Ashley Maria Ward
Married my wonderful husband in 2020.
Became a mother in 2021.
Has loved to recharge in solitude since birth.
student of life
A lover of learning, growing, spirituality, and pop culture.
Stay Classy San Diego
My name is Ashley, and I’m the founder of Love&Moms.
I appreciate you stopping by!
A lot brought me to this point, so why don’t we take a few steps back?
I grew up on the west coast of the United States in San Diego, California.
So yes, I am a California girl at heart!
I was fortunate to take trips with my family to Mexico and enjoy the food and beaches during the summers.
We were close to Disneyland, and we had annual passes where we would go ALL THE TIME.
My family members are huge Disney fans, and we grew up going to the park frequently.
I lived there virtually my whole life. I love San Diego with all my heart!
The weather, taco shops on every corner, the 420 positive atmosphere and legality, the entertainment, the beaches, bays, sports, and the military made it a great place to grow up when it was in its prime.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
As amazing as that sounds, California life for a kid is a fast-paced and competitive one, especially for the millennials.
I spent my whole adolescence playing soccer and going to school.
By the time I was in high school, I was playing for a team in San Juan Capistrano, which is roughly 30 minutes south of LA.
My days would be:
waking up by 5 am
school by 7 am -2 pm
by 3 pm I was on the road with one of my parents to practice nearly 2 hours north near LA for 5 pm soccer training
then by 7:30, we were back on the road home; we would be back after 9 pm
take a shower
then in bed by 11…hopefully.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
I had suffered a ton of physical injuries during these years.
I have always been more accident-prone in general, and playing a sport didn’t help that.
By the time I was 16, prime year for college recruiting in sports, I tore my ACL.
Practically a death sentence for any student-athlete getting any chance of landing a spot at a good school to play at.
Like many athletes injured at the worst times, I missed many opportunities and was left behind.
However, I recovered as quickly as possible, graduated, and was ready to move forward.
San Diego Comes to an End
As I grew older, so did San Diego, and its pub.
It was growing increasingly expensive, crowded, and exclusive.
Lots of LA residents began moving down to Sunny San Diego due to its:
“mellow vibes and people.”
Which ultimately turned it into LA 2.0 after ten years of migration.
Crowded, uber fast-paced, impersonal, expensive, crazy traffic, polluted, hustle-culture obsessed, money-driven, and shallow.
Homelessness had taken a turn for the worst, taxes were out of control, and it was virtually impossible to garner any footing as an adolescent to even remotely save for my future or a down payment for a home.
Hardly what I would classify as “mellow.”
After years of soul searching and trying to discover what I wanted, I wound up becoming a certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Infrared Body Wrap therapist working for one of the top Health and Wellness Spas in San Diego, Eco Chateau!
I helped people fulfill their wellness goals and discovered a new passion for skincare.
I was ready to add another notch to my belt and wanted to attend esthetician school around January 2020.
We all know what happened next, right?
COVID lockdowns began.
Since I was considered a non-essential worker ( that felt awesome), I was out of work.
Luckily my husband worked from home, and we could garner income that way, but I was so bored.
I do not do well cooped up.
After months going by and lockdowns only securing even harder, my husband suggested it was time to move out of state.
This wasn’t out of the blue.
We discussed moving to North Carolina about a year before this.
We have friends, my sister went to school there, and I loved visiting.
It was more affordable, less restrictive with lock-down measures, my husband could work from anywhere, and hell, I wasn’t working anyway, so what’s stopping us?
So we packed up all our crap and our cat, drove across the country within three days, and moved into a townhome in Mooresville, North Carolina, and we never looked back.
I Got Married
My now husband and I decided to elope before we moved.
I’ve never been one to imagine my wedding day or want a crazy grand celebration anyway.
So what did we do?
We hired an Officiant to meet us at a Starbucks and sign our marriage papers.
That was it!
We were married!
I wasn’t going to wait to marry my best friend because the world halted.
I didn’t need a wedding; I needed my best friend.
We have been happily married ever since!
We are excited to plan a beautiful wedding once the remanence of lockdowns and COVID regulations are a thing of the past.
I Got Pregnant...Fast!
After about three weeks after moving, I got pregnant.
The morning sickness kicked in like I had never even imagined. It was more like all-day sickness.
This was my first inkling I was probably pregnant with a girl.
Given all the hormones girls produce, they can generally cause more tummy issues while pregnant.
We took the at-home blood gender test after 20 weeks, and we were having a girl!
We were so excited and couldn’t wait for our little one’s arrival.
However, it was difficult being pregnant, away from my family and hometown in the midst of a lockdown. It was isolating.
I still wasn’t working, and it didn’t make sense for me to start now that I was pregnant either when it wasn’t financially necessary.
Fortunately, before the lockdowns, we were in crazy savings mode and saved up enough money to fund the move and allow me to stay home during my pregnancy.
So I was fortunate to stay home while pregnant and take care of myself and READ A TON.
I read all the baby books, all the marriage books, all the potty training books, sleep books, podcasts, you name it.
