Review – Echinaforce Junior

Keeping Your Toddler Healthy This Winter

The first year of my daughters life, I felt like she was constantly sick. Nothing crazy that needed hospitalization or anything, but just a constant runny nose, head cold and cough; there were more than a few sicknesses that even required antibiotics. I remember one day having the feeling of “I just can’t take another sickness going through this house”. I thought the fact that I was an extended breast feeder meant that her body was packed full of antibodies working hard to fight off cold and flus; this was very much not the case for us. She ate well, slept well and we did everything we could (other than throw a bubble around her), and the sicknesses just kept happening.

The following year I was determined to take preventative measures to boost her immunity! I was not interested in spending another 6 months quarantining us from all the amazing winter activities, so I started my research. That’s when I came across Echinaforce Junior, echinacea tablets. Echinacea purpurea is known for its antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. I found it appealing as it was said to reduces cold and flu symptoms by 65% and cuts the need for antibiotics by 76%. I had taken echinacea as a child and remember my mom always talking about the benefits, so we gave it a try.

Almost instantly, we noticed that the sicknesses that reared their ugly head the year before, were kept at bay. Throughout the winter months, we had maybe one or two mild colds, but NOTHING severe that required us to stay at home. No big fevers and best of all, NO antibiotics. The winter was much more enjoyable and I was much more confident in taking her places, knowing we had this immune booster on our sides.

This year, we have maintained the same regime and she started taking Echinaforce once again this September. My partner and I just got over a two week debilitating head cold and cough and she scrapped by with a mild case of the sniffles.

Echinaforce comes in a small tablet that is grape flavoured, very easy for little ones to chew and also sugar and gluten-free. We give it to her nightly after dinner and disguise the tablet as her “candy” which she’s actually come to enjoy as her reward for eating a good dinner! We keep it in the kitchen and if I forget to give it to her (which lets face it, moms do), she has learned to ask for it! It has become incredibly easy to incorporate into our daily routine.

Keeping a toddler healthy in the wicked Winter months of Ottawa is hard. They put everything in their mouths, touch everything, often somehow end up on the floor… they are not the most “health conscious” individuals. I’ve come to learn that sicknesses are inevitable and though we practice proper hand washing (soooooo super important) it takes 2 seconds for your tot to touch something nasty then touch their mouths. I am not saying that this is the magic pill to keep all cold and flus away. But what I am saying is that for our family, it has substantially decreased the frequency, severity and duration of the illnesses that have formerly passed through her tiny little body. Echinacea Tabs helps your immune system stop germs before an infection takes hold and after seeing the benefits, we will undoubtedly continue giving her (and our next little one) to support us all through these difficult months.

https://www.avogel.ca/en/herbal-remedies/echinaforce-junior.php

Adventures At Queenswood Stables

I am always on the hunt for fun and unique things to do with my toddler in the city of Ottawa. Because we live in Orleans and my little one doesn’t have a strong affection for the car, it’s imperative that I look for activities that are close to home. This Spring, we were delighted to have the opportunity to visit Orléans premier riding stables and the experience we had could not have been more positive.

When creating our most recent Traveling Tot program, I was beyond excited at the possibility of bringing our group to Queenswood Stables. Without having a background in horseback riding, or really any experience with these majestic creatures, outside of the occasional horse drawn carriage ride, or being a spectator at the Musical Ride, I had absolutely no idea what we were in for.

When we arrived, we were greeted by an extremely friendly and warm woman named Linda, who gave our Moms and Tots a glimpse of what their Pony Ride program was all about. Ranging from infant siblings to 4 years, each child and parent got something different from our experience. We had a tour of the stable and got to see many of the resident horses. Our children learned to brush the horses, and the kids each got to head out doors to ride on the amazing schooling ponies. In all of the activities we’d done this season, this was the one that had the kids both the most excited, while also calm and focused at being presented with such a unique experience. Their smiles were magnificent as each one took off on their horse; and the memory of that day will truly be imprinted in my mind forever.  Some mom`s last experience around horses was years ago and it was almost equally as enjoyable seeing the moms light up alongside their littles. The combination of a competent staff, amazing horses and calm vibe at the stable allowed for a unique experience as we explored this activity together.

