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When the alarm on my iPhone dings, I push open my son’s bedroom door.


“Time’s up,” I say. “You’re a free man.”

Harry, my four-year old, ignores me. Wearing a neon orange soccer outfit, he’s sitting in the middle of the floor with a pair of oversized headphones on, the unattached chord snaking through, around, and over nine torn letter envelopes. On the ground beside my son is a faux wicker basket containing the other 268 missives I’ve been writing since 2013, each envelope addressed to Harry Huckleberry and numbered in the upper right hand corner.

“Read this to me,” Harry says holding up envelope number 45, which he’s already partially ripped open.

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As I stand there looking down at four plus years of my hard work scattered among Lego pieces and stuffed animals and dirty underwear, I feel surprisingly calm. No flop sweat. No racing heart. No urge to scream obscenities. Even though my plan to present these letters to my only son on his 12th birthday has been ruined, I feel no ill will toward the lad. Quite the opposite. In fact, I’m happy he found them and even happier that he’s interested in the 18,000-plus words I’ve scribbled on paper for his benefit. Now granted, there is a chemical component to my reaction: I do take special medications, one to ensure that my heart remains in sinus rhythm, and another to ensure that I do not, as I have done in the past, wash my hands 96 times a day, drive over the same stretch of road 11 times, or stick my finger under my son’s (and sometimes my wife’s) nose to make sure he is still breathing. And, like Woody Allen’s character in “Hollywood Ending,” I am currently looking for a pill that will keep me dry when it’s raining out.

“Sit down, Daddy.” He removes his headphones, pats the ground beside him. “Read this to me.”

Waving the envelope, he looks up at me with those big brown eyes, and it seems that the hatred he felt for me just four minutes ago is completely gone. He has already forgotten about how he kicked me in the shins because I insisted that he empty the trashcans around the house. He has already forgotten that when I dragged him to his bedroom for a much-deserved Time Out, he said, “You’re a bad Daddy, and I don’t love you anymore!” But now, the expression on his face tells me that once again he loves me and, more importantly, he wants something: for me to read him these letters, which, his mother has told him repeatedly, are very important to Daddy and should definitely not be ripped open and littered about the floor like trash.

Harry tugs on my jeans again, and I take envelope number 45 from his hand and sit down. He crawls into my lap, and I kiss the crown of his head – something I do on average of 17 times per day.

“Stop it,” he says, swatting at my face. “Read!”

Unfolding the letter, I check the date to make sure I wasn’t in the midst of one of my existential funks, or, worse, listening to a ton of sad bastard music at the time the letter was written. Fortunately, I keep a mental tally of every single parenting and marital misstep I’ve ever made, and after scanning said database, I confirm that the date on the top of the page – October 17, 2014 – is okay.

“Can I read it in my Richard Nixon voice?” Did I mention I was, before the special medication, obsessed with Tricky Dick and not only read 11 different books on our 37th president, but also collected his campaign posters, including the 1972 presidential re-election poster stating “They Can’t Lick Our Dick?”

“Use your real voice, Daddy.”I clear my throat and read.

Dear Harry, 

Today during snack time, I read you a pop-up book called “Under the Bed.” At the end of the story, a scary monster pops up, and when it did, you roared like a lion and dumped a cup of Chex-Mix on the monster. I like that you weren’t afraid. In fact, I think you found the monster funny. 

After the story, you climbed on my writing desk and turned the printer on and off. You liked the noises it made when it started back up. You also ripped a few sheets of paper out of the printer.  You left a pool of drool on most of the sheets. The rest we used to make paper airplanes. There’s one inside this envelope. 

I love you, Harry. 

Sincerely,

Dad

Harry pulls the paper airplane out of the envelope and holds it in front of my face.

“Is this it?”

“Let me check.” I give it a thorough examination from bent wing to bent wing, cockpit to tail. I hand it back to him. “Pretty sure that’s it.”

