The Mom Community Market: Why This Market Matters

” We are all meant to shine. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson

When I began running Mommy Connections Calgary back in 2013, I had no idea what the future would hold for me. I was a new mother, I had big ambitions and I knew the life I wanted to lead MUST include my children in it, more than just at the end of a 9-5 workday. What I never expected in my years as a director was to meet and be so motivated, so inspired and so empowered by other women who were also running a small business. It truly changed my life.

This Saturday March 23rd from 9-2, we are hosting our first ever market. 35 women vendors, who also have a dream. Who started their own businesses and with a lot of hustle and heart have been making it happen. I have been so fortunate to meet so many women entrepreneurs over the past five years, it was a natural fit to want to support this community of women.

The market this Saturday in association with The Mothering Vine is more than just a market. It’s a movement. It’s supporting, connecting and empowering women just like you and I, who are letting their light shine. Who are working to make life better for themselves, their family and their future. Only they’re doing it on their own terms working nights after kids go to bed, waking up early mornings to sneak in some work before kiddos wake up and or finding cracks during the day. We all make choices everyday that shape who we are and what we become. These ladies have chosen to stand out on their own and push themselves everyday to be the best they can be.

If you can make it, I encourage you to come out. There is never anything lost when a community comes together to support each other. There is only something gained. It is family friendly, so please bring your friends, your parents, neighbours, bring them all. This community appreciates it, as do I.

Here are the details of the market, I look forward to connecting with all of you this weekend. Thank you for your support, as always. I am truly grateful for this community.

https://www.themotheringvine.com/store/the-mom-community-market-saturday-march-23rd/

Life Unexpected: Why Having A Will Matters

“They Kept Meaning to Get That Done…”

What Actually Happens When Parents Die Without a Will

By Chelsea Thoms – Global Equity Law

Life Unexpected

I remember after I had my first child, over three years ago, I had so many intense emotions as I sat in my hospital bed holding my newborn son. Having just experienced a very traumatic and life-threatening birth, I was very aware all of a sudden of the reality that terrible, unexpected things can happen when you least expect it.

I realized that day, I now had a little one to care for and protect – which meant I needed to both protect him in the day-to-day reality of life, as well as to protect him for the future should any unforeseen circumstances ever arise.

What Happens When There is No Will

Parents often do not realize what happens if they have minor children and they die without a will.

If parents die without a will, if their will is not properly drafted, or if it is missing a guardianship clause, a court will be the one to decide who will care for their minor children.

If this happens, potential guardians will be located and screened to determine who is the best option to be appointed to care for the children. The courts won’t necessarily know that you wanted your children to be raised a certain way, or that you and your one sibling don’t even get along. The court will take into account the information that is presented to them, and ultimately they will make the choice based on limited evidence of who they believe should raise the children. And it is quite likely that it would not be the individual that you would have chosen.

What is just as bad, is that during the time period after parents have passed away or cannot be located, and before the court has made its decision as to guardianship for the child, the children will quite likely be in the care of the province, which means that while they are grieving the loss of their parents, they would be in temporary foster care.

Choosing a Guardian

I often meet parents who say that they just cannot decide on which individual to appoint to care for their children. After all, no one is going to raise them like they would, and I completely agree. However, if something terrible happens, your kids will be much better off if you consider all of the options and make the best decision you can as to who would best raise them if you are not able to.

We cannot control everything that happens, but we can do our best to take the precautions needed to protect the ones we love. And in the case of our children, it is always worth taking the time to ensure that no matter what happens, they will be safe, cared for, and loved.

That Was Easy

If you need a will drafted to protect your family, we would love to help you. We often hear clients tell us that they put off getting their wills done for years, but once they come in they realize that it was not nearly as difficult, expensive or time-consuming as they expected, and that they are so happy and relieved to have it done.

Give us a call at (403) 926-9620 to set-up your free consultation today.

Winner: Calgary Baby/Tot Show Mastermind Toy Basket!

Thank you to everyone who came by our booth, took time to connect with us and or entered our draw at the Calgary Baby & Tot Show!  We are so grateful for the time you took out of your weekend, to come down to the show and to meet as well as connect with us! Thank you!

