My Big WIP (or why I’ve been MIA)

baby announcement

The short story: This may not come as much of a surprise, given all the other adulting I’ve been doing recently (like getting married and buying a house), but the latest installment in the wow-I-guess-I-really-am-a-grownup life events is that I’m pregnant! While the pregnancy itself wasn’t a surprise, how profoundly it affected my ability to do, well, anything during my first trimester was a surprise. Fortunately, I’m returning to functional and am so excited to start sewing, blogging, and working again!

baby announcement 3

The long story, for those that might be interested: I had a truly miserable first trimester where I was so sick I couldn’t do anything other than lay on the couch. (As Adam was saying to folks “I can tell she’s miserably sick since she’s not even knitting while she sits on the couch.) I’m blessed by the fact I live on the same island as one set of my parents and that my pharmacist stepdad helped me figure out meds that made life bearable and my amazing mom checked in on me almost every day (whether by coming over or by picking me up and driving me to her house since I couldn’t drive myself). I don’t have words to describe how amazing my husband is for taking care of me while continuing to shoulder his responsibilities and taking over all of my usual contributions to our household.

baby announcement 2

By the end of the first trimester I got pretty emotionally low. It was really rough on me to have my world shrunken down so small since I was too sick to leave the house. It was really rough on me to have to let my business stall out (when there’s only one employee and that employee can’t work it pretty much shuts down a business, it turns out). It was really hard to not be able to talk to anyone about what was going on – I told a couple of my closest friends, but we had some concerns about baby’s health for a while and I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with more people until we were sure baby is healthy (we are sure now).

tig on my lap

Fortunately, I had this goofball by my side the entire time and she makes for a very snuggly couch companion. In fact, she’s a bit grumpy with me now that my lap is no longer constantly available for her use.

As my energy comes back a bit more every day, I’ll be ramping back in to work. I have a bag pattern that should be out very soon since I got sick days away from its planned release date. I don’t know when the next garment pattern will be coming out as my next planned release will no longer be seasonal by the time I get it out so I’ve got to change plans.

I want to thank all of the people that have reached out to check on me since I went radio silent without an explanation. I also want to thank collaborators for their patience as I’ve had to reschedule and cancel a variety of business projects. Thank you!

I do have a couple questions for y’all:
– Would you be interested in seeing me release a few maternity patterns?
– Can you share an anecdote (you or someone you know) of having a rough pregnancy and then having an easy one after? I’d love to have more than one kid but can’t imagine going through this and needing to take care of a kid at the same time!

Comments 63

  1. Congratulations! I would love to see you release a few maternity patterns. With a couple notable exceptions, I had a hard time finding patterns designed specifically for pregnant bodies. I imagine this has a lot to do with limited profitability, but it would be nice to see a few more options out there!

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      Thanks! And thanks for the feedback on patterns. I haven’t a ton of searching, but have also found a dearth of maternity patterns – especially any that are more interesting than absolute basics.

  2. Congratulations! I also just made it through my first trimester, and was very unprepared considering I was not sick at all during my pregnancy with my first baby. I would love nursing friendly patterns too! I struggled with developing 18mo worth of nursing friendly clothing (especially because I found myself nursing mostly in a wrap or carrier… And lifting up your shirt wasn’t feasible). I ended up stretching out a lot of necklines, so this time around I’m hoping to fill that gap a little better.

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      Thanks! I appreciate the suggestion and will keep it in mind. Nursing feels very far away but I’m sure that will arrive sooner than I think (and last longer than the maternity phase!). And congrats to you too!

  3. Congratulations! For the ease of mind first, I have one friend who had a horrible first trimester first time round, then nothing the second (and also someone the other way around).
    I think the suggestion for nursing friendly clothes is a good one. The named dakota dress is one of the few stylish nursing friendly items I made (with nursing top underneath). Otherwise it’s just blouses or layers.

