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  • Do you desire a life where you know and live your inner purpose? That instead of floating through life you know exactly what your true desires are and living to your fullest potential? Do you feel like what you are longing for is just hidden under the surface and once you discover it there will be no holding you back?

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After I wrote How is Motherhood, a friend of mine sent an email where she asked me very sincerely and honestly:

What story do you want to tell?

When I wrote my How is Motherhood post, I wrote it from a place of still trying to figure out my response to the question. I was unsure of the answer I needed to give and the answer I wanted to give. But she simplified it for me, there are no expectations except for the story that I want to tell, and I get to decide how beautifully honest it is. And beautifully honest is what I’ve decided my story is.

Becoming a mother has been one of the most mentally challenging experiences I’ve gone through. When I found out I was pregnant I felt completely detached from the little baby growing inside of me. I knew there was a piece of me that loved her, and when we were told she might be sick I knew I loved her more than I was willing to admit. But I still felt like I wasn’t supposed to be doing this, this wasn’t my dream. When she was born, it wasn’t love at first sight (I had prepared myself for this) and when I looked at her there wasn’t a moment of recognition either. My thought was, ‘there you are, and here I am – let’s do this, I guess’. There was a lot of hesitation and a bit of anticipation.

Then there was the newborn stage, those crazy six weeks of intense crying that seems to get worse with each week that passes. I knew she would cry…but this was something else. Thank goodness someone told me it peaks at six weeks then starts to back off, I had an end in sight to work towards. In between those cries there were sweet moments of just staring at her and cuddling her tiny little body next to mine. Wrapping a itty bitty diaper around her waist and feeling like it was too big for her (new moms, tuck one of those diapers away for a keepsake, you’ll thank yourself later). And in those moments I felt that I can do this, and I can enjoy every moment of the good and bad.

I had assumed, because I had never wanted children, that I’d hate every moment and I had prepared myself for the worst case scenario possible. I had never dreamed of this and knew that raising a baby isn’t easy, that our life wouldn’t just be the two of us, our time and attention would constantly be pulled between our wants and what she wants, that traveling and staying out late will become less spontaneous and more planned, and the endurance, the fact that it never ends, will take a toll on me and my relationships.

But there I was, actually enjoying the simple sweet moments and the hardships of a baby while loving being a mother. It took me awhile to allow myself to admit, that I truly loved being a mother and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I do feel like I was born to be a mother, day in and day out. A lot of what I do in intuitive and from experience of helping raise my brothers. There are hard moments and some days I do want to run away as fast as I can, but somehow I always find myself pulling her close to my chest to breathe in the sweet scent of her instead.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is to take it moment by moment. When I was labour, it was a moment that I knew would end and it helped me get through. When she cried from her digestive issues, I would hold and cuddle her because I knew eventually, perhaps momentarily or an hour from now it would end. When she would sleep on my chest in the first early weeks, I would soak it all up as I knew one day she wouldn’t fit there anymore. When we started sleep training, again, I knew some day she would be able to fall asleep on her own. When breastfeeding was horrible and painful, I cried as I fed her through the pain, because I knew one day she wouldn’t need to suckle from my breast any more.

Each day is somehow filled with sweet joyful moments that shine away the moments of desperation and confusion. Once I started to take away the noise of advice from baby books and expectations of others I’ve flourished into the type of mother I want to be.

This is my story of Motherhood. Something I never dreamed of wanting, but has become the best dream come true I didn’t know I needed.

The month of May I had set out to be the month of changes. I read It starts with food at the end of April and realized that even though I thought I was eating healthy I was still missing the mark, so I dedicated May  to eating healthier.  May is also the month to start my yoga routine of daily sun salutations to stretch out my body and gain some strength back. I had also decided that May was going to be the month that for 30 days I’d document, through video, me working through the fear that is holding me back. I had big plans for May.

So here I am on day 6 and let me tell you, so far I feel like I only committed half way.

