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In a perfect world, a woman’s pregnancy would be the happiest time of her life. Birds sing, flowers bloom, and everything seems full of possibility.


Except, sometimes it isn’t.

Growing a person is often stressful and uncomfortable, and all the unknowns can be enough to send even the most pragmatic mothers-to-be into a tailspin.

Finding happiness and appreciating the process can feel like one more to-do on an ever growing list. But it’s not hard to do if you know where to look.

You can’t control everything, but you can control (a lot of) your mental wellbeing during pregnancy

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a behavioral psychologist, has spent her career studying how genetics, intentional activity, and circumstance affects the happiness variance within a population.

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Life circumstances, like money, have very little long-term impact on our happiness.

Lyubomirsky found that if two, magically identical people suddenly faced different circumstances – one won the lottery, for example – then, over time, the lottery winner may only experience up to 10% percent more happiness than the other.

On the other hand, our lifestyle is almost as important as our genetics when it comes to happiness.

 

Influences of happiness

40% Intentional Activity
50% Genetics
10% Circumstance
12 proven intentional activities to improve happiness

Express Gratitude | Cultivate Optimism | Avoid Social Comparison | Practice Kindness | Nurture Relationships | Create Coping Strategies | Forgive | Practice Flow Experiences | Savor Life’s Joys | Commit to Goals | Seek Spirituality | Physical Wellness

65 intentional self-care practices for a happier pregnancy

 

Develop your coping strategies

Three main Stressors of New Parenthood

Feeling Overwhelmed?
Develop and maintain a balanced partnership
Feeling inadequate?
 Simplify your life and your expectations
Feeling Lost?
Continue to prioritize what gives you an identity

You’re likely trying to absorb a mountain of information as you prepare for the new arrival. Instead of spinning your wheels in the world of possibilities, try to devote your efforts to the most probable stressors, and then plan accordingly.

13 intentional self-care activities for coping:

Have a discussion with your partner about...as much as you can.

Be sure to cover labor, birth, and postpartum support. The list below can help you get started:

Be sure to cover labor, birth, and postpartum support. The list below can help you get started:

Be sure to cover labor, birth, and postpartum support. The list below can help you get started:

New wearable technology can help you track pre-labor contractions at home.

New wearable technology can help you track contractions at home and increase your confidence during pre-labor.

New technology can help you learn about what contractions feel like to you and automatically track and time contractions so you can feel more confident on the big day.

Create a “postpartum help schedule” with your friends in iCal.
Hire a Doula.

They can be your advocate and help you to assert your wishes during labor.

Simplify and Streamline

Clean out your email inbox. Organize your paperwork. Take a trip to Goodwill (don’t come home with anything, unless there’s a great crib, or something).

Clean out your email inbox. Organize your paperwork. Take a trip to Goodwill (don’t come home with anything, unless there’s a great crib, or something).

Clean out your email inbox. Organize your paperwork. Take a trip to Goodwill (don’t come home with anything, unless there’s a great crib, or something).

Set an auto email response to go live after your due date.
Find a good therapist – maybe someone who specializes in post-partum support.
Take a parenting class with your partner.
Strategize ways that you and your partner can each continue to pursue your hobbies and passions.
Take inventory of your commitments and politely excuse yourself from the ones that aren't necessary or gratifying.
Start reframing your perspective.

Rid yourself of useless stress and focus on the things that truly matter.

Rid yourself of useless stress and focus on the things that truly matter.

Rid yourself of useless stress and focus on the things that truly matter.

Reset expectations and learn to be okay with complete versus perfect.
Find a community of mothers to support you.

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Bloomlife sponsored this piece because they believe in the empowering value of information while partners make the exciting transition into parenthood.

Express gratitude, cultivate optimism, and savor life

30% of Our thoughts are wandering elsewhere. 
People are substantially less happy when their minds are wandering – regardless of activity.

