Have you hugged a new mom today?

Happy belated new year! I have been having trouble with my blog so I was not able to post since last year. I had written this post back in December and tried many times to post it; however, it did not work. I am posting it now as I think the issue is still important and relevant. So here it is..

I absolutely cannot believe that Squeakers is 7 months old (she is actually almost 9 months now!). Over half of my maternity leave has gone by in a flash. She is a joy to have and is one of the happiest babies that I know. I look forward to seeing her huge smile each morning when she wakes up and hearing her squeals of delight. Squeakers has been an amazing traveler; in her 7 months she has already been to England, Portugal and Cuba. She was great on all of the flights and spent her time smiling and laughing at the other passengers. She is rolling, cooing, screaming, holding onto objects with both hands, and looking at everything around her with her huge eyes. She has good fine motor skills and is constantly touching her fingers together or rolling her wrists and watching how her hands move. (*Update: she is sitting unsupported and playing, rolling around, feeding herself, babbling, pulling hair and screaming!). Her biggest fan is her older sister, Cubby.

While Cubby has had a difficult adjustment due to the shift in attention, she is now doing much better. It wasn’t an easy adjustment for her or me, but we have made it through the hardest part. For a few months, Cubby could not eat or toilet by herself, she did not want to sleep in her bed, she was having tantrums and outbursts and hiding under the table, and she was hitting me. I knew that this was all to be expected; however, it was difficult with my lack of sleep, low mood, stomach issues, and low frustration tolerance to give her the attention that she needed and to meet the needs of the baby. At the same time, my husband’s work also got very busy, which was great for him and our family, but that meant that I was constantly alone for prolonged periods of time. I was thankful when September came and school started again. Cubby transitioned well to a new school and kindergarten class and now thoroughly enjoys going to school. She comes home with stories of her day and new songs and games to play.

With all of these changes going on and my hormones being all over the map, I had extremes in my moods and did not feel like myself. I was upset one minute, angry the next, sad and low one minute and laughing another. I was very short tempered, especially when dealing with Cubby. I began to feel very incompetent at home and as a mother and wondered what was wrong with me. I didn’t like being alone and I hated being in my house. I felt better when I left my house and was visiting someone or on the road. I also felt better travelling and not being home as then I had people around me.

One night I was on the computer and happened to come across a local health organization’s website discussing post-partum mood disorders. For fun I read the site and the descriptions and took an online quiz and was shocked to discover that I was suffering from post-partum depression (PPD) and anxiety. I took the quiz again just to make sure. How could I have PPD? I am a high functioning organized individual, how could I be suffering from this? I let it sink in for one night and then decided to take action the next day. I called Peel Public Health and spoke to a nurse who did another assessment on the phone. She confirmed my suspicions and discussed the treatment options with me. I opted to have a visit from a community nurse and a referral to a hospital based treatment program.

While I was embarrassed at the time, I knew that I wanted to feel better and get out of the slump so I took all of the help that I was offered. I was nervous about telling my family and extended family as I was ashamed and didn’t want those around me to feel as if I couldn’t handle having two children. To top it all off, people around me noticed that I was struggling and short tempered and moody. However, I often heard comments such as: “There’s something wrong with you”, “I was able to do all of this when I had 2 kids”, “Get organized”, “Stop leaving your house and running errands, just stay home”, and “Cook all of the meals when the baby is napping”. These comments made me feel worse and even more incompetent. I felt like crying out for help. How had everyone else managed this? Why was I the only one having problems?

Another factor making everything else feel so much worse was the fact that I was breastfeeding and starving. I was eating healthy meals and nothing was agreeing with me. My stomach was hurting; I was bloated, gassy and uncomfortable. I would eat an apple, and my stomach would get bloated and painful. I would eat a spinach salad and the same thing would happen. I saw my family doctor and told him that I was not feeling well and that I was having an increase in stomach issues. He told me that it was likely related to my depression and anxiety and declined to run tests or look into it further. I took matters into my own hands and started seeing a functional medicine doctor. After completing various tests, I learned that my hormone levels were quite low (hence contributing to my low mood and low frustration tolerance) and that I had higher levels of bad bacteria in my intestines. The diagnosis was small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and a parasite. Wow! Now it all started to make sense. It wasn’t all in my head.

