This blog is about life with a baby. It's not always what you expect and there is definitely no job description. Every baby is different and unique which is why motherhood can be so scary, fun, terrifying, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time.

We encourage you to share your experiences - by sharing your experiences and commenting on other posts, you may be helping other moms.
  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016 10:35 PM | claire (Administrator)

    Written by Fabiana Bacchini 

    It was a cold and rainy morning when I drove to Mount Sinai Hospital in the middle of fall. I had taken that drive hundreds of times over the last 6 months. That morning, however, it would be the last one I drove with an empty car seat. On the way back home later that afternoon, I was going to have my miracle baby Gabriel with me.

     

    Gabriel was born at 26 weeks gestation, 14 weeks ahead of time, to our surprise, weighing a mere 2 pounds. My surviving twin spent 146 days in the NICU and that morning he was finally going home, still on oxygen, but nevertheless going home.

     

    During our NICU stay we were part of a pilot study called Family Integrated Care, which encourages families to be part of the team and care for their babies despite of their size and condition. I had spent over one thousand hours by his bedside and attended education classes 5 days a week. Therefore, I knew very well the risks of Gabriel getting sick once he was discharged. A simple cold would not be a simple cold for him. Because he was born so early, his lungs were very premature and it would be a while until he was strong enough to fight germs like a full term baby.  It’s in the third trimester of the pregnancy that the babies get a boost to their immune system. I had missed the entire trimester. Gabriel’s immune system was fragile and I had to be extra cautious during the coming winter months, when everyone seems to get sick.

     

    I had a plan in mind leaving the hospital. My plan was to hibernate. I locked myself inside the house with him and we only went out for doctors or therapists’ appointments. I bought boxes of hand sanitizer and it was almost part of my home décor. I had spent months ‘brain washing’ my 3 year old son, Thomas, to hand wash as often as possible. I knew I had to keep him healthy so no germs would come inside the house, but he was in a full day Montessori school in the peak of the flu season.

     

    Half way through December, Thomas came home coughing. I panicked and isolated Gabriel in his bedroom with his oxygen tanks and monitor. Two days later, he started to cough and I knew he wasn’t breathing well. Back we were at the hospital and my little guy admitted with pneumonia. It was a hard time. We spent Christmas in total isolation in the Intensive Care Unit at Sick Kids Hospital.

     

    Two weeks later, he was home and I was scared that it could happen again. From January to March, I didn’t leave the house and no one came to visit us. My grocery shopping was done on-line. I made my husband change his clothes after work before touching Gabriel. I isolated myself and by March I wasn’t feeling great.

     

    In the beginning of spring, one of Gabriel’s doctors asked me how I was doing and he reassured me that he was stronger and it was time for me to get out of the fight or flight mode. So, one Saturday morning I decided to pack the diaper bag and go out with the kids to a shopping mall with the oxygen tank and monitor. I felt I was seeing life for the first time, everything seemed so fast paced. It was a fun morning walking around the mall with the kids and for the first time in months I felt a sense of normality.

     

    It was time to get life back, to do the things we always loved to do as a family. I realized that being healthy was more than not having pneumonia or the flu. Being healthy for us meant living life to the fullest, enjoying what we have today; celebrating the little things, finding the balance that we all strive for.

     

    It was a hard winter for us as a family and if I could do it all over again, I would have left Gabriel with my husband for a couple of hours to do grocery shopping or to go for a coffee with a friend. Or perhaps, I would have gone for dinner to a nearby restaurant with my husband for an hour or two. Hibernating did not prevent Gabriel from getting sick and made us all feel the winter blues. On our second winter, I did everything I could to find some balance so we could all enjoy the cold months.

     

    To all families recently discharged: keep a good hand washing routine, find someone you can trust to leave the baby for one hour or two, go for a walk, ask for help, invite a friend to come over to have a cup of coffee with you. These are little things that can help you get through the first winter with your miracle baby at home.

     

    Enjoy it! After all, the NICU days are now a memory.


    This post is part of the #HealthyThisWinter Campaign sponsored by AbbVie Canada. The experience and comments listed above are my own.