Delighted, he throws the airplane across the room, where it crash lands in his toy box. Scrambling off of my lap, he picks up envelope number 111 and tears it open.

“Here,” he says handing it to me. This letter is dated March 6, 2015 and is only a few sentences long.

Dear Harry,

Last night, I was standing in your bedroom doorway while Mom was reading you a bedtime story, and you saw me and yelled, “Daddy!” You got out of bed, took my hand, and led me over to where Mom was sitting. “Stay,” you said as if I were a dog, and you gave me a hug, and then we both listened to the rest of the story. 

I’ll never forget that moment. Ever. 

I love you, Harry.

Sincerely,

Dad

“Is that it?” Harry asks.

“I wrote longer ones,” I say, the writer in me needing to defend himself. He looks inside envelope number 111 and frowns.

“Where’s the paper airplane?”

“I didn’t put an airplane in every one of these letters.”

“Oh,” he says after a lengthy pause. “Why did you write them?”

It’s a fair question – and a difficult one to answer. Should I tell him that while he was inside my wife’s belly I lost 25 pounds, dropping my weight below 100 pounds for the first time since I was a teenager, and because I was so riddled with anxiety, worry, and fear, I kept a journal of every single book I read to my wife’s belly at night in the hopes that my unborn son might recognize my voice and, miraculously, understand just how much I loved him already? Should I tell him that I was, at the beginning of his life, dead set against him being exposed to potentially corrosive technology like cell phones, so in lieu of taking pictures of my baby boy I wrote letters describing what he looked like and what he did every day? Should I tell him that I wanted him to be able to look back on his early years and see what he was like through my eyes?

Or should I tell him the unvarnished truth: that these 277 letters are as much about me as they are about him, that, after you strip away the cute observations and silly anecdotes and overly earnest fatherly advice, what you have left is Max Everhart, an intelligent but clueless, neurotic, yet well-intentioned obsessive compulsive attempting to not foul up the most important relationship he’ll ever have?

“Because I love you,” I say opting for a cheap Hallmark greeting card answer instead of hard truth. I kiss his head again. “I wrote them because I love you.”

“Read another one,” he says crawling back into my lap.

“Last one,” I say. “Then you clean up this mess. Deal?”

“Deal.”

Plunging my hand into the faux wicker basket, I select envelope number three.  I rip open the envelope and unfold the letter, which is dated July 6, 2013.  One month after Harry was born. I read.

Dear Harry,

Yesterday was Father’s Day, my first as a dad. Your grandma and grandpa came for a visit, and you had Tummy Time. We put you on your stomach, and you lifted your head up and lunged across the couch. I’m counting that as your first crawl.

Today, we took you to the doctor for your one-month check-up. You weighed 10 pounds and six ounces and measured 21 inches. You get a Hep B shot, and you only cried for a minute or two. When we got home, you were whiny and cried a lot, but good news: your eyelashes have grown in, and your belly is so round, and your eyes are turning brown, so I can’t get mad or frustrated when you whine. You’re too cute! Mom can’t get mad at you, either, especially your lower lip quivers. 

By the time you see this, you’ll be able to read, so I wanted to offer some suggestions on reading material. The “Encyclopedia Brown” series is very cool. Encyclopedia is a school boy who’s very smart, and he solves mysteries around his neighborhood. The “Hardy Boys” series is also fun to read as is Hemingway’s “Nick Adams Stories.” Later on, you should read “The Great Gatsby,” “The Sun Also Rises,” and “The Catcher in the Rye,” although that last one will begin to grate on your nerves as you get older and more mature. And, of course, you must read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Your mom and I named you after Huck Finn (your full name, in case you’ve forgotten, is Harry Huckleberry Everhart). We named you that because Huck is adventurous and moral and mischievous and independent. We hope that you will be all of those things someday, Harry.

Sincerely,

Dad  

“Who’s Huckleberry Finn?” Harry asks, and I explain as best I can. Nodding, he puts his headphones back on and asks me to read another letter.