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  4. Oooh, me! Miserable first pregnancy, MUCH easier second. You can do it, and congratulations! I’m excited for you:)

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  5. First of all, congratulations on the impending arrival. Even when it’s not the first, it’s an incredibly exciting time for everyone (including all the strangers who want to pat your belly).

    As far as patterns go, years ago the Big 3 used to have maternity patterns, although they tended to be of the muumuu family. New Look patterns still have some that can be adapted for maternity, although they are not labelled as such. Too late for me (my youngest is nearly nine), but I think the biggest gap in the market still is for nursing clothes, and most of those few RTW items in that category seem to have been drafted on a Size 2 store mannequin, with no realistic adaptations for what nursing actually does to a woman’s rack (I remember a nursing nightie with openings that were closer to my armpits than my nipples). Come up with an attractive, practical collection in a full range of sizes, and I am sure women everywhere will sing your praises.

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      Thanks! I know that those around me are quite excited to see my belly grow!

      I’m laughing at the picture of the ill fitting nursing nightie! I will definitely keep that in mind.

  6. Congratulations, excellent project, shame about the working conditions. Adam looks so happy in the photo’s! (as are you as usual)

    Personally I’m not planning to need any more maternity wear but speaking from experience (I have 2 kids) I would echo previous comments that maternity wear that also works post birth when your body is readjusting to it’s new shape and that are also nursing friendly would be the most useful.

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  7. Oh congratulations! It is such an exciting time!! I think everyone is different with their pregnancies and there’s not much you can do to predict how it will be… My second was much harder than my first, but not in the first trimester. I had pelvic instability and could barely walk by the end of my second pregnancy as it gets worse as you get heavier, it was really painful even whilst lying in bed. If untreated, it gets worse with each pregnancy, which was the lesson I learnt. I’m currently working on strengthening my core and pelvic floor so if I have a third it won’t be so painful!
    Regarding patterns, I agree with Anna, nursing friendly patterns are so hard to find! And nursing is generally a lot longer than being pregnant enough to need maternity clothes. A maternity pattern that easily transitions into nursing might be a good way to get more use.
    I hope the rest of your pregnancy is easy on you, and enjoy the last of your child-free days while you can ?

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      Thanks! I’m so sorry to hear about the problems you had during your second pregnancy. I have heard from many people that each pregnancy is different for each woman and it’s impossible to predict. Thanks for your thoughts on pattern gaps as well.

  8. Yaaay congratulations on your coming SHB! I was wondering if that was the reason for your sudden disappearance!

    I remember with un-fondness the first trimester…I basically came home from work every day and napped on the couch until I went to bed. Hah! I, too, don’t know how people do it when there’s a toddler to take care of!

    Agreed with all the previous commenters re: nursing-wear. I basically only wore maternity clothes for a few months of my pregnancy (I was fortunate to be hugely pregnant in summer, when stretchy non-maternity maxi dresses were just fine and I didn’t have to look professional at school because, well, summer break), so while I had grand plans to make maternity clothes, they ended up not really being necessary. I found that empire-waist and swing tops/dresses worked fine for work, so I really didn’t have to sew any specifically maternity clothes. However, there really is a dearth of easy nursing top sewing patterns! When you’re in pregnancy or new-mom brain fog, the last thing you want to do is try to figure out a hack of an existing pattern to make it nursing friendly. And like you said, nursing lasts for so much longer!

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      Thanks! I appreciate you chiming in with your thoughts on pattern gaps as well. I’ll be huge through winter, but I’m hoping to do the same as you and wear stretchy maxi dresses (with sleeves and sweaters and boots!).

  9. I was so sick my first pregnancy I had to be hospitalised. I had acne break-outs, greasy hair and needed to go to the chiropractor every week just to be able to walk properly. Giving birth was the least painful part. This time around (I’m 7 months now) I haven’t been sick at all, my hair and skin have the ‘famous’ maternity glow and I’ve only had to go to the chiropractor once.