  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016 10:33 PM | claire (Administrator)

    Written by Alana Romain

    There’s nothing easy about spending any length of time in the NICU with your baby, but if your preemie came especially early or faced significant complications, life in the NICU can sometimes feel like it will never end. When my twins, Reid and Madeleine, were born at 25 weeks gestation in 2012, it was hard for my husband, Matt, and I to imagine that we’d ever be a “normal” family living together at home. But almost four months after they were born, our babies finally came home. We were overjoyed, but I was surprised to learn what a huge adjustment it can be to leave the hospital. And for parents bringing their preemies home in the winter — aka, prime time for germs that could be really dangerous to their vulnerable immune systems — the transition can sometimes feel overwhelming. So if discharge from the NICU is on the horizon, and you’re worried about how to handle it, here are some of the things I wish I’d known about surviving cold and flu season with a preemie.


    First thing’s first: you are not being paranoid if you’ve suddenly turned into a huge germaphobe. No matter how lax you may have once been about germs and illness, the NICU inevitably turns pretty much every parent into a hand sanitizing germ-fearing crazy person. When we were facing our first winter with our twins, I was very strict about hand hygiene, denied any visitors who had even the slightest throat tickle, and insisted that our extended family members get flu shots (even if they’d never gotten them before in their lives). I knew that not everyone understood why these things were important, and struggled with some guilt at feeling like I was overreacting or being unreasonable. But the truth was, we’d been through so much during our twins’ hospitalization that the last thing I wanted was to see them readmitted because they’d caught RSV. Looking back now, I wish I’d known I didn’t have to apologize for wanting to protect my babies. And I’d much rather have been too over-the-top than be left feeling like I hadn’t done enough.


    In all honesty, our first winter after the NICU was one we largely spent at home in a kind of self-imposed isolation — and I’m glad we did it that way. The twins were still so young and small, and the memory of hospital life was so fresh in our minds, that there didn’t seem to be any rush to get them out into the world and expose them to the coughing, sneezing masses. We maintained the NICU practices of hand washing and hand sanitizer, and did our best to keep Madeleine and Reid as protected as possible from illness (that became particularly difficult when Matt and I both ended up with a totally debilitating stomach flu, but with a little help from some loved ones, we were able to stay away from the twins long enough that they remained totally healthy). 

    Coming home from the NICU is daunting no matter what time of year it happens, and it really is a big adjustment to figure out “life on the outside” when all you’ve known so far as a parent is nurses and doctors and hospitals. What I wish I’d known then is that it’s OK to be worried or nervous or uncomfortable, and it’s also totally fine if you aren’t a laid-back parent the way you might have been if you hadn’t had a preemie. Any parent who’s had a premature baby knows that it is scary and at times completely heartbreaking, and that the worries that you felt when they were born don’t necessarily go away as soon as you are discharged.


    If you’re preparing to bring your preemie home this winter, congratulations, you made it! You’ve got so many wonderful experiences ahead of you. But navigating cold and flu season with a preemie really can be nerve-wracking and complicated, so it’s important that you do whatever you feel is best to get through it. No guilt or apologies required.


    This post is part of the #HealthyThisWinter Campaign sponsored by AbbVie Canada. The experience and comments listed above are my own.






  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016 10:30 PM | claire (Administrator)

    Written by Christina Moss - Mississauga, Ontario

    It's the most wonderful time of the year..." I thought as I announced I was pregnant on Christmas Eve to my family with a Christmas Card from Baby saying they were excited to meet them.  I looked around the table and pictured a high chair at the end, between my husband and myself. The baby would be 5 months next Christmas. How memorable that first Christmas will be, filled with more love, laughter and little giggles.


    Fast forward to May, and at 27 weeks and 2 days, my water began to leak. After 6 days in hospital, my daughter surprised us all when she came into the world at 28 + 1. All the joys of becoming a first time parent that I had envisioned seemed to have vanished in an instant as our concerns were now focused on getting my baby the care she immediately needed.


    We spent the majority of the summer in the NICU. We learned about proper hand hygiene, taking care of ourselves so we could take care of our baby, and learned just how fragile a preemie baby could be. I missed only ONE DAY of her 91 day stay because I was feeling  like I was fighting a cold. I still hate that I missed one day of her journey, but I was doing it to protect her and to keep her safe.  Her safety and well-being was my new priority. 