After the each child took their turn on one of the horses, they brought out a big John Deere tractor for the kids to play on. It’s an amazing thing, watching 14 children climb, touch and pretend to drive a massive motor vehicle. The excitement of the day had them lined up to get their shot in the drivers seat (no one actually drove), but watching them was almost as enjoyable as their interaction with the ponies.

Queenswood Stables offers a Pony Ride program for toddlers – six year olds, as well as riding lessons (beginning at age 7+), activity days and Summer Camps! Spaces are filling for this summer so reach out to them today to find out how you and your child can have a truly magical experience with these gentle giants, and the amazing team of Queenswood.

http://www.queenswoodstables.com/camps-queenswoodstables/

 

 

Review – SPLAT Children’s Art Studio

A creative new way for little ones to have fun has just opened up in St Laurent shopping centre, and we could not be more excited! SPLAT is a locally owned Art Studio and Play Centre for all ages, that focuses on allowing children to develop and explore all forms of Art (Music, Theatre, Crafting and more! ) This week our Orléans Traveling Tots had the opportunity to visit SPLAT for the first of 6 field trips, and the place delighted both the children and mamas alike.

I turned my head for one second! Good thing they had a washing station!

We were greeted by their senior staff member Marie, who is warm, kind and has a genuine love of children. She walked me through the various sensory stations throughout the studio and explained the purpose behind each one. The stations included a sand table, an immediate favourite of all the little ones who entered. A sensory bin station complete with bins of buttons, feathers, beads and a unique colour sorting bin where children are given the task of colour coding fluffy balls. There’s a water station that was a personal favourite of my little one. Here she was given the chance to paint a baby doll, and wash off the paint using various tools — nail brushes, sponges, toothbrushes and different toys. They have painting tables, craft tables, a chalk board wall, and a percussion wall, where the children are invited to make as much noise as they please. They also have a beautiful play kitchen area complete with every dish, pot or pan a child could imagine. Finally, there’s a stage with a real microphone for karaoke, and a dress up area with costumes your little one can try on.

Sand tables were a huge hit!

If felt great to see our kids let loose, get messy, and explore in such a clean, safe and unique environment. Here they could be as loud as they wanted, as creative as they wanted and ultimately, spend hours in the same place and never get bored! The major BONUS was never having to worry about cleaning up their mess when they were all done!

To say this place is clean and tidy is an understatement. With so much going on you would assume there would be a mess everywhere, but their staff have an incredible way of keeping up with it, so much so that when the 14 children left, it didn’t even look like they’d been there. 

Although SPLAT is open to all ages, I would recommend that the ultimate fans would be children six and under. The team comes up with unique crafts of the week, which would mostly appeal to kindergarten ages and beyond. Our Tot group are all below 3 years of age and most opted out of sitting for a craft and just engaged in free play. 

SPLAT is now offering a loyalty card that gives parents five visits for $60 — that’s $40 in savings! They also offer Birthday parties, that will tailor a craft specifically for your little ones special day! Such a great thing for parents to consider as you can walk away, mess free!

We loved every minute of our experience at SPLAT and are so pleased that something so fun, creative and educational is available to our children. We know that by providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development. So we now have a place that our children LOVE and are learning valuable tools for navigating the world at the same time!

I can’t wait to put my loyalty card to good use!

Washing babies was such a hit!

Play, Learn and Explore At My Gym Ottawa

This Fall our six week Mini Movers group was incredibly fortunate to be hosted by My Gym Ottawa. Nestled in the suburbs of Barrhaven sits this amazing space where babies, toddlers and children alike can run, play, learn and explore. Recently, a friend and I were invited to bring our daughters (18 & 20 months) to sample their Tiny Tykes/Waddlers class and I am so glad we did! Not only is this a great place for drop in free-play, but the classes offer educational components in a safe and exciting setting, perfect for curious little ones and parents alike.

The Space

My Gym features a soft, padded floor which makes learning basic gymnastics skills that much safer for your little one. The first thing I noticed upon entering the facility was the cleanliness. The play structures are made of wood and you can tell by looking at them that they’re impeccably maintained; all of the high quality equipment looks brand new. 

Their play structures are also taken apart and redesigned every two weeks which promises a unique experience for the child that visits often. This is a feature that can also be customizable to those renting the space for a birthday party.

