June 21, 2017

Emmeline: 5 Months

*This post is about 3 weeks late, but better late than never, amiright?! ;) 

5 Months Old
Oh Miss Emmy!

How are you 5 months old already?! Sometimes I look at you in your beloved Mamaroo Swing and I can't get over how big you look in it compared to when you were first born. We didn't get you weighed this month, but you're starting to grow out of your 0-3 month clothes and some 3 month clothes as well, so I know you're growing!

You're still exclusively breastfed, and will take the odd bottle of expressed milk when needed. I'm looking forward to starting you on solids next month though! Your brother's first food was avocado on toast cut into strips and I think we will try the same on you to see your reaction to it. To this day, it's still his favourite food to eat!
Five Months
You still aren't rolling over, but you are SO close. That darn, pesky arm just keeps getting in the way! The day before you turned 5 months old, you finally found your toes! This is one of my favourite milestones, watching babies grab their toes and rock back and forth. You are strong enough to sit up in the jumperoo without any padding, but you only tolerate for 15 minutes at the most. Guess it's time to dig out the jolly jumper! You're usually pretty happy to just lay on your activity mat and grab at the toys hanging above you, and when that no longer entertains you, then you like to be held facing out so you can see everything that is going on. You really resist being put in a sitting position, preferring to be held while standing. It's like you're reading to take to the ground running before even learning to sit or crawl! I imagine life will become much more exciting for you once you are able to sit on your own.

Emmy, you're still such a happy baby and such a good little sleeper. I still nap you in your swing, but at night, you sleep peacefully in your Dockatot in our bed. I realized that this is around the time I transitioned your brother to his crib so we will probably get on that soon. While I love having you right next to me, I can't help but wonder if you would sleep longer stretches without me being by your side. We shall see! Even though you nurse at night and go straight back to sleep, it would be nice to get more than 3-4 hours of sleep in a row!
5 Months Old
5 Months Old
It's such a joy watching you grow, Emmy. The love I have for both you and your brother is a love I never knew was possible! I'm so grateful I get to be a mom to both of you.


*affiliate links have been used

May 30, 2017

What Beautycounter Means to Me

We live in a world where pretty much everything we could want is available at our fingertips. There's a grocery store on every corner, box stores full of disposable fashion, makeup and beauty products, in every quadrant of the city. In fact, you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home, as everything is available online with a few clicks and a credit card. What I've started to notice about this conveniency is that it can result in a lot of mindless purchases, choosing the product off the shelf that has the best advertising, best price, best smell, or it's the only one available. This in turn creates overflowing toiletry drawers, crammed junk drawers and the feeling of needing to declutter way too often.

Then Emmy was born. And I was reminded again of the fact that I'm not just responsible for myself, but I'm also responsible for two tiny humans. A new baby, with brand new skin, really made me reevaluate the products I was purchasing: were the "natural" products actually natural? Were the ingredients listed ones I was comfortable slathering all over their precious skin? Was that cartoon character, "hypoallergenic and gentle" bubble bath safe? Could I do better? And then I started thinking...why am I only concerned about what I'm putting on my children's skin? Why am I not questioning the products in my bathroom?

Recently, as my 34th birthday approached, I started to reevaluate the kind of life I wanted to live and the kind of life I wanted to model for my impressionable children. I used to pride myself in cooking healthful, clean meals, avoiding processed snacks, questioning the beauty products I was putting onto my body, cleaning with nontoxic cleaners, and purchasing quality items over quantity. But somewhere in the past year or so, I have lost my way. I am far from perfect, and with a toddler and a baby at home, my home is also far from perfect. I am not a minimalist, nor will I ever be one, but I do desire simplicity where I can find it, and luxury where I can afford it.
What Beautycounter means to me
Around this time, I started to notice Beautycounter products popping up on my social media, and then also around this time, I happened to connect with a woman on Instagram who was already involved with Beautycounter. Dawn ever so gently provided me with some information on the company while also giving me some samples of their products. After doing a lot of research and trying some of the products, I was not only hooked, I was inspired.

You see, Beautycounter is more than just a line of luxurious and toxin-free beauty products. It's a lifestyle. It's a movement. It's an opportunity to change the beauty product market. The more research I did, and the more I educated myself about the products I was currently using (some that I assumed were safe because of good marketing), the more horrified I became. There are currently more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today, and only 500 of them have been prohibited for use in the cosmetic industry in Canada. The US has only banned 30 to date, but the EU is far ahead of the game, with more than 1300 chemicals banned in personal care products. Beautycounter is a company devoted to progress. They have created a Never List - a list that includes over 1500 questionable or harmful ingredients that they will never use in their products.
ingredients that should never be in beauty products via Beautycounter
Beautycounter wants to make the world a healthier and safer place, and so do I. To me, it's more than just purchasing their products. It's about educating yourself and the loved ones around you. Start reading the labels on your beauty products, familiarize yourself with some of the big no-no ingredients (BHA, BHT, EDTA, Parabens - methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- etc., Phthalates, Retinol - vitamin A, SLS & SLES, Fragrance - a term that can include any combination of up to 3000+ chemical ingredients) just to name a few.