    A week before discharge after our stay of just over 3 months, we were given our RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and winter season educational talk in the midst of other daunting paperwork and chats. Life was going to feel different now. No guests with signs of a cold or flu, make hand washing stations, hand sanitizers at every door, and to not take any chances with her health. Keeping our child safe in our own home became our number one priority.  It scared me. It really scared me. My husband and I made sure to get our Flu shots as soon as the season began and changed our routines. We lived in a germ free bubble. If I heard a sneeze, I grabbed her and ran the other way. No way was she getting sick on my watch. 


    The first major family holiday since her discharge the end of August came in October. My baby’s first Thanksgiving. So our emails and messages started flying: “If you've been near anyone sick, stay home. If you show up and sneeze you have to leave…” It was segregating us from everyone else. We missed the "typical" family Thanksgiving, since not everyone could be certain of not being ill. That was fine. I convinced myself I wasn't a big Thanksgiving person anyways. 


    Then, Fa La La…my baby’s first Christmas rolled around and the same emails flew around. This time with: "Please get your flu shot because she’s  too young and fragile to get her own.”. We have always had huge Christmas gatherings. Christmas Eve was the biggest day, when my side of the family had our big Seafood Feast. Well, we had three school aged cousins and one teacher on my side. They were amongst a population who frequently fall ill and I just couldn't risk it. I couldn't bring my Preemie and risk her getting the flu, a cold, or worse, RSV. We asked the RSV clinic and they advised that it was best to skip this year. So we did (sort of). 


    My immediate family, my Mom, Brother and Sister (who received flu shots) were supportive and joined us in our new home by making a small version of our typical feast. Even my in-laws (who were mixed on the idea of a flu shot) got theirs as a sign of their support. My extended family was beyond supportive of our decision to not attend, more than I ever expected. And thanks to technology, we were able to share the holiday from afar... on Skype! No hugs were shared, no sounds of little giggles around the table like I expected for them. Instead a quiet night in, protecting my baby the best way I knew how. 


    I'm not going to lie, it was depressing (at the time) to sacrifice my annual Christmas traditions. It was one of the darkest Christmases I've ever experienced, emotionally. I felt sheltered. I felt alone at many times. I felt like no one knew what I was going through. It was after a few months into RSV season that I realized that I wasn’t alone. Many Preemie parents feel this way and make these small sacrifices (they never feel small at the time) for their children. It's what makes you a good parent. Our babies are our world. She is my world. I was able to protect her that first winter.  I did my duty. I kept her safe. I protected her. I was Mom. I am a Preemie Mom!

    This post is part of the #HealthyThisWinter Campaign sponsored by AbbVie Canada. The experience and comments listed above are my own.






  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016 10:25 PM | claire (Administrator)

    Written by Lesley Donaldson-Reid

    Home life with a baby wasn’t what we thought it was going to be before Torran’s premature birth. Our first winter at home with our son, Torran, he was six months corrected age. He had come home from the hospital in late July after 139 days in Mt. Sinai and Sick Kids in Toronto. His head was the size of a one year old due to hydrocephalus, a swelling of fluid in the brain.

    November was the first month since being born at 26 weeks and 6 days gestation in March that Torran wasn’t hospitalized for some health problem or another brain surgery.

    Our struggles with prematurity did not end when we left the hospital. We brought home a complicated little man who required weekly medical appointments, daily professional interventions, and constant therapy provided by his parents.

    We monitored his smallest actions, feeling the biggest responsibility for getting him to his milestones. He had hearing loss, fine and gross motor delay, and contractures, among other things. The only thing Torran could do well was eat and poop.

    We sanitized everything and declined visits to, or from, friends with colds. Our social sphere shrunk and life focused on Torran’s development. I wouldn’t take my son to play groups for fear of infection and RSV. He had already had two colds despite our isolation, which, thankfully, didn’t turn into pneumonia. I also didn’t want to feed the bitterness that lay just a tiny scratch beneath the surface of my skin.

    By December, Torran transferred from the bassinet at my bedside to a crib in his own room. Because of a problem with his shunt surgical site, we inclined his mattress and secured him in a Tucker Sling that prevented him from sliding down.

    I missed rooming in with him dearly. I stood by his bed, or stared at his camera monitor, apologizing to him that I pushed him so hard to do his best every day. Every night I checked to make sure he was still breathing because I was still haunted by his apnea spells in the NICU.

    Despite all of this atypical parenting and emotional struggle, my son amazed me in so many ways. He loved blowing juicy raspberries. Eventually, the down-cast appearance of his eyes (because of the pressure in his brain) improved and he would truly look at me - and smile. I watched him discovered the tiny actions, like hand regard, which are key to infant development.

