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My open letter to pregnant women everywhere.

Many women experience infertility, a premature birth, or infant loss, but we don’t talk about it much.

My open letter to pregnant women everywhere.

Pregnancy is no walk in the park, and I know this all too well.

With a tiny human slowly growing inside of you for more than nine months, you are bound to be uncomfortable. But, while pregnancy challenges both your mind and body, I have a request: I want to ask expectant mothers to embrace the bump.

Let me explain: I’m a statistic, one of the millions of women out there who didn’t experience the perfect pregnancy and would give anything to reach full term with a child.


I guess you can say I’m the trifecta of mishaps. I spent years dreaming of having a child, only to face infertility. After my husband and I found out we were expecting triplets, a series of medical setbacks caused me to go into labor at 22 weeks. And while we have one beautiful survivor now, two of my triplets eventually passed away because of their extreme prematurity. That’s why my heart sinks when I see expectant mothers publicly post about how "over it" they are when it comes to their third trimester.

I remember spending several weeks on bed rest in the hospital, constantly praying for my triplets to sit tight for just a few more weeks.

Even a few days could have made a difference. By 20 weeks gestation, I was almost the size of a full-term pregnancy and I could barely turn from one side of the bed to the other.

All photos here by Stacey Skrysak, used with permission.

I had three babies using my bladder as a boxing bag, yet I was only allowed to get up a few times a day due to my health. On the day I went into labor, it felt like I had been punched in the gut. The pain from contractions was tough, and the attempts to stop the labor were even more difficult.

But, even worse than all of that pain combined was the emotional, unbearable pain of knowing that my children would most likely die. In that instant, as the doctor told me I had to deliver, I wanted to go back in time. I longed to feel my babies kick and remember the carefree days when my pregnancy was easy.

Many women experience infertility, a premature birth, or infant loss, but we don’t talk about it much.

For those women, like me, pregnancy can be a painful memory. I was robbed of my pregnancy and never got that magical delivery room experience; there was no picture-perfect moment of me happily holding my children.

Instead, I delivered my first triplet and held her in my arms as she passed away shortly after birth. The chaos, fear, and heartache is what I remember, not the beauty of bringing a new child into the world.

So here’s what I want you to know: I’m not asking you to stop complaining.

I'm not asking you to censor your experience either or to walk on eggshells when you feel the physically and emotionally draining side effects of pregnancy. Pregnancy is hard. And even three years later, I still make fun of my squishy belly, a post-pregnancy problem that I’m stuck with for good, much like those pesky chin hairs that forgot to go away after my children were born.

Instead, I’m simply passing along an observation from someone who’s had another kind of experience, and I’d like to encourage you to be empathetic to moms like me. As you stare at your swollen feet and clench your chest with heartburn, please think of your friends and social media acquaintances who might be silently struggling.

Until I shared my journey of infertility, I didn’t realize how many women also secretly struggled with it. I had no idea how many families experienced life in the NICU until I was in the midst of that journey. I think you’d be surprised at how many people you know are praying for the chance to someday have a healthy child.

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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When Donato Di Camillo was a kid, his family couldn't afford film for their Polaroid camera.

So instead, he ran around the house with a film-less camera pretending to be a hotshot photographer on an African safari, mimicking the heroes behind iconic photos he saw in the discarded National Geographic magazines his dad grabbed for him out of the garbage.

Years later, when Di Camillo found himself in prison after collecting a lengthy rap sheet of thefts, he discovered a library full of those same magazines.

While other inmates were working out or getting into trouble, he pored over old issues of National Geographic, Life, and Time.

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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