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Just because something’s natural doesn’t make it easy.


My husband reminded me of this when our first baby was born, and I was struggling to breastfeed her. Between my sleep deprivation and my battle with the baby blues, I felt like a failure and was riddled with guilt for not wanting to continue. So when my husband stated this obvious, and often overlooked fact, the clouds of my postpartum slump cleared and the angels sang the Hallelujah chorus.

I wasn’t doing something wrong. Taking care of a newborn really is challenging, and it’s actually nature’s fault that it’s so hard. We may be kings of the urban jungle, but we’re still products of evolution, like any other mammal. It turns out, being in survival mode with a new baby is exactly where we’re supposed to be.

Once I started thinking about life with our newborn this way – separating the natural from my expectation that I’d be a natural – I was a lot more forgiving with myself. For me, that meant that I actually gave up breastfeeding when my daughter was only two weeks old.

Natural or not, it wasn’t working. The benefit of being part of the species with the most advanced critical thinking skills on the planet is that we’ve invented a lot of life saving stuff over the years, like baby formula. So I took full advantage.

Breastfeeding just happened to be the element of new parenthood that caused me the most angst in those first few weeks, and it’s the reason my husband offered me his sage advice in the first place, but his point has a lot of applications when it comes to new babies. Nature isn’t here to make it easy on us. It’s here to see if we’re up to the challenge.

Take childbirth, for example. Vaginal deliveries are “arguably one of the most traumatic events the human body can undergo.” I haven’t met a mother yet (whether she delivered this way or via cesarean section) who’s made it through birth and recovery without pain, despite the extraordinary advances of modern medicine.

Somewhere I saw a coffee mug that said, “Congratulations on the birth of your baby! My condolences to your vagina at this difficult time.” That pretty much sums it up.

Why hasn’t evolution made childbirth less painful? According to an article in “American Scientist”, if women had wider pelvises, the birth canal would be larger, making delivery easier. Evolution didn’t do this though. One theory on why is simply because it’s good enough as it is – proof positive that nature doesn’t care if something is easy as long as it gets the job done.

Breastfeeding is the same way. I can think of so many ways that nature could have upgraded the process over the last several million years to make it easier for new mothers: Have babies nurse off a less sensitive part of the body, for example. Make breast milk so filling that babies only need to nurse once a day. Have fathers spontaneously produce milk to share in the responsibility. Scrap the idea all together and give babies a hump, like a camel, so they’re self-nourishing.

Nature’s not concerned about our comfort, though. As long as enough people manage to sustain the population, evolution focuses its priorities elsewhere (and camel-humped babies may be difficult to birth in their own right).  

We may not have any natural predators, and we may be capable of creating complex societies, but nature is cut throat. Humans still face an element of survival of the fittest, despite our best attempts to outsmart it with modern science.

When we fantasize about our civilized lives with our babies, we’re accustomed to conjuring up images from commercials: soft lighting, gentle lullabies, cooing babies in a warm bath, newborns wrapped snugly in pastel blankets peacefully drifting off to sleep.

Those moments do exist, of course, but it’s almost in spite of the curveballs nature throws at us along the way. At times – especially when my babies were very young – I was just proud of myself for surviving the day. On some level, that’s all nature is asking us to do.

So, when you’re struggling to adjust to life with a new baby, remember this: It’s not you; it’s just nature.

 

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Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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