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Many grandmothers are in the room or just down the hall when their grandchild enters the world, waiting anxiously to meet the baby who will make their baby a parent.

But 61-year-old Cecile Eledge wasn't just in the delivery room when her granddaughter Uma was born earlier this week. As first reported by BuzzFeed News, she was the one giving birth to her.

"It started off as really a joke. My mom, she loved being pregnant and she also really wants grandchildren—and has gone to great lengths to make that happen," Cecile's son, Uma's father Matthew Eledge explained in an interview with Motherly.

Cecile was the gestational surrogate for Matthew and his husband, Elliot Dougherty. As a gestational surrogate, Cecile did not provide an egg (that came from Elliot's sister, Lea) but did carry her granddaughter in her womb.

As Matthew tells Motherly, Uma's birth was a community effort and her upbringing will be too.

"My mom, I believe she's the hero of the story because she had to endure so much, but at the same time, my partner's sister, she was generous enough to donate her eggs and she didn't have to do that. That required a huge invasion of her life," he says, noting that while Uma has two men for parents, her little family is surrounded by and supported by women.

Matthew continues: "There's something about women that is irreplaceable and healing and powerful and amazing, so thank God we have these women around us, not just for us, but also for our daughter to grow up and witness and be inspired by."

The journey to Uma

Like many LGBTQ couples, Matthew and Elliot put a lot of thought into how they were going to become parents, like two years worth of thought. They knew that if they used Matthew's sperm and Elliot's sister's egg they would both be genetically related to their child, but they would still need a gestational surrogate, and Cecile surprised her son by volunteering.

Matthew says he kind of scoffed at the idea at first, as his mother was ten years beyond menopause when she made the offer. Still, he mentioned it to the couple's IVF specialist and to his surprise, the doctor didn't think it was so crazy.

Cecile's son describes her as someone who has been "ridiculously healthy all her life" and when Dr. Maud Doherty at Methodist Women's Hospital started testing Cecile's fitness for gestation, it became clear that despite her age, she could be a good candidate for gestational surrogacy.

Bringing Uma into the world was an act of love that brought her two dads (Matthew's on the right), her aunt and her grandmother together, as is clearly seen in the maternity photos taken by photographer Ariel Panowicz, who also captured Uma's birth.

"I have this daughter who was born into a world where her Aunt Lea gave a piece of herself for her to grow, and her grandmother provided a warm, loving environment for [the pregnancy] to come to fruition, and then we have my great childhood friend Laurie, who has been pumping and freezing her breastmilk so she can nourish this girl," Matthew explains.

Each one of these women offered Matthew and Elliot an incredible gift during this process. Matthew says there's something about new parenthood that makes people speak in cliches, but that "it truly does take a village".

We all need a village

Matthew and Elliot, along with Lea, Cecile and Laurie acted as a team to bring Uma into the world, and while it made Matthew feel vulnerable to rely on others, he wishes more parents, gay or straight, could embrace vulnerability and have the kind of support system that he and Elliot have behind them.

"We've gotten into this mindset where, moms especially, have more pressures then I think they've ever had before. They have to do it all but also they don't get to ask for help. And I think that's just such a shame. It's a shame for women, it's a shame for fathers and it's a shame for kids," he explains.

For Matthew, having people behind him as he parents his daughter is as important as having help in conceiving her. Leaning on the strong women around him has given him confidence he wasn't always sure he would find as a father.

"I went into this process of building a family with a lot of fears, like would I be able to tap into what I believe is 'maternal magic'? In this process I've learned that I can, especially with the help of others."

A mother's amazing gift

He's been a father for a few days now, and Matthew still can't really believe the gift his mother gave him.

"This is a big undertaking, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, and for her to say that it was no problem, I think that speaks volumes to her character, to make such a sacrifice, such a selfless act for the sake of her own child, even when they're grown...I just think it's so powerful," he explains.

It is powerful and rare. Only a handful of women over sixty have carried their grandchildren as gestational surrogates, and even with Cecile being in such great health, having an embryo take on the first try is pretty kind of amazing.

