselves carries great power, and as I’ve been growing and expanding I’ve been focusing on repeating mantras that ground me. For example, “with each breath, I allow love and grace to flow through me and doubts and judgments to leave me. With every breath, I become more in tune with my body's strength and my baby's health.” I’ve also been leaning into the word “surrender.” I’m trying to trust the feminine superpower, lead with grace, and be gentle with myself. Learn to say “thank you” for these gifts and shift judgment.

4. Feel proud of your body. I loved watching Ina May Gaskin's documentary called Birth Story. Witnessing the birth process made me feel so proud of my body. Be aware they are very graphic! But so, so beautiful.

5. Honesty, transparency, self-love. I promised myself that I'd be an open book when it came to my emotional, spiritual and physical experiences throughout pregnancy. I think honest, open talk is SO important and is the most loving and supportive thing I can do for other mamas or mamas-to-be. I used to think that women either loved or despised pregnancy -- that it was a polarizing experience that put you in one camp or the other. But it's not. It's the culmination of every emotion you can think of. I have days in which I'm so exhausted, swollen and emotional and others where I feel like I'm on cloud 9.

6. Find a community. No mother is supposed to do this alone. Don't wait until baby is born -- start building your village during pregnancy. You can connect with other moms through social media groups, neighborhood meet-ups, and groups like Carriage Birth House Hey Mama and Well Rounded. Pregnancy can be isolating because it's so physical and internal, but millions of women have done it before you, and thousands are doing it with you right now. Use that wisdom and knowledge. Lean on other women. It will help tremendously!

Danielle is a New York City-based entrepreneur and co-founder of Sakara Life, an organic, plant-based meal delivery program that sources fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients to help clients achieve transformative, healing and lasting results. Hailing from the spiritual mecca that is Sedona, Arizona, Danielle came to New York City as a chemistry collegiate. Supporting herself through school as an actress and model, she found herself caught in the throes of a dysfunctional relationship with food and dissatisfied with her own body. A desperate search for a life change, a more soulful connection with food and her body, and a desire for continued education in the health sciences led her to study at the renowned Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). After graduating from the program and successfully transforming her own relationship to her body and food, Danielle combined her personal experience with her nutrition expertise to create a meal program that has helped thousands of individuals change their lives through the healing powers of food.

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.

$30

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!

$75

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.

$40

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.

$120

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.

$30

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.

$100

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.

$40

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.

$121

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$179

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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