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Clarissa Esquival

It's science: Moms who have more children might live longer

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There's no night cream or magic pill that can keep us young forever, but a study out of Canada's Simon Fraser University suggests motherhood might be as close as we get to the fountain of youth.

Researchers found the more children a mom has, the longer her telomeres (the protective ends of our DNA). Telomere shortening is linked to aging, so we want our telomeres to stay as long as possible for as long as possible.

Basically, this study suggests that the more surviving kids a mom has, the younger she stays.

The study looked at 75 women living in rural Guatemala and measured telomere length once and then again 13 years later. "The slower pace of telomere shortening found in the study participants who have more children however, may be attributed to the dramatic increase in estrogen, a hormone produced during pregnancy," professor Pablo Nepomnaschy explained in a media release.

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While the study was published in 2016, recent media reports have Nepomnaschy's work making headlines again, but there is more recent research on the subject that we should consider as well.

According to a 2018 study published in Scientific Reports, having a child can age a mother's cells by up to two years.

In this study, researchers looked at the telomere length of 821 women (all in their early twenties) in the Philippines and found the telomeres looked older for moms who'd had more babies. "Telomere length and epigenetic age are cellular markers that independently predict mortality, and both appeared 'older' in women who had more pregnancies in their reproductive histories," Calen Ryan, a doctoral student in biological anthropology at Northwestern, and lead author of the study explained. "Even after accounting for other factors that affect cellular aging, the number of pregnancies still came out on top."

For the women in the Guatemala study (where the average age of the moms was 39.4 years), having more kids kept them young, but for the women in the Philippines, it aged them.

Could it be that the physical demands of motherhood ages us in our twenties but the social support system we create through motherhood keeps us younger later in life?

As the researchers behind the Guatemala study explain: "Reproduction involves the investment of energetic resources and increased health risks which may lead to lower investment in somatic effort. In humans and other cooperative-breading species, however, pregnancy and offspring rearing may attract higher social support resulting in a net energetic gain, which in turn may slow down the aging process."

Obviously, more science needs to be done on the impact of pregnancy and motherhood on telomeres and aging. Like so much of parenthood, your mileage may vary.

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Last year, Bode and Morgan Miller welcomed identical twin boys into the world, and now the couple is giving us a glimpse into how things went down on that fateful day by showing the story of their twin home birth.

"Presenting…Birth Story with Bode," Morgan wrote in an Instagram Story (it's in her highlights). "I'm sharing because...our bodies are beautiful. It's a scary emotional ride but d*mn, we are capable of so much more than we even know."

bode morgan miller twins home birth

But in order to really tell their birth story, the couple had to go back to nearly a month before their babies came into the world. Bode predicted the babies would be born on his birthday, October 12, but the day came and went with no signs of labor. Instead, Morgan carried the babies until November 8. They chose to induce on that day and they were prepared to proceed with a home birth as planned.

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However, Morgan had a sudden change of heart. "You said, 'I don't want to do this today. I'm going to the hospital. I want to get an epidural,'" Bode recalled. "I said, 'Well that's not going to happen. That window has passed.'"

And so a home birth it was! Right before the midwives arrived at the Miller family's home, it became pretty clear that the babies were ready to make their big debut. "You went over to the other side of the bed and said come push my hips… and within like three contractions I could really feel them going apart when I was pushing them together, which means that baby's head is really getting low down in there and pushing apart your pelvis," Bode said, adding that he felt the baby's head emerging.

Both boys were born quickly, before the family's medical team could arrive.

"They were like, 'Oh my god...what are you doing?" Bode recounted. "I was like, I guess having babies? I don't know."

Bode and Morgan named their twin boys Asher and Askel. They join big brothers Easton, 13 months, and Edward, 4, and Bode's children, Samuel, 6, and daughter Neesyn, 11. They also have a sister in heaven—as you may recall, Bode and Morgan tragically lost their daughter, Emeline, to a drowning accident at just 19 months.

While the twin birth was certainly dramatic, the couple couldn't be happier with how it all unfolded. "It was literally ideal," Bode said. "[It was] a lot for everybody to experience, you couldn't have had it be cooler for everybody involved."

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Milestone moments aren't just for parents of babies. Designer Joanna Gaines shared the details of a momentous occasion on Instagram this week: her oldest son getting his driver's permit.

That might be a shock to you to those of you who have watched the Gaines' family grow up on HGTV, but Drake is 15 years old now. 😲

As any parent knows, the years just fly by when you're raising kids. Understandably, the fact that her firstborn is now old enough to get behind the wheel of a car had Gaines feeling more than a little emotional.

