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My husband rubs my lower back as I cradle my 36-week pregnant belly in my arms. I'm on my side focusing on waves, the sound of them crashing ashore and then being pulled back out—a rhythmic sound meant to calm and soothe.


"How is this working?" he asks.

"It's perfect. Bring on the contractions because I am ready to do this!"

My enthusiasm stems from birthing classes and the high I experienced while writing my birth plan. It was nestled in my overnight bag with everything else I'd need, and now all I needed was for my body to go into labor.

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The practice scene with my husband was as close as I'd ever get to the kind of labor I envisioned. Four weeks later, I entered a sterile operating room where doctors worked for 45 minutes to dislodge my breech-positioned daughter, Wren, my strong-willed little bird.

I tried not to think of my forgotten birth plan or all the ways I had encouraged Wren to flip. I held her and was enchanted, shifting my mind from birthing to mothering.

I finally acknowledged my C-section scar weeks after my daughter arrived. It wasn't as long as I thought it would be. There was skin hanging over the horizontal line, as if the scar had its own awning protecting it from the upper half of my body.

"War wound," I mouthed to my reflection, trying to give it a title that would make me proud. It didn't work.

I didn't hate the scar, but my relationship with it was complicated. The pink wound felt like a sign of defeat, and I felt guilty for even acknowledging that truth. I didn't think other women who had C-sections had been defeated, but I couldn't extend any grace to myself.

My daughter was out in the world and safe. A C-section was the reason. Still, I eyed the scar skeptically, and for months when I caught a glimpse of it in the mirror as I dressed, I not so kindly murmured, "It'll be different next time."

***

A little over two years later, I was in the same operating room where my daughter entered the world. My son, Sam, staged a 43-week sit in, and time was up. He was surgically retrieved in time for Christmas. I held back bitter tears as my lower half went numb.

Two weeks after we left the hospital, Sam reentered it because he developed pneumonia. By the time we returned home with his tiny lungs clear, my incision site ached because I ignored all recovery instructions while Sam teetered in the gray land between life and death. The incision area stayed pink and angry—throbbing for weeks.

My scar represented pain and fear. It brought back the feeling of standing next to an intensive care unit crib stroking my son's face with one hand while cupping my incision site with the other thinking, I can hold us all together if I just try hard enough.

When Sam was 6 months old, I feel like that's when I really noticed my scar again while pulling on my shorts. I hadn't studied it in ages, and just looking at it made me remember how much it used to ache. The scar was pale and thin, just a shadow of the rage that once existed.

My pain, both physical and emotional, had followed the same pattern. My fears were fading. For once, I felt a strong connection to this line that once only represented defeat. It was now a representation of the passage of time, the evolution of my emotions. The scar was physical evidence that pain can fade.

***

"You're having identical twins," my OB announces.

"What?"

"You're having another C-section, mama. They are sharing a placenta."

I hoped that finally making peace with my C-section scar would open me up to the possibility of a vaginal birth. But no one, from my OB to my high-risk doctor, would discuss anything but a surgical delivery. I have to concede that with twins and no prior labors, it's not worth the risks.

"You get a tummy tuck with this one," my doctor joked while prepping me for my third surgery in four and a half years. "The scar will be larger because there are two babies, but we will roll the other scars into it. It will look clean and precise."

Clean, precise, surgical—as all of my births had been.

I know, too, that my births have been miracles, ending with new life, with birth stories representing my kids' personalities.

When my kids ask me for the stories of their births, they instinctively glance to where my scar sits beneath my clothes. I explain that it's where they came from, that it's a sign of life. For me, it marked the end of certain dreams, but it brought forth the reality of countless others.

When I look at my scar now, I see my body's ability to heal, to survive.

I see journeys of both the physical and mental variety, with success waiting at the end—even if it wasn't the end I expected.

More than anything, though, I see grace. The grace I finally learned to give myself when plans changed and I adjusted accordingly, emerging stronger than ever before.

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Our babies come out as beautiful, soft and natural as can be—shouldn't their clothes follow suit?

