Category Archives: Personal
I stood in front of my mirror with my fitness clothes fitting snuggly to my body and I felt the tears threatening to spill over. At 7 months postpartum I saw breasts that were smaller and not as firm as they were a year ago, a belly that was soft and seemed bigger than my breasts, arms that swayed when I waved good-bye, and a waist that wasn’t as trim as I remembered it once was. I saw a body that was unfamiliar as the laugh lines hugging my eyes.
I wanted to fight and teardown the body staring back at me. I felt hatred towards the body that housed and grew a precious baby for so many months, that made me soft and squishy all over.
I quickly spiralled into negative thoughts about how fluffy and fat I was. How I had ‘let myself go’ and I would never obtain my pre-baby body so what was the point in working on it.
The image staring back at me wasn’t even my true body, it was smoothed over by my fitness clothes so my lumps weren’t even showing through to the fullness that they actually are.
I broke down and finally cried.
I had a beautiful baby to live for every single day, but pregnancy and post pregnancy body were nothing like I imagined it would be. Where was my Kate Middleton body and the beautiful Isla Fisher hair?!
The truth of the matter is that I’ve allowed myself to be completely swept up in my new role as a mother that fitness and scheduling time for me has become a task at the bottom of my to-do list. I constantly compare my fitness skills to where they were prior to becoming pregnant and hate that I can’t squat like I used to or lift the same amount of weights. Don’t even ask me about running, my hips are still fighting it, I walk a molasses pace.
At 7 months postpartum I’m still learning to accept my new body, to find clothes that fit the fluffier me, while also working on eating better and taking more care of myself instead of always giving. My hormones are still balancing themselves, and I know this because crying over my body has never been something I’ve done in the past, it took a lot to make me cry. Now I cry. A lot.
At 7 months postpartum I’ve fallen even more in love with Mister that I’ve never known to be possible, but I’ve also lost my temper more than I have in the past due to not sleeping as deeply as I once did. I am constantly saying “I love you, and I’m so sorry”.
At 7 months postpartum I have a daughter who has taken up my whole world that I finally understand what it means to loose yourself in your child. I have an identity outside of her, but I feel more confident when she is with me. She gives me more reasons to smile and be proud of who I am.
At 7 months postpartum I feel the love that is being etched on my heart become deeper every day, how I struggle to want space but never want to leave their sides. How I long to stop time but also enjoy the moment, while also dreaming of her future.
At 7 months postpartum I realize that everything is just as it should be, and it’s imperfectly beautiful. Fluffy body and all.
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I walked down the sweeping stairs of a gorgeous modern home with my heart in my throat and a weight being lifted off my shoulders. It felt so right, but I wondered, why did I feel so sad and as if my future has just disappeared right in front of me? I walked into the room where my friends had gathered and I pulled the diamond ring off my left hand to place it on the desk in front of me. “It’s over, we broke up, I am no longer getting married” with no tears at all. They said they were sorry in the most comforting way possible, but what I couldn’t see at the time was how happy they were for me.
I had spent the past year and half dating and being engaged to a boy that I thought was good for me at the time, but a relationship I should have never entered into.
We had known each other for years, having attended the same bible camp as teens and having the same mutual friends, it seemed rather natural that we would start dating. However, we started dating with the intention of getting married and that was the worst way to begin our relationship. Before we had gone on an official date or even decided if we were a good fit together, we had committed ourselves to each other. This of course was a product of the community that we were brought up in and believed we were doing the right thing.
Our first year together went quite well. We laughed a lot, took road trips all over and spent many night talking under moonlit skies before jumping into the car to find a cliff to watch the sun rise from. He supported me emotionally while I attended college and I supported him through the roller coaster of his health. We dreamed together and made plans for our future, and most definitely discussed our wedding.
Almost a year to the day when we had the discussion that we’re in this for life we took a road trip to our favourite beach, and there under a cloudy warm summer day, he got down on his knee and proposed.
I remember the whole world fading away, except for one man just behind us smiling and my then boyfriend eagerly awaiting my response. In a split second my heart and head had a discussion. My heart was screaming “NO! No! No, don’t do this!” My head, however, responded very calmly “Of course you’ll say yes, you said you were starting this relationship to become married, of course it’s yes”.