The only thing I feel like I committed myself to was my morning yoga practice, and that is due to the fact that on May 1st while putting my babe in her pram I tweaked my back and have been hurting ever since. So each day I find myself on my mat and go through my poses, and I’m so thankful that I tweaked my back because I’m sure by now I might have found an excuse not to spend time in downward dog when my body truly needs it.

My plan to eat healthier has improved. I didn’t set myself on a strict diet as I don’t truly believe in those, but I stocked my pantry and fridge with everything I’d need for meals at home. It’s going out that is proving to be difficult to find healthy choices when I’m surrounded by buttery pastries and sugary bonbons. I have been able to resist the temptation, mostly, but when I’m famished I typically find a sandwich on my plate even though I’m avoiding bread.

The one thing that has me feeling the most frustrated was my plan to document 30 days of me working through the fear. I knew I needed to do this to achieve some goals in my life and knew that fear was holding me back. Day One I sat down and documented it, and the next thing I knew my computer crashed. I couldn’t export my video so I walked away from it all. I’ve been feeling ashamed ever since.

Here I am with a goal and but the first sign of a set back, I walk away. When I wanted to work through the fear that was holding me back, I let it fold me over instead.

I want to say I’ll get back on my feet and start afresh tomorrow, that it was just a tiny set back. But in all honesty I know I won’t. Not this month. I’m being honest with you, I’m not ready to work through the fear yet. I want to be, I really do. But I’m not. Perhaps next month or later this year.

The first step is acknowledging the fear to be able to work through it, so at least I’ve accomplished the first step!

 

  • May 7, 2014 - 4:29 AM

    Jenny - wow Lesley these are real honest words. Sometimes we ask too much from ourselves and it is the best step back. we are not machines and a wise woman once told me to do the things that comfort me (this wise woman was you). So in the middle of these huge goals of eating healthy, doing yoga each day and recording 30 videos maybe you need something that comforts you. And if you do so maybe the fear might be easier to overwhelm.ReplyCancel


During my pregnancy I didn’t think I wanted a maternity session. There didn’t seem to be a purpose for hiring a photographer to have me wander around a field while holding my belly and posing with my hands shaped like a heart over top. I didn’t feel the need or pressed to document that season in my life and felt completely happy with my decision. Until late November.

As I was getting ready for work I realized that I would be missing out on documenting one of the most transformational season’s in my life, and I would regret it later if I didn’t schedule a maternity session. My issue was doing a session that represented me and how I wanted to feel throughout my pregnancy. I couldn’t see myself doing a session outside with Mister by my side, I knew I needed to do this alone. And I needed it to be done in a feminine and elegant way. I thought of all the photographers I knew and who I would want to photograph me and instantly thought of one who is a good friend and thankfully local to me.

I emailed Jasalyn Thorne asking if she’d be interested in photographing me and the next thing I knew a plan was being created and vendors were being contacted.

In mid-December I woke up early and had one of my favourite hair and makeup artists, Jayna Marie, come to my home where we chatted over lattes and Louboutins. I then stepped into a taxi to be whisked away to the location for my shoot. And there, Jasalyn worked her magic and captured the exact feelings and emotions I had felt throughout my entire pregnancy, plus more. She was able to draw out the feminine, elegant, and peaceful side of me along with the thoughtful, playful, and dreamy side, all in her beautiful editorial style.

When I saw her sneak peek of my shoot, I was left speechless. She captured me, beautifully pregnant, in the most beautiful way I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful I documented being pregnant. I look at these with so much pride, my body helped create and protect a beautiful little baby and I was able to do it with so much grace and ease despite having a rough go at it.

Thank you Jasalyn, I don’t think I will ever find the words to fully express what these mean to me.

