For those of you who follow Lilies and Lambs, the motherhood and lifestyle blog, you probably love it for the same reasons we do. For one, she’s a talented photographer and her daughter Madeline Mae (Maddie, 3) is a little ray of sunshine. But what turned us into true fans was her raw, beautiful writing on infertility, including a post she penned this past October on coming to terms with having a single child, saying “And that’s not a way to live our life—to think about what it could be. Because there’s so much beauty in what’s right here.”
Of course, we were thrilled to read her recent post of her happy pregnancy news. Here’s a little bit more about this gorgeous mom, including her suburban life, her journey to have a family of four and what she’s learned along the way.
How would you describe your blog?
I started Lilies and Lambs when I first became pregnant with Madeline in 2015. When I first envisioned my blog, I saw it as a space to share my new lifestyle as a mom—cute baby clothes, yummy recipes, decorating tips. But as I entered motherhood, after a year of fertility struggles under my belt, Lilies and Lambs quickly evolved into a platform to share a very honest and vulnerable glimpse into my own journey TTC (Trying to Conceive) and my everyday life as a mother.
My husband works in construction in Manhattan. Sometimes work brings him out to the ‘burbs, which is the best, but most days he’s in the city and we’re counting down the minutes ‘til he’s home.
A big congrats on your happy news! Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to this point?
Yes! We are so happy to share that baby girl number two is due to arrive in September. The journey to build our family has been a wild and emotional one, for sure. We struggled for some time to get pregnant the first time—undergoing nearly a year of trying with fertility treatments before finally conceiving Madeline through IVF on the first try. When it came time for baby number two, we were pretty confident in the process—having a 100% success rate after the first round of IVF. So when our second, and third, and fourth rounds of IVF were unsuccessful it was both discouraging and heartbreaking. We decided to take some time off of fertility treatments and focus on our family of three; and in that time, I had become comfortable with the idea of Madeline being an only child. So when I found out we were pregnant “on our own” at the beginning of the year, we were beyond happy and still feel so, so blessed. You can read more about our path here.
Can you describe the process of accepting the idea of having one child?
The process of “coming to peace” with the idea of one child was a gradual and natural one. I write about the experience in this piece here, but essentially my focus on fertility treatments and expanding our family was taking me away from enjoying my daughter to the fullest. Fertility treatments, for me, are grueling—they can take a physical, emotional and mental toll on a person and on a family. And as much as I wanted to create brother or sister for Madeline, we felt that, at the time, we wanted to just focus on what we hadrather than what we wanted.
You hear about people “stopping trying” and getting pregnant, but were you shocked?
Well, it’s been a few months and it’s still so surreal for me. The shock was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Throughout my journey I would hear so many stories like this, but I never thought that was how our story would pan out. There were times when stories like these would frustrate me—on bad days; during fertility treatments when I just wanted to understand why we weren’t getting pregnant. But, most of the time, I held onto stories like this with a glimmer of hope. And, hopefully, someone can do the same with ours.
How are you feeling now? Nervous? Tired?
All of the above, haha. I’ve made a concerted effort this pregnancy to not let my anxieties and the what-ifs get the best of me; but I definitely have my anxious moments. Morning sickness was a bit kinder to me this time around, but the tiredness is definitely heightened. Being pregnant with a toddler is way different than without.
You’re an inspiration to thousands of women struggling to start a family. What is that like?
For me, it’s one of the main reasons that I feel so passionately about keeping my little space in the blogging world alive. When I was going through fertility treatments five years ago, at the age of 29, I had very few resources to turn to. It was a very isolating and lonely experience—my peers weren’t facing the same struggles and there was very little in terms of support—both online and IRL. So when it came to sharing my own story, I was so happy to share an honest outlet for women to connect- not just about TTC, but about motherhood in general. It can be scary, at times, to hit publish on such vulnerable posts, but when I see the responses and hear that my posts inspire women or make them feel less alone, it’s all worth it.
If someone is visiting Greenwich, where are your go-to places?
I share a lot of our favorite local spots in my CT Mamas and Five Local series here and here, but here are a few more of my faves:
Eat Out with Maddie: Meli Melo for breakfast, Lugano for lunch and dinner
Date Night: Tavern at Graybarns or the Inn at Pound Ridge
Meet a Friend For Lunch: Sweet Peas in Old Greenwich- recently I’ve been obsessed with their salads.
Grab Coffee: Sweet Peas in Old Greenwich or Le Pain Quotidien
Girls’ Night: It’s been a while since I’ve done a girls’ night, but I always love the happy hour at Lugano or a quick trip into the city to try a new restaurant.
Shop for Me: Lately I’ve been obsessed with Hatch—you can shop online, but if you’re local their store on Bleeker is amazing and definitely worth a trip into NYC.
Shop for Maddie: For every day clothes we love Zara, J.Crew and Peek. For special occasion, Bonpoint is everything.
Have fun with Maddie: We love day dates to our local beach and parks. For more of my favorite fun, local things to do with the kiddos click here.
Do you have favorite day trips and/or weekends away?
Yes! We do love to travel. And, luckily, Maddie has been a great traveler from the beginning. I have a whole section of my blog dedicated to travel here, but some of our favorites include: weekends in Rhode Island, quick trips to Disney, and beach vacations in Nevis.
What’s one thing that would surprise people about you in real life?
I think most people wouldn’t know how painfully shy I am in real life. I learned really quickly that in order to succeed in social media, you have to be social. For me, this is much easier through blogging and Instagram. I’ve gotten a lot better at meeting “Instagram friends” in person, but at first it was very intimidating for me.
If you could have a whole day to yourself in the area (sans kiddo), what would you do?
If I had a whole day to myself, my pre-pregnant self would pop into SoulCycle to start my day with a ride in Conor Kelly’s class. After, I would grab a green juice from Meli Melo and a coffee from Le Pain Quotidien before heading to To and Fromin Darien for a mani-pedi, followed by a quick infrared session at Inner Light(boy, do I miss those right now). Later, I’d meet my husband for happy hour at Lugano before heading home to watch some Bravo by the fire.
Sounds fantastic. What’s the best mom advice you’ve ever received? And fertility advice?
This too shall pass. My mom says it all the time. And I repeat it in my brain during challenging phases in motherhood. It’s cliché, but it’s so true.
Advice on fertility: Honestly, I never received any great advice for coping with fertility challenges, and I wouldn’t say that I would give a whole lot of advice on the issue, per se. It such a personal and emotional experience, and everyone’s circumstances are unique. But what I can share is what helped, and that is to always remember to be patient with yourself and your partner throughout the process; and to neverunderestimate how strong you are. I outline so many more lessons I learned in my fertility journey in this post from a while back, here.
Is there anything you should or shouldn’t say to a friend struggling to get or stay pregnant?
Again, I think this is something that can be so personal and specific to the individual. For me, there were times during my journey TTC where there was literally nothing you could say to me. In hindsight, I realize that, most of the time, everyone is just doing their best—even when advice strikes a nerve. I write much more on the topic here.
What do you hope to do with the blog/your brand in the months and years going forward?
I’m not really sure where I’ll go from here with Lilies and Lambs, but I’m OK with that for now. Last year was an exciting one in terms of the business side of my brand, and I was spending a lot more time dedicated to writing and creating. But for me, being a stay-at-home mom will always be my number one job, and the one I’m most passionate about. My focus this year has been on our growing family and what’s in store for us; but I could never not share our life on this platform. It will be a balancing act, for sure, but I look forward to continuing to share my honest journey through motherhood—the good, the bad and everything in between.
This story was adapted from Greenwich Moms.