Since last October, there has been an overhaul of my daily routines and practices. I have had to follow a special low FODMAP diet specific to SIBO, keep my stress levels low, eat slowly and intentionally, and green my home and personal products. I ordered an organic fruit and vegetable delivery service, Fresh City Farms (www.freshcityfarms.com), and found an organic meat delivery service. I have begun a gratitude journal and am reading positive affirmations daily. I sought help from a local hospital that specialized in post partum mood disorders and have been seeing a counsellor and a psychologist regularly. Furthermore, to safeguard my sanity, I have had to set boundaries with certain people in my life. Overall I would say that I am a work in progress. Although my mood is much better, there are certain days that I feel low. Those are days that I do more positive affirmations and journaling and also reach out to others for help.

I have found that the practice of gratitude has a profound impact on mood and your outlook. For the first week, I found it difficult to express what I was grateful for; however by the end of the month, I felt more happy and positive. If you are a new mom in your home and are feeling the same way, I encourage you to talk to someone and/or get help. Start a gratitude practice. At the end of each day, write down one thing that you are grateful for, even if you think that it is something small. I found the following two journals amazing for my practice: Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel (www.amazon.ca/Start-Where-You-Are-Self-Exploration/dp/0399174826) and The Five Minute Journal (www.amazon.ca/Five-Minute-Journal-Happier-Minutes/dp/0991846206).

If you know a new mom in your life, reach out to them and support them. Ask prompting questions and encourage them to talk about how they are feeling. Instead of negative comments, say things like: “You are doing a great job”, “You are awesome”, or “You were meant to do this”. If you notice drastic changes in a new mom’s behaviour or mood, have a private discussion with them and see how you can help or support them. Like me, perhaps they don’t even know that they may be suffering from post-partum depression.

Remember that although birth is a beautiful experience, it is also a marathon for the physical body. Imagine how silly it would be for someone to run a long marathon and then not sleep consistently for days or months, have a person constantly crying in their ear so that they cannot rest, and expect them to be functioning as they previously were. We wouldn’t expect that and we should not expect that of a new mother. New mothers need love, support, and kindness without criticism or judgment. What I would have given for a genuine hug and a shoulder to lean on!

So take the time and hug and praise the new moms in your life for doing such a great job. After all, they are raising the next generation of thinkers and dreamers. And any new moms out there who are experiencing the same, hang in there and know that you are not alone. Ask for help or support from friends, family or community resources. And single moms out there, kudos to you! I don’t know how you do it. Being a mom is one of the best jobs in the world, but it can also be one of the hardest jobs.

Stay strong new mamas and know that it gets better!

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The Juggling Act

It has been 3 months since baby Squeakers arrived. While I couldn’t be happier or feel more blessed, it has been quite a juggling act. I am lucky that Cubby is 5 years old and is more independent; however she has greatly regressed since Squeakers made her appearance. She can no longer do things that she could previously do such as eating, toileting, falling asleep independently and brushing her teeth. She frequently exclaims, “I need help! Mommy do or Daddy do..” I know that this is to be expected, but it is wearing on me. When I had Cubby 5 years ago, the house was quiet and calm for the most part when she was napping. I had time to eat, shower, and do a quick load of laundry.Now, I am multi-tasking, always on my feet and the only time I sit is when I am breastfeeding Squeakers. Trying to balance my time between an active 5 year old and a 3 month old has been challenging. Not to mention that my once modern and stylish house has become cluttered and looks as if a family of hoarders lives here.