“Not now,” I say.

“I want more Harry Letters!” He grits his teeth and stamps his foot.

“Not now,” I say again. “Right now, I need you to clean up this mess.” As I prepare for a duel, my son unclenches his little fists and says:

“Fine.” Then, miraculously, he begins cleaning up.

Standing in the doorway trying not to cry, I realize that my wife, as usual, is correct: those 277 letters are very important to me. But not nearly as important as the floppy-haired, Bambi-eyed, quick-tempered little dude now taking great care in placing each numbered envelope back into a faux wicker basket.

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When it comes to holiday gifts, we know what you really want, mama. A full night's sleep. Privacy in the bathroom. The opportunity to eat your dinner while it's still hot. Time to wash—and dry!—your hair. A complete wardrobe refresh.


While we can't help with everything on your list (we're still trying to figure out how to get some extra zzz's ourselves), here are 14 gift ideas that'll make you look, if not feel, like a whole new woman. Even when you're sleep deprived.

Gap Cable-Knit Turtleneck Sweater

When winter hits, one of our go-to outfits will be this tunic-length sweater and a pair of leggings. Warm and everyday-friendly, we can get behind that.

$69.95

Gap Cigarette Jeans

These high-waisted straight-leg jeans have secret smoothing panels to hide any lumps and bumps (because really, we've all got 'em).

$79.95

Tiny Tags Gold Skinny Bar Necklace

Whether engraved with a child's name or date of birth, this personalized necklace will become your go-to piece of everyday jewelry.

$135.00

Gap Brushed Pointelle Crew

This wear-with-anything soft pink sweater with delicate eyelet details can be dressed up for work or dressed down for weekend time with the family. Versatility for the win!

$79.95

Gap Flannel Pajama Set

For mamas who sleep warm, this PJ set offers the best of both worlds: cozy flannel and comfy shorts. Plus, it comes with a coordinating eye mask for a blissed-out slumber.

$69.95

Spafinder Gift Card

You can't give the gift of relaxation, per say, but you can give a gift certificate for a massage or spa service, and that's close enough!

$50.00

Gap Stripe Long Sleeve Crewneck

This featherweight long-sleeve tee is the perfect layering piece under hoodies, cardigans, and blazers.

$29.95

Gap Chenille Smartphone Gloves

Gone are the days of removing toasty gloves before accessing our touchscreen devices—thank goodness!

$9.95

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug

Make multiple trips to the microwave a thing of the past with a app-controlled smart mug that'll keep your coffee or tea at the exact temperature you prefer for up to an hour.

$79.95

Gap Flannel Shirt

Our new favorite flannel boasts an easy-to-wear drapey fit and a flattering curved shirttail hem.

$59.95

Gap Sherpa-Lined Denim Jacket

Stay warm while looking cool in this iconic jean jacket, featuring teddy bear-soft fleece lining and a trendy oversized fit.

$98.00

Gap Crazy Stripe Scarf

Practical and stylish, this cozy scarf adds a pop of color—well, colors—to any winter ensemble.

$39.95

Nixplay Seed Frame

This digital picture frame is perfect for mamas who stay up late scrolling through their phone's photo album to glimpse their kiddos being adorable. By sending them to this smart frame to view throughout the day, you can get a few extra minutes of sleep at night!

$165.00

Gap Crewneck Sweater

Busy mamas will appreciate that this supersoft, super versatile Merino wool sweater is machine washable.

$59.95

This article was sponsored by GAP. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and Mamas.

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I'll admit it: I'm an earbud snob. There I said it. For me, there's nothing like clear, noise-canceling earbuds that allow me to fully immerse myself into music while doing household chores or mindless tasks. I love it. And if they're integrated with a voice assistant so I can be hands-free, it's a complete win-win.