    That being said I do not think you should release any maternity or nursing patterns while you are still in that fase because you’ll only be able to assess what decent clothes are after you’ve lived through it. There is no need for more ‘rushed’ maternity patterns but a need for actual well-studied long-thought of patterns.

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      I’m so sorry to hear how challenging your first pregnancy was and I find it very encouraging (for myself and you!) to hear how easily your second has gone. Also – Congratulations!

      I think you have a great point about not rushing a pattern. It’s certainly true that other patterns I’ve released have been long-term favorites so I will definitely keep in mind that same ethos on future patterns. Thanks!

  10. I’ve missed you! I’m glad you’re back with a baby in your belly, and you’re feeling better! I’ve had a little baby of my own — a fabric store in Missoula, Montana. It was ‘born’ 3 weeks ago, and it’s looking pretty cute in its infancy. :)

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  11. Mazal Tov, that is great news. Sorry the first trimester was so hard, glad everything is ok. Btw, Shb (small human beings) take a lot more work than you think, so enjoy feeling better, cuz soon your life will change in ways you never imagined. There are wonderful things to make for baby and if your business stalls for a while, so be it, the business can pick up later, growing a child is just so awesome, I hope from here on you can enjoy the ride

  12. Congratulations! I’m sorry to hear that your first trimester was rough. I don’t have much to offer in response to your questions – I’m a few years behind you and I’ll be finishing up grad school in May (and then I plan on travelling … getting married … buying a house … you know the deal). Again, congrats! I look forward to checking out the designs you come up with

  13. Congratulations! There are definitely not many stylish maternity patterns out there. I didn’t end up sewing any clothing for myself while pregnant despite having plan to. There aeeare even less in the way of nursing patterns and I find breastfeeding has affected what I wear far more than pregnancy did. I always wore dresses but now it is all about the separates plus I don’t have much time to dress with my little clingy limpet!

  14. Put out the garment pattern anyway. Those of us who live in the southern hemisphere will just get a pattern release that we can buy and use now for once. I have been told that every pregnancy is different.

  15. Congratulations! I hope your energy stays up and you keep feeling better! I’d love to see maternity patterns, yes!

  16. Congratulations Erin and Adam! So sorry to hear you’ve been so miserable, I can’t imagine what it must be like to not even being able to knit. My mom was sick with all three of us. Reading the stories above, there’s a good chance the second time will be better, but it seems you can only hope for the best! Glad you’re feeling better now, hope it all goes well. Re: the patterns, I think Stephanie has a good point.

  17. Huge congratulations Erin!! :) I’m so sorry to hear about how sick you were, but also very glad to hear you’re starting to feel like yourself again. Hang in there – you can do this!!

    I have no need for maternity clothes and don’t have any baby stories to share, but I wish you continued success as always!

  18. Congratulations! Regarding maternity/nursing wear I don’t have much to add to the earlier comments. Living in a colder climate, though, I found it difficult to find warm and affordable maternity/nursing clothes. Not such a big problem when pregnant, as you can just throw on an extra cardigan, but having many layers of clothing is not very practical when nursing. I would really have liked to have a pattern for a nursing top/dress with not too much cleavage that is also suitable for fabrics that are heavier than the average knits!

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      Thanks for sharing what patterns you would like to see. I’ll be pregnant through the winter here in the pacific northwest, so while it isn’t the coldest of climates, it will certainly get chilly enough that I should get some personal experience with what you’re talking about!

  19. Congratulations! It is such a great news! I am sorry for all of your troubles during the first trimester but I am happy you do better now. Your last question involved me immediately into responding to your post. I have a friend who had a terrible first pregnancy. Not the first trimester but the whole one. come see her next one though! It was easy-peasy, I was amazed to see how dynamic she was for her second time. She moved non-stop to the last day without feeling almost any discomfort. So stay calm and enjoy it while it lasts. Your next one will be better.) All the best to you! I will be very happy to see your regular posts in near future.

