Dear Liam: A Letter to My Unborn Son

Dear Liam,

I am not going to lie to you son,
the world is in rough shape
and there are many conflicts that I cannot explain or fathom. I would like to be able to say that I will shield you from all the indecencies of it all, but truth has always been a constant of my nature.

I would like to say I could melt away all the injustices, but again, deception is not the answer.

However, my dearest unborn son,

I can tell you this: Although darkness resonates, there are still glorious patches of sunlight that we must explore. It will be up to you to seek that light and revel in its beauty, for you must never forget that it does exist.

I only hope that you learn to find the rays amid the mist
and faith within the blackened sea.

I can only expose you to people who love, tolerate, encourage and believe in those tracts of hope that you will walk upon.

I can only show you peaceful rivers, majestic mountains, fields of sunflowers, and calm skies as reminders that beauty does, indeed, prevail.

I can only teach you to be kind, respectful, empathetic, and faithful.

I can only do my best to magnify the good. To relish the importance of a handshake, a shared meal, a quest towards peace, a stranger’s act of charity.

I can only hold your hand and guide you to the rays of a sunrise—where we will someday sit and gaze at the overwhelming beauty of it all, and I will be reassured as sprinkles of light dance among your forehead.

Suggested Reading:

Dear Child: Letters to My Unborn Child Journals for the Soul

A Letter to My Unborn Son: Here’s What I Promise You by Laura Marie Meyers

I Surrender


It was seven months into my second pregnancy when I chose moments to surrender.

It occurred one evening when I was feeling quite ill, achy, irritated, and hormonal.

My second pregnancy had been much more difficult than my first, and although it was healthy and could have been much worst, running after my two-year-old while pregnant was something I still do not have a proper comparison for, but I will try:

A marshmallow man trying to put out fires for hours on end, a penguin chasing a gazelle, a blob of slime being asked to transform into an energetic princess. .. okay, you get the idea.

I was always on my son. If he was throwing blocks, I told him to stop, if he was drawing on his hands, I redirected him, if he was emptying his toy box, I was right behind him telling him to clean up.

I was on it: always.

And then this one evening my son climbed up on his chair and began throwing Christmas cards on the floor.

I had just finally lain down on the couch and getting up was becoming quite a chore.

I looked at him and was about to get up to stop him; but instead, I didn’t.

I didn’t say one word. I didn’t attempt to interject. I just lay there…motionless and ignored him.

You heard me right. This was a moment, keyword: moment–when I chose to surrender.

He wasn’t in danger, he wasn’t hurting anyone, and I didn’t think he would turn into an evil being because I didn’t stop him from throwing cards on the floor.

In fact, he got bored once he noticed I wasn’t paying attention to him and switched gears to build a tower.

And then the next day, when he was outside playing, I let him step into his wet sandbox—shoes on and all.

I didn’t run to stop him. I didn’t yell at him. Again, I had a moment of surrender.

He eventually realized the shoes were uncomfortable and requested to go inside and change them.

Now I chose these moments carefully, and mind you, that in those two days there were probably hundreds of moments when I did interject.

It wasn’t like I was letting my kid flail around knives, tip over candles, or eat lightbulbs (all of which I have prevented in the past), but I did let him throw cards and get his shoes wet.

I had a couple moments of surrender, and I feel that this is okay.

Now I know that some may disagree with me. I can hear the comments now, but most probably relate.

I needed a few moments of surrender–now and then–to preserve my sanity.

Like many pregnant mothers with toddlers, I was exhausted, guilt-stricken, and achy.

I was lacking the mobility, patience, and energy that I had before.

Because of this, I admit, I loosened up a bit.

Now I don’t want you thinking that I just let my kid run haywire. Not at all.

I just let go of the idea of perfection.

I let go of being able to correct every little thing.

I began to give my firstborn a little more space.

And instead of viewing this as negative, I viewed the positivity in allowing moments of surrender.

Being pregnant while chasing after my toddler provided me the realization that my firstborn was going to have to figure some stuff out for himself.

I knew that once my second child arrived, there was no way I would be able to be on my first born like I had been for the last two-and-a-half years.

So sometimes when my son was clawing at me and demanding apple juice after I just gave him a full cup of milk, I would tell him, “Sorry, little man, not right now. Mommy needs a little downtime. Now would be a good time for you play with your trains. Give mommy fifteen minutes.”

Sometimes this amount of time was not possible and if my son somehow found the superglue that I did not even know existed, obviously my time was cut short, but after trying this a few times, he soon got the idea, and I ended up getting less peanut butter handprints on my shirt and more time on the couch.