It has been hard to let go of many things; hard to let go of having some sense of control over my life; hard to let go of my previous schedule and daily routine; hard to let go of thinking that I can have some daily quiet time alone with Cubby; hard to let go of the fact that I don’t have time to cook my usual healthy meals; and hard to let go of the quiet time in the evening catching up with my husband or watching our favourite shows uninterrupted. The main feeling is the sense of loss of control over my previous scheduled and structured life. But don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for little Squeakers and the joy that her smile and cooing brings to me every day. I couldn’t picture my life without her – it’s like she has always been here.

This time around, I initially felt less stressed and overwhelmed because I knew what to expect. However, as the third month has approached, I am starting to get that slightly anxious feeling again. I know that this is partly due to the fact that life has been in fast forward since Squeakers arrived. First it was planning and carrying out Cubby’s 5th birthday party. Then it was planning and carrying out my husband’s surprise 40th birthday party. Then there was a family wedding and out of town family visiting. Now, we will be travelling to England for another family wedding. Busy busy!

Last week I attempted to venture out to H&M to pick up some clothes for the trip to England as none of my post pregnancy clothes from last time fit me. What a mistake! Squeakers was fast asleep in the stroller and I had to wait in a long line of people to get the large change room. Kids were running around and yelling and I was crossing my fingers and hoping that Squeakers wouldn’t wake up. I got in the large change room and began trying on clothes and of course, within 5 minutes, Squeakers was awake. I took her out of her stroller and fed her in the change room as that was the only private place that was available. I could hear the long line of people waiting for the change room.

Just as I finished feeding her and burping her and was about to put her back in her stroller, she vomited the whole feed all over herself, myself and the floor. I was mortified. I used her muslin blanket to clean her up and held her on my shoulder. I walked out of the change room and approached the H&M staff member to inform her that my baby had vomited in the change room. All eyes were on me and my drenched vomit stained clothes. I felt like a leper, like suddenly I did not belong in this store any more. The young staff member rolled her eyes and looked grossed out. I asked for napkins and proceeded to bend to wipe the floor while holding my baby. I was embarrassed and exhausted. Who was I to think that I could venture out in public? I quickly exited the store and went directly to Carters. I felt comfortable and at home here. No one gawked at my vomit stained clothes. There was a bathroom with a change pad so I could clean up little Squeakers and a glider chair and ottoman so I could feed her again. I told the sales associate at Carters about the day that I was having and she sympathized with me. I felt better and drove home.

That was my last adventure out of the house alone with Squeakers. Other than that, we have tried to keep Cubby busy over the last few weeks so that I could spend time with the baby. She has been in parks and recreation day camps and my husband had taken a week off to take her to local attractions such as the CN Tower, Ontario Science Centre, Casa Loma and Ripley’s Aquarium. She is enjoying her time being busy and active and away from me. We have been like oil and water for the most part; partly because my attention is with Squeakers and I am breastfeeding every 2 hours and partly because I am constantly nagging her and telling her “don’t touch the baby”, “don’t smother the baby”, “let the baby sleep”,  “shh.. quiet voice, the baby just fell asleep”, “Cubby stop yelling, use your inside voice”… the list can go on and on. I have attempted to give her a bath or read her a book every now and then, but I have to admit that my frustration tolerance has been quite low with my lack of sleep. I am looking forward to the day when Squeakers can sleep through the night and I can be a rested mom again. Until that day I am taking every day as it comes and learning to be a good juggler, which definitely takes a lot of practice!





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I Made it to Full Term!

I am happy to report that I made it to full term this time (38 weeks) and delivered a happy and healthy baby girl. I am not going to lie; this pregnancy was a nerve racking experience! Back in January, I had started to feel some pressure in my pelvis so I went to the hospital for a check up and was admitted. They monitored me and decided to do a cervical cerclage (stitch) to keep the cervix closed. I was taken down to the ER for the procedure and given spinal anaesthetic. I was very nervous as I had never been in the ER before and there was a slight chance that the procedure could trigger early labour. Luckily it was a fast procedure and the only bad part was having to be upside down for the duration of it.

