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This mom of 54 prepares for a new challenge—giving birth for the first time

As she awaits the arrival of her first biological child this month, Maggie Doyne has the same concerns as most expectant mothers: “I don’t know how birth is going to be for me because I’ve never done it before,” she tells Motherly. “So I just want to get through that and see what happens.”


Once the baby arrives, however, Doyne has a big advantage. As the loving mother to 54 children in Nepal, she can handle just about any parenting challenge.

So, how does the mother who’s done it all except deliver a child really feel about the process? Emboldened by the examples of others, which are largely universal.

“I like to think about my mom, all those strong Nepali mothers and all of the women around the world who have done this before me,” Doyne says. “Whether I was in the States or in the most remote part of Nepal, every mother had a birth story to share, tips, advice, comradery and a knowing look of sympathy they’d give you around being pregnant.”

Inspired by those stories, Doyne says she’s looking forward to her experience “no matter how it unfolds.”

Then again, this won’t be the first time she goes into unchartered territory.

Just 31 years old, Doyne has already made quite the impact with her organization BlinkNow, a nonprofit foundation that seeks to provide educations and caring homes for orphaned children in Surkhet, Nepal. For her work, Doyne has been honored with everything from the distinction as CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2015 to the Unsung Hero of Compassion, which was presented to her by the Dalai Lama.

It’s a life path she didn’t imagine for herself when she set out to travel the world during a gap year before college.

“I thought I needed to get to know myself a little better,” Doyne says. Her self-finding mission eventually led her to Nepal, which was just coming out of a civil war. As the country was piecing itself back together, Doyne says she found her purpose in creating a better life for displaced children than traditional orphanages offered.

“In my young, very naive self, I just thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to create a children’s home that’s how I would have wanted to grow up,’” she says. “I just envisioned a place that was a family and a home and where kids would experience brothers and sisters, really good food, play time and sunshine.”

Using babysitting money she had saved from college, Doyne bought a piece of land, built the Kopila Valley Children’s Home and opened the doors—and her heart—to the first five children in 2007. Aided by on-site caregivers called “uncles and aunties,” Doyne and the team manage everything from laundry and doctor’s visits to the soothing of nightmares.

Although the nonprofit, not Doyne, legally has custody of the children due to Nepal’s restrictions on international adoption, she explains she quickly began feeling like a mother to the brood—even as it grew to include 10, 20, 30 and more children.

“The first core group of five were calling me mom and then it just continued,” says Donye, who has been the only mother many of the children can remember. “It felt really right.”

Like any parent, Doyne’s day-to-day struggles are largely banal: someone’s sick, someone’s sad, someone’s got a big soccer match to attend.

It’s all just amplified by the number of children.

“At any given time in a house that big, you have different ages and different stages and everyone’s going through something different,” she says. “There are always a few kids that you’re just a little worried about.”

With the seven oldest of her children now adults who have transitioned to universities or careers, Doyne also knows that all phases pass—and the rewards of watching them grow and succeed make all the struggles worthwhile. That, she says, drives her to “keep going and doing more.”

In her mission to do more, Doyne founded the Kopila Valley School in 2010, the Kopila Valley Health Clinic in 2011 and the Kopila Valley Women’s Center in 2013—all while mothering the children at the home with her fellow caregivers.

Then, in 2015, life took yet another turn when she met her now-husband, Jeremy Power Regimbal, at a lecture series. As she was falling for him, Doyne says her heart was really won over when Power Regimbal first met the children.

“From the moment he stepped into our home and met the kids, that to me was just like, he was in it,” she says. “I knew he could handle it and he loved it.”

That doesn’t mean the shifting dynamics have been without their own challenges. After the couple married and shared with the children they were expecting a new baby, Doyne says one of her daughters in particular was wary.

“I’ve had Maya since she was a baby. She thinks she came out of me, too. She does not distinguish me from being a biological mom,” Doyne says, explaining. “Slowly she kind of came around and looked at me, smiled a little bit and became excited. We just had to tell her it isn’t a different kind of love, it’s all love. It’s all the same and you’re my baby.”