  20. Erin- I am so happy for you, I was wondering what was up since you hadn’t posted in a while. Congratulations and best wishes for a healthy baby. No need for maternity clothes here, my boy just turned 16, but I’m sure a lot of other sewers would appreciate it.
    I had a great and easy pregnancy so nothing to add there either! You are fortunate to have a supportive hubs and family! I do hope you get to feeling better soon, there is no other feeling in the world like having a little human moving inside you! It’s the best!
    PS. your bump is really cute!

  21. I’m not pregnant, and my only kids have fur, but as a biology PhD, a lot of friends come and ask all sorts of questions. You’ve probably had similar moments :)

    I’m so glad to hear the baby is healthy. Take care of both of you!

    The only person I know is making pretty clothes for maternity wear is http://megannielsen.com/collections/maternity. I think some of those shirts and dresses would be pretty for non-pregnant people, too :)

    So happy for you :)

  22. congratulations!! i can thoroughly relate to a debilitating first-trimester (and second…)! it’s great that you’re feeling human again. i can’t comment as to whether there’s a tendency to have a repeat performance with subsequent pregnancies, but at least you would have the benefit of this experience next time around (isn’t that looking on the bright side!). maybe you could anticipate being down-and-out for a few months and adjust your work plan and child-care for a worst-case-scenario, then revel in the bonus extra-time if you feel wonderful :)

    one thing i haven’t come across, but would have found helpful is a nursing cover/light cardi that you could wear like a regular cardi, and then just switch it to the front when nursing and wanting privacy. i found blankets always fell down, and i didn’t want to carry an extra nursing cover around. it would just need a relaxed neck so you could peek at your babe/not choke. i know i’ll never get around to designing one – maybe you will :)

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      You do have a good point about how having gone through this once, it will prepare me dealing with it again in the future. I think your suggestion about anticipating and planning for this same experience again (and then hopefully being pleasantly surprised!) is a great one.

      Your description of a nursing cardi sounds interesting. Have you seen any ready-to-wear examples that you could point me to so I could get a bit better idea?

      1. i guess any rtw cardi could work, really. i got the idea when i was desperate for some nursing privacy one day and i flipped my knit cardi around and pulled the arms back on. so there are probably heaps of patterns out there for loose, open cardigans, but i didn’t notice any specific to the maternity crowd. something like this (http://cdn.cichic.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/1/1/11105575421-1/blue-geometric-irregular-sleeveless-loose-thin-blend-cardigan.jpg) or (https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj-j5e_kb7JAhWMdz4KHX47Dr0QjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2F1stglobal.co.kr%2FMOBILE%2Flist.asp%3Fpage%3D119%26cate%3D716%26sword%3D%26swhat%3D%26listsort%3D%26listtype%3D%26listsize%3D30&psig=AFQjCNGrsC059iDgYyuypierC4-lES04zA&ust=1449178322486964) is easy to wear and could double as nursing-coverage (in a lighter-weight knit fabric). basically a light blanket with sleeves. not sure if that’s helpful or not!

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  23. Congratulations! I find that a few things have helped me with nausea before… distraction and frequent small meals to keep the nausea at bay. No kids for me yet, but hopefully someday soon. Best! Kate

  24. Hurray! I was hoping a new little person was why you were taking a break. During my first pregnancy my two kitties sat one on each side of my bump and purred away. Since they had never been that snuggly before, I’m convinced they knew. I had horrible nausea all the way until the last month of my pregnancy. I was able to keep very little down. I was worried about my baby’s health, but she was healthy and strong and is now a beautiful 14 year old. I waited four years to have my second because my pregnancy was miserable. The second one was just as miserable (sorry) but the second time around I knew it was normal for me, so I was much more relaxed. So here is the thing; we are programmed to forget a lot of the bad stuff, and I would go through it all again a million times over to have my children.
    I would love to see more Mommy and baby, Mommy and older child patterns that coordinate, but have a more modern vibe.
    Congrats! I really missed your happy presence on the Internet.