The space features a rock climbing wall, play structure and slide, ball pit, various gymnastics obstacles, an area that features six detachable swings, specifically for babies and toddlers; a feature that my little one was thrilled about! It also boasts a very clean restroom facility complete with complimentary diapers, wipes and a diaper genie (if you’re anything like me and always forget to restock your diaper bag, this feature comes in VERY handy).

My Gym is bright, spacious and clean. It is the perfect size for children to run around and burn off some steam, while not being so big that the parent can lose sight of their little one.

The Classes

My Gym engages infants 6 weeks of age to children 11 years of age with fun and captivating physical/cognitive activities, music, songs and free play. Their classes are designed to help your child grow confidence and strength in a non-competitive and supportive atmosphere.

The teachers create a fun filled hour full of age appropriate activities where children will learn new skills, make new friends and have an amazing experience each week.

The (Tiny Tykes) class we participated in began with circle time and songs to get the little ones up and energized. Throughout the hour the little ones stretched, danced, and exercised their problem solving skills. After the opening circle time, we were sent for some free-play as the teacher set up various obstacles. When we regrouped, the first skill was to have our toddler do a supported back flip. My little one wasn’t overly keen on trying this and I loved the way the teacher both encouraged her, but also accepted that she wasn’t into it and supported her by offering a modified skill to try. Other skills included climbing through the different levels of a flat ladder, into a foam circle in the middle and jumping from a mat into a hula hoop — all the skills promoted strength building, coordination and spacial awareness.

My Gym classes are curriculum based, but do not have a set beginning and ending point so children are welcome to join at any time.

Membership

In order to take advantage of My Gym Ottawa, families must purchase a lifetime membership for a one-time fee of $75. This gives you access to the classes and drop in play as well as special discounts on Birthday Parties and special events. The membership can also travel with you as My Gym is a Global franchise.

Special Events

In addition to My Gym’s classes, they also offer Birthday Parties, Practice and Play (drop-in play), Summer, March Break and PD Day camps.They also offer the unique Parent’s Night Out, where Friday nights from 5:30-8:30 pm, parents can enjoy a night out while their children are having a great time running, climbing, playing and eating pizza! Finally, My Gym also offers their Mobile Program where they bring the gym to you! This is a great feature if you are a day care/child care provider looking for something new.

I feel very fortunate to have partnered with such a supportive establishment whose goal is To create an environment where all children of all abilities feel loved and supported so that their self-esteem and confidence can flourish.

If you’re in the Barrhaven area (or not), this place is a must on your list of activities with the little ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Guide To Ottawa’s Holiday Events!

If you’re anything like me, the second Halloween is over, you have Christmas on the brain. The lights, the treats, the shopping, the decorating…even the snow (although the second Christmas is over I’d be happy for it to melt).

The holidays have taken on a completely new meaning now that there’s a toddler running around our home and seeing the magic of the season through her eyes makes it even more special to our family. Just last night we took her to Lowes to see the Christmas display and watching her eyes light up as she saw the trees, the Santa’s and the lights, made me realize exactly what the “magic of the season” is that people always talk about.

We are so lucky to live in a city that has an endless list of holiday festivities for children and families, as well as countless opportunities for your little ones to cozy up to Santa for a once-a-year magical encounter.

Below is a list of family friendly holiday events happening around the city of Ottawa!

Santa at the Shopping Malls

Carlingwood Shopping Centre

November 17th – Santa’s Arrival Parade.

He leaves from Centre Court at 1pm to tour the Mall and arrive at his chair.

Santa Arrival PARADE

Rideau Centre

November 17th – December 24th

Hurry! This mall is offering a one of a kind Santa experience offering zero lines or waiting (making your child’s visit that much smoother).  Book your reservation now! Only a limited number of reservations are available.

Santa’s workshop will be located on Level 3, Freiman Bridge. Walk-ups will be accommodated as time allows

St Laurent Shopping Centre 

November 17th 11am-5pm

Located on the first floor of the shopping centre. Your little one will be able to meet Santa (or send him a letter!) and take a picture with him.

Place D’Orléans

November 24 – December 24th

Located on the first floor in the BMO court. Your little one will be able to meet Santa (or send him a letter!) and take a picture with him.