My doctor was amazing. He put me in the high risk clinic, although he told me that I am “low-high risk”. I had to go for appointments every 2 weeks and have an external and internal ultrasound. My walking was limited to household distances, which was the hardest part. I was sitting on a couch or chair all day and walking minimally for 4 months. Gosh was it ever hard to sit still! I missed going grocery shopping, meeting people for social outings, friend’s birthdays, trips and more.. but it was for a good reason, I was growing a baby. I had wished for this baby for such a long time that I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize this pregnancy. So, I was a good girl and followed strict doctor’s orders.

The downside from my modified bed rest, or “house arrest” as I called it, was that I got so many ailments from not being able to walk or exercise. I had sciatica, sacral issues, swelling in my legs, pulled muscles and knots in my upper back, and I gained almost 40 lbs. Another downside was the constant fear that with every stomach pain, gas pain or ligament stretch, the same thing would happen as last time and I would lose the baby. Although I remained positive throughout this pregnancy and gave myself lots of reiki, there was always that fear in the back of my mind that I would go into early labour. Luckily that didn’t happen and I gave birth to a healthy full term baby girl, who we have affectionately named Squeakers because of the cute squeaky noises that she makes.

The birth of Squeakers was like something out of a sitcom. I spent the night before she was born attempting to sleep in my reclining patio chair in my bedroom. However, despite changing positions, walking around the house, and feeling exhausted, I was unable to sleep all night. I felt a lot of cramping in my stomach; but chalked it up to my usual digestive disturbances. Cubby came to sleep in my bed around 5:30 a.m, so I thought that perhaps I could get some sleep in her bed. At around 5:45 a.m I felt a “pop” and a gush of fluid down both legs and realized that my water had broke. I ran upstairs to wake up my husband, and told him to call our doula and the hospital downtown Toronto where I was supposed to deliver.

While he ran around the house frantically calling his brother to come and watch Cubby, I felt intense cramping and my contractions started. I timed them and they were 5 minutes apart. I was yelling to my husband to call an ambulance as I didn’t think that we could make it downtown as morning rush hour was starting. My husband called 911 and the dispatcher was speaking to me as I was attempting to pack my toiletries and last minute items in my hospital bag. She was timing my contractions and soon they were 3 minutes apart. She asked my husband to get towels and put them on my bathroom floor. She asked me to lay down on my bathroom floor, to which I replied “I am not having this baby on my bathroom floor!” As I continued packing, the voice on the phone kept saying: “I need you to lie down on the floor. I can hear you moving around”. I refused to lie down on my bathroom floor and thankfully, the paramedics arrived.

My contractions continued to get closer together as we were leaving the house and I was gathering last minute items like coconut water, energy bars, fruits, filtered water, and healthy snacks for the hospital. The paramedics emphasized that the baby was coming soon and I needed to get to the hospital. I was loaded into the ambulance with onlookers in my neighbourhood peeking out of their windows at me. The siren started and the race was on to the hospital. During the ride I called my parents and my manager in between intense contractions to let them know that I had gone into labour. Luckily I was taken to the nearest hospital and within 15 minutes, I was on the labour and delivery floor and in an examination room. My doula found her way to the hospital and met me there. The nurse checked how far I was dilated and I was already 8 cm. She informed me that there was no time to get an epidural as the baby would arrive in 15 to 20 minutes. Squeakers arrived at 7:31 a.m.

Although Squeaker’s birth was fast and my labour was short, I quickly learned why they call it the “ring of fire”. At one point I remember screaming “I am going to die!” However, when they placed little Squeakers into my arms and I looked at her little face, I was instantly in love. I had forgotten about the “ring of fire” and the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life. On a side note, my doula was absolutely wonderful and was a great coach and source of support throughout my delivery. I would highly recommend a doula!