I said yes and we hugged and kissed, laughing at the wonderfulness of our future together. He drove me home to the house on a hill that I shared with four other girls. I hid the news from from my roommates for days, and I honestly can’t remember when I called my parents. I do remember my parents not being surprised, since he had asked them for permission, but they had asked us to a wait another year before tying the knot. I don’t really remember them being overly happy about the news.
Within days of us getting engaged our relationship started to breakdown.
We fought constantly about our expectations of the other. He made endless comments about how I dressed, suggesting at one time that I dressed like Brittany Spears from the early 2000′s. I couldn’t understand this as I was constantly in jeans and a t-shirt, never wore shorts, and had just purchased my first bikini to wear on the hammock in my back yard – I couldn’t imagine wearing it in public. I was very self conscious of my body.
One evening in the dead of the night, parked in a dark lot at the edge of a beach, we were in the midst of another argument. We yelled, we screamed, we both threw tantrums feeling like the other wasn’t listening. Suddenly he tells me he can’t deal with it anymore, opens the car door and walks toward the beach till I can’t see his silhouette against the light from a beach home. I sit there, with tears streaming down my face wondering what I did to cause him such pain? I began thinking of ways to make him happy in an attempt to fix us. Then suddenly, I realized that he walked away and left me abandoned in his car alone without keys and with no cellphone coverage. I decided I didn’t deserve to be treated this way, and walked away from the car without a note.
I walked down a dark street until I knew I’d have cellphone coverage again and called my roommate who I knew would come get me without asking any questions and without judgement. Little did I know she would ask questions, and once I was home my roommates sat me down and tried ever so gently to tell me how the relationship I was in was toxic.
At the time I didn’t see how damaged I had become or the damage I was causing him by continuing in the relationship. I was depressed, I made excuses for his behaviour, I allowed myself to be emotionally and mentally abused because we had said we were in this relationship forever. To me it was a promise I couldn’t break. The community that I surrounded myself in, I believed that if I broke it off it would be like I was divorcing him and I’d be forever looked at as a sinner.
However, my roommates saw it and knew I couldn’t help myself, so one of them did something behind my back that forever changed the course of my life.
She called my mom.
She told my mom the whole story and everything that she saw going on between us, everything that I couldn’t see and wouldn’t see. She explained how much I had changed and how I was not the person I once was or should be. She told my mom that she needed to come and get me then take me home.
That day my roommate rescued me from a relationship that would have left me miserable and utterly unhappy.
Two months later, when I called to tell him I would be late arriving at his place, he told me to not bother coming. At first I thought he meant that weekend, as if me missing the ferry had upset him. And then he tells me that he doesn’t know who I am anymore and doesn’t believe we should get married. I ask why. I ask what can I do to fix it. I say everything you can imagine to stay together, believing I have to do everything to make him happy again. In the end nothing would do, and I say “okay”.
Surprisingly, there were no tears. Just a complete understanding. The tears, however, came days later when I realized how much of myself I had poured into our relationship, how much of I had given up and given away, how I felt like my future no longer existed because it only existed in him.
As I told my friends that is was over I remember my heart feeling so much joy, but not being able to explain it at the time. I was finally free to begin living a life full of happiness and that day, a broken engagement and leaving an unhealthy relationship, set me on the path to discovering what truly makes me happy.
The fifth anniversary was one of nostalgic reminiscing while anticipating the future with an additional element of our new babe, constantly at our side.
The morning of our anniversary we woke up with the sun and enjoyed our bodies next to one another before getting up to start our day. As I stood naked wrapped in a plush white towel he asks what was new on Instagram and I tell him how a friend’s account was shut down. He turns to me and if I saw what he posted. I quickly grab my phone off my nightstand and find his post “Happy 5th Anniversary!” with my bouquet of peonies along with a robin egg blue box with white ribbon as well as a pink striped box with gold lettering. He completely spoils me with an elegant silver bracelet with a Tiffany charm as well as a beautiful black sheer and lace night dress for me to wear that evening. I am completely floored and feel so spoiled after the success of the evening before and the beginning of our celebrations.
He comes home at midday from work so that the three of us can spend the rest of the day together. When he walks through the door she is so elated to see him – eyes wide with a smile from ear to ear and her feet moving so fast. She is the highlight of his day. We walk through the city and decide to lunch at the new location of a highly desired restaurant, hubbub. He orders a pulled pork sandwich and I, my tried and true, chicken breast sandwich. As the sauce drips down our hands and we people watch from our window seat along Robson I smile at him – there is a sense of such pride that this is the man I married and still, after 5 years of marriage, a cadence of sensuality between us.
