The speculum is getting an overdue redesign, and we cannot wait

In the meantime, here's what you need to know about pelvic exams.

yona_speculum

Confession: I became a midwife because I hate pelvic exams.

I mean, yes—I am in awe of pregnancy. And I can vividly remember the New York City cab ride I took home after witnessing my first birth, where I sat teary-eyed and beaming and said, "This is it. This is my life now."

But really, it all began with pelvic exams. Because let's be honest: They are awful.

As a patient, it took me years before I was able to get through the entire exam; I had to schedule multiple appointments to make it happen the first time. At my first appointment, knowing how terrified I was, my extremely caring nurse practitioner just had me put the gown on and practice lying on the table. The next time, I put my feet in the foot-rests. I don't remember exactly what number visit I had my first actual speculum exam, but it was a lot.

Through it all, I kept thinking about how I couldn't be the only one out there that hated this—even though no one talked about it. I decided that I wanted to be part of the movement that was going to make pelvic care respectful.

Despite my difficulties as a young adult, I am lucky. Because the upsetting truth is that our medical system is not set up to support the sensitive type of care that I received. Most people with vaginas are rushed through the process of a pelvic exam without consideration of the profound impact they can have.

The pelvis is complex, beautiful and powerful. It is also the home of some of our deepest vulnerabilities. And for people that have experienced sexual assault or traumatic birth, or for people who have vaginas but do not identify as female—well, the experience of a pelvic exam can be downright awful.

Plus, our society has ingrained a very negative emotional connection to the pelvis: It is dirty, gross, lewd…and wrong.

A huge part of the problem is the speculum—that metal or plastic device that brings a sense of dread to probably all of us.


Enter Yona.

Yona is made of a team of designers who have set out to redesign the speculum, and thus significantly improve the pelvic exam experience.



Freethink made an excellent video explaining this amazing new speculum concept. (Highly worth the less-than-six minute watch. But please note, they share some quotes of people who have had traumatic pelvic exams, which may be triggering for some.)

Freethink's video shares the very upsetting history of the speculum we all know and… hate:

They were designed by a man and tested on enslaved women. As Yona team member, Hailey Stewart, an Industrial Designer and Design Researcher, says, "putting the comfort of the patient first was certainly not on the top of his list."

Using a method called "radical empathy" (we love them already), the team at Yona has set out to change it all. They are also addressing the fact that "not all people with a vagina identify as female;" every person with a vagina deserves to have appropriate medical care to prevent life-threatening diseases, such as cervical cancer.

The new speculum design offers the following innovative features:

  • Improved view-field (so your provider does not have to expand the speculum as wide to see what they need to see)
  • Relaxed handle angle (so you don't have to move your bottom as close to the edge of the table as you currently do)
  • Single-handed operation (so your provider only needs to use hand to operate the speculum)
  • Concealed locking (so you don't have to hear of feel all that clicking)
  • Silicone coating (so you can say good-bye to the discomfort of metal or plastic)

So much YES, I can't even handle it.

Yona is not available in providers' offices yet. But you can check out their page for ideas on how to make this vision a reality (for example, share this information with your provider, and ask them to bring Yona in the office).

In the meantime, here's what you need to know about pelvic exams:

1. In the absence of symptoms or concerns, experts are not sure how often you need one.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):

"A limited number of studies have evaluated the benefits and harms of a screening pelvic examination for detection of ovarian cancer, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and genital herpes. Data from these studies are inadequate to support a recommendation for or against performing a routine screening pelvic examination among asymptomatic, nonpregnant [person] who are not at increased risk of any specific gynecologic condition. Data on its effectiveness for screening for other gynecologic conditions are lacking."

In other words, we don't know enough yet. Ultimately their recommendation is this: "Pelvic examinations should be performed when indicated by medical history or symptoms… [or] if a [person] expresses a preference for the examination."

2. You should still see your pelvic health provider every year

Even if they don't do a pelvic exam, it's important to meet with your provider yearly to discuss your health and make sure you are up to date on screenings, vaccines, etc.

3. One of the most important aspects of a pelvic exam is the pap smear (a swab of the cervix that checks for cancerous or precancerous cells)

When a pap smear detects abnormal cells, there are several treatment modalities available to prevent it from progressing. And, if it is cancer, treatment is available and often effective.