Squeakers has been doing great. I can’t believe that she is already 7 weeks old and weighs almost 10 lbs. She is feeding constantly and growing. We couldn’t be happier. Our little family has now grown to four people. It has been an adjustment for Cubby, which is to be expected, but she is enjoying her little sister and exclaiming “she is so cute!” about 100 times a day. I look forward to the adventures of Cubby and Squeakers!




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My New Bed for the Next 2 Months

This pregnancy has been quite different than the last. I don’t know if it’s because I am 5 years older than last time or just out of shape. I have gained a lot more weight than I did with Cubby and there have been some complications along the way, making me less mobile. This time around I have had numerous ailments such as sciatica, SI joint pain, back pain, strained back muscles, swollen legs, dry skin and hair, heartburn, and digestive disturbances. (Pregnancy can be so glamorous!). I have been seeing numerous professionals to address my various ailments including a naturopath, osteopath, acupuncturist, chiropractor and massage therapist.

I haven’t been able to sleep at all as I cannot lie in a bed due to the pain. This is causing insomnia, and me wandering around the house trying to find things to do at 4 a.m. I have washed dishes, organized, done work on my computer and even called my sister in law in England at 4:30 a.m. Needless to say, I am exhausted during the daytime. It got to the point that I hadn’t slept in 2 months and something needed to be done. My chiropractor showed me a chair that she had called a zero gravity chair. I tried it out and I was sold!

I had my husband go to Home Depot and purchase the zero gravity chair, which is like a patio chair version of the Lazy Boy recliner. You sit on it and push back and it goes into a reclined position, which takes the weight off of your back. I have loaded it with blankets and pillows and have been sleeping for 3-4 hour periods at a time. It’s a god send for pregnant women who cannot sleep in a bed. I would highly recommend it! And afterwards, you can use it on your patio, deck or in your backyard. Even my husband, who is 6’3″ finds it extremely comfortable. zero gravity chair

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Getting Pregnant Naturally

Hi everyone! It has been an extremely long time since I last posted on my blog (over a year, I think!). Life has been very busy and as usual, lots of changes have taken place. Let me try to recap the past year:

  • I had been working from home as a case manager allocating home care services to patients and families in Mississauga; however during that time an amazing job opportunity opened up downtown Toronto that I immediately accepted.
  • To simplify my life, I had decided not to pursue a second Masters degree (the one that I had initially started).
  • To practice more self care and to be able to help my family and others, I completed my level 1, 2 (Advanced), and Masters level training in Usui Tibetan Reiki. I am now a Reiki master.
  • My husband’s real estate career has been going really well with him changing brokers to join Keller Williams Realty Solutions and with the creation of his “Buy With Me, Fly With Me” program (imagine the stresses of buying or selling a home and then being gifted a free trip for 2! Who wouldn’t want that??!) https://www.facebook.com/meshmistryrealty/.
  • Cubby has been growing tall and thin and is now 4 1/2 years old. She is outspoken, loves singing and dancing, colouring, and is attending junior kindergarten.

I believe that those are the major changes that have happened in the past year. On another note, I see how independent and outgoing that Cubby has become; and I also see how lonely she is at home. It has been frustrating not being able to give Cubby a sibling as I have been trying since the loss of Baby Strawberry. It has been quite a journey and I was referred to a fertility clinic in the process. I underwent panels and panels of testing that revealed that nothing was wrong with me; however the consistency of my cervical mucous was preventing a successful pregnancy. The fertility clinic offered IUF treatment to bypass the cervical mucous; but I could not bring myself to do the treatment. Firstly, I knew that my body had gotten pregnant by itself before and that this was still a possibility. Secondly, I did not feel comfortable injecting myself with hormones and medication. While I firmly believe that fertility treatment has helped millions of couples conceive and that it is a valid option, I just didn’t believe that it was the right fit for me.