Matt Killingsworth’s Happiness Study has shown that a wandering mind can ruin even the most enjoyable activities. Instead of spending now thinking about later or before, focus on what you’re doing this very moment. Habits of mindfulness are linked to reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.

12 intentional self-care activities for gratitude:

Keep a gratitude journal and record one thing that made you thankful each day.
Jot down 10 things you’re thankful for and keep the list by your bedside.
Envision your ideal birth. Think it through in detail. Repeat often.
Slow down and focus on being present during your morning routine.
Go watch the sunset alone. No music, friends, partners, or distractions.
Buy flowers for yourself. Or better yet, go pick some.
Wake up with an affirmation.

Take a minute to frame an achievable goal for the day, like: Man, this day is packed full, but I’m going to handle it by being decisive. Or: Today will be better than average. Be as realistically optimistic as you can be.

Instead of reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up, take a minute to frame an achievable goal for the day, like: Man, this day is packed full, but I’m going to handle it by being decisive. Or: Today will be better than average. Be as realistically optimistic as you can be.

Instead of reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up, take a minute to frame an achievable goal for the day, like: Man, this day is packed full, but I’m going to handle it by being decisive. Or: Today will be better than average. Be as realistically optimistic as you can be.

Go see a live performance or exhibition. Find inspiration, awe, or laughter at a concert, gallery, or comedy show.
Breath deeply.

Slow, deep breathing techniques actually stimulate our body’s parasympathetic reaction and calm us.

Slow, deep breathing techniques actually stimulate our body’s parasympathetic reaction and calm us.

Slow, deep breathing techniques actually stimulate our body’s parasympathetic reaction and calm us.

Turn up the radio, roll down the windows.
Wear something that you may reserve for a fancier occasion. Look good. feel good.
Make it a habit to redirect negative thoughts.

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Practice acts of kindness

Regular volunteering has been linked to a 22% reduction in early mortality rates, along with multiple other health benefits.

Helping others will make you happy, too – even up to a month later. “The How of Happiness” study found that subjects who kept a kindness journal were happier than the control group up to six months later. This same research showed that a variety of small good deeds go a long way. In fact, multiple acts of the same kindness can quickly become a chore.

12 intentional self-care activities for kindness:

Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line at the cafe.
If you’re not totally exhausted, take your friend’s kids while they go on a date. Eventually, they can graciously return the favor.
Give more compliments. Especially to strangers.
Send a thank you note to someone for something simple that would usually go unnoticed or be taken for granted as a gift.
Check in with an old friend just to see how they’re doing. Call them. On the phone.
Tell a parent that they’re doing a great job with their kids.
Save someone from a parking ticket by dropping a quarter in their meter
Tell a coworker’s boss about how great they’re doing.
Pick up two pieces of trash, while you can still bend over.
Put a nice note in your child’s lunchbox or your partner’s car.
Send a note to your parents and recount a favorite family memory. Thank them for being great.
Make it a habit to redirect negative thoughts.

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Nurture relationships

 The Gottman Institute found couples who focused on their relationship and worked together as new parents saw:
Relationship Satisfaction

Increased father involvement and satisfaction

positive impacts on baby development

Prioritize your partnership during this exciting time. After all, it’s what got you here. Be transparent about your stress, hopes, and fears. Make sure to check in on your partner frequently, too. Partners are also at risk for postpartum depression, and this risk increases when the mother experiences PPD.

Tell loved ones that you value their presence after the birth. The initial flood of visitors will eventually slow to a trickle – often when exhaustion, stress, and depression begin to set in. A study from Arizona State University found that even when women are satisfied with their partners, their friendships still had a more powerful effect on their well-being and stress levels. Having good friends may even help to “sustain the marital relationship by reducing the burden on the marriage to fulfill all of one’s emotional needs.”

12 intentional self-care activities for relationships:

Schedule alone time for your first post-baby date. Consider lining up a sitter now.
Discuss ways that your partner wants to be involved with the new baby.

Baths, bottles, and burping are all great ways for fathers to become involved. And you can always reserve a diaper or two – you know, for the bonding.