When I was pregnant with my kids, I didn't want to purchase pregnancy headphones. Most are super bulky, overpriced and have horrible sound quality. Instead of buying them, I sang to my babies and hoped they would develop a love for music just like their mama. Turns out, I was onto something. "Even in the womb, little ones respond to the vibrations and later to the beats and melodies that you play for them," says Diana Spalding, author of The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey. "Research also shows that music can help build the foundation for your baby's language acquisition, so you can think of taking a moment to jam out to your favorite songs as educational."

Recently, model Ashley Graham posted on Instagram a photo of her using pregnancy earbuds and I had to do some research. How was she building her baby's language skills using earbuds?

"Baby boy is the size of a coconut this week and already getting some advice from @gayleking on my podcast @prettybigdealpod 💙 Gayle you are wild and I LOVE IT. We fast forwarded your story about the stripper pole 🤣" she captioned.

In the photo, Graham is using mbrio, a patented earbud adapter that turns your earbuds into pregnancy headphones so you can use your favorite earbuds while enjoying music with your baby. Pretty smart, right?

mbrio Clip-On Pregnancy Earbud Adapters

mbrio Clip-On Pregnancy Earbud Adapters

mbrio's patented earbud adapters turn your earbuds into pregnancy headphones. Just pop in any set of compatible earbuds, clip them to your waistband and go. It also uses a thin layer of silicone to reduce sound levels by up to 30 decibels (depending frequency and volume) so it's safe for mama and baby.

$29.95

It eliminates the need for splitters, sticky pads, volume control switches and iPhone plug adapters too so you can just carry one device while you're on the go. It's also been independently tested by a Nationally Registered Testing Laboratory, so it meets the safe audio guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Best of all, the ergonomic design adapts to mama's growing belly throughout the pregnancy. Just pop in any set of compatible earbuds, clip them to your waistband and go!

I'm still not a believer in headphones and still plan to use earbuds wherever I go, but if I ever get pregnant again, or need a cool baby shower gift, I know what to purchase.
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When Anastacia Gencarelli shared the story of how her 2-year-old daughter ended up being hospitalized for milk anemia she was not trying to scare anyone—she just wanted other parents to know that "milk anemia is a thing"because she didn't.

But when her Facebook post went viral and the headlines were super scary that didn't quite tell the whole story.

"Toddler who was nearly killed by COW'S MILK," the Daily Mail's headline reads.

Yes, Gencarelli's 2-year-old daughter Mia was hospitalized after drinking too much milk, but it is more complicated than that, we have learned.

Here is what you need to know about this viral story + milk anemia.

As Gencarelli explained in her original Facebook post, she shared her story to spread awareness of the existence of milk anemia. While it is well documented that overconsumption of milk can have a negative effect on a toddler's iron levels, it's not something all parents know.

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Basically, cow's milk is not a high iron food and what iron it does contain is not well absorbed. So if a child stops consuming breastmilk and/or iron-fortified formula or cereal and starts drinking a lot of cow's milk without adding other sources of iron, they're at risk for anemia.

Anemia can be treated or prevented with supplements, but the preferred method of prevention is through iron-rich foods. "Ideally, we would prevent iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia with a diet consisting of foods that are naturally rich in iron," Dr. Robert Baker, co-author of an American Academy of Pediatrics report on the prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia has previously explained.

"Feeding older infants and toddlers foods like meat, shellfish, legumes and iron-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as iron-fortified cereals and fruits rich in vitamin C, which help iron absorption, can help prevent iron deficiency," he said.

Gencarelli tells Motherly her daughter was drinking 4 to 6 bottles of cow's milk a day and that while she's not a particularly picky eater she is not a huge fan of meat.

Doctors recommend toddlers consume 2.5 servings of dairy per day, and a study in the journal Pediatrics found 2 cups a day is the best amount of milk for toddlers.