Being pregnant while chasing a toddler also made me realize that daddy needed to step up more. I couldn’t swing my toddler around like I used to, I couldn’t run after him like I used to, and I knew I needed to get some rest before baby #2 arrived.

This is why my husband needed to take on more responsibilities. Two months before my due date, my husband became responsible for all of my son’s wakeups. My toddler was going through a nightmare stage, and I had always been the one who took care of the majority of these nighttime wakes.

I knew from previous experience, that once the new baby arrived, I would be taking care of all of the nighttime wakings for a newborn. This was due to a lot of breastfeeding and the fact that I tend to wake up anyway when I hear a newborn whimper.

So I knew that in a short matter of time, there would be no way I was going to wake up with both of them. Daddy should start preparing now–and he did. 

Daddy also received a little less time in the garage and was responsible for more meals. He even took on some laundry. These changes needed to be implemented before the new baby came home, and these changes made a world of difference.

Still, there were a few moments of surrender that had not happened before I was pregnant, but again, these moments were okay.

As you can see from above, these moments of surrender resulted in a few epiphanies and a lot of good.

So the next time you have a moment of surrender, I want you to not beat yourself up. I want you to know that you are amazing. I want you to know that you need a breather every once in a while, and as long as your child is safe and doing no harm, now and then, it’s okay to sit back and let him throw a few cards on the floor. . .

just try to make sure that he picks them up later.

Suggested further reading:

Check out another blog I wrote for called Why I Was Fearfully Uncertain to Give Birth to my Second Child.

Twice Blessed: Everything You Need To Know About Having A Second Child– Preparing Yourself, Your Marriage, And Your Firstborn For A New Family Of Four by Joan Leonard

The Second Baby Survival Guide: How to stay calm and enjoy life with a new baby and a toddler by Naia Edwards

10 Must Have Breastfeeding Products for the Working Mother

First off, good for you! If you are reading about breastfeeding products for the working mother, then you are most-likely making an effort to continue breastfeeding while working, and this effort should be commended.

I’ve been there, and I managed to breastfeed my firstborn for two years while working.

Whether you’re just thinking about working and breastfeeding or committing to it for the long run, I am glad you are here!

Now, I could lie and tell you that breastfeeding and working is an easy feat, but the fact is that it takes discipline, planning, and strategy.

The good news: You can do it, mama! Although challenging, it is quite possible, and there are some breastfeeding products for the working mother that will help you along the way.

Here are 10 breastfeeding must have products for the working mother:

1. The Book Work. Pump. Repeat. By Jessica Shortall

I am a book girl, and I could not get my hands on enough books about breastfeeding and work. I was so clueless and had no idea how a breast pump even worked. The book Work. Pump. Repeat. was the book that saved me. It was written in a humorous and diplomatic way that drew me in. It was clear, to the point, and offered advice, products; you name it.

It was without a doubt the best book about breastfeeding and work that I read, and I read A LOT.  I put it at the top of the list because I feel that it is a must-have that will provide you with the basic information you need. It is also a very quick read.

2. Electric Breast Pump

Okay, I know, this thing looks a bit intimidating, and I felt like I was shopping for farming equipment, but it is actually super easy once you get the hang of it. I used the Medela brand and was super happy with it. This product allowed me to provide milk for my baby when I was at work. It was a necessary breastfeeding product for the working mother.

I also needed a bag to conceal the pump, and this product comes with that accessory as well. Not only was the Medela reliable, but when I did have one issue around a year in, I called them up, and they overnighted a replacement part. Which leads to my next recommendation.

3. A Manual Breast Pump for Backup

I learned that a manual pump was a necessity the hard way. It was during hurricane season, and the power went out – Uh-oh! Also, there was that time when my electric pump malfunctioned because it needed a replacement part.

These are circumstances that you do not plan for, but they happen. If you have a manual pump, you are in the clear. I recommend this Lansinoh one.

4. Breastfeeding Friendly Bottles

Now I didn’t know this at the time, but your choice of bottle for the breastfed baby is extremely important. Some bottles go too fast, and your starving-milk-guzzling newborn will suck down a bottle super quickly. This leads to more pumping than needed, and we do not want that. So I used Dr. Brown’s, and they were a lifesaver.

They are specifically designed for the breastfed baby and feature a straw that slows down the milk. They also have slow drip nipples which mimic an actual boob. You can even get them in plastic or glass.

5. Breastmilk Storage Bags

You have to have someplace to store all that stored milk, and you can’t just throw it in your lunch Tupperware container.

As with everything else, your storage has to be sanitary, and these Lansinoh storage bags worked for me. In fact, I tried quite a few other brands before I discovered these, and they seemed to be the only ones that did not leak all over and did a good job with freezing and thawing.

I loaded up my freezer with these babies.