We wander into a lingerie store and he shows me the different outfits he was choosing from and I tell him he chose perfectly. We run errands together. Returning a throw pillow I had purchased for our living room but deciding I was trying too hard and it isn’t us at all. We pick up bottles of wine to restock our wine fridge. We continue wandering around the city before stopping into a café to enjoy a latte for me and a traditional cappuccino for him. All the while Isla is asleep in the pram, perfectly content to be with us as we stroll up and down the city streets.
Afterwards we decide to celebrate happy hour and step into a beautifully rustic restaurant with woodblock walls and a matte black ceiling. We order the special oysters of the day, chef’s creek, and are introduced to the most delicious oyster’s we’ve ever tasted. They are sweet with an almost fruity beginning with a smooth buttery finish. As we shuck the oysters and sip on a bourbon sour and a bacon infused Caesar, we watch a game of world cup soccer and sway Isla side to side in the noisy restaurant.
Once we’re home after a long walk in the sun we cuddle all together on our bed and spend time playing with Isla and see her eyes light up that we’re all together. She coos and laughs, along with grunts of frustration while pulling her bum up into the air to attempt to crawl. She makes it half way across the bed before she tells us she’s had enough. She’s growing so fast but we’re so proud of her drive to accomplish anything she sets her mind to.
While Mister gets Isla ready for bed I linger in a long hot shower letting the mirror steam over and the walls gather moisture. I relax and feel my muscles loosen as the water cascades over me. After my hair has been styled and a natural shade of makeup applied, I step into a navy pencil skirt and a sheer blouse before slipping on my black patent 6″ leather Christian Louboutins heels. It takes a minute for me to adjust to the height, but I feel my body place each muscle where it needs to be to walk in sky high heels. I place a string of pearls around my neck and a pair in my ears, then add on my new Tiffany bracelet to go with my Louis Vuitton handbag. I once dreamed of the designer items I now call mine, and it feels like the perfect selection to go along with my outfit. I feel beautiful, elegant, and most definitely sexy. Before we head out the door I match it all with a swipe of a deep red lipstick.
A taxi takes us to another coveted restaurant in the West End of Vancouver, a place that does not take reservations. However, we are able to secure a table, so that when we arrive, we’re swept past a line of people out the door to a table for two. It’s the perfect beginning to a romantic evening. The restaurant sweeps us into its charm that leaves us feeling like we’re on holiday. Time gets away from us as we enjoy dish after dish of recommended tapas: Spanish style scotch egg covered in a chipotle aioli, blue cheese toast topped with pine nuts, chicken liver pate with rhubarb wine jelly, spiced lamb with patatas bravas, roasted octopus sprinkled with arugula, spicy roasted romesco with saffron, zuchinni carpaccio drizzled in a mint vinegar. Each dish is beautifully paired with bottle of red wine – a full bodied tampranillo, expertly decided on by me. Between bites our conversation flows easily reminiscing the past to ambitions for the future, he spoke of business, career, and success, I express my passion for inspiring others, for business, for living life in a way that truly reflects us. We discuss Ivy League schools and headline news. There is a brief moment of discussing budgets, finances, investment and net growth. We compare living abroad in London and Amsterdam. Over the cheese course of a deep blue valdeon and manchego with honey we anticipate our future together with our new babe always by our side as we travel far and often. We finish the meal off with churros paired with a deep rich chocolate and a house-made yogurt with dulce de leche sauce. As I swirl the last bit of my wine left in my glass I look over at him, and again am so over come by the love I have for him and the life we’ve created for ourselves.
Long after the summer solstice sun has gone down another taxi speeds us home. I stay captivated in my trance that we’re on holiday as we clutch the side of the car door as the taxi driver quickly weaves in and out of traffic narrowly missing other drivers and pedestrians, mumbling under his breath in a thick accent that I cannot understand. Then finally, when we’re in the safety of our home we stand over our deeply sleeping baby holding each other close. I quietly leave the nursery to slip into my night dress and we come together with all the love and passion we’ve accumulated over the past 8 years together. This meeting brings me back to our wedding night 5 years prior, and as our bodies intertwine, it’s a beautiful movement of dedication, excitement, and warmth.