Digital Photos With Santa

Bayshore 

Saturday, November 17th: 10:00AM – 7:00PM (Santa’s arrival)

Click to be directed to a full list of times to visit!

Visit  Santa’s Village, located on 1st level. Your little one will be able to meet Santa (or send him a letter!) and take a picture with him.

Holiday Snow Globe (also available at Bayshore shopping centre) 

From November 17th, 2018 to January 6th, 2019.

Step inside the Snow Globe in Crystal hall, 3rd level, for an immersive Holiday experience! The life-size structured will allow you to immerse into a wonderland with cascading snow and a themed décor. All proceeds and donations will be donated to the Sentors Foundation. 

Parades

 Help Santa Toy Parade – Central Ottawa

http://toyparade.ca

November 17, 2018 @ 11:00am

Starts at Ottawa City Hall – Finishes at TD Place)

Every year since 1969, the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters’ Association has been organizing the Help Santa Toy Parade and collecting toys along the parade route for distribution to the less fortunate children in Ottawa-Carleton.

The parade has evolved into a significant event drawing tens-of-thousands of people who line the Parade route and share their generosity. Participants are entertained to the sights and sounds of floats, bands and clowns produced locally and from around the Province.

Fire fighters will collect new toys and cash donations along the route. Due to the fact of the numerous amount of unsuitable used toys that have been dropped off over the years we will no longer accept used toys of any kind. New toys can be dropped off at any of the Salvation Army Thrift Stores.

Kanata Santa Claus Parade
https://www.facebook.com/events/683364755381229/
November 17, 2018

The Kanata parade (a.k.a the Hazeldean Mall Santa Claus Parade) is presented by the Kanata-Hazeldean Lions Club in cooperation with the Kanata Sports Club. The parade starts at Terry Fox and Castlefrank, moves along Castlefrank to Abbeyhill and then on to the Hazeldean Mall. Nonperishable food donations to the Kanata Food Cupboard are appreciated.

Barrhaven Lions Santa Parade
santaclausbarrhaven.com
Sunday, November 18th at 5:30 p.m.

The annual Barrhaven Lions Club Santa Claus Parade runs down Strandherd Drive, west. Tim Hortons will be providing hot chocolate at various spots along the parade route.

Image result for barrhaven lions santa claus parade


Arnprior Santa Claus Parade
https://www.facebook.com/events/917184025147270/

November 24, 2018 at 6 pm

Carleton Place Santa Claus Parade
http://downtowncarletonplace.com/christmas-parade/
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 5 p.m.

Santa’s Parade of Lights – Orléans 
paradeoflights.org
Saturday, November 24th @ 6:00pm 

Image result for santa's parade of lights

Also hosted by the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association, this parade takes place on St-Joseph, Blvd. in Orleans. Toys and cash donations will be collected by firefighters along the route.

Stittsville Parade of Lights 
stittsvilleva.com
Saturday, December 1, 2018

This parade is a favourite community event. The parade proceeds south down Main Street to Village Square. Parade goers are welcome to stay for the lighting of Village Square Park and to warm up with some hot chocolate.

Carp Santa Claus Parade
December 8, 2018 12 pm

Image result for carp santa claus parade 2018

Parade route starts at The Diefenbunker, 3911 Carp Road and follows Carp Road. 

 

Other Holidays Activities in Ottawa and the Surrounding Areas.

Breakfast With Santa – Barrhaven

Sunday, November 18th @ 8:00am

Head over to The Breakfast with Santa in Barrhaven at 8 am or 9:30 am (tickets MUST be purchased in advance) and stay for some free family fun with Santa! Do some crafts with our student elves, listen to your favourite holiday songs and have some festive fun with your family and friends. They will be collecting food and cash donations for the Barrhaven Food Cupboard at the front of the school all morning. Drop yours off or bring them to the parade that evening.

Breakfast includes; pancakes, sausages, juice, coffee. Limited seating. Pre-purchased tickets only!

Tickets can be purchased here

Alight the Night

www.uppercanadavillage.com/events/alight-at-night/
November 30th to January 5th
Upper Canada Village

Step back in time while walking around the beautifully lit heritage buildings, trees and fences of Upper Canada Village. There are festive activities and a chance to meet Santa Claus all throughout the month of December leading up to Christmas.