    Torran’s MEDEK therapy, which I did with him for 45 minutes twice a day, helped him gain enough core strength that he maintained a sitting position for brief periods. He was so cute when he tumbled onto the protective cushion surrounding him.

    The weird lump on his head from brain surgery persisted. We couldn’t let Torran lie flat for long periods of time - the last time we did that, his shunt slipped out from his skull. My arms felt the strain of carrying my mini Sumo who couldn’t support his own body weight.

    We took special care to monitor the site for complications. As the days stretched away from the most recent surgery, his body began growing into his oversized head. A head which he loved hiding in a bucket.

     

    Torran had sunshine in the smiles which matured into giggles, and, after lots of auditory verbal therapy, into sounds. He wore hearing aids shortly after his first birthday, an event which my food-driven son celebrated by saying all three syllables of banana.

    A year after his premature birth, he refuted the doctor’s prognosis of a greater than 50% chance of paralysis from the bleeding in his head. Instead of sleeping at nap time, he pulled himself into a standing position.

    Facebook wasn’t a thing when we were first at home with Torran, and we felt very isolated. Our days focused on his healthy development, so it made sense to keep to ourselves until his little body could face the big, bad, germy world. We were told sickness could set him back, and we wouldn’t deny him his accomplishments. Having a premature child with increased medical needs made our family life more challenging, but no less worth living.

    This post is part of the #HealthyThisWinter Campaign sponsored by AbbVie Canada. The experience and comments listed above are my own.



  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016 10:20 PM | claire (Administrator)

    Caring for Preemies through Their First Winter: No Experience is the same.  Written by Carolyn Leighton-Hilborn

    When I had my first child at 31 weeks, I can honestly say I knew very little about prematurity or the common winter illnesses that can threaten a baby born early. He was somewhat atypical for a preemie because he was “bigger” and “healthier” than physicians would have normally expected and he did extremely well during his hospital stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Although he had weight and size going for him, he did experience respiratory distress in the early days. Overall though, he was what we call a “feeder and grower”, and he came home just shy of a month after his birthday.

    That first winter was uneventful and he had a very healthy first year. While I would like to say it is because of something I did, I did not do anything out of the ordinary to ward off illness. We did not live in lockdown as we sometimes hear families are instructed to do during the winter months. Our paediatrician was consulted with each month and he closely monitored our son’s health, but he did not “prescribe” keeping our child indoors away from exposure to others.

    Fast forward to two winters later and I was now the mom of three little boys, including 27 weeker twins, who arrived in the spring. They each had the “rollercoaster” NICU stay. Their hospital stay was challenging and they faced several issues with their health– one of their greatest issues was ongoing respiratory distress. The fact they were born so prematurely and had immature lungs, put them at greater risk for contracting common winter illnesses, which healthy adults normally dismiss as a “little cough or cold”.

    My husband and I were now well-trained on good hand hygiene, the importance of cleaning our hands often, especially when holding our young babies.

    In December we hosted our regular holiday dinner. Twenty family members attended. In advance we asked people to avoid attending if they had any cold symptoms, no matter how minor. We explained how the twins still had immature immune systems and were much more susceptible to catching illnesses. When our guests arrived I reminded them of the importance of good hand hygiene – wash your hands in the washroom or use hand sanitizer stationed throughout the house – and avoided having the babies passed around from family member to family member. Things went smoothly and the babies remained healthy.

    But that winter was not illness free. I reflect back on a frightening experience that took place late winter while I was home with my three boys while my husband was at work. One of the twins had a terrible cold with a wet cough, clogged up with excess mucous, and a constant runny nose. He was one unhappy baby boy. While changing his diaper he started to turn blue after a fit of coughing. I did what I could to get him breathing properly while calling 911 and an ambulance arrived quickly. The EMTs were able to assess his vitals and agreed he should be seen at the emergency room. We arrived in the ER with what I call my “bible” in hand, describing each twins’ healthcare, conditions and appointments scheduled. I was like a walking, talking medical text book, rhyming off his history, his conditions and his recent illness, with ease. I received some looks of bewilderment as I provided the lengthy healthcare history for this tiny little boy. I was often asked if I was a nurse. I also received kind words and messages of congratulations for knowing this boy so well, and being the strong advocate he needs.

