As the year comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at our top stories of 2019. What were we clicking on the most? And what does that say about the state of modern parenting? Turns out, we’re proudly celebrating our postpartum bodies, confessing our underlying mom rage, and trying to figure out how to get our babies to actually sleep. (Hmm, those last two are probably related!) Our favourite royal moms across the pond, Meghan and Kate, also held our interest in 2019.
Here are the stories that were conversation starters with our readers this year.
1. We love our “imperfect” post-baby bodies
When we put a “real” mom on the cover of our May/June 2019 issue, you guys loved it. Canadian mom of three Sara Nicole Landry (@thebirdspapaya) proudly bared her stretch-marked midriff, slightly saggy skin and all, and looked gorgeous doing so. Finally, moms were seeing more realistic body types of all shapes and sizes reflected in a magazine. This online post, sharing 10 photos that celebrate and honour ‘imperfect’ post-baby bodies, is still one of the most shared stories we’ve ever published. Meanwhile, unfiltered belly pics were also popular on Reddit, and the smart think piece Olivia Stren wrote about postpartum body image and sharing our “mom bods” on social media unpacked this fascinating trend.
2. Vaginas—of all types—should be celebrated, too
The body positivity movement isn’t only a waist-up phenomenon. This lovely illustration of what vaginas and vulvas really look like—a collaboration between an artist and a pelvic floor physiotherapist—went viral on Facebook in May 2019. The illustration shows that all vulvas are different—they’re as unique as our individually quirky and beautiful faces—and yet the shame we carry about this misrepresented body part runs deep. “We cringe at the thought of OBs, midwives or other healthcare professionals getting a good look at our nether regions during pelvic exams and labour, and we’re mortified by our own pubic hair,” writes Claire Sibonney. It’s especially heartbreaking that as we’re becoming mothers—a time when we should be truly celebrating the mind-blowing magic of our bodies—we’re instead apologizing for what we’ve got. The overwhelming number of clicks and shares on this image proves that women are pushing back against unrealistic standards and beginning to open up about what our bodies really look like.
3. Viral parenting “tricks” sometimes take it too far
We always keep an eye on parenting hacks, photos and videos that are bubbling up on Reddit or trending on Twitter. In March, parents were tossing cheese slices at their adorable babies’ foreheads. (Relatively harmless, though not everyone found it funny.) In November, parents were trying out a Snapchat spider filter app on their unsuspecting kids, and some people thought it was more cruel than hilarious. But this so-called trick to get picky kids to actually eat their meals, which went viral back in June, is a disturbingly violent tactic. In our opinion, it qualifies as child abuse. (Be warned: the videos being posted by parents are pretty hard to watch, even if it’s only teddy bears and stuffies being harmed.)
4. We need to talk about mom rage
Speaking of anger management issues: our feature about one mom’s problem with chronic mom rage also resonated with our readers this year. Losing your patience, yelling at your kids too much and generally feeling overwhelmed by life is common—and we’re finally talking about it. “Moms can be prone to rage because the transition to motherhood is, frankly, way harder than most of us think it will be,” writes Colleen Seto in her story, “Mom rage is a real thing— here’s how to deal with it.” We take care of everyone else, don’t have time for self-care, and put our own needs aside. “If basic needs like getting enough sleep and eating properly aren’t being met, you’re going to have a hard time dealing with any emotion, let alone rage.” Check out our tips for understanding your triggers and feeling less angry if mom rage is something you’re hoping to curb in 2020.
5. We’re desperate for more sleep
All parents know that sleep deprivation is a common cause of frustration: it robs us of our patience, makes us irritable, and raises our anxiety levels. It’s no surprise, then, that one of the most popular stories we published in 2019 was our super simple breakdown of the most common sleep training methods. When you’re operating on less than four consecutive hours of shut-eye, it’s impossible to read through all the sleep books or keep a bajillion different sleep-training approaches straight. Bookmark our guide now (and please send it to your exhausted new-mom friend): 6 most popular baby sleep-training methods explained.
6. We love celebs who clap-back for a good cause
These parents totally won 2019 Our readers love it when celebrity parents use their fame to advocate for others. In August, an Instagram commenter asked Amy Schumer how she’d cope if her baby son had autism, and she had the best comeback. “How I cope? I don’t see being on the spectrum as a negative thing. My husband is my favorite person I’ve ever met. He’s kind, hilarious, interesting and talented and I admire him,” she wrote in response. “Am I supposed to hope my son isn’t like that? I’d be disappointed if he liked The Big Bang Theory and Nascar, not if he has ASD,” she added.
7. The modern royals are redefining motherhood
All eyes were on the British Royal Family in 2019 as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their first baby. We loved watching Meghan Markle’s elegant maternity style as her pregnancy progressed, and our readers really wanted to know which 5 strange royal birth traditions she’d get to skip. Since baby Archie arrived, we’ve applauded her honesty about how tough new motherhood can be, especially when you’re living in the public eye. Of course, we still can’t get enough of Kate Middleton, either. From her comments on how hard breastfeeding is to whether she’s getting broody about baby number four, you guys were here for it.
8. Developmental trauma disorder has long-term consequences for kids
This tough story about developmental trauma disorder went viral for us earlier in the year. It’s a heavy topic, but an important one: significant adverse experiences, particularly in the first three years of a child’s life, have an impact on the physical development of their brain, and have lasting effects on their relationship-building skills, their behaviour and their sense of self. Parents who are familiar with the foster-care system, and anyone who works with kids with special needs, were sharing this post over and over again in 2019.
9. Infant car seats aren’t necessarily safe for sleep
This headline probably surprised many parents. The recommendation certainly surprised the moms on staff here, since so many of us used to click our infant bucket seats into the stroller without a second thought. But according to a study published in Pediatrics in July 2019, letting your baby sleep in their car seat is super risky—here’s why. While a quick, unavoidable nap while driving from point A to point B is probably OK, babies should not be sleeping in a car seat regularly, they concluded. The upright seated position can cause something called positional asphyxiation.
10. Measles outbreaks are still a thing
Measles outbreaks continued throughout 2019, and parents clearly want to know how to keep their kids safe from this scary disease. Our explainer on the most frequently-asked measles questions saw a lot of traffic this year. Can babies as young as six months old get the MMR vaccine? When do kids get their measles booster shots? Should you avoid travelling to places with low vaccination rates? What are the symptoms of measles? You’ll find answers to all these questions here.