We had two amazing giveaway prizes filled with toys courtesy of our friends at Mastermind Toys! Thank you always Mastermind for being such a true supporter of local community businesses! The winner(s) of these baskets are:

Tiara D.

Alanna L.

We have sent you both an email, with details on what you’ve won and how to pick up your prize.

Thank you again to everyone who entered, we will see you again this fall at the next show!

All Your Sleep Questions Answered: Chelsea – WeeSleep™

Hi there! I’m Chelsea and I am a Registered Nurse. My husband and I decided to sleep train our son at 11 weeks. There I said it. In all seriousness, sleep training can be such a sensitive topic. I refer to it as the “s” word- shhhhhh’d by many. SO let’s clear the air! Teaching your baby to sleep does NOT mean letting your baby cry it out. There is no “right” way to get your child to sleep through the night. In other words, whatever you chose for your child is the “right” way. Why? Because you are their world and they are yours.

Before I (hopefully) answer all your questions about infant & toddler sleep, allow me to introduce my philosophy on sleep training. As parents, we teach our babes how to breastfeed, crawl and walk- it is just as important, if not more so, to teach them healthy sleep habits. I’m not saying that if you have not sleep trained your baby, that it is unhealthy. I’m saying that it can take as much hard work and consistency as teaching your baby to crawl, how to stand, eat…all of it.

There are so many questions about infant and toddler sleep. Million dollar questions. You can drive yourself nutty with Dr. Google. They’re overtired…no under tired. Put them down to sleep awake? How? All of these questions are answered in a hundred different ways. So what I’m going to outline are some strong facts. So when you finish reading this, you will walk away with value, feel empowered, knowledgeable and more confident. The beautiful thing? If you still need help and support, I’m a phone call away. Ok…ready, set, go!

1. Why does my baby wake (and cry) as soon as I try to put them in their crib?

If your babe is always put to sleep (by rocking, feeding, rocking out with mommy to Mariah’s greatest hits (yes I love her- or Aerosmiths’ – no judgement here) etc. then they will be upset when placed in their crib (hello scary world). As tough as the process can be sometimes, it is important that your babe be placed in their crib awake so they can have opportunities to learn to fall asleep on their own. My suggestion is to try the first nap, it is often the easiest.

2. Why does my baby only nap for 45 minutes?

Mercy, that 45 minute nap – here is the lowdown: 45 minutes is exactly one sleep cycle for a baby (I get it, it doesn’t allow for a workout, shower and meal prep). Babes who are not comfortable falling asleep on their own (or don’t know how/haven’t had the opportunity etc.), will be WIDE awake at this point, looking for whatever (or whomever!) got them to sleep at the beginning of the nap, to get them back to sleep again (to their next cycle). “Ummm hello Mama? Where’s my soother? Start bouncing…”

3. How do I deal with the time change coming up (psssst it’s March 10)?

Time changes are hard on all of us (the fall back one is easy breezy without kiddos), but it seems the “spring forward” coming up is a tough one. Guess what? There are things you can start doing RIGHT NOW to help YOU, and your baby.

My suggestion: three days before the change, you can start pushing their naps later by 15-30 minutes (e.g., noon nap happens at 12:15/12:30, 7:00 bedtime moves to 7:15/7:30 etc.) so that when the time does change, you can move to the old schedule pretty easily.

If your babe wakes consistently at 6 a.m. no matter what you do…guess what? Do nothing. You are in for a treat when you hear your babe, up and at em’ and you look at the clock and it says 7 a.m. Celebrate that “extra hour” as it feels more reasonable and also like a sleep in (even if you went to bed at the same time). It can take us all approximately a week to adjust and babes are no different.

4. What’s the best sleep environment?

Comfy (insert sleepsack), cozy (babes prefer a room temp of 20-22), dark (hello, blackout curtains) and non-stimulating (insert the white noise here).

Unless you’re a gold medal napper, most of us need optimal conditions (above) to sleep, babes are no different (other than the fact their burps and toots are cute).

