Three months to go before Baby Madelyn arrives


Today marks the beginning of week 27, also known as the start of the third trimester! (Some measure the start of the third trimester at week 28, but I’m sticking with week 27.)

With each passing week, I feel more confident about Baby Madelyn’s health. She is at the age of viability, meaning survival outside the womb would be possible. At 27 weeks, she’s the size of a rutabaga, or a bunch of bananas. She’s about 14 inches long and a little over 2 pounds.

Her tiny lungs are developing, and she’s practicing breathing by taking in amniotic fluid. She has just started opening her eyes at this stage, and her eyelashes have formed. Her brain is rapidly developing, too, and will nearly triple in weight during the third trimester. (Can you tell I’ve been reading a lot about her development?)

I recently finished the book “Brain Rules for Baby” by molecular biologist John Medina. It’s a fascinating read that’s filled with scientific research and practical advice about how to provide the best environment for your baby’s brain development, inside the womb and after birth. (Here is a roundup of related tips.) It’s a pretty easy read, so I’d recommend the full book. It’s the one baby book I’m encouraging my husband Troy to read.

Thinking about Madelyn’s brain development and growth motivates me on days when fatigue follows me around like a shadow, and when my protruding belly makes it uncomfortable to walk, sleep, or eat a hearty meal. Despite these and other not-so-fun symptoms, I’ve loved being pregnant and haven’t had too many aches and pains. (We’ll see how I feel at the end of the third trimester…)

My desire to have a healthy baby motivates me to make better choices — about how much rest I get, what I put into my body, and how much I work. I still have to watch my stress levels, and I need to make a conscious effort every day to not let weight gain distort my body image or my relationship with food. But overall, I’m amazed by how my pregnancy has helped me to be healthier and happier. It has also helped bring me and Troy even closer together.

“We’re going to be parents … eeeeek!” is a common refrain in the Tarpley household these days. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, now more so than ever. I recently learned that I’ll be able to take 11 weeks of maternity leave once Madelyn arrives. I love knowing that I’ll have so much time to focus on my daughter — to care for her, to get to know her. Until then, I’ll keep playing her music, reading to her, and patting my belly when she turns it into a punching bag.

Less than three months to go, my little one…

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

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