Medical technology and the couple's village made this process as easy as possible, but state laws in Nebraska have not. As Matthew explains, on Uma's birth certificate he and his mom are unfortunately listed as Uma's parents (even though Cecile is not Uma's biological mother) and Elliot is not recognized at all.

In some states, a baby's intended parents are recognized on the birth certificate and the surrogate is not, but that's not how it is in Nebraska, so Elliot will have to adopt Uma in order to be recognized as her legal father.

Despite the legal red tape Elliot is just as much Uma's parent as Matthew is. As Elliot explained in a recent Instagram post, the new dads are living life "in two hour intervals now" (something we can totally relate to).

"I know we've got this," Elliot writes. "Matthew is an incredible dad. I didn't know I could love him any deeper than I already did, but watching him with her is so beautiful."

And so is the story of her birth, and the amazing gift that Matthew's mother and Elliot's sister gave these loving dads.

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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We are almost into Pumpkin Spice season—this summer, this month and this week have flown by! But don't worry, we've been taking note of the good news stories you need to read when you have a moment to slow down.

Grab a coffee and get comfortable, mama, because these are the headlines that made us smile this week:

This kindergarten father is total #dadgoals

As Today reports, dad Jamie DeSpain is going viral for making his kindergarten daughter's day by taking her stuffed cat, Sophia, to work with him and putting her to work.

DeSpain's oldest daughter, Hadley, had been taking Sofia the cat with her to school as she made the big leap into kindergarten this month, but last week her dad realized she'd forgotten Sofia in the van when he'd dropped her off at school. DeSpain didn't want to cause an interruption at school, so he just brought Sofia into work with him and began texting his wife, Erica, photos of Sophia doing work around the office.

"I kind of have a goofy streak and Hadley really appreciates goofiness," Jamie DeSpain, who lives in Madison, Alabama, told Today Parents. "Combine that with her love for stuffed animals...[it] made for the perfect dad setup."

He took pics of Sophia taking phone calls, doing emails, having coffee and even having a pensive look out the window, which DeSpain captioned: "wondering what Hadley is doing."

When dad got home, his daughter was thrilled with her stuffed animal's big day out and was happy to be reunited with both her father and Sofia. Hadley was so thrilled with the experience that she asked her dad to repeat the mission the next day with her stuffed dog, Mocha. The cotton-filled canine was spotted doing various office tasks and, of course, drinking some coffee. 😂

Hadley's mama says her husband's antics were a welcome bit of fun and helped the family remember that while kindergarten is a big step, Hadley's still a little kid (and it seems her dad is too, at least at heart).

"Sending Hadley off to kindergarten has been a big transition for us as a family, but this activity reminded us that she's still little," Erica DeSpain said."We want to soak up that childlike wonder as much as we can, and this activity was a great way to do just that."

We think office buildings are about to see an infestation of stuffed animals!

This father's viral Instagram video is total #dadgoals

Father Jimmy Howell has gone viral for giving his 9-month-old daughter Kensley an adorable pedicure.

"She got a little crazy with me today due to the fact that I was filing her nails a little too rough, y'all see why I can't do anything for free, I'm charging her next week, just watch," he captioned the video he posted to Instagram.

"Kensey, this is free," He jokes in the video after Kensley seems to protest the spa service for moment. 😂

With the power of dad humor, Howell not only got the baby's toes clipped (which is hard to do!) but got her laughing, too. He says he has weekly "spa talks" with his daughter, so it's no wonder his baby nail skills are so on point.

Viral kindness: "Please ask me if I have sunscreen" 

We have all been there—sometimes you're the one who needs an extra diaper and sometimes you're the one who has one to give. The point is, every parent needs help sometimes and most are happy to pay it forward when it is their turn to give a diaper to a stranger in need.

Wisconsin mom Shelby Beck captured this perfectly in a Facebook post this week after she went to the park with her daughter and a fellow mama had to ask her for a favor.

When the stranger approached Beck, she could tell she was uncomfortable. "She shrugged her shoulders and quietly said 'I'm embarrassed to even ask, but do you happen to have sunscreen we can use?' As if she was somehow ashamed that she forgot to pack sunscreen today." Beck wrote.

She continued her Facebook post with an open letter to parents who find themselves in the same situation as the sheepish stranger.