5. I’m interested (…still reading), when is the right time to sleep train?

Are you guzzling any type of caffeine in view? Is it hard to remember yesterday’s events? Did you get dressed? Is sleep deprivation robbing you of any joy? It’s time. YOU need rest to have the most important job in the world.

Got a pacifier-addict on your hands? Are you your babe’s soother? Are you essentially standing on your head to get your babe to sleep?

Are you singing welcome to the jungle (bedtime is a circus): one more sip of water, one more kiss for hop-hop, goodnight stars, goodnight moon (on repeat). Then it might be time for us to talk!

If your babe is cranky within less than an hour of waking for the day; if your toddler is a crankpot; if your little one is yawning and eye-rubbing constantly throughout the day…there’s a good chance they are missing out on some very important zzzzz’s (and so are you). This is often because a sleep “prop” is in place.

Sleep “props” are any external stimuli your babe relies on to fall asleep, which often keep our little ones from learning to fall asleep on their own, fall back to sleep to get uninterrupted rest at night, and/or take long naps. If your babe relies on feeding or rocking to sleep it is often a sleep ‘prop’ and it is a great time to think about sleep coaching (call me). When your babe falls asleep using a sleep prop, and then wakes during the night, they are thinking “Umm, what, hello, why am I here, where is my soother (breast or pacifier), I need you”. When I work with clients we use gentle, supportive, and positive methods to remove sleep props (you are a part of it, EVERY STEP of the way).

Most babes can sleep through the night (10-12 hours) around 3-4 months; however, it’s crucial that they are a healthy weight – nutrition is number one. Developmental milestones are important to consider; therefore, it is always best to discuss with a Sleep Consultant who can educate you. Is your babe younger than this and you still want support? No problem. We can always work on sleep shaping (this by no means they will be sleeping through the night, nor should be). Over time, with the right skills, they can transition to beautiful, full night sleepers within the blink of an eye (see what I did there?).

6. How do I choose a Sleep Consultant?

You are trusting us with your child, your heart, your everything. You should feel understood, acknowledged, validated and HEARD. You are leading this change for your little one and need to feel 100% supported. It is about choosing a professional who will be working 1:1 with you and your little one. Do your research, ask the questions (what is your education, how many families have you worked with, what is your philosophy, how will we problem solve TOGETHER, what support will I have afterwards, how do I handle a regression etc.) and be informed. Not all sleep coaching is equal. When choosing whom you are going to work with, whom you will trust to work with your entire WORLD, it is of utmost importance you feel safe and connected.

I want to thank you- for taking time out of your day, especially if are an exhausted parent or caregiver. I hope this information has reduced some anxiety in your heart or uncertainty in your mind. It can be a confusing time, especially if you are not well rested. If you still have questions, feel free to reach out (contact information below). I would love the opportunity to support you in this journey of parenting. It can be a lonesome ride and I am here to help. Ultimately, the choice you make for your family is always the right one.

With gratitude,

Chelsea

Registered Nurse & Sleep Consultant

e: chelsea.hamill@wee-sleep.com

t: 403.993.1043

IG: @weesleep_chelsea

FB: @WeeSleepChelsea

Valentine’s Swag Bag Winners List

Hello Ladies!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win one of 18 Valentine’s Swag bags we’re giving away! We had almost 1,000 entries! The list of winners is below, congratulations to those lucky ladies who won! We will send you an email with the details for pick up!

And don’t forget our March – April Mom & Baby registration, as well as Travelling Tot programs, are now open for registration! To see if there’s a class that’s the right fit for you, please head to ‘class dates’ and check it out! We hope to welcome you in March!

Valentine’s Swag Bag Winner List:

Amanda P.

Jessica R.

Dana G.

Nicole C.

Carah G.

Heather S.

Christina D.

Rachel S.

Anna P.

Danielle R.

Rebecca O.

Rhianne C.

Natasha W.

Kelsey V.

Amanda L.

Meghan K.

Christine B.

Selena B.

Thank you to everyone who entered to win!