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      Awww, that’s so sweet to picture your kitties being unexpectedly snuggly. I’m sorry that both your pregnancies were rough, but it does help to hear the reminder that no matter how rough, it’s worth every moment in the end.

      By mommy and baby or mommy and child patterns do you mean the same (or similar) pattern released as both an adult and a child pattern so that one can sew up the same garment for oneself and one’s kid?

  25. WooHoo! Big Congratulations and welcome back! Yeah morning/all day sickness is as sucky as all get out, pleased you appear to be past the worst of it. A friend of mine had seven (yes you read correctly, seven) hideous pregnancies and when I asked her why go back again (when she was expecting number 7) when clearly life was pretty damned challenging, her answer was “but look what you get at the end of it”. So the moral there is look at the big picture. :-)

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      Wow! You have a very strong friend. Although she does make a good point – I have a feeling it will be a lot easier to think about doing this again when I reach the other side and have a baby in my arms!

  26. Some maternity patterns would be great! I love your funky style and I think it would be well suited to maternity clothes.
    I was in bed for six weeks with ‘morning sickness’ with my first pregnancy. It ended at about 13-14 weeks and then I felt pretty good for the rest of the pregnancy. I ended up having a 10 lbs 12 oz boy very healthy baby boy.
    With my daughter (my son was 17 months when this was happening), I did get mild sickness again, but it was nothing like the first time. I’d have to escape to barf probably once a day, and pretend like everything was fine for my son, but I was able to function 100% with the second pregnancy. Maybe because I just had to! Or maybe because my body wasn’t so shocked by the hormones of pregnancy.
    Glad to hear you’re feeling better!

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      I’m so sorry to hear about your rough first pregnancy although it’s great to hear that you had a healthy baby and it’s nice to hear that the second time around was a lot better! If you have any specific ideas about the types of maternity patterns you might like to see, let me know. My belly is growing so fast that I need to start sewing maternity clothes for myself!

  27. Oh wow! Pregnant. That’s a big deal. I mean, even I know that :)
    I am very happy for you, but I’ll immediately follow that up by saying that I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such a rough time in your first three months. Here’s hoping the rest of it will be a smooth ride.
    From what I see in the pictures, you’re beaming, so I hope you’re feeling as good as you’re looking now.
    Speaking about looking good, your husband is a hot dude. I mean, not that this is a surprise as you’re pretty kickin’ looking yourself, but still, good catch!

    I don’t really have any advice to give you, not having children or even being much of a grown-up and all that. But from what I see around me, my one piece of advice is this: offload as much work as you can on the grandparents ;-)

    Once again congratulations to the both of you.


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      Thanks Joost! I have my moments of feeling as good as I look in the pictures so that’s certainly a relief. I agree that my husband is pretty dang good looking – I’ll let him know you said so. He loves it when my internet friends comment on what a cutie he is (or I love it because it makes him blush :) I will definitely be following your advice – my mom is thrilled about the grandbaby and I’m pretty sure she’ll do just about anything for it (and me)!

  28. Congratulations. I’m convinced that pregnant glow is a light green. At least for the first while.

    Things are so unpredictable though. Everything. One thing though, that will make your life loads easier is nipple cream. (That stuff is worth its weight in gold if you plan on nursing) Nursing covers are nice, but honestly a thin sarong or two serve the purpose very well.
    I’ll stop now, before being tempted to advise too much. ☺️

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      Thanks for the advice! Please, advise away! I’m the first of my close friends (other than one girlfriend who is also pregnant right now) to be pregnant, so I appreciate any helpful hints I can get! I’m sure, with my rather extensive fabric selection, I can come up with a piece or two that will work as a nursing cover :)

  29. Congrats lady! I had just made mental note to check in with you and I’m so happy to hear your good news, horrible early trimester not withstanding! Sending you guys all my happy, healthy baby love! xoxo

  30. Congratulations! No experiences or tips to share, but glad you are finally feeling better and I hope you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

  31. Congratulations! And sorry to hear about your first trimester. Bleh. But every pregnancy is different (mine certainly have been) so I wouldn’t worry *too* much about a repeat experience.