On our five year anniversary I sit and think back about all the goals we set for ourselves – some failed and some achieved and am amazed at the beautiful life we’ve created together, you and I my love. I think back on all the adventures we’ve had over these five years, and how we’re still just newlyweds in the course of our marriage.
I think back to that moment just before we first saw each other on our wedding day, and how still I get butterflies in anticipation for you to walk through our front door. How you never let go of my hand that day, and no matter how many cities we’ve weaved in and out of in this world, you’ve never let go of my hand since.
I think of our vows, and even though in the past I had wished we had written our own, I know that us repeating the vows from generations before us is a tradition now etched on our hearts. How when you slipped two thin diamond bands on my right hand as a nod in your Polish tradition and I slipped a tungsten platinum band on your left hand there was no doubt it was ‘for until death do us part’.
I think of our first dance, a beautiful waltz with lifts and turns, it was a moment where everyone faded away and we danced together just you and I. How since then we’ve created an intimate dance between the two of us, one that only our souls know. The steps are complicated and difficult, we’ve tripped each other up and we’ve pushed each other over, but no matter what we sweep each other back into place to dance together again…with my right hand placed in your left and our hips swaying to our own beat.
I think of everything we’ve done in these past five years, my love. How much that day was the start of our beautiful beginning, and how it propelled us into creating the life we’ve always wanted to live. I can’t imagine a better man to share this life with, and to this day I’m so proud that you are mine and somehow magically I love you even more than I did five years before.
All images from our wedding photographer Jamie Delaine. To see our full wedding coverage, click here.
It’s her 5 month birthday today, and after much consideration I’ve decided to publish her birth story along with some images that were taken. After she was born I’m so happy I took the time to write this out, because 5 months later the experience is tainted a little bit with the love and admiration I have for her.
We had a home birth
My water broke before I had contractions
I labored for 5.5 hours, including pushing
We had the best birth team ever including two midwives, a doula, and a midwife intern from the UK
Mister was the best pillar of support I could have ever asked for.
We were completely surprised we had a girl.
We wandered around the city ducking into stores to avoid the rain. Call it mother’s intuition but I had a feeling that it would be our last weekend alone, so I cherished every moment and held his hand as we moved in and out of crowds and sat on furniture and enjoyed sharing a grilled cheese sandwich from mama’s food truck. It was his first experience and it is one I will both always remember where we sat under cover at Robson square as we watched couples and young children skate on the outdoor rink.
As dusk began to envelope the city casting a pink glow on the mountains we decided to call it a day and began to make our way to the grocers. We wondered once again up-and-down aisles searching for the best meal for us to prepare. He suggested a meal full of salmon and roasted asparagus. I shook my head no and playfully decided we should have spicy Indian. They say spicy food is supposed to start contractions – I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. As we made our way to the checkout and contemplated one more item I turned him and said “I think my water just broke”. He stared at me with confusion and a little bit of wonder and asked if I was sure. I was sure. He finished up at the check out while I quickly made my way to the car. As we drove home I quickly called my midwife and doula to let them know that my water broke. They both were in a little bit of disbelief and assumed I wouldn’t go into full labor until morning. Since they said nothing would happen till morning I enjoyed the quiet of the evening and was able to remain calm despite knowing that my doula was currently attending another labour.
My midwife suggested that I relax myself with a glass of wine and soak in a bath. I typically would have taken it but instead I chose to spend the evening with my love knowing once again it would be a last time together, just the two of us. We moved around the kitchen like two old souls who knew each other intimately. As we put together a dinner of spicy butter chicken I smiled at him thinking how funny that just a few hours ago we joked that this meal would start contractions. The night fading we cheered to our baby arriving soon and enjoyed our meal over a glass table and stem less wine glasses savoring the moment. We slowly made our way to the couch and stared at the view from our 32nd floor windows overlooking the city while looking at each other in disbelief that soon our baby would arrive. Just before 11:00PM we brushed our teeth and washed our faces before climbing into our bed with fresh sheets, hoping to get a good nights rest. We knew we would have a homebirth, but just in case, our hospital bags were prepared and sitting by the door.
Mister had been fighting a cold and had taken some Neocitron and had fallen asleep immediately. I slipped on my eye-mask hoping I would get some sleep before the first contraction. As I rolled over to get comfortable a half hour later, I felt my first contraction. I went through a few uncomfortable cramps before getting out of bed to take some Tylenol and gravel to help relieve some of the pain and help me sleep. Neither of them did the trick.