Swim Kids: Real Swim Lessons for Infants & Young Children

By Holly Murray

Hello! I have been teaching swimming lessons to infants and young children for over 10yrs. During that time I have taught over 600 infants & young children and fine tuned the Swim Kids program to cater to the specific needs of my Calgary clients.

When I talk to parents about swimming lessons I am often surprised that they qualify their child as being able to swim when the kids are comfortable in the water while wearing a life jacket. Does this mean that a baby qualifies as being able to sit if they are comfortable in a bumbo seat? I’ve never met a parent that has said to me “Yes, my baby can sit up, as long as they are in their bumbo”. And yet, I often have parents tell me “Yes, my child can swim, as long as they are in a life jacket”.

Life jackets hold kids vertical in the water. This vertical posture is reinforced by the child being able to breathe when they are bobbing around. Young children do not understand the difference between the posture and the device. What happens when the life jacket is removed? Well, the child has learned that if they go into a vertical posture in the water that they will get air. This might be true when they have a life jacket on, but without a life jacket a vertical posture will increase the speed at which they reach the bottom. The same can be said about water wings, puddle jumpers, pool noodles, floating rings and every other ‘swimming aid’ on the market today. All these devices hold kids vertically.

Learning a horizontal posture in the water allows your baby to float without the assistance of a life jacket, or the support of an adult. I know from experience that infants and young children are very capable of learning how to surface after being fully submerged, rotate to their backs and find a comfortable balance point where they can float and breathe unassisted. Swim Kids lessons teach your child proper posture in the water. Learning these skills from a young age means that your baby will never know a day when they were not able to swim. What a great gift to give your baby!

As babies grow and develop they go through a number of learning stages. There are differences between babies within each stage and there are also differences in the length of time it takes for a child to move from stage to stage. Think of walking. Most babies will take their first steps between 9-12 months old, however, there are many children that will wait until 15-17 months before they decide to walk. It is not fair to group children by age and expect them to learn the same things in the same way.

When it comes to swimming, traditional methods group all our babies… 2yr olds… 3yr olds etc… together. At these ages there are so many developmental stages that it’s almost impossible to find two children of the same age in the same learning stage. Even twins do not always learn at the same rate! Patience and a real understanding of child development is required to introduce each child to the water in a way that they learn to react properly. There can be no ‘running through the motions’ when it comes to teaching our little ones about water safety.

Children learn best by interacting with their environment. This is called sensory motor learning. Think of learning to walk again. First a child will lean on furniture, toys, or parents, and attempt to balance on two feet. Once their confidence is high they may try to lift a foot. Lifting a foot may or may not result in the action of taking a step. If the baby looses balance they will most likely fall and try again. Daily experimentation with all of these actions create knowledge for a child. They are interacting with their world and learning through their senses. Little by little babies build walking skills by making attempts, failing and trying again. The same is true for swimming. When proper posture and movements are introduced in short bursts over a period of time, the baby is allowed to create knowledge about the water environment. With the support of a fully trained instructor they can learn what works and what doesn’t. The difference between walking and swimming is that the trial and error margin is too great. If an untrained child enters the water without assistance and finds themselves under water there is no way for that child to press a reset button and try again.

I am a mother to 4 kids. I know all too well that I am out numbered! We live in a lake community and enjoy our time spent there every summer. The water is cool on the hot summer days. One day we pulled up to our usual spot – playground on the left, water on the right and beach area in the middle. I watched as my 20month old wandered to the playground and my two older boys ran towards the water. I took one towel out of the wagon and began to set up our spot. It was at this point that my 5yr old started yelling at me “Mom!! Truman is floating”. My head jerked towards the water to see my 20month old son floating in the lake! To this day I can not figure out how he was able to cross my path and make it to the water without my knowledge. I was right there! He had to walk right in front of me, and I only looked down for a second to take a towel out of the wagon! Thankfully, my son has a very clear understanding of water. He was only in about 10 inches of water but he lost his balance and fell. It was too deep for him to gain his footing so he rolled over and floated until I was able to run and get him. When a baby knows how to react properly to water, what could potentially be an emergency situation is no longer an emergency. My son took care of himself to a point that he was able to float and wait safely in the water for me to arrive.