Here are the current Pap smear guidelines for people without a history of abnormal results, according to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force:

  • People age 21 to 65 years: Pap smear every three years
  • People age 30 to 65 who would like to lengthen the screening interval: Pap smear with human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every five years

If you have a history of abnormal results, your provider will guide you towards your specific recommendations.

4. Doctors (obstetricians and gynecologists) are awesome, but they are not your only option

Many people are surprised to learn that they have more options than they knew for pelvic health providers. Midwives and nurse practitioners provide comprehensive health care even when you are not pregnant and might be a great fit for your pelvic health needs.

5. Free and low-cost healthcare options are available

Clinics such as Planned Parenthood offer free and low-cost pelvic exams, as well as testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and the prescription of birth control.

6. Until Yona arrives, here's how to make your next pelvic exam better:

  • Talk you your provider and tell them you're worried, uncomfortable or scared. If you don't feel like you are being respected, leave (but promise me you'll find someone else and try again).
  • Bring your bottom all the way to the end of the table. OR, make two fists with your hands, and stack them under your bottom to help lift your bottom off the table.
  • Use the footrests (aka stirrups) if you want to, or feel free to ask your provider if you can keep your feet on the table if it feels better.
  • Fan your knees out to the side like a frog. SO MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE, BUT, the more relaxed your muscles are, the less uncomfortable it will be, so take deep breaths and visualize a beach, a lake, or anything that makes you feel calm.
  • Wiggle your toes and relax your jaw.
  • Ask your provider to touch the outside of your leg with the back of their hand first. Then the inside of your thigh. When you say, "I'm ready," they can start the pelvic exam. Not before.
  • Ray Rachlin, midwife, and owner of Refuge Midwifery in Philadelphia, recommends telling your provider that you'd like to insert the speculum. They can guide it to the right place, but you are in charge of the speed at which it goes in.

Your body, your rules. It is not rude, wrong or unacceptable to tell your provider how you would like your pelvis to be examined.

In This Article

    Need sixteen bandaids, three courses of snacks and a stain stick? Just ask the nearest mom. She'll hand you all that and ask if you'd like a fistful of baby wipes to help clean up afterward.

    Mamas are the OG Mary Poppins. But that doesn't mean we want to carry giant carpet bags to prove it. When it comes to toting all the things mamas and little ones need, we want to do it in style. And forget diaper bags that look like diaper bags. We want a reliable and easy-to-organize bag that looks chic enough to carry it even without toddlers in tow. (Read: 26 Diaper Bags That Don't Look Like Diaper Bags)

    Meet the impossibly stylish Stevie from Mina Baie. Motherly shoppers have been crushing on it for months and we wanted to let you in on the secret.


    As sophisticated as it is practical, this spacious diaper bag is designed with every need in mind. First of all, while it may look like leather bags that cost three times more, it's made from a resilient and gorgeous vegan material that you don't have to feel precious about since it's easy to clean and hard to beat up. It also features a water-resistant lining that's ready for any sippy cup mishap that comes its way. The top-loading design, flush with a variety of interior and exterior pockets keeps everything orderly and accessible while the clever construction allows you to carry it as a backpack, tote or crossbody.

    Mina Baie vegan stevie

    Mina baie vegan stevie

    The look and practicality are elevated by chunky hardware, a padded laptop sleeve and a luggage sleeve for slipping over a carry-on handle.

    $142

    It's the kind of bag that brings mamas together. You know, the kind of bag that makes a fellow playground spectator sidle up and ask you where you got it. (Isn't that just the best feeling ever?)

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

    Shop

    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class

    pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

    $79

    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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    10 splurge-worthy items for your baby registry that are totally worth it

    These are perfect for a group of friends or family to split.

    One of the sweetest parts of a baby shower is gifting the mama-to-be with items that she probably would never splurge on herself. Maybe you're part of a group of friends or family who want to purchase a big-ticket surprise. Or, you want to spend a little extra on a gift you know she'll obsess over.

    We've rounded up our top splurge-worthy items that mama and baby will love.


    Motherly Timeless 5-in-1 Crib + Playhouse

    Motherly Timeless 5-in-1 crib + playhouse

    From first sleeps to the sleep-until-noon teenage days, this crib is designed to be there through it all. It grows right along with them from a crib to a toddler bed, day bed, play house and eventually a full-size bed.