Our skin is our largest organ. How can we care about what we eat, about how often we workout, ensure we take our vitamins, if we're just going to slather chemicals all over our bodies? It takes less than 30 seconds for our bodies to absorb the chemicals in our beauty products into our blood streams. I cannot help but think about the impact this has to be having on our bodies. Don't we deserve better? Don't you deserve better? Don't our children deserve better? If I can care about what I'm putting on my children's skin, I should care about what I'm putting on my skin.

So, if you're still reading this, to make a long story short, I joined Beautycounter as a consultant because I want to be part of the change and I want to share it with everyone I know and love. Do I think you need to own every single product of theirs? Of course not. There is plenty of room to continue to support the small, local shops that are also contributing to this movement by making safe, and clean beauty products. My wish is to educate, to get my friends and family reading the labels on their beauty products just as much as the labels on their food. To vote with their dollars by making better choices as we move forward. To be more mindful in what we not only put in our bodies, but by what we put on it. To choose safe, quality beauty products over quantity.

Beautycounter has become a part of my daily life now, so you will see it pop up here and there. If you want to learn more, I would love to talk with you. Send me an email, or find me on Instagram. But most of all, I want you to remember that your body is worth it.

May 19, 2017

Mind & Body 4 Months Postpartum

This is a vulnerable post. This is where I'm going to talk about what my postpartum journey has been like. It's raw, honest and real. Sometimes I don't think this part of pregnancy and motherhood is talked about enough. And with social media nowadays, it's mostly the pretty and curated that is shared. Not that I don't too share that, or enjoy seeing those photos in my feed, I just think it's important to recognize and appreciate all aspects of the postpartum process, not just the beautiful baby that is the result of one's pregnancy.
Mind and Body at 4 months postpartum
I don't often talk about my physical appearance. I've never publicly shown "before and after" photos. While I don't completely refrain from posting photos of myself, I don't like to draw attention to my body either. But I try to remember where I've come from and where my journey is taking me.

Pregnancy is hard on your body. You grow and change shape, all while nourishing a little human being inside of you for ten months. Just when you think your belly cannot possibly get any bigger, it does. Everything you do, including breathing, becomes uncomfortable and it's hard to imagine that you will ever feel "normal" again.

But then one day, that little baby finally decides to vacate it's premises and all of a sudden you're not pregnant anymore. It's a really surreal feeling to go from pregnant one minute, to not pregnant the next. Your breasts are larger than ever, and mostly likely becoming engorged. Your belly, while flatter than you're used to, still resembles something like a 6 month belly bump, except it's soft and lumpy, not nice and round. Your muscles are soft and you will experience uterine contractions that rival any menstrual cramp you've ever had. Going poop will be a terrifying experience for the first several days. And you will bleed enough over the next few weeks to make you think you are making up for ten months of no periods.

And if you've had a c-section, like I did, then you can add healing of your incision, numbness and pain to the list. And don't forget that you can't pick up anything over 15 pounds, or drive, for the next 6 weeks.
Mind and Body Post Partum
My recovery this time around was a completely different experience than my first c-section. My pain was better managed, my milk came in right away, and my bowels woke up much quicker. I was up walking with assistance less than 12 hours after my surgery. I felt 100x better than I did after my first delivery and I was home 3 days later. I haven't experienced any baby blues this time around and I have more energy and motivation as well. Mentally, I feel fantastic.

Around 7 weeks postpartum, I remember thinking that the incisional pain/tingling/numbness was never going to go away. I was still periodically getting weird twinges and was very aware of my incision. But then, just like that, I woke up one morning and all those weird physical feelings were gone. It was also around this time that I finally felt ready to embark on my postpartum fitness journey, and at 8 weeks postpartum, I was cleared to resume all regular activities and exercise. But being cleared and actually resuming an active lifestyle are two different things. I've dabbled in the odd workout, but I've been unable to stick to any sort of routine.
an honest reflection on the postpartum process
I'm not happy with what I see when I look in the mirror. I am beyond happy with what my body has provided me with - another child - and I marvel at the true miracle of childbirth and I will always be thankful and grateful for what my body has given me, but no, I'm not happy with the extra 25 pounds I'm carrying, I'm not happy that nothing in my closet fits, that maternity clothes are more comfortable than regular clothes, that my breasts are larger than they ever have been, and that I'm self-concisous of the extra rolls around my mid-section.

I truly believe you can love your body but also not like what you see. And I'm also realistic. I know I just had a baby. I know it took ten months to grow and nurture my daughter in utero. I know I'm beyond lucky that breastfeeding is easy for me. And I know that it takes kindness, patience and time to get my body back to a place I want it to be at. But it's also hard not to want it "right now!". And I'm also finding it hard to motivate myself to work on that better version of myself. Taking care of a toddler and a small baby is exhausting. I'm not in a place where I want to get up early to workout and I definitely don't want to in the evenings. And during the day, well, I'm just trying to keep everyone alive and fed.

I also know that this is just the season of life for me right now. My baby won't always be as needy, my son will soon start pre-school, I will get more sleep at night, my breasts will change as the demand for my milk changes, and I will figure out a way, hopefully, to somewhat balance motherhood and the need for self-care. Because my babies are worth it. Because I'm worth it.
postpartum an honest discussion

*I took these pictures 2 months ago when I was 10 weeks post partum, but I'm pretty sure I look the same today.