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Only her labor experience will be quite different than those of most mothers in Nepal.

“I’ve seen women in remote Himalayan villages squat their babies out in mud huts, rice paddies or in the forest on their way to chop firewood,” says Donye, who plans to deliver in the United States for safety, privacy and peace of mind reasons. “When I was in Nepal these past few months, I was taking my fancy prenatal vitamins, following along on every pregnancy app, watching every youtube video known to mankind and reading every single book... I didn’t lose sight of how lucky I was to have all those resources to going into my birth experience.”

Apart from the way her child comes into the world, Doyne says she hopes to raise him or her just as she does her other children in Nepal. There’s no denying this takes a remarkable kind of person—but Doyne is adamant there is no “secret sauce” that’s enabled her to take on so much other than the deep love she feels for each child.

"It’s just like a family,” she says. “You would just do anything for your child. They’ve gotten me through all of the losses and the hardships. There’s nothing like a mother’s love for her child and wanting to make a better world for them.”

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Anyone who has had a baby with colic knows: It's not easy. But despite how common colic is, the causes have stumped researchers (and parents) for generations. Yet, the fact remains that some 5 to 19% of newborns suffer from colic, or excessive but largely inexplicable crying spurts.

Parents of colicky newborns are often eager for something, anything, that will give their baby comfort. The good news is that while we don't have complete confirmation on what causes colic, we do have generations worth of evidence on how to best manage and treat colic.

1. Use bottles with an anti-colic internal vent system that creates a natural flow

One of the most commonly cited culprits in causing colic is tummy discomfort from air bubbles taken in while bottle-feeding—which is proof that not all bottles are created equally. Designed with an anti-colic internal vent system that keeps air away from baby's milk during feeding, Dr. Brown's® bottles are clinically proven to reduce colic and are the #1 pediatrician recommended baby bottle in the US

Distractions and a supine position while feeding can cause your baby to take in additional air, leading to those bubbles that can bother their tummies. If you notice an uptick in crying after feeding, experiment with giving your baby milk in a more upright position and then keeping them upright for a while afterwards for burping and digestion.

2. Offer a pacifier

If your baby is calm while eating, it may be that they are actually calmed by the ability to suck on something—a common instinct among newborns. Offering a pacifier not only can help soothe colicky babies, but is also proven to reduce the rate of SIDS in newborns, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Some babies have strong opinions about their pacifiers, which is why staying with the Dr. Brown's brand can help you avoid the guessing game: Designed to mimic the shape of the bottle nipples, Dr. Brown's HappyPaci pacifier makes for easy (read: calming) transitions from bottle to pacifier.

3. Practice babywearing

Beyond tummy troubles, another leading theory is that colic is the result of newborns' immature nervous systems and the overstimulation of life outside the womb. By keeping them close to you through babywearing, you are helping ease their transition to the outside world as they come to terms with their new environment.

During pregnancy, they were also used to lots of motion throughout the day. By walking (even around the house) while babywearing, you can help give them that familiar movement they may crave.

4. Get some fresh air

Along with the motion from walking around, studies show that colicky babies may benefit simply from being outside. This is one thing for parents of spring and summer newborns. But for those who are battling colic during cold, dark months, it can help to take your stroller into the mall for some laps.

5. Swaddle to calm their nervous system

Unlike the warm, cozy confinement of the womb, the outside world babies are contending with during the fourth trimester can be overwhelming—especially after a full day of sensory stimulation. As a result, many parents report their baby's colic is worse at night, which is why a tight, comforting swaddle can help soothe them to sleep.

For many parents coping with a colicky baby, it's simply a process of experimenting about what can best provide relief. Thankfully, it doesn't have to be as much of a guessing game now, due to products like those in the Dr. Brown's line that are specifically tailored to helping babies with colic.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

We make a lot of things this time of year. Gingerbread houses. Christmas cards. New traditions. Babies.

Yes, December is peak baby making season. It's a month filled with togetherness and all the love felt in December is what makes September the most statistically popular month for American birthdays.