"Drake waited in line for an hour and finally got called up to get his drivers permit and then my 15 year old little boy drove home with Chip and all of a sudden he is all grown up," she wrote. Watching Drake check off that particular milestone was especially head-spinning for the mom since she's got a toddler at home, too.

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"It's crazy because this morning I spent most of my time teaching Crew how to go up and down the stairs because he is still so wobbly (his weight is not distributed evenly quite yet). He used to reach for my hand when climbing the stairs so I could help him and now he insists on doing it himself, " she continued. "The gap between these two circumstances with my boys is wide but the feeling on both is somehow the same."

Fair warning, the ending of Gaines' post is going to have you wiping tears from your eyes. "So many hard and beautiful moments of beginnings and ends," she wrote. "Parenthood is all about training these babies up to eventually let them go. May we savor all the big and quiet moments along the way."

Not wanting to miss any of those moments was a big part of the reason Gaines and her husband Chip decided to end their hit show Fixer Upper in 2018. With a family of fast-growing kids (the couple are also parents to kids Duke, Ella Rose, and Ella Kay), Gaines posted on her blog at the time that she and her husband wanted to step away from the show to give "lots of love and attention to both our family and our other businesses." That's left time to savor all those special events in their children's lives—whether it's a step toward adulthood or simply a step up the staircase. But fans shouldn't worry: the couple is still making time for work, too. Their own network is set to launch this summer.

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It has been watched nearly 3 million times, and although this video from Hallmark was originally posted last May it is going viral again because for us moms, every day is Mother's Day.

The video is a commercial for Hallmark, but it is also so much more than that. It's a look into what motherhood is really like, the crying, the multitasking, the mess...and the bittersweet pain of watching them grow up.

The commercial follows a mom as her kids grow from toddlers eating off the floor to tweens who need privacy to teenagers who need to borrow the car...and finally, into parents themselves.

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Warning, watch this one with a tissue in hand:

"There will be a day when you hold them on your hip for the very last time..." a narrator tells us.

"There will be a day when you've made your final bubble beard...a day when you will no longer be greeted like a hero..or get the privilege of carrying them up to bed in your arms. Nothing can prepare you for these days."

And as we see the mom's daughter become a mom, the narrator says, "just as nothing can prepare you for the day when they finally understand how much you love them."

Are you crying yet, mama?

Thank you Hallmark, for showing the world that motherhood is so complex.

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It's finally 2020. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few days into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

Laura Prepon is a mama x 2! 

Actors Laura Prepon and Ben Foster share 2-year-old daughter Ella and now share another "bundle of love".

Prepon announced her pregnancy back in October on Instagram:. "We are so excited to announce that our family is growing. Life is beautiful!" and has now announced her birth as well.

"Overwhelmed with gratitude." she captioned an Instagram photo of her baby.

Ashley Graham is a mama! 🎉

A new chapter is unfolding for model and podcaster Ashley Graham, who just announced she and her husband Justin Ervin have met their baby.

The baby arrived Saturday, according to a post made on Graham's Instagram Stories.

"At 6:00pm on Saturday our lives changed for the better," reads the Story. "Thank you for all your love and support during this incredible time."

Graham previously announced that she and Ervin were expecting a son. They initially announced the pregnancy on their ninth wedding anniversary.

Congratulations to Ashley and Justin!

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden just welcomed a baby girl! 🎉

Surprise! Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden are ringing in the New Year as first-time parents!

"Happy New Year from the Maddens!" reads a birth announcement posted to both Diaz and Madden's Instagram accounts. "We are so happy, blessed and grateful to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden. She has instantly captured our hearts and completed our family."

Raddix Madden is the first child for Diaz, 47, and Madden, 40.

The couple say they won't be posting any pictures of their daughter on social media as they "feel a strong instinct to protect our little one's privacy."

Congratulations to the Maddens! 🎉

Dylan Dreyer of 'Today' is a mom of 2! 

Today meteorologist Dylan Dreyer and her husband Brian Fichera, welcomed their second child, Oliver George Fichera, the first week of January 2020. Oliver joins his big brother Calvin to make the family a foursome.

Dreyer is still recovering from birth but her voice was on TV this week when she called into her show with an update on her new family. "I feel good," Dylan told her colleagues. "I just feel so happy and so blessed."

Caterina Scorsone of 'Grey's Anatomy' now has 3 girls!

Caterina Scorsone of Grey's Anatomy has so much to be thankful for in 2020: She's now a mom of three! The actress announced the birth of her daughter via Instagram, noting that her baby's name is Arwen.

Arwen joins big sisters Eliza, 7, and 3-year-old Paloma, who has Down syndrome. Speaking on The Motherly Podcast last year, Scorsone explained how Paloma's diagnosis made her "whole concept of what motherhood was had to shift."

It is likely shifting again, as any mama who has gone from two kids to three knows.

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