"Dear fellow mamas,

Please ask me if I have sunscreen. Ask if I have baby wipes, diapers or even extra snacks.

Ask me if your toddler can sit down and play with us while you find a shady bench to nurse your newborn.

Hand me your phone and ask me to take a picture of you with your sweet babies - we all know mamas aren't in enough photos.

Ask for help. Ask for love. Ask for anything.

Even though we are strangers, please ask me.

It's not easy being responsible for little humans but it's easier if we help each other out.
We're all in this together.❤️"

We could not agree with Shelby more. Mamas helping mamas is a beautiful thing (and asking for sunscreen could even lead to making a mom friend!).

Oh, and one last thing...

Oh, and if you need a good cry this weekend, check out this viral Michael Bublé video that has parents everywhere crying about our kids growing up. Team Motherly could not get through it without sobbing! Just like summer, their childhoods will be over before we know it so take some time to connect with your babies this weekend. They're off to kindergarten today—off to college tomorrow! 😭


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News

We may still be in flip-flops, but at Starbucks, at least, fall is nearly upon us. Yes, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is almost back. You can get your PSL on as early as next week, mama.

Starbucks says baristas will be slinging the PSL again on August 27. The earliest return of the PSL ever.

The drink that has become a cultural phenomenon, launching an entire category of imitation products (not to mention a whole season) is marking its 16th anniversary this year.



The PSL has become, as one Starbucks exec put it, "a harbinger of the [fall] season." It almost wasn't called the PSL though. According to Starbucks, it was almost named the "Fall Harvest Latte"—which doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

If you just can't wait until next week for your PSL fix, the grocery store versions are already hitting store shelves. The new creamer, bottled PSLs, Pumpkin Spice Flavored Ground Coffee, Starbucks® K-Cup pods, Instant Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Pumpkin Spice Cookie Straws are helping fall-lovers get their fix.


It may still feel like summer, but we can't deny that change is in the air. At least we'll have the PSL to keep us warm when it's time to put away the flip-flops.

[A version of this post was originally published August 22, 2018. It has been updated.]

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News

When you're a mama on the move, safe car seats are a necessity but can be a budget buster, especially if you're looking to upgrade or have to furnish multiple cars. Luckily, Target is here to fix that.

Target is bringing back their popular car seat trade-in program from Tuesday, September 3 – Friday, September 13.

Just bring your old car seat to the recycling bin near Guest Services and a Target team member will give you a coupon for 20% off a new a new car seat, booster seat, car seat base, travel system or stroller. And the coupon can also be applied to select baby gear, such as high chairs, swings, rockers and bouncers. 👏

The coupon is eligible through Saturday, Sept.14, 2019, so if you don't see the seat of your dreams in store when you drop off your old one, you'll want to check out the online selection and act pretty fast.

With the exception of the small format stores, all Targets will be taking car seats between September 3 and 13. (You can find a participating store near you here.)

Target has held several of these car seat trade-in events since 2016 in an effort to help parents recycle the seats, which are not eligible for curbside recycling and take up a lot of space when sent to landfills. The retailer hands over all the old car seats to Waste Management, and the materials are recycled to make grocery carts, plastic buckets and construction materials like steel beams.

The event is really a win-win—we get to keep our kids safe while giving the car seats that protected them a second life. Just another reason to love Target.

[A version of this post was originally published April 18, 2018. It has been updated.]

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News

Michael Bublé knows how to make music that makes us feel all the feels, and his viral lyric video for his song "Forever Now" proves it.

If you've got kids heading back to school, watch this at your own risk and with some tissues handy, mama.

Michael Bublé - Forever Now [Official Lyric Video] youtu.be

The video is a simple animation of a child's room as it transforms over time from a nursery to the packed-up bedroom of a young adult leaving the nest. We held it together until it got to this part: "It wasn't so long ago, we walked together and you held my hand. and now you're getting too big to want to."

The video reminds us of the classic children's book Love You Forever, and that the babies in our arms today will one day be in someone else's arms.

Right now, when our days are filled with bottle washing and shoe getting and making sure that no one falls asleep in their car seat the days sometimes feel so long, but Bublé's telling us something that we sometimes forget: One day we will be looking back and wondering why these long days went by so fast.

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