Baths, bottles, and burping are all great ways for fathers to become involved. And you can always reserve a diaper or two – you know, for the bonding.

Baths, bottles, and burping are all great ways for fathers to become involved. And you can always reserve a diaper or two – you know, for the bonding.

Fit in lots of quality time with friends. Go for a sunrise walk with your morning coffee.
If you have other kids, make them feel special. Go for a pedicure date, or drop in on them during their school lunch.
Spark a great conversation with your kids

Get the convo started with one of these 60 unique questions for your kids.

Get the convo started with one of these 60 unique questions for your kids.

Get the convo started with one of these 60 unique questions for your kids.

Try a few therapy sessions with you partner.
Read “The Five Love Languages” with your partner.
Initiate sex.
Do some karaoke. You know what’s awesome about karaoke? It combines laughing, music, and friends. Terrible at singing? You’ll laugh harder.
Call your parents.
Foster healthier friendships.

Complement your friends while together in a group. Engage everyone in the conversations. Don’t gossip. Encourage understanding.

Complement your friends while together in a group. Engage everyone in the conversations. Don’t gossip. Encourage understanding.

Complement your friends while together in a group. Engage everyone in the conversations. Don’t gossip. Encourage understanding.

Be a good friend to yourself.

Do you have any friends that follow you around saying mean things to you? No. You don’t. Because that person would be an asshole. So why do you do it to yourself? If that concept doesn’t resonate, try this: If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.

Do you have any friends that follow you around saying mean things to you? No. You don’t. Because that person would be an asshole. So why do you do it to yourself? If that concept doesn’t resonate, try this: If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.

Do you have any friends that follow you around saying mean things to you? No. You don’t. Because that person would be an asshole. So why do you do it to yourself? If that concept doesn’t resonate, try this: If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.

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Lose yourself in what you love

Multiple studies have found engaging in hobbies results in:
Better overall mood | less stress | lower heart rate

Engage in “Flow Activities.”  The man who coined this term, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, describes Flow as those challenging, yet enjoyable activities that focus our attention, push our limits, and force us to become immersed in the present. The happiest people fill their day with a variety of intentional activities that provide them with gratification and small, frequent doses of passive pleasure as a reward.

Start making your passion a habit now so it will be easier to pursue your hobbies once the baby arrives.

Five intentional self-care activities for finding “flow”:

Keep a journal. Express yourself.

Use writing prompts to get ideas flowing.

Use writing prompts to get ideas flowing.

Use writing prompts to get ideas flowing.

Doodle or color.

Lucky for you, we live in a time of adult coloring books. What a time to be alive!

Lucky for you, we live in a time of adult coloring books. What a time to be alive!

Lucky for you, we live in a time of adult coloring books. What a time to be alive!

Learn something new.

Check out this list of places to learn something new online.

Check out this list of places to learn something new online.

Check out this list of places to learn something new online.

Block off time on a real calendar to focus on what you love to do.
Struggling to identify your passions? Limit your inhibitions, listen to your gut, and try that thing that’s been in the back of your mind.

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Prioritize wellness

The Frequency of wellness activities improves happiness more than quality or duration.

When thinking about physical care for mental wellbeing, it’s important to remember that the frequency of wellness activities improves happiness more than quality or duration. A study found that a massage was perceived to be more enjoyable when there was a break in the treatment. Prioritize two 30-minute rubdowns over one longer one.

10 intentional self-care activities for wellness:

Find water. Swim in it. (Break into a hotel pool. No one will tell a pregnant woman to leave.)
Go outside.

The Germans have a specific word for the “feeling of being alone in the woods”: Waldeinsamkeit. Find that feeling.

The Germans have a specific word for the “feeling of being alone in the woods”: Waldeinsamkeit. Find that feeling.

The Germans have a specific word for the “feeling of being alone in the woods”: Waldeinsamkeit. Find that feeling.

Acknowledge your feelings.