There is no replacement for adult supervision. Keeping a close watch on kids around water is by far the best way to keep everyone safe and having fun. My kids are good kids. They are good listeners and usually follow the rules we set (they are still kids after all!). Accidents around water are just that, Accidents. Even though I was watching, and we had done this routine many times before, my son was still able to get past me. I am so grateful that I taught him that if he needs air he should wait while floating on his back and I would come to pick him up. I know that your baby is capable of understanding these things as well. I know babies can learn where and how to find air if they need a breath. They can know when to create movement and when to rest and breathe. It’s time that swimming lessons are changed for the better.

Holly Murray
SwimKids Calgary
Ph & text: 403.831.2591
www.swimkidscalgary.ca
Facebook @swimkidscalgary
Instagram @swimkidscalgary
holly@swimkidscalgary.ca

Making The Right Decision: Ashley’s Story

By Ashley Harris

Before sitting down to write my story, I spent what seems like hours searching and reading other mom’s stories. How do I write a story that accurately sums up how I feel about being a mom? Will what I have to say even make sense? Am I doing this whole “mom” thing right? Every time I tried to come up with what I wanted my story to be about, I kept coming back to the same question – did I make the right decision, and is this what is best for my kids?

Throughout my entire motherhood journey, the one thing that I will forever be thankful for is my tribe. I am grateful that I have a few friends who also have children the same age as my own. They are my sounding board, my reassurance that I am doing things right, and they never question who I am and what I am doing. My tribe (my husband included), has been such an essential part of my transition into the person that I am now.

I signed up for my first Mommy Connections class when my son was about 5 months old – about 3 years ago. Initially, I signed up for these classes because I thought they would be a great opportunity to get myself out of the house, and meet other moms with young children. In all honesty, I have never been an overly social person, but I wanted to try and put myself out there for the sake of my child (and I know that if I sign up and pay for something – I sure as heck wouldn’t miss a class!). In my opinion, our children learn so much from watching us as parents, so I wanted to put myself in an atmosphere where I could interact with new people and try new activities.

As a first time mom, everything seemed so overwhelming, and let me tell you – it was. In the 8 weeks that I was in class with that group of moms, I saw friendships develop (between both the moms and babies), and learned about so many resources that are in the city of Calgary. But, being in a class where most of us where in the same boat, it made me feel better to know that I wasn’t alone. A few months after my class finished, my maternity leave ended and I returned to work outside of our home. Enter the feeling of “did I make the right decision?” again.

The growth and development that I saw in my son while he was at day home was incredible. He was really learning how to interact with other children, and was becoming the little boy that I knew he would someday. I was so proud of him, but couldn’t help but feeling that I was missing something. Both my husband and I had very weird work schedules – he works shift work, and I worked in the event industry, which meant nights and weekends. Although I was able to work my schedule around my husbands, I still felt that I was having a hard time balancing work and family.

In April 2017, I began mat leave again when I had my daughter. This time, I felt that I really needed to do some soul searching and really decide what we wanted to do moving forward. While on mat leave with my daughter, I took 3 more Mommy Connections classes, and found that I got even more out of them than the first one that I took; simply because I had known what to expect and truly wanted to make the most of making those connections. It was such a blessing to be able to take new programs and talk to other moms about anything, such as how they made their decisions about staying at home vs. working away from or in their home – the best part, is that these conversations were always judgement free. I didn’t have to feel guilty about asking opinions or feel like any one was judging me. I am so thankful for the friendships that I have made because of Mommy Connections.

In 2018, my husband and I made the decision that I would stay at home and not return to work. It was important for us to find balance in our family. This has been the most rewarding and challenging thing that I have done by far. But again, I found myself asking “did I make the right decision?”. Were the kids socializing enough, was I helping to encourage their development enough, and the list goes on and on. But on the other hand, I felt that I was missing something. Again, enter Mommy Connections.

