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It took me years to get pregnant. After our fourth IVF cycle, my husband and I started contemplating life without children. We had no more money to spend and there were many nights I went to bed crying. Our future rested on the fifth—and final—IVF. Because emotionally, financially, physically, I couldn't do any more.
We got pregnant. And somehow, miraculously, we stayed pregnant. I survived the first trimester—debilitating nausea, exhaustion and worry plaguing me at all hours of the day. I lived in constant fear that this would all end in a moment's notice. I think I started breathing a little easier when my belly started to grow. As the weeks went by, I started developing the nervous habit of placing my hand on my belly, all the time, as if to remind myself that this was actually happening.
Those first movements were surreal. The tiny punches turned to huge rolls and kicks, sometimes bordering on painful. I loved every second of it. I would lay in bed at night, a hand on my belly, and I would try to imagine what she looked like. Was that lump I felt an elbow or a knee? Side note: I never could figure that out.
From week 5 to week 36, I faithfully stood in front of my bathroom mirror every Friday and took a picture on my phone of my belly progression. I will always cherish those pictures. But I wish I had taken more. I wish I had more pictures documenting this pregnancy because I'm not sure I will ever get to experience this again.
Even if you haven't showered or you have dark circles around your eyes while eating pizza, capture those moments, because you may never have them again.
I wish I had taken pictures in my second trimester, when my bump was just starting out. Not only the "Oh look at your tiny bump!" belly, but also the "Am I pregnant or just eating too much Taco Bell?" belly. I wish my husband would have taken pictures of me with the dark circles around my eyes, eating pizza, the only thing I could keep down. OK, to be fair, there is no way I would have allowed that, but still. I wish I had more pictures from my pregnancy.
You probably have several hundred photos of your baby. Which is probably a total new-mom thing. But take photos during your pregnancy too. Document this time. Even if you haven't showered or you have dark circles around your eyes while eating pizza, capture those moments, because you may never have them again.
Let your partner take those pregnancy photos while you're on the couch reading, a hand on your belly. By all means, take that selfie in the bathroom at Applebee's. Snap photos when you're dressed up and especially when you're not.
The thing about growing a human for the better part of a year is that you think you'll remember what it felt like. But really, you forget, and rather quickly. When you're pregnant, it's hard to imagine wanting to see yourself ever again in pictures swollen and huge, but trust me, you will.