Whether you are new or experienced with breastfeeding, the boppy is another helpful breastfeeding product for the working mother. This pillow goes around your waist while the baby comfortably rests on it. Similarly to the hands-free bra, this product allows you to your arms back.

I am even able to nurse while typing on the computer with this bad boy. It is a lifesaver. You can also use it to prop up your little nugget when you aren’t nursing.

7. Hands-Free Nursing Bra

I know, I know, this bra looks hilarious, but it was one of the best breastfeeding products that I purchased.

Instead of holding two bottles to your chest to catch milk, this hands-free nursing bra allowed me to do paperwork, send emails, and more. If you want to be able to do something else with your hands while pumping, this product is for you!

8. Reusable Nursing Pads

Okay, to be blunt, breastfeeding causes some leakage, and there is nothing more embarrassing than looking down and seeing your business shirt soaked around your boobs.

You can only fold your arms for so long. That is why bamboobies are wonderful! They are inserts that go straight into your bra and prevent those dreaded wet marks. Embarrassment diverted.

9. Clean Steaming Bags for Pump Parts

This is a breastfeeding product for the working mother that I wished I had discovered sooner. Washing all those pump parts and remaining sanitary (which is also very important), can be incredibly time-consuming.

These steam bags saved me so much time and also cleaned bottles and pump parts better than my hand washing could ever do.

You just load up the bag with your parts and some water and zap it in the microwave for three minutes. They also can be used up to twenty times!

10. Nursing Scarf

I am a very modest person, and when I first started breastfeeding, I used this scarf all of the time in public. It was soft and fashionable and covered me up enough to make me feel comfortable for that first couple of months.

Now, I’ll be honest, after a little while, I didn’t care anymore what other people thought, and I nursed wherever I wanted to without the scarf. However, even after I had weaned, this scarf is still a great accessory for my black date dress and goes great with a business suit. It has definitely gotten its use.

I hope these breastfeeding products for the working mother will help you out. Although not an easy feat, you can do it, and these 10 must have breastfeeding products for the working mother are bound to help you out!

Did You Really Just Say That? 8 Crazy Questions and Comments that I have Encountered while being Pregnant


When I became pregnant with my first child, I was not prepared for the unsolicited advice, inappropriate comments, and awkward questions that I would receive.

I had no idea that being pregnant would cause some people to think that my sexuality, body, and personal convictions were up for discussion, even with strangers.

I admit, it caught me totally off guard. It seems that everyone has an opinion: my closest friends, neighbors, strangers in the grocery line, etc.

It is a topic that I now know is quite common (see here), but at the time when I was pregnant with my first child, it was a startling learning experience.

Now I am pregnant with my second child and nothing seems to surprise me. Still, I feel that others should be cognizant of the comments and questions they ask pregnant women.

After all, I am fully aware that a lot of this unsolicited advice and curiosity comes from a very innocent place, but I also feel that there needs to more tact and consideration.

That is why I feel that it is important to share my story so that maybe others can learn and be thoughtful when you see that next pregnant lady in the grocery line.

These are the top crazy questions and comments that I have encountered while being pregnant:

1. Well, if you are having a girl, don’t feel like you have to get an abortion.

I am going to start off with the craziest, most inappropriate comment I ever received while being pregnant. It took place in a thrift shop when I was perusing baby clothes.

This random lady came up to me and looked at the cute little pair of newborn blue jeans I was holding, as well as my ever-expanding belly, and asked, “What are you having?”

“I am not sure yet,” I responded.

“Well, if you are having a girl, don’t feel like you have to get an abortion.”

My mouth dropped.

“So many people get an abortion nowadays because it’s a girl, and in other countries…”

This is when I stopped listening. No expansion needed.

2. Was it planned?

This next question was quite common, but it still took me by surprise. The main reason it annoyed me was because even though our baby had been planned, what if the opposite had been true?

Would I answer nope, not planned at all? It also seemed a bit more personal than I felt comfortable with.

Or what if I answered, “Yes, it was planned, we got it on for months before it happened.” I am well aware of the attitude in this last phrase, but the was it planned question got to me.

I guess I just didn’t feel that that information should be important to others. What was important is that we were having a baby.

The future was what I wanted to focus on.

My standard answer to this question ended up being, “We are very excited for this baby.” And then I would change the subject.

So many times I did want to be a wise ass and say comments like the following: “Oh, you are supposed to plan these things? Or, “Yes, and it was fantastic!

Here are some more hilarious responses to that question from a BabyCenter blog by Katherine Martin.

I wish I said them all.

3. You are drinking a Coffee!

This is another comment that did not come from an evil place.

It has been important for me to recognize that a lot of people say inappropriate comments because they actually care about you.