"We saw that two cups of cow's milk per day was enough to maintain adequate vitamin D levels for most children, while also maintaining iron stores. With additional cow's milk, there was a further reduction in iron stores without greater benefit from vitamin D," Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician at St. Michael's Hospital and the lead author of the study has previous explained.

As reported by CBC, drinking from a bottle rather than a cup is linked to a more dramatic decrease in toddler's iron stores. It's possible that serving milk in a bottle contributes to parental underreporting of milk consumption. Parents might not even realize that milk is keeping their child full, which makes it hard to get iron rich foods into them.

So what can parents do to prevent milk anemia?

If you are concerned your child may be anemic talk to your doctor right away and consider offering more iron-rich foods at home.

Kacie Barnes, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), tells Motherly that while extreme cases like the one described by Gencarelli are not common, mild iron deficiency is common. That's why she recommends serving meat, as it contains the best absorbed type of iron.

"Even babies can eat ground or soft cooked, tender meats. Think crockpot, stewed, or braised," says Barnes, who recommends chili as a family-friendly iron-rich meal (just keep the salt and the spicy stuff out of your little one's serving).

She continues: "Beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas contain iron, so I encourage parents of babies and toddlers to serve those often, especially if their little one doesn't eat much (or any) meat. Vitamin C boosts iron absorption, so it's helpful to serve iron rich foods alongside fruit or veggies like citrus, strawberries, or broccoli. Another helpful trick: Cook with a cast iron pan. Small amounts of iron do absorb into food when you cook with it—and this is a good thing!"

The bottom line:

It's important to remember that Gencarelli's story is the story of her individual child, who is currently undergoing further medial care to deal not just with the anemia, but other issues that presented afterward. When her daughter is discharged from the hospital Gencarelli will be continuing to serve iron supplements and says her medical team has provided her with some iron-rich recipes.

Her post went viral not because she was trying to scare anyone away from milk, but because she was trying to save other mamas from being as scared as she was when her little girl got sick. You only know what you know, and now that she knows her daughter was consuming too much milk she plans to serve fewer servings.

We hope that Mia has a quick recovery and we're thankful that Gencarelli shared her story online. Her family is in a lot of pain right now (something made worse by the many mean comments she's received about her daughter's milk consumption) and she just wants to prevent other families from feeling that pain, too.

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When I was very pregnant everyone was determined to make sure I knew how terrible it would be to have a new baby. Forget swollen feet and heartburn that made me vomit, they all swore I didn't know how bad it was going to be until I had a newborn around to ruin my life. As if it were a secret, they told me I would never truly sleep again, would age overnight and lose my identity, my body would sag, I would hate my husband, my marriage would transform into drudgery and red wine, with everything covered in poop.

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The relentless low-grade negativity sent me running to the internet to search "best things about parenting a newborn." The discouraging results warned me of Top Things You'll do Wrong as a New Parent, How to Survive Having a Newborn, and Biggest Mistakes New Parents Make. Not a single one was positive, and I really needed some reassurance around then.

So here I am, safely on the other side of the first eight weeks of newborn parenting and I can proclaim that a lot of it is simply wonderful. Here's why:

Your baby is real!

However it happened, you've successfully had a child. For so long you've been living around the idea that you might one day have a baby. It was so hard for me to feel like my baby was real before she was born. I knew every kick and roll, and I knew that she had hiccups pretty much every day, but she still felt more like a concept.

Now I don't have to wonder what she is like. She changes every day. She still has the hiccups. She also stretches and raises her eyebrows and nods her head as she finishes eating as if to say yum yum yum. Someday she will look at pizza that way.

You are the best at everything.

The reality is that until you do it, you don't know for sure that you can. Because babies need about six things on repeat, you get really good at everything. Within hours if not days, you will have it down. The diapers, the feeding, the tiny clothes. Most of it isn't that hard.

The first time I got my baby to latch in the middle of the night without turning the light on, I felt like I was a superstar. When you are able to transform a primal ragged scream of hunger or discomfort into pure silence, and then your baby gives a little sigh and falls asleep on your chest, you will be the champion of parenting.