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum Vintage Village of Lights

ottawa.ca/en/liveculture/museums/cumberlandmuseum

November 30th – December 23rd 

30,000 Christmas lights, decorations everywhere, a gigantic reindeer and sleigh and – of course – a visit with Santa Claus in his workshop! Kids will have fun sledding, playing broomball or street hockey, making a snow globe, decorating gingerbread, and sending your Christmas wish list to Santa via telegram. Regular admission applies. 

Manotick – Olde Fashioned Christmas
http://manotickvillage.com/event/olde-fashioned-christmas/
Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, December 2nd

Manotick’s annual Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration. From horse drawn wagon rides with Father and Mary Christmas to sunset carolling, this wonderful weekend is full of traditional events not to be missed. Refreshments and music everywhere! The Village is transformed into a Christmas of  yester-year. Wreaths are hung on lampposts, trees are lit and the Village shines brightly all season long.

This is one wonderful weekend full of small town tradition you and your family will not want to miss!

Almonte’s Light Up the Night!
lightupthenightalmonte.com
Friday, December 7th at 7 p.m.

Bundle up, this is an open-air concert and fireworks display on Main Street in Almonte. Now in its 28th year this night is full of music and memorable outdoor festivities.

Holidays at The Parks 2018

http://wesleycloverparks.com/events/holidays-at-the-parks-2018/
Sunday, December 9, 2018 from 12:00PM – 4:00PM

A great family friendly event, Holidays at The Parks will feature activities for everyone including a vendor’s row, kids craft station, horse-drawn wagon rides, opportunity to meet Zack the donkey, and more! All activities will take place in the Wesley Clover Parks’ heated indoor arena. Meet and take a picture with Santa! Admission by donation.

Magic of Lights: Nov. 17, 2017 – Jan. 6, 2018

http://magicoflights.com/

Wesley Clover Park

Now in its third year, Magic of Lights Ottawa is returning to the Wesley Clover Parks Campground for the 2018 holiday season! This magical event, that has quickly become a holiday tradition for many Ottawa residents, is comprised of festive lighted displays celebrating the joy of the holidays. A “drive through” experience from the comfort of your own car, at every turn and in every direction the magical route is overflowing with spectacular light displays and animations. New attractions in 2018 will include “Candy Cane Lane”, a 200-foot animated Candy Cane celebration, as well as a twinkling “Snowflake Forest” winter spectacle.

Head just west of Ottawa’s downtown core to Wesley Clover Parks for this one of a kind drive-through experience. Nearly one million LED lights are spread over two kilometres, including a 200-foot light tunnel and large LED displays of your favourite winter characters like snowmen, elves and more. Select proceeds from each carload admission benefit the Ottawa Senator’s Foundation.

Nepean Christmas – Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroofe Ave. 

November 1st – 4th
https://ottawa.ca/en/residents/arts-heritage-and-culture/museums-and-historic-sites/nepean-museum#upcoming-events-and-programs

Bring the whole family and get into the Christmas spirit by coming to the museum for a Nepean Christmas Celebration!  There will be Christmas crafts, treats, and of course Santa! 

Chanukah Gift Fair – SJCC

November 18th @ 10:00am-4:00pm

https://jewishottawa.com/community-calendar

PJL Chanukah Event

November 18th @ 10:00am – 12:00pm

http://canada.jewishfederation.org/site/Calendar?id=101461&view=Detail

PJ’s Annual Chanukah Party. Join your PJ Library friends for story time, crafts, sufganyot, dreidels and a special Junkyard Symphony performance.

All are welcome. You do not have to be a PJL subscriber to attend.

Goulbourn Museum Olde Fashioned Christmas
Sunday, November 18th from 10 am to 3 pm
http://goulbournmuseum.ca/event/old-fashioned-christmas-outdoor-artisan-market-4/

Get a head start on your shopping at this holiday celebration and Christmas market that features activities for the whole family. Write letters to Santa and pose for a photo with the jolly old soul, enjoy free hot chocolate and apple cider and buy one-of-a-kind handmade gifts from local artisans. Free admission.