Say them out loud to yourself, say them to a pal. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel irritated. Say it.

Say them out loud to yourself, say them to a pal. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel irritated. Say it.

Say them out loud to yourself, say them to a pal. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel irritated. Say it.

Let go.

You know that thing that’s been bugging you? That thing you can’t control and yet continue to obsess over? Visualize picking it up, putting it a box, and setting the box on fire. Never look back.

You know that thing that’s been bugging you? That thing you can’t control and yet continue to obsess over? Visualize picking it up, putting it a box, and setting the box on fire. Never look back.

You know that thing that’s been bugging you? That thing you can’t control and yet continue to obsess over? Visualize picking it up, putting it a box, and setting the box on fire. Never look back.

Get enough sleep. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights and you’ve gained an hour.
Seek out an ASMR response.

Try this quiet reading of Alice In Wonderland.

Try this quiet reading of Alice In Wonderland.

Try this quiet reading of Alice In Wonderland.

Indulge in a luxurious wind-down routine.

Wash the sheets, take a bath, get in bed at a laughably early hour and just read, journal, or relax.

Wash the sheets, take a bath, get in bed at a laughably early hour and just read, journal, or relax.

Wash the sheets, take a bath, get in bed at a laughably early hour and just read, journal, or relax.

Add a fancy non-alcoholic “mocktail” to your luxurious wind-down.

Try one of these recipes.

Try one of these recipes.

Try one of these recipes.

Ask for help. Can you do all the things yourself? No. You can’t. Ask for help.
Get rid of the word “should.”

Make a decision. Then make another. And another. Overthinking is holding you hostage. Pick something and do it.

Make a decision. Then make another. And another. Overthinking is holding you hostage. Pick something and do it.

Make a decision. Then make another. And another. Overthinking is holding you hostage. Pick something and do it.

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Bloomlife sponsored this piece because they believe in the empowering value of information while partners make the exciting transition into parenthood.

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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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There's a lot of discussion about the importance of early education—but what about soft skills like respect and kindness? How can mamas teach children important values like cooperation, gratitude, empathy or politeness?

These values are basic, foundational beliefs that help us know right from wrong, that give balance and meaning to life and that enable us to form community bonds with one another. These soft skills are crucial for kids to learn at any age, and it's important for them to be reinforced, both in the classroom and at home, throughout their childhood.

Here are fundamental ways to build character in your young children:

Kindness

Performing random acts of kindness can have a positive influence on both the individual showing and receiving the kindness. As a family, think of ways that each one of you can show kindness to others. Some ideas may include baking cookies for the mail carrier, donating an unopened toy to a local charity, purchasing canned goods for a homeless shelter or leaving notes and drawings for the neighbors. Include your child in the process so they can see firsthand the joy that kindness can bring to others.

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Responsibility

Children have a strong desire to mimic adult family members. Encourage your child to help complete simple chores in and around the house. Children feel a great sense of accomplishment when they can do their share and feel that sense of responsibility. Two-year-olds will enjoy folding towels, putting books away, putting paper in the recycling box and tending to the garden. Older children may enjoy helping out in the kitchen or with yard work.

Patience

Patience is the ability to demonstrate self-control while waiting for an event to occur. It also refers to the ability to remain calm in the face of frustration. This is a skill which develops in children as they mature. While it is important to practice patience, adults should also be realistic in their expectations, evaluate daily routines and eliminate long periods of wait time from the schedule.

Politeness

Schedule a time when the whole family can sit down together for dinner. Model good manners and encourage older siblings and other members of the family to do the same. Use phrases such as, "Can you please pass the potatoes?" or "Thank you." Be sure to provide your child with guidance, by explaining what to do as opposed to what not to do.

Flexibility

Change your routines at home to encourage children to be flexible in their thinking and to try new things. Try being flexible in the small things: enjoy breakfast for dinner, eat ice cream with a fork, have your child read a bedtime story to you or have a picnic in the living room. Let your child know it is okay to do things in a different way.