    This hospital experience was a reminder of how important my role as a parent is to this little boy and his brothers. It was also a great reminder that I cannot control everything, no matter how many precautions we take.

    As for the third little guy, the one who had the rockiest road, the loopiest rollercoaster ride through the NICU, he was the healthiest boy in the house that winter.



    This post is part of the #HealthyThisWinter Campaign sponsored by AbbVie Canada. The experience and comments listed above are my own.


  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016 10:03 PM | claire (Administrator)

    5 Tips for getting through the Cough, Cold and Illness Season this winter with a preemie

    A mother of three premature children, including twins, provides tips on getting through the first winter.  Written by Carolyn Leighton-Hilborn

     Nobody enjoys those first few moments you realize you have a new scratchy tickle in the back of your throat or the watery eyes that seem to be the first signs a cold is taking over your body. Imagine how it feels for a baby, especially a premature baby, who cannot explain how they are feeling, except through cries or physical signs they are unwell. Here is a list of several common winter illnesses and their symptoms.

    We are approaching the season of winter illnesses, which can have a greater impact on premature babies during their first year.

    As a mother of three prematurely born children, I can tell you no experience will be exactly the same during a baby’s first winter. My firstborn preemie made it through his first winter unscathed by illness, while two years later my twins had very different health experiences during their first winter. The one thing in common was that I handled each winter season the same way. Each baby received the same type of care and approach to avoiding illness wherever possible. Yet, we had three entirely different health experiences. In other words, as much as we might try to protect our children, there are no guarantees they will not get sick.

    What steps can you take to decrease the chance of your preemie catching an illness during the winter months?

    Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for the cough, cold and illness season:

    Make a policy Yes, I’m serious. Decide as a family how you will approach the common winter illness season. What are you comfortable with? Are you okay with taking your preemie out to the mall, baby play groups or visits with friends? What are the risks? What steps will you take to avoid illness whenever possible? Talk to your child’s doctor and ask for input on how to deal with this first winter season with your preemie. Discuss these concerns with your partner and other family members and create a policy, so to speak, on how you will strive to support your preemie’s healthcare needs.  It is important that your family is on the same page in order for you to feel confident these plans will be followed. Remember you are human and will likely need to tweak your ideals depending on the situation.

    A policy already in place will come in handy when you consider whether or not to have guests over during the holidays or for your baby’s first birthday.

    Good hand hygiene This is one of the most important steps to take to protect your entire family from winter illness. Do you wash your hands the right way and for the right amount of time? If you’re not sure, check out a quick tutorial on How do I wash my hands properly from the World Health Organization.

    Preemies often have many visitors coming into the home, from healthcare providers to family and friends. Consider keeping hand sanitizer pumps in various places in the home – in the family room, the kitchen, by the change table. Don’t be embarrassed to ask visitors to clean their hands when they enter the home and prior to holding your child.

    No ill visitors When making arrangements for people to visit you in your home, make sure to inform them they must be in good health to visit. Explain to your guests the importance of protecting your premature baby’s immune system, as common illnesses can be very problematic for preemies.

    Posts a sign at your front door, outlining your baby’s prematurity and ask visitors to come in only if they are well and do not have cold symptoms, no matter how minor.

    Avoid sharing items amongst siblings This tip is relevant to a parent who has a baby and a toddler or perhaps multiple births babies, who are likely to share items from time to time. If your children like to chew on and play with the same toys, remember to clean them or wipe them down between uses. Obviously you can’t control sharing at all times, however, it does help avoid exchanging saliva and germs between each child. 


    This post is part of the #HealthyThisWinter Campaign sponsored by AbbVie Canada.  The experience and comments listed above are my own.


  • Monday, November 07, 2016 11:03 PM | Sandy (Administrator)

    I love Adele. I may not always love her music the way some people do – absolutely nothing against her, however I can only take her tunes in short spurts before I feel like I should be drowning in my own melancholy sea of tears – but overall, I really appreciate her, and the rawness that she is as a performer, and her bluntness as a human being.

     

    I recently read the Vanity Fair cover article featuring Adele, which you can also read yourself here, where she discussed her battle with Postpartum Depression.