  • April 23, 2014 - 5:35 PM

    Jenna Richard - Stunning! Amazing job Jasalyn
    Lesley so elegant…love them!ReplyCancel

  • April 26, 2014 - 1:06 PM

    Jenny - I so so love these images of you ! It is black and white, it is you, it is feminine and elegant just perfect.ReplyCancel

  • April 30, 2014 - 5:50 AM

    Tanja - My dear friend. These images are beyond gorgeous! She captured your elegance in a beautiful way. These photos will be cherished not only by you, but by Isla too for a long long time. XTReplyCancel

  • May 28, 2014 - 12:44 PM

    Vanessa - Those are beautiful photos!!!! Wow!!ReplyCancel


Waking up on a Monday morning when you’ve spent the past eight hours on and off with your babe who thinks that sleep is the last thing we should be doing, can definitely give you the case of the Monday blues. As much as I tried to nap with my babe in the morning, I couldn’t do it, I knew I needed to get stuff done.

When you say yes to the first thing on your to do list, you begin the spiral of yeses for the day.

I hopped in the shower and enjoyed 15 minutes of alone time to just let my mind wander while the water cascaded over my body. Once I finished my shower I could have easily thrown my hair into a top knot, but I decided to spend another 30 minutes doing my hair and applying some makeup. While my babe napped I kept an ear open for any crying since doing my hair takes some time, but she slept perfectly.

After I fed her and let her play for a little bit she quickly went down for her next nap. I thrive off of these naps! It’s more time to myself to do whatever I need to do. Today, it’s continuing to say yes to my to do list. I was on the phone setting up appointments, filling out applications, folding laundry, vacuuming the house, putting away dishes, and now blogging.

With a new babe I’m still surprised I can get things off my to do list, but it all begins with yes.

You see, the moment I start saying yes, it builds and the momentum grows to keep on saying yes to the next task or project. Every day I easily could say no and decide to stay in bed in my yoga pants watching episodes of random TV shows, but instead I choose to say yes and slowly start seeing changes in my life and in our home.

Once I say yes I realize that half way through my day my house is clean and I’m being extremely productive. I also learn that I can’t be productive without a clean house and when I say no, nothing gets done.

See what I mean by it’s a spiral of yeses?

Obviously with a new babe it can be completely thrown off course and I spend the afternoon tucked away in my bedroom with a sleeping babe in my arms, but knowing that I’ve started my day with yes makes a world of a difference.

What do you do to help you stay productive and get stuff done? I would love to hear your method!

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I dedicate myself to spend time helping our babe learn to sleep and soothe herself. We stay indoors for her to feel secure and comforted in her own bed, surrounded by familiar rooms and sounds. I rock her, sing her lullaby, rub her blanket on her face then say I love you. I cherish these moments together.

She learns to sleep quickly that Mister and I start to enjoy restful sleep after three months of night feedings. I see the difference in all of us, we’re happy, loving, and content with one another.

I spend an afternoon nap looking for clothes to add to my closet and fill an online shopping cart full of sheers and cotton in soft muted nudes and whites. I anticipate their arrival to update my wardrobe and help me feel beautiful in my postpartum body.

There is a day that I see clearly that she needs me and wants me. Not just for food but for comfort as well. That when she is placed in my arms I feel her tighten her tiny arms around my neck, she tilts her head and places it on my shoulder facing out, the deepest sigh escapes her tiny body and the she completely relaxes into me. Her and I spend so much time together, attached by a beautiful entwined ribbon between the two of us, that she yearns for me to know she is safe. I revel in the feeling of being wanted but struggle with always having to feel like I should be near her.

A friend comes to visit and spontaneously her and I are doing a photoshoot together with the cherry blossoms. She spends so much time asleep that she captivated by the pink snow falling down and the world around her. I dream of summer picnics, camping adventures, and exploring the city together.

Later in the week I tuck her into her carrier close to my chest to walk to take her passport photos. Along the way we are admired and smiled at. The carrier makes me feel a dishevelled but with my oversized tortoise shell sunglasses, grey cape thrown over my shoulders, coach handbag on my wrist, and black skinnies to show off my figure I feel and see the admiration people have for me. A new mother who puts herself together.