According to data journalist Matt Stiles, mid-September is the most popular time to give birth in America. He did a deep dive into the birth stats from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Social Security Administration collected between 1994 and 2014 and found that the most common American birthdays fall on September 9, 19 and 12. In fact, 9 of the 10 most popular days to give birth fall in September.

If we turn the calendar back, we're looking at Christmas time conceptions. Stiles illustrated his findings via a heat map, which presents the data in a visual form. The darker the square, the more common the birthday.

The square for August 30 is pretty dark as it is the 34th most common birthday in America. It's also 40 weeks after November 23, and the unofficial beginning of the United States' seasonal baby boom.


And while the Christmas holidays are common times to conceive, they're not common days to give birth, for obvious reasons. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and the fourth of July are all represented by light squares on Stiles's data map, meaning they're among the least popular days to welcome a little one into the world (Boxing Day is just a smidge darker, still a pretty rare birthday).

OB-GYNs are not likely to schedule C-sections on major holidays, so that might point to the low birth rates on these special days.

As for the September baby boom, it probably has less to do with the magic of the holiday season and more to do with the fact that many Americans take time off work during the holiday season. It's not that mistletoe is some magic aphrodisiac, but just that making babies takes time, and at this time of year we have some to spare.

This Christmas be thankful for the time you have with your loved ones and your partner. That time could give you a gift come September.

[A version of this article was originally posted November 21, 2018]

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It's a conundrum many parents wrestle with: We don't want to lie to our kids, but when it comes to Santa, sometimes we're not exactly giving them the full truth either.

For Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, lying to daughters Lincoln, 5, and Delta, 3 just isn't an option, so everyone in the Bell-Shepard household knows the truth about Santa.

"This is going to be very controversial," Shepard told Us Weekly earlier this month. "I have a fundamental rule that I will never lie to them, which is challenging at times. Our 5-year-old started asking questions like, 'Well, this doesn't make sense, and that doesn't make sense.' I'm like, 'You know what? This is just a fun thing we pretend while it's Christmas.'"

According to Shepard, this has not diminished the magic of Christmas in their home. "They love watching movies about Santa, they love talking about Santa," Shepard told Us. "They don't think he exists, but they're super happy and everything's fine."

Research indicates that Shepard is right—kids can be totally happy and into Christmas even after figuring out the truth and that most kids do start to untangle the Santa myth on their own, as Lincoln did.

Studies suggest that for many kids, the myth fades around age seven, but for some kids, it's sooner, and that's okay.


Writing for The Conversation, Kristen Dunfield, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Concordia University, suggests that when kids come to parents with the hard questions about Santa, parents may feel a bit sad, but can take some comfort in "recognizing these challenging questions for what they are—cognitive development in action."

Kids aren't usually the ones who are upset when they figure it out, researchers note. Typically, kids are kind of proud of themselves for being such great detectives. It's the parents who feel sadness.

Some parents may not choose to be as blunt as Shepard, and that's okay, too. According to Dunfield, if you don't want to answer questions about Santa with 100% truth, you can answer a question with a question.

"If instead you want to let your child take the lead, you can simply direct the question back to them, allowing your child to come up with explanations for themselves: "I don't know, how do you think the sleigh flies?" Dunfield writes.

While Dax Shepard acknowledges that telling a 3-year-old that Santa is pretend might be controversial, he's hardly the first parent to present Santa this way. There are plenty of healthy, happy adults whose parents told them the truth.

LeAnne Shepard is one of them. Now a mother herself, LeAnne's parents clued her into the Santa myth early, for religious reasons that were common in her community.

"In the small Texas town where I grew up, I wasn't alone in my disbelief. Many parents, including mine, presented Santa Claus as a game that other families played," she previously wrote. "That approach allowed us to get a picture on Santa's lap, watch the Christmas classics, and enjoy all the holiday festivities so long as we remembered the actual reason for the season. It was much like when I visited Disney World and met Minnie Mouse; I was both over the moon excited and somewhat aware that she was not actually real."