So, I did a lot of research, self reflection and determined that the right path to get my body ready for pregnancy was a fertility diet, reiki treatments, visualization and manifestation techniques, positive affirmations, and treatments from a magical man who practices biomagnetism. I know it sounds like an unconventional method to get pregnant, but it made so much sense to me. I will describe the methods below:

  1. Fertility diet: After having found out that my cervical mucous was the issue due to its acidity, I knew that I had not been eating well and had to turn to a diet that would allow my body to become more alkaline. I found a great fertility diet online at: http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-diet?utm_source=Pages-Posts&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=Fertility-Diet&utm_campaign=NFI-Ads by Hethir Rodriguez C.H., C.M.T. I also had numerous visits with my naturopath who I have been seeing since 2006, and added additional supplements such as flax oil capsules, zinc, B12, and magnesium.
  2. Reiki treatments: While I have been doing my own reiki treatments and picturing myself enveloped in a white healing light every morning, I also turned to my reiki teacher, Theresa for healing and energizing reiki treatments. Although, she has since moved away, these treatments were very beneficial.
  3. Visualization and manifestation: Since having Cubby and since the loss of Baby Strawberry, the nursery room in our house has not been changed. Every day, I have gone into the nursery to get Cubby’s clothes, looked at the empty crib and basinett, and felt sad that the room was unchanged and stagnant. Losing a baby and having to stare at an empty nursery is not a healthy process to do every day! My reiki teacher as well as others had told me that I needed to start visualizing a baby in the crib, feel the energy of a baby in the room, and sit on my glider chair and picture holding a newborn baby. So, instead of moping around sadly in the nursery, I started to do these things.
  4. Positive affirmations: I have been doing positive affirmations for a long time and have noticed that they have helped with my anxiety and to set the intention of the day. I found some websites with positive affirmations for fertility and pregnancy and printed them out and read them a few times each day until all of the doubt about being able to get pregnant left my mind. A good website I found was: http://www.natural-health-for-fertility.com/positive-affirmations.html. I also read daily from a great Louise Hay book called Heal Your Body: http://www.amazon.ca/Heal-Your-Body-New-Cover/dp/0937611352/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1454005803&sr=1-1&keywords=heal+your+body.
  5. Biomagnetism: I happened to run into a friend, and was explaining my struggle with getting pregnant and she told me of a man who practices reiki and biomagnetism. I had three treatments with him, which were interesting and relaxing. Here is a website that explains how biomagnetism works: https://innovativemedicine.com/biomagnetic-therapy/. I firmly believe that he helped me to prepare my body for being able to get pregnant and to maintain the pregnancy.

So after doing all of that work and self reflection and after starting a new job last October, I was very surprised and enthralled to find out that I was pregnant! I took many pregnancy tests to confirm and was in awe as I had been told that I couldn’t get pregnant naturally without IUF treatment. I firmly believe in the mind-body connection and that your health and body are greatly affected by your thoughts. I believe that it took all of these things for my pregnancy to come to fruition.

Needless to say, little Cubby is overjoyed at the news and is anxiously waiting to be a big sister.

I know the process of trying to get pregnant can be frustrating, defeating, and depressing; but there are ways to change your way of thinking and to change your body so that it is more alkaline and able to sustain a pregnancy.

Good luck to those women out there who are currently trying! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to talk.

Warm Regards,

New Mommy


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The Thin Line Between Being Mom and Your Career

As life continues to ebb and flow around me and I learn to traverse the sometimes choppy waters, I keep returning to the same spot. It is as if I am swimming in the middle of the ocean and in front of me I see a beautiful tropical island (my goals for myself and what I genuinely want to do in life), but then there are two smaller islands; one to the left of me (my role as mommy) and one to the right of me (my career) and I am treading water longing to swim straight toward the large beautiful island. But the waves are pounding me laterally from both directions and I tire not knowing which direction to swim in. If I swim to the left, I engulf myself in my mommy role wanting to do everything and anything to be the best mom that I can be to my beautiful Cubby. If I swim to the right, I am submersed into the employee role where I want to excel and further my career. If I were to swim straight ahead, I would feel horribly guilty knowing that other areas of my life have suffered. And there lies the conundrum of how to balance it all and how to be good at everything.