You can watch all the TV and read all the books.

You have a legitimate reason to spend hours and hours motionless on the sofa and demand that someone refills your water and brings you a snack because obviously the baby wants you to have another cookie.

Watching your partner become a parent is full of unexpectedly sweet moments.

I have so loved watching my husband become a dad. I don't have to tell you it broke me when I came home from picking up take-out to find him tunelessly singing '70s rock ballads while she gazed up at him adoringly. I love seeing my parents as doting grandparents who want nothing more to cuddle her and buy her things she doesn't need. My husband said that parenting isn't like a new chapter of a book, but like you turn the page and end up in another dimension. And I get to watch that happen.

Newborn poop doesn't smell bad and is water-soluble.

Truly, it smells like cereal and washes out of things. Most of the time, it is contained. Parents don't help future parents by describing that one time they got smeared with poop just before a wedding. They forget to mention the literally hundreds of times they deftly changed a diaper and walked away spotless.

Your body is yours again.

Forget all of that business about getting your "body back" in a cosmetic Instagram way, and enjoy that instead of having to lug the baby all over town inside your enormous belly. You can hand them over to someone else to carry! No one is physically pressing on your bladder, stomach, or other organs. Your body may have changed, but it is yours. What a relief.

Rest assured, babies are even cute and a little bit hilarious when they are screaming. Maybe the others weren't all wrong when they told you how hard it would sometimes be, but they probably also spent hours making faces at their baby to see what would coax out the sweetest smile in the world. They just forgot to tell you that part, and that it will all be worth it.

Life

Temperatures are dropping, Christmas decorations are flooding the shelves, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. But take a break from prepping for the holidays, mama, and check out the headlines that made waves this week.

Here at Motherly we know mamas are busy, so we make sure to keep track of everything you may have missed on the Internet this week.

There are the viral stories making Team Motherly smile right now:

This judge went viral for supporting a new mom + new lawyer in the most wonderful way

Juliana Lamar just accomplished something major: She graduated law school and was sworn into the Tennessee bar...and she did it all while raising her 1-year-old son. Doing all of this at the same had to have been incredibly difficult, but oh so rewarding. She celebrated her incredible achievements as a working mother in the most special way, thanks to a wonderful judge.

Judge Richard Jinkins encouraged the mama to bring her son along when she was sworn into the state bar, and he even held on the little boy while his mother recited her oath. Not surprisingly, the incredibly sweet video of the judge carrying the 1-year-old as he watched his mother officially become a lawyer has gone viral.

"On the day of my swearing-in, right before we began, Judge said he wanted Beckham to take part in the moment," Lamar, who counts the judge as a major inspiration and supporter, tells Buzzfeed. "And I am so glad he did because to have my son take part in one of the greatest moments of my life was truly a blessing."

Lamar's colleague shared footage of the incredibly sweet incident. "Y'all. Judge Dinkins of the Tennessee Court of Appeals swore in my law school colleague with her baby on his hip, and I've honestly never loved him more," a tweet from the colleague reads. "She's one of four women in our class who became moms while in law school. Women are amazing."

Why this refreshingly honest birth plan from Reddit is going viral

Pregnant people talk a lot about birth plans. You might even type out a few different versions before settling on the one you want to show your medical team. But the thing is, even if you spend months planning out the perfect birth plan, things can change so quickly.

That's why the internet is loving this birth plan that was uploaded to Reddit. The person who typed this up is so realistic, so honest and so authentically advocating for herself.

"I don't have a plan," reads the first bullet point.

"I've never done this before," she notes in the second.

"I have no idea what I am doing," she explains in the third bullet.

So many first time mamas can relate to this feeling, and also to a passage that is highlighted.

It reads: "I am not trying to be a hero! Please assume that I want every option available to me for pain management and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know in real and update time if any of the pain management options are nearing the point where they are no longer available to me as I progress through labor."