Still, I encountered freak outs when having my one latte for the day.

You’re going to end up with a caffeine-induced baby.” Or, “What are you thinking? That is so bad for the baby!”

You get the picture.

My response was always something to the effect,”The baby is doing great, thank you. My doctor said that actually, a couple cups of coffee a day is fine, but thanks for your concern.”

Moving on.

4. Are you really sure there is only one in there?

This is usually said in a humorous way, but it is still irritating. Yes, I am getting fat; I am pregnant.

No, it does not mean that I am octomom; it just means that my body made space for a watermelon that was not there before.

How about rephrasing this question to a compliment, “You look vibrant today.” That’s a comment that would have been welcomed as I waddled to the checkout line.

5. You need to gain more weight!

On the opposite end, I also received this comment: You need to gain more weight!

I did not know everyone was a doctor.

I was told many times that I needed to eat more, I was not big enough, etc. Now, this is different than the comment, “You do not look (insert amount of months) pregnant.”

This did not bother me but telling me that I had to gain weight was an entirely different story.

My response to this one was “At my recent appointment, my doctor said I was measuring perfectly.”

I have learned that people seem to respond quite well when you quote doctors.

6. How long did you try to get pregnant?

Again, personal. We are talking about sex here, and it’s one thing for my dearest girlfriends to ask this question, but another for a random stranger.

Yes, strangers asked me this question. . . a couple times.

I do not feel like having small talk about how often my husband and I tried to conceive.

Next topic, please.

7. You’ll never sleep again.

Again, this is usually said with the best of intentions, but it drove me nuts!

I am having insomnia every night, I wake up to pee every hour, and my bowling ball of a stomach is making it difficult to even sleep comfortably on my side.

I do not need to hear that it gets worst.

Now truth be told, it does, but I didn’t need to hear that at the time.

How about asking, “How are you feeling? Have you been getting any rest?”

I would have appreciated these questions.

8. You are planning on a natural childbirth, that is not going to happen honey.

This comment also caught me off guard. My goal was to have a natural childbirth for personal reasons that should not matter to anyone else.

But when some people found out that was what I was planning, the responses were anything from scowls to flat out telling me that it wasn’t going to happen.

A woman who has chosen to try to have a natural childbirth needs encouragement. She needs others to believe in her. She needs support.

She does not need the opposite.

Yes, a natural birth is difficult. . . VERY DIFFICULT. But it is possible, and support is key. After all, our species did survive for centuries before epidurals, and just like the decision to use medication during childbirth, a natural approach is a personal choice.

It’s important that I reiterate that I know a lot of these comments and questions were not malicious in nature. In fact, quite the contrary, but I do feel that all of us need to have a little more self-awareness when speaking to a pregnant woman.

This goes for me as well. Before I became pregnant, I am sure I probably said at least a couple of these comments and questions.

But being the receiver changes things, and I also recognize that a pregnant woman’s hormones can sometimes make already sensitive topics even more so.

I think it’s important to really think about the comment you are making and the question you are asking.

Does it feel inappropriate?

Would you ask a person this who was not pregnant?

Is this question too personal?

Would I feel comfortable responding to this comment or question?

These are the questions we should be asking ourselves before pouncing on that pregnant lady who really just wants her one latte, some ice cream, a good night’s sleep, and your support.

Suggestions for further reading:

Pregnancy is not an Invitation to Comment on My Body by Jessica N. Turner

8 Compliments Every Pregnant Woman Wants to Hear by Devan McGuinness

Here’s to All the Mothers Out There

mother-429158_960_720Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who do their best each day
Who stay at home, who go to work, who meditate, who pray.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who with the sun do rise
Who watch TV, who read books, who sing constant lullabies.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who do what works for them
Who co-sleep, don’t sleep, or enjoy a crib.

Here’s to all the mothers out there who nourish how they decide
Who use a bottle who use a boob,
Who take each for a ride.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who deal with a shrieking cry

Who wait a bit, who jump right in, who pause a moment and sigh.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who compare themselves to others
Who look in on friends, relatives,
and especially their own mothers.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who have just had a rough day
Who took it out on the ones they love, who let it sink in and stay.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who reevaluate the concept of time
Who now treasure it so dearly, who pack away the rhymes.

Here’s to all the mothers who
Will do whatever they can
To make sure that little baby
Grows up into a decent woman or a man

Here’s to all the mothers out there who know that they are all different too
Who recognize, that despite these differences,
They still have
The right to choose.

But, you see, there is another great lesson that motherhood has taught me,
And I will take with me above

We all have one universal truth in common
and that, of course, is

Suggested Further Reading:

Brave New Mama by Vicki Revard