The older I become, I realize that I am getting stuck in my ways and have “OCD”, as my husband and I like to call it. I used to be really laid back and relaxed. I was a procrastinator who excelled in school, got many subject awards, had a straight A average in OT school along with scholarships and awards. I never once thought that I would not be good at something. After graduating, I joined the working world and devoted time and effort into my jobs getting glowing references from employers and managers. I had great self-esteem and thought that I could do anything that I wanted. Then along came marriage and learning how to compromise and support another person. This did not seem like an easy task as I had always been concentrating on myself and what my next steps were. So it took some learning, practice and a lot of patience. Then along came pregnancy and my daughter, Cubby and everything that I knew up until that point was out of the window. Here was a situation that was unstructured, unpredictable, and lacked boundaries and familiar routines. I was thrown off balance. And there began my journey into self doubt, anxiety, and undiagnosed OCD.

This week was particularly challenging. As the winter season is upon us in Canada, it brings cold weather, snow and of course the dreaded daycare sicknesses. Cubby came down with a fever, sore throat and horrible cough the day before my husband was leaving for New York for four days. Compounding that was the fact that my parents were on a vacation in Cuba. And compounding that was the fact that I am at a new job and on probation. So in summary, Cubby and I were not sleeping, I was worried about her progressively worse cough and bloody nose, and I had to go to work. Thankfully my mother in law was available to watch her for a day while I went to work; however, all day I felt so guilty. It was difficult to concentrate as I felt that I should be taking care of my sick child. It was a tough situation to be in and so spurred this blog post about the thin line between being a mom and being an employee. How do you choose? And more importantly, how do you excel at both? This is something that I am still learning. There have been some tough lessons learned along the way and of course, as any mom knows, there have been some sacrifices and items that had to be put on the back burner for a later date.

I am certain that I am not the only mom who has gone through this. This is probably the plight of every working mother. I welcome any thoughts or advice from those of you out there who have mastered the balancing act.

And with that I am off to bed, unable to keep my heavy eyelids from closing. Goodnight!


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Thanksgiving and Forgiving

As it is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, I thought that I would take the time to reflect on everything that I am thankful for: my Cubby, my husband, my family and friends, my health, my home, my intellect, my exceptional dancing abilities (lol!).. I could go on and on as there is so much to be grateful for. However, while I am giving thanks for all of the good things in my life, I also wanted to reflect on the idea of being forgiving. In particularly, us women being forgiving of ourselves. I know this may seem like a strange topic, but it has been particularly prevalent in my life recently and it has led me to see how unforgiving I have been towards myself. It has been six months since the miscarriage of Baby Strawberry. About a month after it occurred, I got to the point where I felt disgusted with my physical appearance and my health. I had extra weight on me (from the pregnancy), looked tired and rundown, I had developed a stye in my left eye (which I later discovered was an infection called blepharitis), I had a chronic cough, sinusitis, and was having difficulty digesting foods as my hormones and digestive system had been thrown off. I felt depressed and anxious (understandably due to the experience I had gone through coupled with the “wonky” hormone situation).

Instead of being forgiving towards myself, I was looking in the mirror and hating who I was seeing. I was extremely hard on myself and wanted to bounce back to looking as I did before I had gotten pregnant. I had given myself a four month deadline to lose the weight and start feeling better. Of course, that was not realistic (though I did not realize it at the time). I hired a personal trainer and was seeing her for an hour five days a week. Although I did start to feel stronger, my weight and size did not change. Once again, I was upset and frustrated as to why I was not losing any weight thinking: “If I work out harder”, “If I do more cardio”, “If I wake up earlier and start exercising”.. many “If I’s” went through my mind. I did not realize that my hormones were all over the place and no matter how hard I tried, the weight was not going to go anywhere. But an even greater realization that I only made recently was WHO CARES? I know that sounds funny, but seriously WHO CARES? Was my husband going around telling people that I was fat and disgusting? (Not that I am aware of). Was my daughter going to her daycare and telling her teachers that I was fat and disgusting? (Not that I am aware of). Were my friends and family telling me that I was fat and disgusting? (Again, not one of them verbally told me that). Instead, everyone was very supportive and encouraging and they were telling me to give myself time, be gentle with myself, and to relax and heal from the ordeal that I had just gone through.

