Mom Moment

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    Just the other day, I was invited to a musical play date by some of the mom friends from my 6-month-old’s playgroup. It sounded awesome -- complete with sing-along songs, egg shakers, and hand-clap exercises. Problem was, it fell on a Tuesday -- the one weekday I stay at home with both of my children. So I had two choices: a) shell out $30 to hire a babysitter for two hours for my toddler, or b) bring both kids and stick the infant in his car seat in the corner.

    Since having a second child has taken a big toll on our finances -- and I recently quit my full-time job -- I decided that just one of my kids would enjoy a fun musical experience while the other waited in a corner (because, of course, I can’t stick my toddler in a corner with a pacifier). Still, watching all the other infants enjoying their rattles and giggling made me a little sad.

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    My 4-year-old son feels pressure to be tough, masculine ... a little man's man. How did this happen?

    Case in point: He recently fell and cut his knee in the mall parking lot. There was blood and floppy skin ... even harsh sand nestled in the crevices of the cut. It was definitely cry-worthy. I expected him to wail, but he visibly restrained himself. A random guy gave my son an appreciative head nod in solidarity and said, "Don't worry, mom. He's a tough guy. He won't cry." And my son responded, "No way. I don't cry!" And then there was a high-five ... and a fist-bump ... and an "Atta boy!"

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    Jill Duggar (oops Jill Dillard ... we will get there) is one decisive young woman. She dropped baby bombshell news just two months after saying "I do" to Derick Dillard (where they shared their first kiss in front of an intimate crowd of 1,000 people). Now she's telling us how she will deliver her first born: Jill Duggar is planning a home birth.

    If you've watched 19 Kids & Counting, you probably know there's no 23-year-old more qualified to make such an important decision so quickly. Girlfriend is a trained midwife who has delivered more than 70 babies already in the US and abroad. And let's not forget she's one of the oldest of 19 siblings in Duggarland. Unlike many first-time moms, she knows what to expect now that she's expecting.

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    Zoe Saldana is catching some heat for her ALS ice bucket challenge video. Instead of doing it herself, she enlisted her husband ... and turned to the side to reveal the reason why: Zoe Saldana has a baby bump.

    The Guardians of the Galaxy actress finally acknowledged she's preggers after months of speculation. Great delivery using the ALS ice bucket challenge video to announce her big news, but her message may confuse some pregnant women.

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    I stood, back hunched over to protect my throbbing breasts from the pinpricks of hot water in the shower, and let loose sobs that echoed around our tiny bathroom. My husband waited outside the curtain, begging, "Just give her formula. It's okay. You don't have to do this to yourself anymore." Our daughter was less than a week old. I was failing at breastfeeding, and I felt like a failure as a mom, as a human being.

    It would take another week to give up nursing entirely, and I sank into a bout of postpartum depression that would take some serious anti-depressants to beat. I felt completely alone at the time. But according to a new breastfeeding study, I was anything but.

    Researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Sociology have now found a link between breastfeeding failure and higher rates of postpartum depression.

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    When you're pregnant, a whole new part of the English language opens up. Suddenly you're obsessed with placentas, trimesters, and sussing out whether you should go with a sonogram or an amniocentesis to determine baby's gender. And then you hit the ninth month of your pregnancy, and a new term pops up: cervical dilation.

    It refers to the opening of the cervix, the part of the body that separates the uterus from the vagina, and according to Dr. Robert Atlas, an OB/GYN at Mercy Medical Center in Maryland, dilating is part of the body's way of getting ready for delivery.

    "As you get closer to term, the body knows to start contracting and opening of the cervix begins," he explains.

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    I had a premonition I was going to have a difficult time giving birth. No worries … I am not going to go all voodoo on you or anything, but I had a primal fear, a gut feeling that it would be a cliffhanger. A few weeks before my due date, I made the decision to have my tubes tied if I wound up with a C-section.

    Big deal, right? Lots of women get their tubes tied. But it was a bold choice for me because I was pregnant with my first child. I’d be a one and done mom. My son wouldn’t have a sibling close in age. They wouldn’t build forts, tease each other, plot mayhem behind my back, double-team me with kisses, walk home from the school bus stop, fight with each other on family trips, or fall asleep together on the couch after a playful day at the beach. But he would have me, and I decided that was most important.

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    The other day I was putting dirty clothes in the washing machine when I noticed the box of dryer sheets had gone missing. Not the contents of the box, mind you, the sheets themselves were strewn all over the place nearby: piled haphazardly on the shelf where I keep the detergent and whatnot, scattered across the tops of the washer and dryer, and drifting gently around the floor.

    You've heard of the idiom the straw that broke the camel's back, right? The idea that cataclysmic failure is triggered by a seemingly inconsequential action? In terms of overall parental frustrations for the day, that stolen box of dryer sheets was definitely my final straw. It's always something dumb like that, something that in the grand scheme of things doesn't seem worth getting mad about. But that's the thing about having a breaking point … eventually, you break.

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    One weekend my husband said he was going to take our 3-year-old daughter to see the movie Maleficent. When I mentioned this to a parent, he gasped.

    "That movie's PG," he said. "It's not just G. Are you sure your daughter won't be scared?"

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    Having kids means you have this whole new set of responsibilities and an immeasurable amount of love for these little beings you brought into this world. It's heavy. It's incredible. It's also -- at times -- a thankless endeavor. And I don't mean that your kids will turn into brats and not be grateful for all you do. I mean society, the world, all the other people in your day to day that you deal with can be unkind and discriminatory.

    Which is why, perhaps, we need some sort of bill of rights -- the things that every mom needs and deserves. Hint: It's not the coolest diaper bag, nor is it the secret to soothing your child when she cries.

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