This is a mama who knows herself and also knows that birth plans can change so quickly.

Mom's photo of laundry Christmas tree goes viral on Instagram 

sincerelymumsy

Australian mom and Instagrammer Jessi Roberts (aka @sincerelymumsy) is going viral this week thanks to her hilarious Christmas tree hack.

Instead of dealing with her laundry, this genius mama made it into festive decor.

It actually happened last year, when Roberts family was about to go on a trip. "Last years Christmas tree 🤣 We where going away for 2 weeks and I couldn't and didn't have time to do the washing... so Like any creative person... I improvise 💁🏼♀️ I left it up for 2 weeks... @thebaysidedentist [Roberts' partner] wasn't impressed," she writes on Instagram.

Roberts' original caption back in 2018 was equally hilarious: "The best way to avoid doing the washing - turn it into a Christmas tree," she wrote. "It's free. I'll wash this after Christmas or maybe the 'elf on the shelf' can help me."

This is a Christmas decor hack we can totally see catching on.

A FB moms group help this baby get a liver—and went viral for it 

Moms groups on the internet sometimes get an unfair reputation. You say "Facebook moms group" and people often imagine an online space where mom shaming is common, and while that may be true in some instances, these communities are more often sources of support, not shame.

No story highlights this better than Robin Bliven's. When she posted about how her private group ended up connecting mamas and getting a liver for a baby boy who needed one, the story made national headlines and proved how supportive these groups can be. Internet communities are real communities, and some are amazing places to be.

"You can talk smack about mom groups on Facebook all you want... but don't talk smack about mine, because we crowd sourced a freaking organ," Bliven wrote on Facebook.

When one member of the Facebook group, Beth Rescsanski, learned her baby, Cal, needed a liver transplant over 100 moms in the group were screened to see if they were potential donors. That's 100 fellow parents who were willing to have surgery for someone else's baby. That's the definition of a supportive community!

In the end, single mom Andrea Alberto was a match and donated part of her own liver to baby Cal. The mom of two says it wasn't hard choice.

"I knew organ donation was something I would be willing to do, so when I found out Cal was being listed for transplant, it was a very easy decision," Alberto told TODAY Parents."If there is someone in need and there is something you can reasonably do to help them, why wouldn't you do it? I like to think that if it was one of my kids in need, someone from my extended network would step in to help."

American Girl celebrates diversity by including model with Down syndrome

The American Girl dolls taught a generation about history and showed children reflections of themselves in an era where diverse dolls were hard to come by. Now, in 2019, the company continues to highlight diversity and give children the representation they crave. This can be seen in the new holiday catalog where 4-year-old Ivy Kimble is among the young models.

"There's not a lot of print or media with a lot of kids with Down syndrome," her mom Kristin Kimble told WLS-TV.

Kimble told Today she's so proud of Ivy, and so happy that American Girl is celebrating all girls. "I'm so proud of Ivy," Kimble says. "She's showing the world, 'Look at me, I'm here. I'm doing it. I'm an American Girl.'"

Gal Gadot perfectly captures our feelings about motherhood in this viral Instagram post 

You never really understand the meaning of the phrase "time flies" until you become a parent. Another thing you don't quite understand until you welcome your children? How deep your capacity to love really is. Actress Gal Gadot just nailed both of those ideas in a single social media post.

The famous mama shared a note to her daughter, Alma, on her eighth birthday. "I'm so lucky to be your mother. Thank you for teaching me so much about life without even knowing you are and for giving me the most precious title I could ever ask for. I promise I'll do anything for you, love and protect you forever," she wrote in the Instagram post.

The mama continued: "Just please, don't grow up so fast," she writes. "Take your time. I can't believe you're 8 already . Love you to the moon through all galaxies double the number of grain of sand in the universe."

ALL. THE. FEELS. Hasn't she just perfectly captured what it feels like to watch your children grow?

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