No matter why you want to tell your children the truth about Santa, know that it's okay to let the kids know that he's pretend. Kristen Bell's kids prove that knowing the truth about Santa doesn't have to make Christmas any less exciting. Pretending can be magical, too.

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Breakfast is often said to be the most important meal of the day, but in many households, it's also the most hectic. Many parents rely on pre-prepared items to cut down on breakfast prep time, and if Jimmy Dean Heat 'n Serve Original Sausage Links are a breakfast hack in your home, you should check your bag.

More than 14 tons of the frozen sausage links are being recalled after consumers found bits of metal in their meat.

The United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall of 23.4-oz. pouches of Jimmy Dean HEAT 'n SERVE Original SAUSAGE LINKS Made with Pork & Turkey with a 'Use By' date of January 31, 2019.

"The product bears case code A6382168, with a time stamp range of 11:58 through 01:49," the FSIS notes.

In a statement posted on its website, Jimmy Dean says "a few consumers contacted the company to say they had found small, string-like fragments of metal in the product. Though the fragments have been found in a very limited number of packages, out of an abundance of caution, CTI is recalling 29,028 pounds of product. Jimmy Dean is closely monitoring this recall and working with CTI to assure proper coordination with the USDA. No injuries have been reported with this recall."

Consumers should check their packages for "the establishment code M19085 or P19085, a 'use by' date of January 31, 2019 and a UPC number of '0-77900-36519-5'," the company says.

According to the FSIS, there have been five consumer complaints of metal pieces in the sausage links, and recalled packages should be thrown away.

If you purchased the recalled sausages and have questions you can call the Jimmy Dean customer service line at (855) 382-3101.

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Flying with a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old isn't easy under optimal conditions, and when the kids are tired and cranky, things become even harder.

Many parents are anxious when flying with kids for exactly this reason: If the kids get upset, we worry our fellow passengers will become upset with us, but mom of two Becca Kinsey has a story that proves there are more compassionate people out there than we might think.

In a Facebook post that has now gone viral, Kinsey explains how she was waiting for her flight back from Disney World with her two boys, Wyatt, 2, and James, 5, when things started to go wrong, and the first of three kind women committed an act of kindness that meant so much.

After having to run all over the airport because she'd lost her ID, Kinsey and her boys were in line for security and she was "on the verge of tears because Wyatt was screaming and James was exhausted. Out of the blue, one mom stops the line for security and says 'here, jump in front of me! I know how it is!'" Kinsey wrote in her Facebook post.

Within minutes, 2-year-old Wyatt was asleep on the airport floor. Kinsey was wondering how she would carry him and all the carry-ons when "another mom jumps out of her place in line and says 'hand me everything, I've got it.'"

When Kinsey thanked the second woman and the first who had given up her place in line they told her not to worry, that they were going to make sure she got on her flight.

"The second woman takes evvvverything and helps me get it through security and, on top of all that, she grabs all of it and walks us to the gate to make sure we get on the flight," Kinsey wrote.

Kinsey and her boys boarded, but the journey was hardly over. Wyatt wolk up and started "to scream" at take off, before finally falling back asleep. Kinsey was stressed out and needed a moment to breathe, but she couldn't put Wyatt down.

"After about 45 min, this angel comes to the back and says 'you look like you need a break' and holds Wyatt for the rest of the flight AND walks him all the way to baggage claim, hands him to [Kinsey's husband], hugs me and says "Merry Christmas!!" Kinsey wrote.

👏👏👏

It's a beautiful story about women helping women, and it gets even better because when Kinsey's Facebook post started to go viral she updated it in the hopes of helping other parents take their kids to Disney and experience another form of stress-relief.

"What if everyone that shared the story went to Kidd's Kids and made a $5 donation?! Kidd's Kids take children with life-threatening and life-altering conditions on a 5 day trip to Disney World so they can have a chance to forget at least some of the day to day stressors and get to experience a little magic!!"

As of this writing, Kinsey has raised more than $2,000 for Kidd's Kids and has probably inspired a few people to be kind the next time they see a parent struggling in public.

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