    Like many people, I’d be more excited about nursing-friendly patterns than maternity patterns. I rarely wore any particular maternity clothes for more than four months, except for things that are basically just super-stretchy regular clothes (like this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alicen/22523886303/). And what I’m wearing now (3rd trimester) is very different from what I was wearing earlier in this pregnancy. My body is a totally different shape and it’s much colder out now.

    But I nursed for 16+ months with my first kid and plan to do so again once the kid-in-progress is born. There was no way I was going to wear the traditional nursing top (surplice bodice, empire waist, frumpy) every day for over a year! And my body was pretty much the same shape from 2 months post-partum until I stopped breastfeeding, so it was more worthwhile for me to invest effort into making some awesome clothes.

    If you do end up releasing maternity patterns, I’d be more interested in versatile knit patterns than anything too fitted. There’s a ton of variation in how pregnant women are shaped, both between individuals and from week to week within the same pregnancy. My biggest “maternity” fit issue is often my boobs, not my belly, as I’ve gained three cup sizes, but that certainly doesn’t happen for everyone.

    Anyway, best of luck and I’m excited to see what you come up with!

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      Thanks! And congratulation to you on your latest pregnancy!

      Thanks also for chiming in with your thoughts about pattern desires. I think you have a great point that pregnant body shapes can vary even more than non-pregnant women’s shapes. In the little bit of looking I’ve done, every “nursing top” is exactly how you’ve described, so I will keep that in mind and start thinking of some interesting alternatives.

      My boobs seem to be growing as fast as my belly which has been fascinating since I’ve never had much of a bust before. I will definitely continue to write patterns with multiple cup size options if/when I write some maternity patterns.

  32. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Jalie, as they have maternity or maternity-friendly patterns that are popular in the blogosphere.

    Hope the rest of your pregnancy is a breeze! Be sure to rest and take time for yourself instead of doing-doing-doing all the time. We are human beings not human doings (as they say in my meditation class) :)

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      Thanks for the recommendation of Jalie. I haven’t actually sewn any of their patterns, but will take a look.

      That’s a great reminder about being instead of doing. I’m not great at not doing-doing-doing, so this pregnancy has already been a learning lesson in that regard.

  33. How exciting! Congratulations! It sounds insane from where you are, but your memories of pregnancy and childbirth will fade and that makes it possible to want to try again. That being said, most of my friends who’ve had multiple babies say that the first pregnancy is the worst. I think it’s because you haven’t done it before. Please make as many maternity patterns as you feel inspired to. Maternity clothes are very expensive and made of sub-par materials.

  34. I can totally relate to your first trimester experience. Just ugh. I only ended up in the emergency room once which felt like a huge accomplishment. Yay for husbands that keep things running! The second tri was so much better but it took a while to recover from the first. Third tri starts next week – fingers crossed! I’d love some more maternity pattern options. One thing that’s kept me from sewing has been exhaustion, it’s hard to find patterns that look like they’ll work without too much fitting/effort. So, something that can be squeezed in between work & naps would be awesome! Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy. ;-)

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  35. So excited for you!!

    I had a pretty rough first pregnancy, nausea-wise. Not bad enough to need meds, but I did have to quit my job. (They didn’t want to give me sick days!) Try lemon candies if any more nausea sneaks up on you as you go on. My second pregnancy was sooo much easier by comparison; I chalk it up to my first being a girl and my second being a boy, but it looks like that can go the other way around for some people! If you want, I can totally offer advice as to baby-related things to buy (and things to avoid). There are just so many things to look at, it can get overwhelming!

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      Thanks so much for the kind words. And thanks for sharing your experiences. I’ll happily take any prepare-for-baby advice you have! As a first time mom, it is definitely overwhelming to sort through what will truly be necessary, what will be helpful, and what is silly.

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