In December 2018, I joined the Mommy Connections team as the Program Administrator, and haven’t looked back (yes – I realize that it has only been 2 months)! The one thing that I felt was missing through my stay at home journey was adult communication. I feel blessed and grateful that I was and am able to stay at home, but felt that I was really lacking the adult interaction portion of my life. I enjoy working and wanted to do something for me, and I am so happy that I have found a purpose (above and beyond wife and mother) again.

I don’t think that the question “did I make the right decision” will ever go away, but I think that its meaning and answer will grow and change with me as I continue on my motherhood journey and as my children get older. In the meantime, just remember that you’ve got this, momma!

***

To carry on the “day in the life” of a mom 😊:

The first thing I do each morning: Take 5 minutes to myself. Because the chaos will being all too soon

Breakfast consists of: Either toast or cereal and fruit

If I have 30 mins for myself I: Make a cup of tea and just try and take some down time

What is a typical day like for you: Wake up, let the dog out, kids cartoons and breakfast, Preschool or morning play date, lunch, nap and quiet time for the kids – work for me, family play time, dinner, bath and bed (and then time to catch up with my husband if he isn’t working nights)

Favourite item for baby: Currently play doh or paint – it entertains both my 22 month and 3 year old for hours. As a baby, it was a swaddle that had a zipper (both of my kids were Houdini’s as newborns)

Grateful For The Chaos: How Motherhood Changed Me

By Serah Harlingten

Writing this story is completely out of my comfort zone. My brain is telling me its too difficult, people will judge me and I won’t be able to accurately portray how I feel about being a mother in a couple of paragraphs. But Motherhood means constantly living outside the comfort zone so I’m going to give it a try.

I have two children, an almost 4-year-old and an almost 1 year old. They have already given me the best moments of my life and the most challenging ones! It’s hard to summarize my life as a Mom over the last 4 years…. currently I’m distracted by the fact that I have Tylenol in my hair from last night and am severely sleep deprived.

I have changed a lot since becoming a Mother. My children have morphed me into a morning person, someone who always travels with snacks, is a constant worrier and creator of “the silly game”. I have experimented with SO many pancake recipes as it’s my sons favourite breakfast. I have cried on the floor and the car and the closet at least a handful of times but every day we have one of those moments when I stop thinking about what I “should” be doing and I just stare at them with awe and think how lucky I am to have them in my life. And then someone gets pushed or takes a toy and the water on the stove boils over and we are back into the chaos.

I feel lucky to have found my part time job as the Program Administrator for Mommy Connections Calgary, it has kept me connected to the outside world. I have been working with Katherine for approximately 2 years and have learned a lot about myself and motherhood along the way.

I love being a Mom but it can be a thankless job so having the outside validation from Mommy Connections has been helpful for my confidence and life balance. My kids will appreciate me in about 20 years, so hearing good job from someone else (besides my husband) is nice! At first it was an adjustment to find the time to be a good Mom and to get my MC work done. I’ve realized that I can’t multi-task as well as I thought I could. I now wait until the kids are in bed most days to get my work done (for all of our sanity!).

In the Mommy Connections programs, we ask the Moms to answer these two questions during their first class:

  1. What is the most challenging thing about having a baby/toddler?
  2. What do you love the most about having a baby/toddler? I haven’t asked myself these in awhile so Im going to start with the most challenging part.

For me the most challenging part has been a constant feeling that I need to do more, that I’m not doing enough and I’m not doing things right.

Its easy to feel like a failure at the end of the day when I didn’t finish the endless list of jobs I had for myself and we didn’t make it to the play date or the party because the kids were sick and no one slept the night before. It was easy to beat myself up about not doing the laundry or ordering take out but its been really damaging to my mindset and my self esteem. It hasn’t been until recently that I have been able tell myself that I did all I could do and be proud of what we did do and all of the laughs we had during the day. Even if they were followed by my four year old telling me he was going to put me (and all my clothes) in the garbage! Which made me think its probably quiet in the garbage (ha)! I’m starting to understand Oscar the grouch, he was just a parent who was sleep deprived and had to find a quiet place to sleep.

The part I love about having a baby and a toddler is the constant love! It’s worth all of the messes, crying, poopy diapers, whining, never-ending cleaning, and sometimes sleepless nights. My son sings ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ to his sister whenever she is upset and even though he sings the words wrong, it’s the best.