    $499

    BOB Alterrain Jogging Stroller

    Bob-alterrain-jogging-stroller

    A jogging stroller is a must-have for an active family. We love this top-rated model from BOB, the brand that's synonymous with jogging strollers. It seamlessly goes on all terrains, from pavement to wooded trails. If mama already has her everyday stroller, this would make a great addition.

    $599

    Doona Infant Car Seat + Latch Base

    Doona infant car seat + latch base

    Doona is a car seat that transforms into a stroller in a matter of seconds. It's a thoughtful gift that will simplify mama's life without sacrificing on safety.

    $549

    SNOO Smart Sleeper Bassinet

    snoo-smart-sleeper-bassinet

    By combining gentle rocking with soothing white noise and snug, safe swaddling, SNOO creates a nearly fool-proof, safe sleep environment that parents (and babies!) swear by. Not only does it automatically respond to your baby's needs when it senses their fussing or crying, but it also helps teach little ones to self-soothe. It's the recipient of tons of awards and countless accolades from families who say it's actually changed their lives. That might sound like an overstatement, but when it comes to sleep, a solid night of it is nothing short of life-changing.

    (Read more about why we think the Snoo is totally worth it!)

    Willow Hands-Free Wearable Double Electric Breast Pump

    Willow hands-free wearable double electric breast pump

    If mama is going to try breastfeeding, a quality breast pump is an essential tool. Willow reinvents traditional pumping, making it easier than ever to pump on the go. As the first in-bra wearable pump, there's no need to worry about cords. Plus, it's spill-proof and quiet. (Learn more about why the Willow Pump is totally worth it!)

    $499

    Baby Björn Baby Carrier One Air in 3D Mesh

    Baby Bj\u00f6rn baby carrier one air in 3D mesh

    Customize your (and baby's!) comfort with the two-way padded, adjustable straps, lumbar support and built-in infant adapter. It features breathable mesh that keeps the temperature just right for you and baby. More to love? Three easy-to-adjust seat positions so you have plenty of options to create an ergonomic fit.

    $220

    Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor

    nanit-pro

    The Nanit merges mama instincts with your inner data nerd to help your baby sleep like, well, a baby. Their game-changing tech acts as a personal sleep trainer to track your baby's sleep, breathing, wake-ups and fussing and even how often you enter the room via an over-the-crib camera. The info that's gathered is synthesized to provide nightly reports, scores and tips that parents can use to improve. The camera itself captures real-time HD quality video and even allows you to create a digital scrapbook of the adorable moments caught on camera.

    $249

    Baby Brezza Formula Pro Advanced 

    baby-brezza-formula-pro

    The Baby Brezza is formula's best friend. It easily prepares formula so mama doesn't have to worry about mixing or measuring—simply place in the formula powder and water. With temperature control features, you can be sure it'll be ready for baby.

    $199.99

    4moms Mamaroo Baby Swing 

    4moms mamaroo baby swing

    When mama can't bounce baby (because she's tired, needs her hands free or just needs a break), the mamaRoo mimics that gentle rocking motion. We love that you can control the sound, motion and speed from your phone so you don't have to interrupt baby.

    $239.99

    Stokke tripp trapp chair with baby set

    Stokke tripp trapp chair with baby set

    With a beautiful Scandinavian design, the Tripp Trapp Chair will seamlessly blend into any home design. It features an ergonomic seating position and an adjustable back and footplate so a little can comfortably sit at the table for years to come. You can even add in a cushion for added comfort. While it's an investment, think of it as a piece of furniture versus another kid's item.

    $319

    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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    This post is sponsored by BABYBJÖRN. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    7 best humidifiers to help baby (and you!) breathe easier

    From soothing illness to improving sleep it's a nursery must-have.

    Canopy x Lalo

    Throughout the year (but during the cooler months, especially), the dry air in our homes can make things tough for little bodies. Colds and congestion amplify and as any parent knows, listening to a tiny person struggle to breathe is too painful to bear. And living through a pandemic where every sniffle puts you into a tailspin, it's good to know a bit about all the tools you have at your disposal: like a baby humidifier for your nursery.

    Do babies need humidifiers?

    From mitigating eczema and battling respiratory illness to simply helping baby sleep better, a humidifier is registry must-have. Moist air can help improve upper respiratory discomforts as well as soothe sore throats while they get some much-needed rest. Not to mention, the added moisture also benefits their sensitive skin and provides a dreamy ambiance for sleep.

