During the first few weeks of pregnancy, I found myself searching almost daily for encouraging blogs to read and essays on motherhood. I'll blame my increased intake of all things written word on the onslaught of hormones that kept me glued to a pillow for 8 weeks - unable to watch moving images (read: binge on Netflix) or spend much time working on the computer. (Side note: What's with the pregnancy websites out there? I think Americans are conditioned to instantly need to research everything related to pregnancy the moment we find out... and what a load of negativity and scary information lies right at our fingertips! I had to turn that off quickly and get back to truth. Can anyone else relate here?) Sometimes all you need to get through the rough patches is a little dose of, "Hey girl, I've been there too," and an honest, beautiful essay on love or motherhood.
I spent the majority of those early weeks in a tiny bedroom on the 4th floor of our Chinese apartment, where I could escape the smells of the street and even our own kitchen. The first few days after finding out I was pregnant, I was convinced we had a gas leak. I couldn't walk near the kitchen without becoming overwhelmed by the smell of our propane tank - kept in a closed cabinet with a small rubber hose connecting it to our little two-burner stove top. When prompted, no one else in the house could smell the gas, let alone believe the smell was strong enough to make me flee from the room. But escape from the smells also meant a lot of alone time. A LOT.
As the summer heat crept into the our bedroom and settled for the afternoon with nothing but a fan to keep it at bay, I napped and hoped for the months ahead. With nothing but four white walls to look at, I kept myself sane with my iPhone open to the blogs below, the SheReadsTruth app, and a quickly diminishing supply of books on my nightstand. From practical to thought provoking, truth-filled and challenging to inspiring, I hope the following bring you a dose of encouragement...
1. COFFEE + CRUMBS: Filled with beautifully crafted personal essays on from a community of women on motherhood, love, truth, childhood and (occasionally) heartache. The essays published are often very vulnerable, but loaded with encouragement.
2. VAL MARIE PAPER // BLOG + THE FINISHING SCHOOL (COMING SOON!): Val is a small business owner (holla!), mom to an adorable little girl, and the author of a series of beautiful prayer journals and an upcoming book 'The Finishing School'. Her blog is packed with tips for creatives and small business owners, personal reflections on her life, goals and motherhood, and an ever-expanding list of recommended books to add to your own reading list.
3. MOTHER: Highly curated and style-oriented, Mother is made for the modern momma. From posts on the latest products to more serious articles on health and childhood development, Mother is fresh and thoughtful. One of my fave features: a weekly post called 'the Motherload' packed with links to everything motherhood in the news, psychology, and even pop culture.
4. VALLARINA CREATIVE // BLOG: Valerie's blog is near to my heart. I'd been following her on Instagram for some time before we found out we were expecting. She's due about a month before us. Especially while I was sick in bed - terrified to tell anyone at home for fear that we'd lose the baby - her vulnerability in everything from their pregnancy to finances and beyond have been a constant source of encouragement.
While we're all unique in our interests and seasons of life, I hope one of these blogs resonates with you and you're able to draw some inspiration from their posts.
One final recommendation for the road: if you haven't read this personal essay 'Babies Ruin Bodies', then take a moment... So worth the read!