Watching these two kiddos learn new things, play and laugh has to be the most satisfying thing about my Mom life.

***

To carry on the “day in the life” of a mom, I found some questions to answer and hope the next mom will too 😊

The first thing I do each morning: Pick up daughter from her crib and then let the dog out

Breakfast consists of: Usually pancakes or French toast and fruit, eggs

If I have 30 mins for myself I: Will do some work or cook or watch Netflix

What is a typical day like for you: Breakfast, driving to preschool, getting my daughter to have two naps, cooking/cleaning up and managing fights and encouraging play and usually Paw Patrol somewhere!

Favourite item for baby: teether!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Farmer’s Daughter Turned Mother: Simple & Seamless

By Leanne Walkom

I am a farmer’s daughter, a middle sister, a wife, a friend, a teacher, a pediatric sleep consultant and a mom. There is no way of putting all of those titles in an order that does them justice. It is so hard to answer questions like, “so what do you do?” Or “can you tell me a little about yourself?”

 Truth is I HAVE done a lot things. I have travelled to several parts of the world, I have worked construction, (literally) dug for gold, volunteered with a variety of organizations, tree planted, completed a degree in Religions Studies and Thanatology and completed my Bachelor of Education. Most recently? I became a sleep consultant. 

I have three perfect children and a perfect husband. Currently I am a stay at home mom, a title I always wanted, yet a title I struggle to carry. I AM a mom and I DO stay home. My to do list today includes, get groceries, be on time for a doctors appointment, clean the basement, organizer for a babysitter, write a blog and keep 3 tiny humans alive. Each day I strive for the last item on the list. So far today I am successful!

This blog is supposed to be about my motherhood story, so I’ll start with my own transition to motherhood.

Like most moms to be, I had a birth plan. I had in my head that I was absolutely not having a c-section. On January 12th  2014, our daughter (Madeline) was born via c-section. The plan, that I had planned, was out the window. That was my first of many lesson on how motherhood would be. Maddie was perfect in every way.

Twenty months later, our second daughter was born. We planned her c-section, she was also perfect. When my husband and I first saw Evelynn we knew she was our gift. She is identical to my mother-in-law who passed away during our pregnancy. Not having my mother in law close to my side has been a challenge. I am so thankful for the time and love I had with Lynn. With great love, comes great loss. This is another lesson in motherhood. 

January 4th 2018, our son Charlie was born via planned c-section. I was shocked when the doctor said “its a boy!”  Charlie was a big deal because he is the son & grandson who will carry on our last name. Our son is a calm, quiet, big, boy, who gets into EVERYTHING in site. He crawls on things I didn’t know you could and finds things I didn’t know we had. He has given me the strength to ask for help and reach out to our village. Yet another lesson.

 My motherhood story is nothing fancy. It is simple and seems seamless.    

I will still stutter over the questions “what do you do.” I answer with confidence that I am a mom. I also add that I am a Pediatric Sleep Consultant. Both titles are important to me. But I feel like I have so much more to share when I am asked.

My motherhood journey is currently about building a village. One that I can lean on when needed. This journey is about making a foundation then building upon it. It’s about connections and being connected. 

Lastly, in case you are wondering how my day went?

I was 13 minutes early for the doctors appointment, only because I had it in my calendar 15 minutes early to trick myself. The basement never got cleaned. I am organized ‘ish’ for the babysitter, this blog is complete. With groceries, I went with my youngest. I like to park near a cart return for obvious reasons. I had to park further away than I ever have. I remembered all the essentials while shopping, a win! I eyed up a perfect short cut through the parking lot to bring the cart back quickly. Just as I was pushing the cart in the snow almost to the short cut, a car pulled into the spot. I stopped, looked up, turned around and went the long way around to put my cart in the return area. I guess the shortcut wasn’t meant to be. So I took the long way around, ending in the same place. Another lesson in motherhood.

As for my three tiny humans, they are sound asleep, resting for the events of tomorrow.

