Saying NO to the “Mom-Bod”

How I chose to say NO to the mom bod.

This is not a work out post, a pity-post or a ‘I’ll make do with what I have’ post. This is an empowering, influencing and inspiring post. I chose not to give in to the ‘mom-bod’ and choose to love my baby-bearing body. 

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From time to time I do feel that tug of insecurity, self-doubt and I do see the marks left from that pull&stretch. But these are our love lines, our war wounds, our life long hopes and dreams. The sign of a mother. 

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Olivia Ann Photography

Though some may be more scarred than others, more discrete than others or even only inwardly marked; we have all joined on this journey and the trials of pregnancy, labour and the fourth trimester together. 

Received our badges of courage, of comfort and became a safe place for our littles.

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How in the WORLD can I look past my beautiful baby girl and focus solely on the body I was left with after her birth. 

It’s hard to move forward, to feel back to normal when you know you’re not. That before-baby-BABE-bod feels so far away. It’s hard to feel glamorous, beautiful or even mediocre sometimes. To have the pure essence and freedom to think or even feel; I am beautiful. 

The rawness of it all; is that we all think this.

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Who’s better? Who’s thinner? Who has the best workout?

STOP. Take a second and stare into your child’s eyes.

There’s your all in all; you’re beauty and your pride. 

View More: http://nataliareardonphotography.pass.us/donutshoot

Natalia Reardon Photography

There lays your heart and your reflection in their eyes, staring right back at you telling you, you are enough. 

You will ALWAYS be enough. 

This is why I am saying no to the ever-so-daunting “mom-bod.” I do not fall short, I will not give in to this lie that I am sub-par, I will stand tall.

I am Ezra’s mom. I take this journey and glorify it. The good, the bad, the discomfort and the beauty in the middle. I am blessed to be her mother and am honoured to rock this ‘MOMBOD.’

-Xox

me and ez

Mat Leave Ends, But Another Adventure Begins

Back to work. Back to the grind. Back to the ol’ time card.

But it’s not the same. Back to work, with a baby. What does that look like you ask? Well, I really couldn’t tell you; yet. I have my first day back to work on Friday. Starting a new job in a new field of which I know nothing about the company but I’m excited. It’s going to be good and it’ll allow my week to have a more structured look to it. Thankfully I have found a position I can go back to part time, as I don’t know if I could quite muster up enough courage to leave my baby girl for the entire day for 5 days a week.

[The day she was born – 17 hours old// Her first baseball game – 6 days old//Teens camp – 2 months old]

Luckily, I have the most amazing mother in law who is willing to watch sweet Ez for those two days that I’m away. Not only does this give me the confidence and freedom to separate myself from mama-mode and dive into work-mode, but Ezra LOVES her Nama. Let me tell you, the second Ez sees Nama, everything else disappears and nothing else matters, Nama is here. Her little legs start pumping a hundred miles per hour, she is fist bumping the air and with her big goofy grin, she is screaming at the top of her lungs. She loves her.

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The night I went into labour 

Looking back on when I was pregnant, very pregnant, and preparing for maternity leave, the 12 months you’re given seems like an eternity. The ‘go-getter’ in me thought, ‘yeah, I’ll get this baby thing under wraps and then I’ll just have a 9 month vacation!’ Oh man was I wrong. Everyday has been a joy, full of love, laughter and all that gushy stuff. There has been hardships in the midst of that, endless crying, sleepless nights, but every parent goes through that. We were fortunate enough to have an angel of a babe that was, and continues to be, so kind to us. But even though I thought having a baby wouldn’t weigh me down and immobilize me that much; it did. You get in to the routine of sleep, nurse, change diaper, sleep, nurse, change diaper, and eventually that starts to level out. Ezra is pretty simple when it comes to this schedule and will mostly go anywhere with me as long as I’m able to take time out for her. Pushing the stroller a little longer or put a wrap on to cuddle her close, to ensure she can have a nap.

[Ezra in her new Beluga Baby ‘EZRA Wrap’ Photo|Haley Campbell Owner of Beluga Baby // Ice cream at Morgan Crossing // Ez meeting Jillian Harris for the first time (all babies have this ‘first’ right?]

