To my childfree friends: You make this better by simply being here

I know that this is not a version of me that you know.

I know that you are used to me jumping in the car and catching a spur-of-the-moment movie. I know that we can usually catch lunch together throughout the week and you have my undivided attention for that entire hour. I know that before this, I was a concert buddy, a travel partner, a go-to for a fun night out or girl’s night in.

I know that before all of this, I had more interesting tidbits of conversation than the repeated: I’m so tired. I’m so tired. I’M SO TIRED.

I’m sure that your mind wanders as I go on about completely foreign and tedious things like diaper rash, teething, baby food, check-up appointments and the ongoing list of baby tricks my little one is now capable. I’m sure that you have moments where you just want to grab my face with both hands and scream the story you have repeated three times in my face, so that I can actually hear you.

Trust me, I know.

But among all these things, I also know that you have never made me feel guilty for any of it. Instead, you try and try again to distract my waddling toddler screaming “MOMMAMOMMAMOMMA” as I make us a slightly charred dinner. Instead, you turn a blind eye to my overflowing sink or toy strewn living room. You jump up to change a diaper. You wait patiently as I unload a stroller, and a diaper bag, and a squealing baby and then continue to wait (for what must feel like a small eternity) while I wrestle them all into their rightful place and we can finally haphazardly trek into the mall.

You sit in my car among the toys and wipes and gear and listen to my pitchy versions of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” for the dozenth time without a complaint.

You have never made me feel like a lesser version of myself, because I’m not the same version of myself. You don’t push me when I bashfully tell you I’m not ready to leave my baby for a girl’s weekend. You don’t hint that I need to return back to my flexible, “normal” ways or else our friendship will dissolve. Not even when I often, inexplicably, burst into tears in my first few weeks postpartum. Not even when I continuously skipped out of going ANYWHERE, because it was too stressful with my new little one. Or when I show up in public looking like I’ve been hit by a freight train.

We are in two very different stages of life. You are still carefree and able to tackle your career and travel and do all of the things you want to do when you want to do them. I, on the other hand, cannot leave the house without a basic itinerary and a bag full of every possible item that could remedy every possible hypothetical.

I know that you see this and acknowledge it, but I also know that you cannot possibly understand it, because you just aren’t here yet. You have no way of knowing the vulnerability that comes with motherhood, no idea how much it forcefully remolds the deepest parts of you without your consent. And yet, you have made one of the scariest parts of it so easy, simply by loving me and just remaining with me. Even during the times when I seemed like a wholly different, distracted person.

So, my sweet and patient friend, thank you.

Thank you for chasing and kissing little feet so that I can actually finish a task.

Thank you for offering to babysit even when I don’t ask.

Thank you for almost always coming with coffee in hand.

Thank you for seeing me underneath all of the mommy weight and mommy gear.

Thank you for making me feel like my little one is the most hilarious and precious little person in the world… And spoiling her in ways that I don’t.

I know that you have no idea the weight that these small things carry. I know that you offer them up freely and without keeping a secret tally to be repaid one day, and that is why I must voice this small thank you, because I know that you do not know you are worthy of it.

I know that I am different. I know that my life is very far removed from the spontaneous place it once resided–a place closer to you–and yet you have still made the journey to meet me where I am.

For this, thank you.

Join Motherly

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this


My belly has been through some things.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (yep, severe debilitating pregnancy-related vomiting), the pregnancies of each of my four kids, the 65 pounds of weight gain I have endured with each pregnancy, stretch marks, Occupational Therapy for pregnancy pelvic pain, unmedicated childbirth, and of course, postpartum recovery.

It's my personal opinion that this belly deserves some love. So starting with my second pregnancy, I've relied on Belly Bandit's postpartum belly bands (which I own in three sizes) to help support my core, reduce swelling, and begin to activate my midsection after nine months of being stretched to the max.

Here's why I love Belly Bandit:

Keep reading Show less

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play