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Rachel Platten is refreshingly real about postpartum anxiety + motherhood in general

"I've cried a lot in green rooms, cried through feedings, cried huddled on the bus knowing I have months of this to go wondering what on earth I got myself into with an infant?" she captioned an Instagram photo recently.

Rachel Platten is refreshingly real about postpartum anxiety + motherhood in general

Rachel Platten is an award-winning singer whose hit "Fight Song" is the perfect soundtrack to a bad day. She's a busy, touring performer and also a new mom who's not hiding the fact that she is fighting postpartum anxiety.

Platten is among the many moms who are participating in the March of Dimes #unspokenstories initiative, sharing the challenging and frustrating parts of motherhood on social media in the hopes of making a change for the mothers who come after them.

She welcomed her daughter Violet Skye back in January and tells Motherly that while she had a difficult pregnancy, she still wasn't prepared for how challenging postpartum life can feel and the anxiety that would linger after her maternity leave ended.

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"I think I just didn't realize how incredibly hard it is to make a human and then what the first couple of weeks or months postpartum would feel like. That was the biggest shock," Platten tells Motherly, adding that she's very lucky to have support many mothers can't afford, as well as a great partner, and friends and family who were there when she needed them.

"But none of that mattered. It still felt very lonely," she says.

We know that early motherhood is so hard, and agree with Platten when she says that every new mom needs to have other women in her corner to back her up on those bad days when little things feel like impossible challenges. That was the case for Platten when the power at her house went out one day. In their pre-baby says she and her husband would have just lit some candles and turned an inconvenience into an opportunity for romance, but with a baby in the house, a power outage caused a lot of stress.

"My husband and I started fighting, doubting ourselves, frantically trying to find a place to save my dwindling frozen milk supply that I'd need this week for an out of town show, running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We were underslept and exhausted and by the end of the day our mellow, sweet violet was screaming at the top of her lungs for two hours straight and could not be comforted," Platten shared on Instagram.

In short, it was a very bad day, and not the only one she has had since becoming a mother and juggling her new family life with touring and working.

"I've cried a lot in green rooms, cried through feedings, cried huddled on the bus knowing I have months of this to go wondering what on earth I got myself into with an infant?" she captioned another Instagram photo recently.

In that post and in her conversation with Motherly, Platten emphasized the importance of finding other moms to connect with in the fourth trimester. "I can't recommend enough to new moms finding your own group and building it," she says. "I had no idea how much I needed other women until now."

Platten turns to her friends and reaches out for help when she needs to and she wants other mothers to feel comfortable doing the same. That's why she's sharing her story so publicly, so that other moms will know that "even if you're crying while you're feeding the baby, you are enough," she says.

Platten's sharing her #unspokenstories because she thinks the stories that are spoken, the ones about glowing pregnant women who aren't puking in airport bathrooms and the perfect pictures we see on Instagram are contributing to a kind of wishful thinking, a social denial that paints motherhood as easy and breezy when it is really, really hard.

This denial can make moms think that if they're not cherishing every moment with their baby or loving #momlife that something is wrong with them, but nothing is wrong with us. It's really just that hard, mama. That's the truth more people need to speak.

"If you're struggling through it, you are beautiful and you're doing an amazing job," says Platten. "I want everyone to be easier on themselves."

And that's why she is sharing a story that isn't easy to share.

As Platten's story proves, postpartum depression and anxiety are more common that many think. If you need help here are the resources you need. here are the resources you need.

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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

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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.

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Balance board

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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!

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Detective set

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Wooden rocking pegasus

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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

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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.

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Wooden digital camera

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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

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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

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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.

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Baby forest fox ride-on

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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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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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