    Like Adele, and along with thousands of other moms, I also felt a certain amount of pressure, the kind of pressure that told you it was a necessity to match and live up to the acceptable behaviours of what society's expectations were. The very purpose of me being born was eventually to have children, at least that’s what I was made to believe. Never mind that I was a feminist, and that I was an empowered woman with a very promising career in a predominantly male concentrated industry at the time. Yes, I was allowed to have all of that, but as long as I also pushed out at least a tiny human or two all the while accomplishing all the above.

    Do I regret having my 2 girls?

    Would you judge me harshly if I say “yes"?

    I can’t speak for others, but I can very much relate with what Adele went through. As someone who lives with chronic depression, and have been most of my life, I have become fairly in tune with my own daily struggles, but when postpartum was added on top of it, the struggles were extra tough. Even for a seasoned individual who recognized most of her own relapses, navigating through each postpartum day was tough enough for me to feel deep regret of the choice I made in having a child during that time.



    I had no problems discussing my "normal regular chronic depression" with anyone. Yet ironically, these daily regrets brought on by PPD wasn’t something I wanted to openly talk about in the beginning, because society has an expectation of us. 

    The amount of pressure we face as women in being acceptable to society is already immense; add a newborn, and rapid fluctuating hormones, it makes new moms just that much more vulnerable.

    Yet, the part of our brain that feels the need to live up to “expectations” stays strong, so we hide it. We hide what we are feeling, we think there’s something wrong with us. According to the checklist of the perfect life, we’ve pretty much clicked off most of it, so what the fuck are we crying about it?

    Being a new mom for me was the very definition of juxtaposition. There was so much love for my baby, but I hated the life that I was living in.

    I don't regret having my 2 girls, but when you are drowning in PPD, you can definitely feel that way, every single damn day.

    I’m encouraged to see that Adele, along with few other prominent celebrities that have opened up about their PPD, is bringing attention to this subject matter. It also highlights the fact that there is still a huge need to continue to educate the masses and bring awareness and conversations on PPD wherever, whenever. Her PPD journey is our PPD journey too.

    Life With A Baby is the very resource that focuses on making this dialogue easy for everyone. There is no shame in how you feel as a new mother, because we are not perfect, and we shouldn’t be perfect.

    Let’s continue to make the topic of PPD more widespread, and into a common subject matter, the type of topic that gets acknowledged just like you would when you tell someone that you cut yourself, and you need medical attention. In order to do that, we encourage and welcome everyone to open up and share their motherhood journey, no matter how tough or easy the path is.

  • Thursday, October 20, 2016 8:47 PM | Sandy (Administrator)

    I’ve pushed 2 babies out of me, first one 5 years ago, and the second one a little over a year ago. I’m not a “seasoned mom” per se like some of my friends who’s got anywhere from 3 kids and up (yes, if you have 3 or more, you are a seasoned mom in my books), but I think I can safely say I’m not a “new” mom.

    The latest “new mom” is my bestie. She delivered a healthy baby boy a little over 2 weeks ago, and mommy and baby are doing well. I’m busting to go see them (it’s happening sometime this week!), however, as a courtesy, I waited for the invite - don’t make me get up on the soap box for this, yes, it’s a courtesy thing, please respect that of the new mom, even if you feel you have a right to visitation because you are a family member/best friend/Justin Trudeau, wait for the invite! If no invite, then ask, but VERY gently!

    I digress...

    Being a new mom is challenging and stressful in every respect. You think you found your medical entrance exam challenging? You think being lost in a foreign country where no one else speaks your language is stressful? The way I see it, every challenging and stressful situation you’ve encountered in the past has been nothing but a small preparation for you on becoming a mother.

    So to all the new moms out there, I want to give you all the tips on what you should look out for, what mistakes to avoid…

    But I’m not, because it’s all been written already.

    As a new mom, you are probably going to be reading a shitload of related blogs, articles, advice columns, anything from “30,000 mistakes new parents make” to “365 tips for the first year” to “60 million things new moms need to do in order to achieve optimal self-care”, etc, etc. Here’s the thing, I did almost none of it. It wasn’t because I didn’t care, or I didn’t want to, or I didn’t know. I knew, and I probably knew way more than I wanted to admit, but I didn’t do it, because I thought I would be ok.

    In the beginning, I equated the tip of sleeping when the baby is sleeping with pulling an all-nighter studying for an exam, that I could simply remedy the following day with a large cup of coffee. By the way, I took up that habit only after my first born, I’d never drank coffee before. Nowadays I still don’t drink an actual cup of coffee, but I’ll drench myself in a coffee related beverage such as a cappuccino.