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To reach out to Leanne you can contact her at:
leanne@sleepfullnights.ca  or 403-479-0481

A Mother’s Struggle: The Pain Of Infertility

Anonymous

This story is about the challenges I faced with my husband to become a Mom. The one thing I wish a knew at the time was more people to talk to about fertility, and so I hope I can share this story for someone who is also struggling.

My husband and I knew before we were married that we wanted children. We also knew there was a very real possibility that we would not be able to. My husband was his parent’s only biological child, and they ended up adopting when they were unable to get pregnant again. So, before we even started trying we discussed what it would look like if we did end up going through fertility treatment or adopting.

When we finally did start trying, I was off my birth control pill for 3 months prior to make sure it was out of my body. We both did full physicals with our family doctor, and openly discussed with him that we wanted to start trying and that we were concerned. He assured us that 85% off couple get pregnant in the first year, so not to worry right away.

For the first 5 months, we tried without any aids. That did not work out. After that I started tracking my ovulation. Taking my basal body temperature was somewhat accurate, but it really just confirmed that I had had an ovulation after the fact. The ovulation predictor kits turned out to be the easiest to read, and they confirmed that my ovulation lined up regularly in my menstrual cycle. And so, we would “schedule” when we had sex between a positive on the ovulation predictor and my basal body temperature increasing.

This continued for another 7 months until we hit one year since we started trying and we decided to go see our doctor again. He made a referral to the Regional Fertility Program (RFP), and gave us a blood requisition to do initial testing of hormone levels in both my husband and I, as well as semen analysis for my husband.

It was about 2 months to get an appointment with the RFP. They called within a few weeks to set it up, and sent us a 5 page intake form that included family and personal medical history. On our first appointment, we were given further blood tests, and ultrasound for each of us, semen analysis test for my husband, and a dye test (known as HSG or hysterosalpingogram) for me. We would return in about another 2 months.

The testing took a lot more time for me than my husband. Because fertility in a women is dependent on her menstrual cycle, the testing had to be booked at certain points in my cycle to be effective. Since I also travel for work, it was a challenge to ensure I had all the testing done in time for our doctor to get the results.

Some details on the testing in case you are concerned:

  • The man’s ultrasound was of the testicles, so fairly simple. The women’s was both an external (similar to pregnancy) and internal exam with a wand inserted into the vagina. It didn’t hurt, was just slightly uncomfortable.
  • The semen test, according to my husband, was more just awkward than anything else. Because they have to test a live sample, they set up all the patients to come in at the start of the day. The men avoided eye contact, and did their business as quick as possible!
  • The HSG dye test is potentially painful for women. I had a twinge of pain as the dye went in, but nothing afterwards. I also did not have much discharge, but some women do so they do give you a pad at the hospital just in case. There were x-ray technicians operating the machine, but it’s a doctor from the fertility clinic who inserts the dye. Again, it’s done at the start of the day, and there’s a large group of women doing the testing around the same time.

When we were referred to the RFP, we also told our parents what was happening. Besides that we kept it quiet, as we thought the constant questions about how it was going would increase our already high stress level. Each month was tougher and tougher. I did find out later that I was not hiding my stress very well; my manager thought I was going to quit, and a colleague thought I had a miscarriage! I think it is a stressful situation for anyone though, and would just encourage anyone going through it to be mindful of managing your stress.

After all this, the same month I had the dye test done I finally got pregnant. It was completely unexpected. I actually started my normal spotting before my period was due, and told my husband we were not successful that month. In the days following the spotting subsided and I started to get excited. One day after my missed period I took a pregnancy test and confirmed that we were finally having a baby.

We did keep our appointment to follow up with the RFP, and they did confirm that we have a diagnosed fertility problem that may prevent future pregnancies but should not impact the current pregnancy. Luckily it was something we could take actions to mitigate, and given that we had time now we chose to do that. We are still waiting on the results to know if it worked, hence we are keeping things private until we know more.

I hope this does encourage parents dealing with infertility to keep trying. It took us 15 months for a spontaneous pregnancy – and for my husband’s parents it took 5 years. You can’t give up on that hope, just make sure you are taking care of yourself in the process.