Here are nine of our favorite organic kids clothing brands that prove safe fabrics + stylish designs are a natural fit.

Estella

A brick and mortar store in Manhattan that opened in 2002, Estella is NYC's go-to shop for luxury baby gifts—from sweet-as-pie organic clothing to eco-friendly toys.

L'ovedbaby

@lovedbaby

We l'oved this collection from the moment we laid eyes on it. (See what we did there 🤣) Free of things harsh added chemicals, dangerous flame retardants, and harmful dyes, this collection is 100% organic and 100% gorgeous. We especially adore their soft, footed rompers, comfy cotton joggers, and newborn-friendly kimono bodysuits.

Looking to stock up? Don't miss Big-Find Thursday every week on their site—a 24-hour flash sale that happens Thursdays at 9 a.m. PST and features a different body style, collection, and discount every week!

Hanna Andersson

@happyhannas

One of our all-time favorite brands for durability, style, + customer service, Hanna Andersson doesn't disappoint in the organic department, either. From an aww-inducing organic baby layette collection all the way to their iconic pajamas, there are so many organic styles to swoon over from this beloved brand. And we swear their pajamas are magic—they seem to grow with your little one, fitting season after season!

Monica + Andy

@monicaandandy

The fabric you first snuggle your baby in matters. Monica + Andy's (gorgeous) collection is designed for moms and babies by moms with babies, and we love it all because it's made of super-soft GOTS-certified organic cotton that's free of chemicals, lead, and phthalates. Newborn pieces feature thoughtful details like fold-over mittens and feet.

Finn + Emma

@finnandemma

"Here boring designs and toxic chemicals are a thing of the past while modern colors, fresh prints and heirloom quality construction are abundant." We couldn't agree more. Made from 100% organic cotton, eco friendly dyes, and in fair trade settings, we love this modern collection's mix of style + sustainability.

We especially love the Basics Collection, an assortment of incredibly soft, beautiful apparel + accessories including bodysuits, zip footies, pants, hats, and bibs, all available in a gender-neutral color palette that can work together to create multiple outfit combinations. The pieces are perfect for monochrome looks or for mixing with prints for a more modern style.

SoftBaby

@littleaddigrey for @softbaby_clothes

You'll come for SoftBaby's organic fabrics, but you'll stay for their adorable assortment of prints. From woodland foxes to urban pugs, there's no limit to their assortment (meaning you'll even be able to find something for the new mama who's hard to shop for). Plus, the name says it all--these suckers are soft. Get ready for some serious cuddle time.

Gap Baby

@gapkids

Organic may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Gap, but this popular brand actually carries a wide variety of organic (and adorable) baby + toddler clothes. From newborn layette basics to toddler sleepwear—and more—there's something for everyone in this collection. Everything is 100% cotton, super soft + cozy, and perfect for eco-conscious mamas.

Winter Water Factory

@winterwaterfactory

Certified organic cotton with Brooklyn-based swagger? Be still our hearts. Winter Water Factory features screen-printed textiles in bold designs you'll want to show off (get ready for some major Instagram likes). And the husband-and-wife co-founders keep sustainability at the forefront of their brand, meaning you can feel good about your purchase--and what you're putting on your baby.

The company makes everything from kids' clothes to crib sheets (all made in the USA). For even more cuteness, pair their signature rompers with a hat or bonnet.

Under the Nile

@underthenile

Under the Nile has been making organic baby clothes since before it was cool. Seriously, they were the first baby clothing company in the USA to be certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard. They've kept up that legacy of high standards by growing their Egyptian cotton on a biodynamic farm without the use of pesticides or insecticides, and all of their prints are made with metal-free colors and no chemical finishes.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Whether I live next to you or across the country, social media makes it easy for us to stay updated on each other's lives and that's a wonderful thing. I love seeing pictures of your kids and I think it's great that you choose to share videos of your child singing, giggling and taking his or her first steps.

I simply choose not to share pregnant pictures, or even a family photo from the hospital once our daughter arrived because my pregnancy, birth and growing family are parts of my life I wanted to protect from the outside world.

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