    Then there’s the self-care thing. With my first born, I equated self-care as being high maintenance. I associated so-called self-care as just poor excuse for high maintenance women to go pamper themselves when they ought to really be looking after their baby.

    I didn’t think any of the “new mom tips” were applicable to me, because I interpreted all of those “tips” as simply being a lazy, un-dedicated mom.  Then something happened, I got burnt out, very quick.


    Pulling an all-nighter for an exam is one-off thing, but pulling an all-nighter for a baby, well, that’s an everyday thing…and pulling all-nighters everyday, that’s a recipe for disaster.

    When I’m stressed, my muscles tense up, and when my muscles tense up, I start having headaches. Going for a massage helps relieve that stress. But I didn’t think I deserved it, because I thought I would be viewed as an inadequate mother if I admitted that I get stressed out spending the entire day loving my child. Not allowing your body to relax, again, is a recipe for disaster.

    Within 2 months, I was a mess. I was moody, I was picking fights with my husband, I was yelling at my mother for making too much good food, I was just all around crabby.


    So I started looking after myself, and it made a world of a difference.

    I didn’t take care of myself as much as I should have when I had my first child. When I had my second child a year ago, I definitely took better care of myself. You could probably say I “milked it” for all its worth. I didn’t feel guilty handing off my newborn to my parents in order to go to the gym for an hour. I didn’t feel guilty handing off my newborn to them in order to go golfing for a day. I certainly didn’t feel guilty that my mother made most of our meals on a daily basis for almost a year. Nowadays, I’m not ashamed to tell others that I have help in the form of my mom and dad. They make sure me, my husband, and my 2 daughters were always well fed, well looked after, and well rested. To say we’re blessed is an understatement.

    I recommend to every new mom to look after themselves, but if they are anything like me, they have to find out for themselves first hand that these tips are truly useful. If I were to do it all over again, I probably would have done the exact same thing, waiting for burn out before realizing I needed to make changes.

    I understand that perhaps not everyone has the readily available help like I do, and I don’t want to just simply brush it off like “What do you mean you can’t look after yourself? Just get your mom to babysit or whatever”, because that would be me being a jerk mom to you. Instead, I would like to open up the conversation to fellow moms, we stand together in making sure we are well enough to run a tight ship. This is my dialogue in letting moms in my community know that I’m here for you if you need. If you are able to offer help to a new mom, I encourage you to do so. If you’re a new mom that needs help, there are fellow moms (myself included) that are loving and caring and understand what you are going through, and would be more than delighted to give you a hand, but you have to speak up. Trust me, we're all here for you and we'll find a way to support each other.

  • Friday, September 30, 2016 10:11 PM | Sandy (Administrator)

    My best friend came back to Canada a month ago to have her baby. As I’m writing this post, she’s in active labour, but we’re not sure when she’ll officially deliver. She's much earlier than her actual due date, which she was originally told would be mid October. She’s trying to hold out until her husband arrives tonight, but who knows if she can or can’t, I highly doubt it, but you never know right? As my physician whom delivered my first child gently said to my husband back on October 30, 2011 at 11:05pm “The baby will come out when the baby is ready.” A statement which was in response to my husband's radical demand that our first born be dragged out, if needed be, prior to midnight, because he didn’t want a Halloween baby. Heaven forbid if he did, right? Thankfully, his “worst nightmare” didn’t come true, our first born was delivered at 11:35pm, with lots of time to spare!

    I've spent this past month spent with my bestie, and I think and hope, that I’ve been the support she needed in her last leg of her pregnancy journey. We talked every day, and I spent as much time as I could with her. She asked a lot of questions regarding anything and everything. Some things I remember very vividly, as if it had just happened yesterday, then there were other things I’d forgotten. To be quite blunt, I’d forgotten a lot of being a new and expectant mom, and it wasn’t even that long ago!

    As soon as I reconnected with my bestie, I developed “phantom pregnancy”, for real! Ok, so maybe I’m super exaggerating and just using it as an excuse to join in on the cravings, which, I did of course. No phantom pregnancy, just pure personal gluttony at play, but it was fun for the short time, thankfully she’s delivering today, I think.