The weekend comes and with Saturday it is my day and I Implement a no internet/email day. We start the day staring and connecting with each other as well as with Isla. We are present. No need for tag teaming, we do everything together. You wash, I dry. You swaddle her, I’ll put her down. You start the sentence, I’ll finish it. This connection leads us to chasing each other down the hall and tumbling into bed, eager to strip our clothes off. It’s the most sweet interlocking of bodies that sends us into a deep sleep afterwards.

We enjoy hours of conversation. Another latte, more snuggles with Isla, being more aware and present with one another.

We take an afternoon walk in the rain with her in the pram. As we walk along the seawall I take everything in, the way the light is falling across the buildings, the birds dipping in the water, the crowds of families rushing to play together or attend a weekend birthday party. We stop in at the grocers and pick up fresh ingredients to make a dinner for two before heading home.

A warm house welcomes us as our wet footprints leave a trail through the home. We prepare snacks of oven top popcorn drizzled in duck fat, rice crisps and hummus, homemade guacamole paired with fresh baguette.

As the sun starts to shift towards the horizon she takes her afternoon nap and Mister lays down in our large bed to read a novel. I run a bath of lavender and hot water to soak in. As the candle flickers in the corner I realize we haven’t been this calm in a long time. I cannot remember a time seeing him so relaxed with no stress outlining his eyes. I crave more days like this.

We mix the ingredients together and sit before a single candle lit dinner where Isla joins us. The music is turned off and the only sound is us in conversation. As the skyline turns from duck to night she finally calms down and is ready to be put to bed, and we continue our conversation till late in the night of plans to build our networth, his career aspirations, and building on passion.

We awake to Sunday, his day. We relax at home slowly eating breakfast, showering, getting dressed. We spend lingering moments with our babe not rushing her or us to go anywhere or do anything.

I spend the day in between naps soaking up a new novel while he works away in his office. I hear her wake up from her midmorning nap and begin the timer for letting her cry it out. 10. 15. 20. She doesn’t stop and my heart longs for her so I finally pick her up and she instantly calms. I bring her to our bedroom and lay with her on our bed together and she curls her tiny body into into my chest. One hand clutching my shirt the other thrown across her eyes I lay there watching her and listening to her breathing until I know she’s fallen into a deep sleep.

I take her to watch Mister’s soccer game and I feel a sense of pride wash over me. I am that woman, that wife, that mother who brings her babe to cheer him on. Between shifts he runs up to me with sweat running down his face and kisses me hard on the lips, I know he appreciates me being there.

I take her home afterwards to feed and change her before heading back out to celebrate with his teammates. I dress her in her white and grey stripped onesie with her white hat. I throw on my grey cape and large sunglasses before placing her in the crook of my arm. We are a sight to be seen. A stylish mother with a stylish babe, relaxed and smiling as we walk down the street, we bring smiles to everyone who sees us. As we walk into the pub I hear the ohh and awes given to our babe; she brings delight where ever she goes. She sits in his lap looking around and watching everyone. We are proud of what a calm and happy babe we have.

I sing her lullaby and we kiss her goodnight that soon she is a sleeping babe in her crib. He is in his office so I crawl onto his lap and we look over all the photos I’ve taken of her in the past 12 weeks. How much she’s grown! I can’t believe how small she was! Look, her first smile! We exclaim over and over how proud we are.

We call it an early night and crawl into bed together. Skin to skin.

  • April 12, 2014 - 12:32 AM

    Jenny - Oh I love this post Lesley. From your words I can feel how happy and content you are with your life and your family. And I love to see you happy :) ReplyCancel

  • April 16, 2014 - 9:19 PM

    Josiah Tam - I’m sorry, all I saw was popcorn drizzled in duck fat. Oh my God.ReplyCancel