    What to look for in a humidifier

    While there are a variety of types on the market, humidifiers generally fall into two categories: warm mist and cool mist. Warm mist is often pointed to as quieter and cleaner than cool mist, but from a safety perspective, cool mist is preferred when it's going to be used around curious toddlers who could be burned by steam or hot water.

    Humidifiers can also be defined by the way the humidity is created. There are ultrasonic models which use high-frequency sound vibrations to transform water particles into a cool, hydrating mist and evaporative models which leverage fans to do the job. Again, both styles have their place, but know that ultrasonic humidifiers are generally filter-less, quiet and efficient but do come with a higher price tag. Also, without a filter, families with hard water often bemoan fine white dust on furniture and surfaces which is caused by the minerals being dispersed along with the mist. It's harmless but annoying. Evaporative machines pull water through a water-saturated filter that removes those impurities as it runs. Their drawback, however, is the energy they require to work along with being markedly noisier.

    But no matter what kind of humidifier for baby you decide on, the care of the unit is most important. Keeping your humidifier clean is paramount as they can quickly become the stuff of nightmares. (If you've ever cut open a squirty bath toy, you know the moldy horror show that can live inside.) Most models require emptying daily along with regular cleanings and disinfection.

    We've rounded up the best baby humidifiers on the market today which are easy to clean and best suited for use in nurseries. (But if you want to use them in every room, no one's going to stop you!)


    Canopy x Lalo Humidifier + Aroma Diffuser

    Canopy X Lalo humidifier

    We love a good collab and could not be more thrilled about this one in particular. (I mean, how can you not be excited about "the world's cleanest humidifier" pairing up with one of the most stylish baby gear brands around?) The no-mist design puts out filtered, hydrated air to moisturize skin and soothe baby's breathing while the built-in diffuser fills the nursery with calming scents thanks to pure essential oil blends. Their proprietary technology which uses a paper-based filter and embedded UV lights make it the only anti-mold humidifier on the market—talk about breathing easier, right? Additionally, the unit is quite easy to clean and even dishwasher safe. (#Blessed)

    Reviewers say: "I've gone through many humidifiers and many diffusers. This is the best of both worlds. As a humidifier, it's SO easy to clean! That's the biggest pain in the butt to me. And it's QUIET! Oh so quiet. Then there's the added benefit of being a diffuser except you don't put the essential oil IN the water. You drip it on a stone that sits right on top of the air holes so there's no oil to clean up. This product is amazing. Truly." –John H.

    $150

    Crane Drop Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

    Crane-humidifier

    A favorite among parents, Crane's entire collection of humidifiers is a top choice in nurseries and throughout the house. The classic Drop is available in a variety of fun colors as well as some adorable animal shapes that marry function and style. Powered by ultrasonic technology, their cool-mist humidifier is whisper-quiet (since it doesn't depend on a fan to get the job done) and filter-free, giving you one less thing to think about. (They do offer an optional demineralization filter if your water is too harsh.) The one-gallon tank allows it to run for over 24 hours in a room up to 500 square feet and is easy to adjust via a knob on the front. Auto-shutoff has your back when the tank runs out and the award-winning design's mist lid allows you to send the mist in any direction.

    Worried about cleaning? Don't be. The detachable bottom fill tank is made with clean control anti-microbial material, reducing mold and bacteria growth by up to 99.96%. Daily emptying and once-a-week disinfecting with basic white vinegar keeps it in tip-top shape!

    The only complaint is the nightlight which does not shut off or adjust. If your little one needs a super dark environment you can always wrap it with one of the six dozen burp cloths you have lying around!