I spent all day every day just reading and learning about what to expect and how to navigate marriage and motherhood.
Unfortunately, as life has it, we ran into an unexpected tragedy during my pregnancy.
About three weeks before my daughter was born, my husband received a phone call early one morning from his sister in West Virginia to tell him their dad had passed away that night.
We were crushed.
We then drove the 4 hours to West Virginia to be with his family and complete the formalities.
We had his funeral about a week later, two weeks before my delivery.
We Became a Trio
I had my daughter, Annabelle Ripley on Father’s Day in June 2021.
My husband’s first fathers day as a father and without his father.
An emotional day of mixed feelings and it was very serendipitous.
Navigating life while married, away from family, and with a baby is no short feat.
I am simply a wife and mother trying no navigate the absolute roller coaster that is being married and a parent.
Nothing could have prepared me for the challenge that is motherhood.
Motherhood has faced me with roadblocks I never thought could be so difficult.
I thought to myself so many times:
“I seriously must be the only one struggling, I suck at this.”
While seeing so many mothers hardly 4 weeks postpartum already out and about at a barbecue or a beach parties with their babies looking so happy and vibrant meanwhile I was so anxious, and tired about my new baby I could barely function.
Not to mention nowhere near looking as good and kept as these moms on social media who seemingly have it all together.
Love&Moms is Born
Marriage and motherhood are challenging and, at times, frankly, impossible.
That being said, it’s genuinely the most fulfilled I’ve ever been.
However, it wasn’t always like that.
Based on social media, I thought I was the only mom struggling with her baby, struggling to keep her days together, and nowhere did my life come off as the flowery jargon and rose-colored lenses that many mom blogs and social media conveys.
Because ultimately, we want to hear and see only the good things.
Hence, nobody will be very honest on social media or even on some mom blogs.
Ultimately, this led me to have wildly unrealistic expectations of childrearing and motherhood.
In a way, I felt duped.
I didn’t regret having a baby; I was disappointed that not many mom blogs or women on social media gave accurate depictions of motherhood and marriage.
I never felt more isolated from fellow mothers because I felt nobody was being honest or genuine about their experiences.
Nor was I able to find a ton of information that regarded a mother’s health, wellness, and fulfillment postpartum; they all focused on only the baby.
I intend to keep it honest with the chronicles of marriage and motherhood as we strive to maintain and grow healthy relationships with our partners and children.
I am in no way an expert or guru in relationships or baby-rearing, and I will not pretend to be.
If you are looking for a mom blog, this is not it.
I will, however, definitely share my journey as a mother that started from the very beginning.
Thus, Love&Moms was born!
I intend to be honest and raw about our experience, the blog I wish I had access to during my pregnancy and my whole life.
Sharing what we go through, what works for us or doesn’t.
I’m just another new mom, married, extremely introverted, loves their books, and just trying to give my family and myself the lives we’ve always wanted while encouraging you to do the same!
I wish to provide an honest insider take on the motherhood experience in the 21st century in an age where social media only shows the best of the best, and that is changing faster than ever before.
Do you want honesty, authenticity, and real sh*t? This is the place for you, girl!
What is Love&Moms?
Welcome to LOVEANDMOMS, a resource for first-time moms and couples as they navigate the journey of transitioning into parenthood for the first time.
As a mother, I understand that the postpartum period can be overwhelming and affect relationships.
Every woman and couple deserves the support, compassion, and guidance they need to thrive during postpartum and the first year of parenthood.
I’m committed to providing a safe and supportive space for first-time moms and couples to learn, grow, and connect.
That’s why I’ve created this space to offer support and guidance to new mothers and their partners as they adjust to their new roles and cope with the physical and emotional changes of having a newborn.
At LOVEANDMOMS, I take pride in serving first-time moms and couples during their journey into parenthood.
I offer a range of content and resources to help first-time moms take care of themselves and their babies, including information on self-care, mental health, and mom’s wellness, as well as guidance on baby sleep, baby feeding, and parenting philosophies.
I also understand the importance of maintaining intimacy, connection, and closeness as a couple during this time.
With empathy and understanding, LoveAndMoms is a supportive and empowering resource for first-time moms navigating the complexities and joys of postpartum and the first year of motherhood with their partner.
I believe every woman and couple deserves the support and guidance they need to thrive during postpartum and the first year of parenthood.
I’m committed to providing a safe and supportive space for first-time moms and couples to learn, grow, and connect.
At LOVEANDMOMS, I aim to be a genuine, compassionate, and honest resource that shatters the flowery illusions of what postpartum and parenting are portrayed on social media and culture by showing light on the hard truths of parenthood.
My goal is to prepare first-time parents for the realities of parenting and help them succeed in their new roles.
I believe that by providing honest and authentic information and support, first-time moms and couples can create happy, strong, healthy, and loving families.
Thank you for choosing to join us at LOVEANDMOMS.
We look forward to supporting you on your journey into parenthood!
Explore numerous newsletters to help you through the different phases of your transition as a first-time mom💃🏻