Empathy

Children are beginning to understand different emotions and that others have feelings. Throughout their childhood, talk about their feelings and share one's own feeling with them as well. By taking the time to listen to how children are feeling, you will demonstrate to them that you care and reinforce with them that you fully understand how they are feeling.

Cooperation

Coordinate playdates or take your children to events where they can practice introducing themselves to other children, and potentially with adults. Find games and other activities that require turn-taking and sharing.

Gratitude

Encourage your child to spend five minutes every day listing the things they are grateful for. This could be done together just before bedtime or after dinner.

Respect

As parents, our goal is to teach children to recognize that even though people have different likes and dislikes or beliefs and ideas, they must treat each other with manners and positivity. Respect should be shown when sharing, cleaning up, and listening to others. Always teach and model the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. Also remind children that respect can be shown towards things in the classroom. Treating materials and toys correctly shows appreciation for the things we have.
Learn + Play

Medical researchers and providers consider a woman's postpartum period to be up to 12 months after the delivery of baby, but too often, health insurance doesn't see it the same way. Nearly half of the births in the United States are covered by Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and while the babies who are born during these births are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a year, their mothers often lose their coverage 60 days after delivering their child. There is clear data showing 70% of new moms will have at least one health complication within a year of giving birth.

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This week, members of Congress' Subcommittee on Health met to mark up H.R. 4996, the "Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services (MOMS) Act of 2019, and it was favorably forwarded to the full Committee.

What does this mean? It means that while this bill still has a ways to go before it potentially becomes law, its success would see states get the option to provide 12 months of continuous coverage postpartum coverage to mothers on Medicaid. This would save lives.

As we at Motherly have said many times, it takes a considerable amount of time and energy to heal from birth. A mother may not be healed 60 days out from delivering. She may still require medical care for perinatal mood disorders, breast issues like thrush and mastitis, diabetes, and the consequences of traumatic births, like severe vaginal tearing.

Cutting off Medicaid when her baby is only 2 months old makes mom and baby vulnerable, and the Helping Moms Act could protect families from dire consequences.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and according to the CDC, "about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications." This is not okay, and while H.R. 4996 is not yet signed into law this bill could help change this. It could help address the racial disparities that see so many Black mothers and Native American mothers dying from preventable causes in the first year of motherhood.

A report from nine American maternal mortality review committees found that there were three leading causes of death that occurred between 43 days and one year postpartum: cardiomyopathy (32.4%), mental health conditions (16.2%), and embolism (10.8%) and multiple state maternal mortality review committees have recommended extending Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum in order to prevent these deaths.

Basically, making sure that moms have have continuous access to health care the year after a birth means doctors can spot issues with things like depression, heart disease and high blood pressure at regular check-ups and treat these conditions before they become fatal.

The Helping Moms Act is a step forward in the fight for maternal health and it proves that maternal health is truly a bipartisan issue. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize the value in providing support for mothers during the postpartum period.

The Helping MOMS Act was was introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. It was co-lead by Texas Republican Michael Burgess (who is also a medical doctor), as well as Georgia Republican Buddy Carter, Washington Republicans Jaime Herrera Beutler and Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Ayanna Pressley from Massachusettes and Lauren Underwood of Illinois (both Democrats).

"Incentivizing postpartum Medicaid expansion is a critical first step in preventing maternal deaths by ensuring new moms can see their doctor. I'm proud that my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, came together to put an end to the sad reality of American moms dying while growing their families," said Kelly. "We can't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. This is a good, bipartisan first step, but it must be the first of many."

It doesn't matter what your political stripes, reducing America's maternal mortality stats should be a priority.

News

Whether you're having a low-key Friendsgiving with your closest friends or prepping to host your first big Thanksgiving dinner with both families, figuring out all of the menu details can be the most overwhelming step. How much should I cook? What ingredients do I need? How does one actually cook a turkey this big?