    Reviewers say: "I bought my first crane drop humidifier when I was pregnant with my first child. I couldn't have made a better choice! 6 years later I still have the original & its still working great. Since then, I have bought 2 more in different colors and one replacement tank (I dropped it in the tub after filling it & it cracked). The tank is just the right size to last all night...even on the highest setting...but not so heavy that I can't fill it myself. The motor is quiet....quiet enough not to wake a newborn. I really love this product. I don't think there is a better basic humidifier out there."–Hol709

    $54.99

    Fridababy 3-in-1 Humidifier

    frida-baby-3-1in-1-humidifier

    How much do we love all things Frida? Since launching with the Nose Frida almost a decade ago, they've created an impressive portfolio of mom and baby products that solve some of the most intimate (and sometimes gross) parenting problems—including the 3-in-1 humidifier. With a design that functions as a nightlight and diffuser in addition to its prowess as a humidifier, it uses the power of ultrasonic vibration to keep babies comfortable in spaces up to 320 square feet. For parents who don't have the space or just hesitate to take up real estate with a giant hissing machine, this one is more compact than most (and almost totally silent!) The unit will run for 12 hours with an auto-shutoff when the tank is empty and a mist adjuster to customize output. The nightlight offers a range of soothing colors and the ability to turn it off altogether while the diffuser feature allows you to add the brand's vapor drops or any aromatherapy-grade essential oils. Next stop, Dreamland!

    Reviewers say: "Fridababy always comes up with the most creative and useful products. The 3-in-1 humidifier, diffuser, nightlight is no exception. I love that I only need to use one appliance as my humidifier, diffuser and nightlight. It runs quietly, it's easy to clean, the diffuser works great and it's competitively priced. This will be my go-to baby shower gift.
    It's an absolutely phenomenal product!"–Nowienono

    $49.99

    Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

    Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

    With no filter to replace and a powerful 1.2-gallon tank that can run for 30 hours, this hassle-free humidifier can soothe the entire family—not just baby! It's great for year-round moisturizing but really shines during cold and flu seasons with the addition of Vicks' VapoPads which fill the air with congestion-relieving magic. The wide tank opening and lack of nooks and crannies make it a cinch to clean which is also a huge plus in our book. ​

    Reviewers say: "We got this for our baby who was sick with a stuffy nose. Previous Starlight one was very hard to keep clean and filled the room with a white fog. This one doesn't do that. You can see the mist coming out and helped with the stuffy nose and the dryness from running the heater during cold months. It's not as loud as I expected based on other reviews. Almost soothing. My 3-year-old kept turning it on without us knowing and it would run all day. The tank does last a few days when ran continuously. Of the 4 different ones we've owned this is my favorite. Filter-free makes cleaning a breeze."–Brittany

    $39.86

    Miro NR07G Humidifier

    miro

    Yes, it's one of the priciest on the list, but fans of the Miro say it's worth every penny. Created by a dad who felt that traditional humidifiers get too dirty, putting tiny lungs at risk, it's the only humidifier on the market that allows you to easily wash every square inch—a modern design that's as practical as it is stylish. The one-gallon tank can be filled via the open-top without having to stop the machine and can run for up to 24 hours at the lowest setting. It's also super quiet, equipped with an auto-shutoff and filter-free.

    Reviewers say: "I am in love with these humidifiers! Yes, mama, you need them for peace of mind for your family. Every other humidifier I have tried has been impossible to fully clean, but this one is completely cleanable. No more icky humidifiers here! It's super quiet and it actually uses less water than my previous ones, so a gallon of distilled water can humidify a small to medium-sized bedroom during sleeping hours for 2-4 days before needing to be refilled. 🙌🏻 I recommend using distilled water as it reduces cleaning frequency. I clean ours weekly, but it never looks like it needs it.
    I know it can be pricey for most families, but consider it an investment in your family's health. Anytime me or my kids have been congested or coughing, it's cleared up after just 1-2 nights of running the humidifier. It will pay for itself; because it's completely cleanable, it lasts longer, you won't be replacing it any time soon."–Southside Mommy

    $125

    Honeywell Easy to Care Cool Mist Humidifier HCM-710

    Honeywell Easy to Care Cool Mist Humidifier HCM-710

    ​As Amazon's choice for easy to clean humidifiers, Honeywell checks all the boxes with their Cool Mist Humidifier. While filter-less styles are generally easier, this one more than makes up for it (and not just because the Wicking Filters inhibit up to 99.99 percent of mold growth!) The large tank allows it to run for up to 36 hours, and with only a couple of pieces to deal with, it truly is a breeze to clean. The open-top design can be filled without having to do anything but pour.