All this is about to change though. I am going to feel that heart wrenching, yearning sensation to want to be with my baby and can’t. I’m fully anticipating a meltdown, not on her part but on mine! She’s was and now, has become again, a part of me. My little side kick. The robin to my batman, the tissue to my sniffle, the laughter to my jokes, the peanut to my jelly. the Ez to her mama. For the past three weeks I have been completely soaking up every hug, every smile, every giggle, and yes, even every roar. (she’s a baby Rex). Getting more sentimental as the time tock’d and the days grew closer. I am not usually this type of person, at least the one that sits there for an extra minute just staring at my sweet babe, every, single, moment.

[I really miss this precious time of napping with a newborn. Oh how sweet it is.]

I am looking forward to going back though. To have more then the length of a nap time to be a real person again, to be an adult and have a conversation that doesn’t include what was in her diaper or how many veggie balls (IKEA – delicious) she ate for lunch. To regain some composure and assertiveness that I can bounce back, I can be social and I can live my life again, of course, with my little sidekick holding my hand through it all. This’ll be another new chapter in our lives, a chapter of change and a chapter of growth. Figuring out what it means for mama to go back to work and how Ez will receive it. Here’s hopin’ and you bet I’ll be praying.

What were your thoughts? your doubts? your fears? Did you find identity in going back to work, feel more like yourself again? (whatever that may mean to you).
What were your biggest hurdles in trying to make things work and making sure your little loved one was comfortable and confident in you leaving them? I want to know them!
From one mama to another, I would love your support and guidance in some ideas or scheduling that you found moved mountains when you went back to work.

I’ll leave you now with a few of my favourite memories from the past year with my sweet babe. Enjoy x0x

Wedding Shoot photo | Sasha Cooper Photography

TOP TEN GIFTS FOR THE MOM WHO DOES IT ALL

Have you been racking your brain on what to get your mom, grandma, mother-in-law or even mama friends for Mother’s Day? Well you’re in luck. Here is one of the best cheat sheets you will ever lay your eyes on. We all know you can’t buy a mother’s love but you sure can buy her cool gifts! Each and every one of these gifts has the capacity to surprise, excite and may even cause tears when given. Grab some tea and a biscuit or two (maybe five) and let’s get started!

Top Ten Mother's Day

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1. MINT & BIRCH||

Jewelry; one of the most sought after mother’s day gifts. These necklaces are not only beautiful AND handmade, but they are customizable. Have your journey, hopes and loves displayed & worn proudly each and everyday for all to see. Displaying the proud, strong and courageous mama in your life. These necklaces & bracelets are made of heavy gold fill and will not wear off or tarnish, a treasure for years to come. Mint&Birch also creates these absolutely beautiful nests, custom to your family and children. Each piece is hand crafted and stamped with love by the shop owner herself; Jessica. Here is an excerpt from her site on WHO she is and where her heart is when creating each piece of jewelry. “I have the honour of hearing the stories behind the pieces that are commissioned. Stories of new life, milestones, celebration, weddings, joyous events, but also of grief and loss. I am so humbled to be making these special pieces.” Check out Mint&Birch whole collection and find the perfect gift for your own FOREVER MAMA. 

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2. BELUGA BABY||

A perfect gift for new or first time mamas. Celebrate the joy and love for your little ones that made you a mama; keeping them close, safe and snuggled in sweet, soft bamboo against your heart. With the beautiful, fun variety of colours they have, your hardest choice may be choosing which one, but you can always get two! “As for mom, sometimes she simply needs her hands free. That’s where baby wearing comes in. And you don’t need any sort of high tech equipment. Women have been wearing their babies for thousands of years. All you need is a Beluga Baby Wrap to keep your little one close. Shop the Beluga Wrap!” – Haley. If you haven’t met the shop owner Haley, you’re seriously missing out! She is a crazy firm believer and advocate for wearing your bundle of joy at all times. And I’ve gotta say, I agree 110% Grocery shopping? Wrap your babe. Housework? Wrap your babe. Mother’s Day Gift shopping? WRAP. YOUR. BABE.

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3. BEBE DE LUXE||

Who doesn’t love to be pampered? Seriously. Hand a bag or Luxe glass jar of this magical stuff to your mother/wife/sister, heck, even your brother (maybe not for mothers day though) and they will be forever grateful. THIS is the good stuff. Bébé de Luxe Coconut & Oat Milk Bath is natural, vegan and free of all nasties (toxins and carcinogens). It is made with 100% certified organic, food-grade ingredients.  The combination of organic coconut milk and organic oatmeal gently cleanses baby’s skin and enhances their natural baby softness without stripping the natural oils. Perfect for either a mommy&me tub time or a wine&cheese tub time. Pick yours up here and pamper your mama this Mother’s Day!