20th Annual Trees of Hope for CHEO:

Nov. 27, 2017 – Jan. 8, 2018


Image result for trees of hope chateau laurier

Head to the historic Fairmont Château Laurier hotel to see several beautifully decorated Christmas trees throughout the holiday season during Trees of Hope! Opt to enjoy Afternoon Tea or a meal at the hotel followed by a stroll through the lovely trees located throughout their storied halls. This is a holiday season tradition for many.

The Museum of History’s Christmas Market

Nov. 30 – Dec. 3, 2017

This four-day Christmas market brings over 80 exhibitors to the Canadian Museum of History‘s Grand Hall. Choose from gourmet foods, artisanal spirits, handcrafted jewellery and many other unique handmade gifts. Free admission.

On Nov. 30 at 6:00 p.m., the Canadian Museum of History will also light its giant outdoor Christmas tree. Enjoy Christmas carols, hot chocolate and Beaver Bites.

The Ottawa Little Theatre Presents- It’s a Wonderful Life

November 28 – December 15th

Based on the most beloved holiday classic of all time, this is the story of George Bailey who on Christmas Eve, convinced that his life has been a failure, wants to end it all. Clarence Oddbody, Angel Second Class who has been trying for 200 years to earn his wings, is sent to the rescue.

Tickets can be purchased here

 

 

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Dec. 7, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018

Join the fun Dec. 7, 2017 on Parliament Hill for the Christmas Lights Across Canada illumination ceremony, complete with carollers and hot chocolate. From then until Jan. 7, 2018, Ottawa’s downtown streets and several monument sites are lit up with hundreds of thousands of dazzling coloured lights. Plus, don’t miss the magical Winter Lightscapes show projected on Parliament’s Centre Block!

Barrhaven: Winter Wonderland
Saturday, December 8th from 10 am to 12 pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/1219112084895128

Presented by the Minto Recreation Complex, this festive event will include pictures with Santa, crafts, games and cookie decorating. Admission is free!

Taffy Lane in Orleans

https://www.facebook.com/Taffy-Lane-586502018033800/

This street has a well-deserved reputation across Ottawa as having the best neighbourhood light display. There is a (Santa) clause in every agreement of purchase and sale that home owners must put up an elaborate light display

There are also several houses that are over the top only a few minutes away from Taffy Lane, just South of St. Joseph.

Military Mommas

Free Workshop for women with military partners who have young children…

Feelings of isolation can increase with the cold weather, especially when you are newly posted, or alone when your partner is away. Come together with other military partners to share in a safe space. Focus of this workshop will be supporting children and self care for moms. Meet other moms in your area who live the life of a military family. All moms will leave with some great swag, some new friendships and more energy after sharing, reflecting and relating to others.

Children under 3 are welcome to attend, and activities will be provided.

Click “Register Today” to reserve your spot! Workshops are listed at the bottom of the page

Permission to Seek Help

I was so excited to meet Dee Gemme, a warrior herself and Postpartum Depression advocate here in our community. I waited in our front room, with my list of questions, anticipating her arrival. I wanted to soak up all the information I could about helping new parents in our community who experience this. I hoped that she could share the warning signs, from a first person perspective, so I had a more personal understanding of this; versus the checklists and articles that were my basis of familiarity. I had an agenda, and blanks to fill in. But what I was able to gather from this woman, this warrior, that sat in my living room with me was far more meaningful than a statistic or help tip.

Dee refused to sit on the couch, and preferred to sit on the floor playing with my 7 month babe while we spoke. She was open, and real and raw as she talked to me as if I were an old friend. There was no sugar coating, there was no sensationalizing. Dee said it how it was. We spoke of how it felt to have a baby and have the whole world around you tell you how happy you should feel. How on top of feeling the worst you have ever felt, and behaving in ways that were nowhere close to who you are, you also feel immense guilt for not feeling how everyone tells you, you should. We all celebrate babies, and having them. We coo and smile when we see them, and offer congrats to new moms. Countless times, both Dee and I had been approached by perfect strangers who wanted to make sure we remembered to value every moment. For these are the best of our lives they all say. But sometimes they are far from it. That is part of what makes people that experience this feel even more alone then they already do.