But, don't worry, mama—HelloFresh is lending a helping hand this year with their Thanksgiving box in collaboration with Jessica Alba. Because you already have enough on your plate (and we're not talking stuffing).


Here are the details. You can choose from two Thanksgiving boxes: Turkey ($152) or beef tenderloin ($132). The turkey box serves 8-10 people while the beef one will serve 4-6 and both are $6.99 to ship. We got to try both and they're equally delicious so you can't go wrong with either one, but the turkey does require a 4-day thaw period so keep that in mind. And if you're wondering what the sides are, here's a sneak peek:

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  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole with crispy onions
  • Ciabatta stuffing with chick sausage and cranberries
  • Cranberry sauce with orange, ginger and cinnamon
  • Apple ginger crisp with cinnamon pecan crumble

While someone still has to do the actual cooking, it's designed to take the stress out of Thanksgiving dinner so you can focus on spending time with your loved ones (or watching Hallmark Christmas movies). You don't have to worry about grocery shopping, portion sizes, recipe curation or forgetting that essential thing you needed to make the meal perfect. Everything is super simple to make from start to finish—it even comes with a cooking timeline.

Orders are open through November 21 and can be delivered anytime through November 24. Even better? You don't need a subscription to order.


ORDER A BOX

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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My mother's death propelled me to start the process of becoming a parent as a 43-year-old single woman. As my connection to her remained strong in spirit after her death, I was ready to experience the same bond with my own child. I began the journey with Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), and after three failed attempts at getting pregnant, I decided to adopt.

The adoption process is a lengthy and humbling one—one that includes fingerprints, background checks, references, classes, doing a profile of yourself and your life that birth parents eventually use to choose adoptive families.

After my application was approved, a young couple chose me just a month later. I couldn't believe my fortune. But I had to get to work and prepare the house for my baby's arrival. I bought the best of everything—bassinets, clothes, diapers, car seats… the list goes on. I told close friends and family that it was finally happening.

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But all of this was in vain. The day I was supposed to pick my daughter up, I learned that the birth parents had changed their minds. They no longer wanted to give their daughter up for adoption. As time passed, it was difficult to endure no interest from potential parents but the faith in believing what is meant to be continued. To increase my potential, I enrolled with a second adoption agency.

A few months later, as I was getting ready to try IVF for the first time, I received a phone call to let me know that a woman had selected me to adopt her child. So I opted out of IVF and found myself in a hospital delivery room with the birth mother, assisting her in the delivery of MY child. It was a boy! I was so thrilled, and he was just adorable.

After six years of losses and disappointments, I was able to bring him home and awaited the final word that the mother and father have given the needed consent. I was getting ready to watch the Super Bowl with him dressed in football gear, I got a phone call.

Once again, the adoption agency informed me that the birth mother had changed her mind. That evening, I had to return the baby to his birth mom. I was heartbroken, and my hopes were shattered.

What now? Going back to IVF meant starting from scratch, and that would take a minimum of six months before being able to really start getting pregnant. I was 49 years old, and the clock was ticking. I really wanted to be a mom by the age of 50.

I was in Chicago, recovering from a collapsed lung, when I received yet another phone call from the adoption agency. An expecting mom had chosen me and had already signed over all of her rights. This little girl was mine. For real, this time. But I had to get to Southern New Jersey by Thursday to pick her up from the hospital.

After negotiating with my doctor to give me the green light to leave while recovering from my condition, I hopped on a train, and 22 hours later, I arrived to New York City in a massive snow storm. I took longer than expected to get to her, but after navigating the icy roads of New Jersey, I met my daughter!

She is now 2 years old, and she has changed my life in ways that just can't be fully described. What I can say is that I now understand my mother's love even more and her devotion to me and my siblings, and as I am sharing the same with my daughter, my bond to my mother keeps on growing.

Becoming a mom at 49 was never what I had envisioned. But whether you are trying to conceive or have decided to adopt a child, the road to becoming a parent is rarely easy. I know that inner strength and believing in what was meant to be kept me moving forward.

Life
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