&& if you really want to spoil your mama you’ll pair it with a mini mama&me Bebe de Luxe floral bath, here is a few photos of one my daughter and I did just last week. Photos by the lovely & talented Sasha Cooper Photography.

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4. ALYSSA KELLART PHOTOGRAPHY||

WATCH THIS & THEN READ.  Are you in love? Is your heart just pounding right now.

Mamas everywhere deserve to be celebrated! I love to see moms interacting with their littles and it’s something that I truly believe makes a mama’s heart beat stronger. This Mother’s Day, take those moms that are behind the scenes, behind the meltdowns and behind the messy lunches and put them in front of the lens. Glorify them and thank them for all they do, each and everyday. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle that life is, time to take a second, rejoice and be joyful for the wonderful world of motherhood. What better gift then one that can be cherished forever? Alyssa has a few different packages to choose from to fit any budget, Seriously! Check her out! Documentary Motherhood Mini Sessions & photo packages available here. She is so sweet, she also offers this UH-MAZING option of a gift registry. If you have a whole family who is giving to a grandmother/mother/friend, you can all contribute to this amazing blessing and keepsake. What a gift. 

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5. NETTLES TALE||

Nettle’s Tale is a local BC grown company, made for, sized after and modelled for women everywhere! I completely adore this company. Their heart & mind speaks directly to women of all stages of life and have adorable, funky, and neutral suits to choose from. My current favourite is ‘The Britney’ it is a limited edition from last year, pair it with some beautiful magic bottoms and you’re on your way to comfort AND class. Nettle’s Tale also offers gift cards if you are unsure of which amazing suit to purchase for the mama in your life! Before I forget, if you’re local to Vancouver you are in luck! They JUST opened a Nettle’s Tale STOREFRONT! So exciting. Their brand new shop is now open in the heart of Vancouver’s Historic Gastown. This store is the flagship retail outlet for Nettle’s Tale Swimwear. If you know your mother/wife would love Nettle’s Tale come this way! Stock photos from Nettle’s Tale

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6. VICTORIA SENGES||

I’m a huge fan of their monthly planner notepad and larger notepads. As most moms, I am constantly making lists and always double checking dates/groceries etc. It just makes it that much more fun when you’ve got a beautiful pad to write on! Make sure you also check out her perpetual wall calendar; these beauties are perfect for any small nook in your home, living room, entranceway, or even the kitchen! I also just want to zone in a little bit about the woman behind the paper; Victoria. Victoria created her own company and sought to build her design portfolio by branding companies, designing wedding invitations, and saying yes to just about anyone who was in need of design help. Eager to design things that reflected Victoria’s personal design style, she began designing inspiring prints for her mother to help during cancer treatments. When she realized she could be using the prints as a tool to raise money for cancer awareness. Each piece is printed, cut, glued, scored, foiled, and packaged by hand. A lot of love goes into the production of each individual piece. One of my biggest joys in supporting and shopping ‘small’ is the stories behind the owners and the passions that drive them onward and up! Shop her stuff now here and enjoy all her awesome&creative designs!

Photos by Julie Christine Photography

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View More: http://juliechristinephotos.pass.us/calendars

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7. DIAPER BAG – HERSCHEL||

Herschel? Herschel for a diaper bag? Yes. So much yes. The perfect in between, bag for a mom on the go. Looking for something with a little more class, diaper pouch and sousou clip? Simple add-ons my friend! I have been carrying around an oversized Herschel Strand Duffle since Ez’ was born and I love it! Very versatile and big enough to just throw a few diapers a pouch for babe or to unpack and bring shopping. Also, I should note, the hubz doesn’t really mind that it’s a ‘cool looking bag’ either! (The only downside is that I added a poo emoji to the side, so that makes shopping fun when babe isn’t around. HA.)

HERSCHEL

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8. REMZO APPAREL||

Mommy&Me sets? Yes please! Time to celebrate mama and the little one who MADE that beautiful, strong, loving women a mama. Remzo Apparel has tons of great sets to choose from, or individuals if you are just looking for mom. But come on, who doesn’t love matching mom and babe clothes! They have almost all of their clothing is gender neutral and super fun to dress up with pigtails or ball caps. One of my all time favs is their ‘I need a nap’ shirts. Ez has yet to grow into hers, but soon, maybe in the summer, we will be posting for this awesome company once more. Rocking our matching T’s in the sunshine! Check them out here for their selection of awesome unique tee’s. Stock photos from Remzo Apparel.