I know at the time that they were telling me this and I could hear them saying it, but it did not sink in. All I kept hearing was my voice, the negative voice telling me that I was gross and I needed to lose the weight and that if I did not have a baby, then there was no reason to keep the extra pounds. It was a horrible place to be in both mentally and physically. Although the miscarriage did cause some great life changes such as my being able to spend uninterrupted time with my daughter, my changing jobs, my re-evaluation of my schooling and Masters program (which has been put on hold for a year), it also lead me into a downward spiral of despair, anxiety and fear. Why had this happened? Why had my body failed me? Did I cause it to happen?

During the past month, changes have continued to occur. I had started the new job as a contractor for a private company and while I loved the company, I was grappling with the balance of working for myself and spending time with my daughter. My clients, lawyers and adjusters were calling and emailing all of the time, even during evenings and weekends. While I was trying to separate my work and home life and maintain some sort of balance, I was starting to fail at both. This was causing more anxiety and making me feel utterly incompetent. I know that it was only a month and that the first month of any job can be overwhelming, but I wondered if I would ever be able to turn work off at home and not look at my phone or respond to emails and voicemails. Then it happened. I was driving to go see a client one day when my phone rang. It was an HR representative from a company that I had applied to quite some time ago. They had contacted me when they had a temporary position; however I had only been interested in a full time permanent one. So, they ended up calling me and telling me that a full time permanent position had opened up and the best part of it all is that it is on my street, literally a 6 or 7 minute drive away!

I went for an interview, was offered the position three days later and agreed to it five days later. I know that some people who I have talked to have thought that I was crazy and unstable for switching jobs after only a month of being in a new position, but this one is set hours, no evenings or weekends, reasonable pay, and it is on my street. This is the first time that I will not have to commute to a job; I could actually walk there in the summer! I am feeling great about this decision and not to mention that I now have 5 weeks off until I begin this new job.

Getting back to the topic of being forgiving of yourself, this concept did not come to me easily or naturally. It came to me by listening to someone else critique herself. I have been doing some self development and taking a seminar series on Wednesday nights in Toronto. I have a great group and we do group calls once a week and support and coach each other through calls and emails. I went this past Wednesday and was sitting beside one of my group members. We were completing an exercise on what was working and not working in our lives and setting a new possibility for that area of our life. She had chosen health, wellness and nutrition and was talking about how she has let herself go since she had her daughter and how out of shape and disgusted she felt with herself. I was shocked. The person who she was describing was not the person who I saw or who I thought she was. I was frustrated that she was being so hard on herself. She had given birth and been caring for her daughter for the past year! So she did not have the time to exercise. But then she made this beautiful possibility for herself of accepting her body for having a baby and for being forgiving towards herself. It hit me like a ton of bricks. SHE WAS ME. I WAS HER. I had not seen this about myself prior to this interaction. I was so caught up in my own weight and health issues that I did not see how hard I had been on myself and my own body.

This insight has been amazing and transformative. It has led me to create new possibilities for myself and my life:

– Accepting my body for having a baby.

– Forgiving my body post miscarriage.

– Living a simplified life where I have ample time to spend with my daughter and pursue my creative interests.

– Being a creative and excited individual who is not bound by rules or traditions and is “unleashed” in life.

I know that there will still be good days and bad days and there will likely be some level of uncertainty and stress starting yet another new job in November, but I am feeling better prepared for dealing with my life. I know one thing is for sure, I will definitely be easier on myself and learn to become my own champion, instead of my biggest critic.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and practice being more forgiving of ourselves!

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