    Reviewers say: "We bought this for our infant's room because other expensive humidifiers we had bought would usually die within a year do to the hard mineral content in our water. This humidifier is simple and works. We replace the wick every few months to remove the accumulated sediment. AND the best thing about this humidifier is the noise. When on high, it produces a smooth, consistent fan noise that has been the perfect white noise we needed for our son's room. If you don't want white, fan noise, don't get this, if you are looking for a humidifier that works and produces white noise, this is a great buy." K. Shorner-Johnson

    $61.16


    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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    To the mama preparing her heart for baby #2: You are ready

    Your heart is about to grow so much more full with love.

    A few months ago my two year old daughter and I were driving home from dinner with friends, and as we pulled onto our street a lump formed in my throat and big tears began to stream down my face—I realized that tonight was our last night ever just the two of us to do my daughter's bedtime routine.

    Out-of-town relatives were set to arrive, my husband would soon be home from his deployment, and we'd be having our second baby.

    The intense emotion hit me out of nowhere.

    I felt guilty about how much was about to change for my daughter. I had no idea how to rationalize or sort through this sudden rush of feelings.

    I was already so in love with this healthy, unborn baby girl kicking inside my belly, but I felt like I was mourning the future loss of my season as a mama of one.

    Fast forward three months later to today as I once again found myself with a lump in my throat, but this time it was the result of watching my 2.5 year old daughter love on my infant while she sat in her bouncer seat. I had stepped out of the room for a moment, and when I rounded the corner to return I found my older daughter crouched down by my baby wiping spit-up off of her face and making the sweetest baby-talk noises.

    My baby was locked on my older girl's eyes, and the lump in my throat formed before I knew it. I smiled and recalled my emotions from a few months back—I couldn't begin to imagine then how full my heart would feel watching the two tiny loves of my life interact with each other. It sometimes takes my breath away.

    I was so worried then about the unknown and making my daughter "share" my husband and me and the life we'd all built together, but we didn't know what we didn't know, and that's that I had nothing to worry about.

    To the mama reading this whose heart is currently twisted about soon going from parenting one kid to two...

    It really is true that you'll never have to split your love between your babies, and it really is true that your love will multiply tenfold as you all get to know your newest little love.

    Right now you may catch yourself wondering how it's possible that you could ever intensely love another little person as much as you love your first (I couldn't begin to fathom it), but just wait, mama. It's beautiful and perfect it happens so effortlessly.

    You wonder and worry about how your oldest will respond to sharing your attention, but try to remember that the adjustment period, regardless of how long or short it is, is just a brief season in the grand scheme. (Plus, your oldest may surprise you with how well and how quickly he or she adjusts.)

    Like me, you may find yourself in this bizarre phase of mourning all the things you love about this current season of life as a mom to one. You feel like you've all finally found a routine that's comfortable and easy and enjoyable just in time to shake things back up again. You'll surely find that "comfortable" routine again eventually, and this time you'll have the privilege of having another little soul to love and raise and enjoy.I used to watch other moms who had two or more children and wondered if they could have ever at some point empathized with my roller coaster of emotions about adding another baby. I would watch as these mamas so effortlessly moved through the grocery store or a restaurant or the park with two or more little ones, and I would hope (and still hope) that one day I would find my groove just like her. I hoped that someday I would be able to embrace the role of juggling multiple kids as naturally as she seemed to do.

    If your heart is twisted and you're finding yourself taken back by your roller coaster of emotions about having your next baby—know that your feelings are relatable, understandable and justified. You may choke up like me when it's time to give your biggest baby one last hug before you meet your second one, but just remember this is all a beautiful part of this crazy life.

    Your heart is about to grow so much more full with love.

    Making the transition from one to two, mama? These tried-and-true products can help.

    BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

    BABYBJ\u00d6RN bouncer bliss

    Siblings are our first best friends. The universally-loved bouncer from BABYBJÖRN not only gives your arms a much-needed break, but also provides the sweetest opportunity for their bond to thrive.

    $250

    Tushbaby carrier - black/gold

    Tushbaby carrier - black/gold

    The next best thing to an extra set of arms, the Tushbaby carrier takes the weight off of your waist and is equipped with a storage area perfect for diapers, wipes and changing essentials of all kinds. Ditch the diaper bag and carry on with toddler life like the pro you are. You've got this, mama.

    $79

    Slumberkins alpaca snuggler

    Slumberkins Alpaca Snuggler

    If your older child is struggling with the transition, the Slumberkins alpaca snuggler is a snuggly tool developed by therapists and early education specialists that can help kids manage anxiety and better articulate big feelings.

    $44

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