Having worked with countless moms through Mommy Connections, I have met my fair share of moms who have been open with the hard parts of having a new baby. By about class 4 or 5, the moms start to become more real, and take their game faces off. They shift from discussions about what ingredients are in their home made baby food to some of the tougher stuff. It is good, and heals the spirit, and is why I do what I do. What I wanted to know was how to differentiate the hard parts of being a new parent with something that requires more consideration and professional help the way that PPD does. I asked her how she knew, and how people she worked with knew that it was time to go get help. She told me the issue is not that people are unclear about knowing when help is needed, and that everyone who has been through it does. The issue is that parents are scared to seek help. Having PPD is scary and dark, and it is unavoidable to confront it and realize it is impacting your life. Intrusive thoughts become a regular part of the day, and with them come more shame and guilt. Dee described feeling paranoid and unsure of every part of herself and her surroundings. It is different then the terribly hard moments that come with being a new mom and giving up your freedom, independence, body and daily shower. Both are hard but having PPD feels impossible. With PPD, professional help is needed as soon as possible, and returning to your path is in reach. But first permission to go get help is needed. People have to feel safe and ready.

I wanted to know how to help bust down the stigma that causes people to feel scared to reach out. How to encourage people to go seek help when it is evident they are not coping. I realized by the end of the discussion with Dee that it was not about asking the right questions, to new parents that may be at risk or show signs of PPD. It was about listening. Creating this safe space for new parents to feel safe to share and be real could happen at a class, or a coffee shop, a playgroup or at the grocery store. It means connecting and sharing in that same way that Dee came into my home. We spoke free of judgment, full of care, and really listened to one another.

Moms often feel immense pressure to live up to an ideal and do it all, and it can somehow feel like a failure when we just can not keep it up. We all have hard times and brutal mornings and sleepless nights, but we spend so much energy putting our best foot forward. There is so much pressure to be the perfect parent, and with all  the articles, books and opinions out there, there is enough information to both find a parenting method that feels right while simultaneously exploding our brains. It is not more information we need sometimes, it is a different kind of help that is needed. If we mindfully  connect and form a true community, where it is really ok to ask for help, we will pull more people out of the darkness. Where we are kind to one another, and to ourselves. We can stop pretending to feel okay when we do not. Just expressing your own feelings will help others feel safe to express theirs. This is far from a game, so we should all remove our game faces and be real.

Dee reminded me that we can not do even part of what we expect from ourselves as parents until we make sure that we are okay. For some people that means running, others know they need a kid free hour when possible to just sit in silence and others find comfort in getting outdoors. Whatever you need to do, do it. When times are difficult, do it more if you can. Know that if you do have PPD, a run will likely not “solve it” and what may be helpful may be the last thing you are able or willing to do. Your regular coping mechanisms may prove ineffective. You will know when it is important to seek help. At that 6 week check at your doctor, where they ask you if you are okay, be real. Women fear consequence if they voice how they are feeling. They fear losing their children, or causing more harm then they feel they have already. They are scared to tell their doctor, their mom or their friend. It seems like one more thing to deal with on an already overflowing plate. It can be daunting, but the health of the entire family unit will shift positively once professional help is accessed. I was moved by hearing Dee speak of the reasons she was happy she had reached out for professional help on her journey.

Getting help for her PPD allowed Dee to find her normal again, to start living. She was able to reconnect with her daughter and husband, something that her illness was preventing while she experienced the most difficult portion prior to help. She spoke about feeling so proud of herself for taking the step to seek help from her doctor, and about the negative symptoms lifting within only a couple weeks. She is now responsible for hosting Climb Out Of The Darkness here in Ottawa, a huge annual walk for those who are healing or have healed from PPD. Dee told me about feeling stronger than she ever had having lived this, that she was humbled by the experience. The only sad part for her was the two years she had missed connecting and cuddling and being right there with her family instead of being consumed by it all. She was sad when she spoke of the lost time, but without saying the words, I can tell that she values every moment with her incredible daughter now. Even more than she may have had she never become a warrior.

Please contact your family doctor or seek immediate medical attention if you are ready to seek help and Climb out of the Darkness.

Please visit the link to find out more about Postpartum Progress; which is where proceeds from Climb out of the Darkness go:

Mission & Values

Interested in getting involved with peer to peer support? Please send me a message, Dee and I have some future plans to support parents in our community with PPD.

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Dee and her amazing daughter, Savannah