Not wanting to wake Mister I went to the bathroom and closed the door to labour alone. Throughout my pregnancy I always knew that I would find myself in the bathroom so it felt like the most comfortable place to be. During the mild contractions I downloaded an app called icontraction to help me time them and keep my mind off of the pain. It worked wonders.
For two hours I labored and moved through each contraction on my own in the solitude of our bathroom. I thought my labor would consist of time in the bath or shower but neither of those things happened. I labored through each contraction swaying back and forth breathing in the only way my body knew how.
After those two hours I was exhausted and all I could think about was getting some sleep. So I quietly tried to crawl back into bed as to not wake Mister, but right in the middle of me getting into bed I went through another contraction and happened to wake him up. The look on his face was quite astonishing; I would have laughed if I could have. But I was so happy he was finally awake, I really desired a hot pack on my lower back but didn’t have the strength to walk to the kitchen to warm it up myself.
While he heated up the heatpack I headed back to where I felt the most secure, the bathroom. Mister came back to support and help me time my contractions which were over a minute long and averaging 3 minutes apart. Because my doula and midwife thought I wouldn’t have the baby till the next day, I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was active labour or early labour so I decided to just do it alone.
After Mister and I worked on laboring together for about an hour and half I had a moment of clarity in what I believe was a transition period. I knew I was moving into the pushing phase of my labour and suggested to him that he call our doula and midwife again. This was close to 2:30 in the morning. As soon as he picked up the phone to call them my contractions were one on top of the other and I wasn’t able to talk anymore so when he told them my contractions were 90 seconds long three minutes apart all I could do was shake my head no. Thankfully my midwife was intuitive and asked to listen to me going through a contraction and once she heard me attempting to cope through the most intense pressure I’ve ever experienced, she said she’d be over immediately as they were definitely closer together. When he hung up I had a moment of panic, what if I wasn’t as far along as I thought I was and I was making them get out of bed for nothing?
Adam wrapped me in his arms during my moment of panic and told me not to worry but to rely on my body “just do what feels natural”. It was exactly what I needed to hear while I sunk into his arms and just focused on listening to my body.
Our midwife arrived and prepared the space for our birth with the fresh sheets and large pillows. I felt myself completely relax into the mattress while holding onto Mister’s hands. My doula was amazing. She knew exactly how to position me to help me deal with the pain and I could hear her calming me with words of encouragement while Mister held me close.
After some time of pushing they announced that I needed to slow everything down. That was the most difficult thing they could have asked of me, but somehow my body knew exactly what it was supposed to do. I looked at Mister for support and his eyes were glistening full of excitement and awe. I knew without a doubt that I was the most amazing woman he had ever seen. With one last breath I felt her slip out and I was washed over with the greatest feeling of relief and joy.
I looked down and saw a beautiful pink face confused by what had just transpired. Between her cries she stared at me and I knew she was mine and I kept on repeating the words that were just said to me just moments before “you are safe, you are loved”
I was looking at an image of my younger self; she was a miniature version of me. I looked up and announced “We have an Isla”. We were gifted a beautiful little girl that we instantly adored. It was a moment of apprehension and hesitation all in one, I so wanted to hold her and kiss her all over, but at the same time I didn’t. I was so unbelievably scared by what was before me.
Once everyone had settled down and we settled in, we said goodbye to our birth team. They left us tucked in our bed, the three of us under a clean white duvet. I expected that we wouldn’t get much sleep – everyone talks about how all they want to do is stare at their new baby, but we smiled at each other, slid her up the bed so we wouldn’t roll over and all drifted off into a deep sleep.
While she slept all day, we eventually woke up and invited our parents over for lunch. They were surprised to find us well rested and at home, and it was exactly how we wanted it. We popped champagne, we passed her sleepy body from one person to the next, and we shared secret smiles telling each other how proud we were of the other and of her. There was so much joy in our living room that day. So much love being poured on us and on her. So much of everything, that even to this day I can’t describe exactly how it felt to see such a tiny person make so many people so incredibly happy.
Thank you to Morag from Apple Blossom Families for the amazing images from her birth. As well as a huge thank you to Dawn at Pomegranate Midwives, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without your support and encourgement throughout the whole pregnancy and birth.