That dog in the photo is not our dog. He's a stunt dog. Let's face it: only a professional shoot, like this one for our favourite Vancouver hangout, Le Marche St. George, could come out looking this idyllic.
2019 is the year we became a family of four. Even though the day-to-day looks more chaotic, this is exactly how I’ll remember it (but with our own dog, Chloe, of course). Ok, we’re a family of five.
It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of this year I was pregnant and quite miserable, thank you. One week before my son arrived, we went out for my birthday and I was so large I could barely sit at the high-top table I mistakenly said would be fine. I spent that week exhausted, chasing a toddler and somehow only increasing in circumference.
Then poof! Fionn (pronounced “Finn” for those asking!) arrived and made our girl Rowan a big sister.
Then I went through the ups and downs of postpartum life again. Some things, like caring for an infant, felt like riding a bike. We were surprised at how much more experienced we were as parents. Some parts, like milk coming in and nursing, felt familiar — and not in a good way. Breastfeeding. Is. Hard.
But one thing I did better the second time around was recovery — even in a far more difficult birth (Fionn was born sunny side up, hello back labour!). Knowledge made ALL the difference.
I spent time not moving, allowed myself to be helped by those around me, and actually soaked in Epsom baths daily, even if it was only a very shallow, five-minute bath. And it truly facilitated my return to exercise, which I was dying to get back to after the nearly bedridden final two months of pregnancy, much quicker.
I also pre-registered for postpartum mental health services. My experience with my first baby was, at times, dark. Rowan was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, I loved her so much, and still I was depressed. I remember sobbing in the middle of a restaurant with my family, and not even really understanding why. I remember dark and rainy days spent walking for hours with a screaming baby who couldn’t be soothed.
This time around, I wanted to be ready to accept help. About four months in, I got a call about my postpartum appointment (It still took that long! Wherever you are, if you are worried about postpartum mental health, consider looking into services before baby arrives). I was walking with Fionn and Chloe, enjoying the sunshine, when I got a call confirming my appointment.
I breathed in and realized… I feel happy. Yes, sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes I’m exhausted (okay, most of the time). I have days with good patience and days where I’m not so proud of my parenting. But overall, I feel gratitude for what 2019 has given me. I told her to give the appointment to a mother who really needs it.
Experiencing postpartum life in two such different ways has only strengthened my desire to help other women thrive during their journey into and beginning motherhood.
Coming up in 2020, I am excited to partner with some pre-and-postnatal experts to expand our content and better serve you. I am also excited about some upcoming partnerships and giveaways that are going to help the community and expand your knowledge of how to effectively do self care — this will not be about pouring yourself a cup of tea!
We've also introduced a registry function to the website. Mamas-to-be, you can now create a registry for a kit (check the website menu).
And the biggest, most exciting changes at One Tough Mother are coming as we look toward evolving our product offering in 2020.
I have some big goals to deliver on that will better serve Mamas-to-be, Mamas, and even those who are just considering becoming a Mama in future (I hear from a lot of you, sheepishly feeling like you don’t deserve to be served because you aren’t mothers yet. That is so wrong. You absolutely deserve to be prepared for this journey should you one day choose to embark on it. I am speaking to you, too!).
Thank you for being with me as I shared my postpartum journey. I'm really excited about sharing the big journey that One Tough Mother will be taking on this year. To follow along and get access to even more pregnancy, postpartum and new motherhood information—not to mention promos and giveaways—subscribe to our email list.
To everyone who sent some love to a mama-to-be, sent me a message or question, or contributed in some way, thank you! Happy New Year, Mamas! It's going to be a big one.
And if there is a mama-to-be in your life who could use some love as we slide into 2020, use promo code 2020GOALS for 10% off your purchase.
One Tough Mother provides Mamas-to-be with the essential resources and information they need to thrive before, during and especially after birth. Share some love with a Mama-to-be and gift her the Postpartum Survival Kit today.