    The bombardment of questions she had for me, might have seemed like an annoyance to the outsider, because they were a lot of times the same questions being asked, but just in a rephrased version. I reminded myself that I was once in her super-tight-fitting-because-of-crazy-pregnancy-bloating-shoes too.

    If you’re the type to be naturally anxious and carry a lot of worry, no amount of reassurance from anyone that’s gone through what you’re about to go through can help, and that’s because your journey is not the same as anyone else, not even your mom. Even if you’re not naturally anxious, being a first time mom makes you that way, why? Because you’re creating a human in your belly, that’s a freaking big deal, and I’m sure every mother wants it cooked “just perfect”! You also get anxious because you have no control over certain factors of your pregnancy, things like Group B Strep, Diabetes, etc…they all seem very scary, because they come with certain risks.

    As much as I tried to answer my bestie her questions of what I went through, I would always gently remind her that she must not use my examples as benchmarks for what she will go through herself. I told her all I was doing was simply offering my totally non-medically endorsed opinions, and that she should consult a health professional if she’s ever in doubt.

    Throughout the whole process, I also stress to her, that it’s ok to listen to others opinions, but they are just that, opinions. She asks me for my guidance and advice, and I tell her that my only advice is to not take everyone’s advice as her own if she doesn’t feel they are in line with her choices and thoughts. Other people’s experiences and life choices are not the ultimate answer or solutions to her questions. When her baby arrives, she will be in many situations where she’ll have to take a stand, even from her own mother.  There are no judgments needed in any situation. Yes, we each have our own opinions, but we are not to shame each other for the choices we make. Unless it is a safety issue, I’m in no position to tell her what she is doing is wrong. I’m merely there to offer my viewpoints, and that’s it.


    I’m going to be an auntie tonight or tomorrow, either way, the only thing my bestie and her husband needs to know is that their child is perfect the way he is!

  • Thursday, September 29, 2016 9:35 AM | claire (Administrator)

    We spent three days and two nights at the Panorama Mountain Resort in the mountain town of Panorama, BC.  Situated in Purcell Mountains range with views of the Rocky Mountains it's approximately 3.5 hours from Calgary airport. Be sure to take the scenic route through Banff and Kootenay National Parks, there are many lookouts and places to stop for a picnic along the way.

    The resort does an excellent job of making your stay enjoyable and having activities for kids of all ages. We were in a two bedroom suite with a master en-suite in the upper village. There were many kids activities in the kid's zone including bouncy castles, EuroBungy, and a rock climbing wall.



    The gems of this place in summer is the pools!

    The kids had a great time in the pools. The large main pool is kept at around 32% which made it comfortable for kids to spend a longer time in it. My kids spent most of their times going on the two huge water-slides that ended in the cooler pool.



    You'll want to take the gondola up for an extraordinary Yoga experience - The Mountain Yoga program is a great way to start the day. Surrounded by the beauty and majesty of the mountains, it's hard not to meditate and be present in the moment. You'll also find many many hiking trails of varying intensity. Go up to the top and explore or just sit with a coffee and enjoy the view.



    No matter where you are on the property, you can see that there is a lot of thought that put into the comfort of the guests. The village is designed in a way that makes it easy to get around. Life jackets are readily available by the pools. There are a lot of activities available throughout the day both free and paid, and it's clearly outlined which are free and which are extra costs.

    Then there are little things in the rooms like the hooks around the fireplace for hanging cold ski wear, the family centre with various games and DVDs, and a TV in every room so we could all choose what we wanted to watch. There were lots of little things that made a huge difference.



    Our favourite family activity was a walk along the river followed by the family smores and sing-along party. Many places of tried to do this activity and Panorama Mountain Resort has perfected it. The cost was only $2 which gave your a plate, napkins, and all the supplies you need to make your smores. There were staff and volunteers available to help the little ones and also controlled and maintained the area around the fire. I like that the activity had a specific start and end time and was structured. The staff and volunteers were very friendly and did a great job of getting the kids involved in the sing-along.

    This was one of the most relaxing places we visited on the trip. Once we arrived and parked we didn't use our car again until it was time to leave. The village has a great variety of restaurants, retail shop, pubs and cafés - everything you need.

    As much fun as we had in summer, their peak time is actually winter. I can't wait to go back and explore this beautiful and relaxing resort with the family for a winter wonderland getaway. Take a look at their website for winter packages, and you'll see what I mean.






 

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