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9. GLITTER+SPICE||

‘Teething might be ugly, but the solution doesn’t have to be. Who said you can’t have both style & function! Inspired to find a teething solution that was safe yet stylish when our youngest started teething, we created Glitter & Spice Accessories Inc. for modern day parents that are safe and fun for babies to chew.’ –Lorene, owner of G&S.

These necklaces are 100% food grade silicone, perfect for baby’s gums, BPA free and no yuckies (Phthalate’s, Lead, or PVC’s) and they use only Organic untreated wood. My absolute favourite thing that G+S does is the wooden top clasp they use, it is so baby friendly and unlike any other company that resembles their pacifier clips. One thing that a lot of mamas go through is the teething stages. Dads go through it to, believe me! But mamas are usually the day in, day out comforters for the wee ones. Glitter+Spice has come out with some of the most beautiful CHEWllery pieces for the moms in your life. I love these beads for the beautiful neutral sets they have and they are perfect to aid your sweet little ones while in depths of teething season. Head on over to their page and check out their endless assortment of colours, styles, beads and lengths to make the perfect piece. Your mama’s and your baby’s will thank you for this! Stock Photos from Glitter&Spice.

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10. THE CEDAR TRIBE||

Do you have a mama in your life who loves home décor? These beautiful handmade, custom crafted, painted and stained pieces are breathtaking. Seascapes, sunrises and sunsets are the heart beat to this talented woman. If your mama has an artist’s soul or a love for handmade beauty, this is it! Perfect for any type of mama, grandma, auntie mama, or sister mama! Enjoy and you’re welcome. Check her out on instagram (@thecedartribe) or facebook! She is new on there, so lets give Stephanie some love! Head on over to her Etsy page to see what new and custom designs she’s come up with this week. Always changing and bringing something new to the table, no two are alike!

Well, there you have it! That sums up our top ten gifts for mothers day! I hope you found something new to gift to that special woman in your life. If you found a new product or have been encouraged by some of the stories of the mamas behind each of these products, that brings me deep, deep joy! Make sure to head on over to the right of this page to find out how you can follow along and never miss a post! Enjoy your Mother’s Day!

X0X – CASS

Introverted Extrovert

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May 28 2016

When you think of a newborn baby you think of love, joy and excitement. A new chapter in your life, full of twists and turns, nothing quite like anything you’ve experienced. But that’s exactly what it is, nothing you’ve ever experienced. There is such a high, but there are days of extreme low, all the feels & low energy. This is something that I thought I would not have the chance to experience. I look at myself as someone who is cheerful, exciting and energetic. Thinking about the possibility of PPD or just the extreme highs&lows of having a baby, didn’t cross my mind. Until it did. It rocked me. I won’t go as far to say that I experienced PPD, but there was definitely moments and days of depression and jealousy. Sad of the days that I couldn’t just be myself and move, write and craft as I wanted and jealous of my husband being able to just pick up and go. Go to work, visit and joke around with his colleagues, play baseball for the summer and simply still be apart of community.

This is my story.

How becoming a mother changed my perspective on social time, family time and me time. How crucial the balance in-between is.

I would find myself constantly asking myself, ‘where am I going?’, ‘when will I be better?’, ‘where is my identity?’ Yes I am Ez’ mother and Mackenzie’s wife, but really, Who am I now? I am not, in no way, saying this negatively, but if I had been able to prepare myself for the fourth trimester, getting on and growing strong with baby life, I would have. I would have prepped, I would have pampered, I would have given myself a reality check and checked IN with ME.

Yes, yes, all who know me and have met me before babe would see an outgoing, energetic, extrovert. I will have to correct you here. Since becoming a mother I feel like my life has shifted (surprise, surprise). Being an extrovert with a baby really rocks you. I now feel as though I have to be social ALL the time because I am around my sweet girl. Absolutely no personal time and then when hubby gets home or I have time to go out with friends, I don’t want to. I’d rather go sit in my room with my computer, Netflix & popcorn. Introvert.

WHO SAW THAT COMING?

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In the past I would crave the social interaction. I would feed off it, find joy and find peace in it. To me, there was nothing quite like a morning, afternoon and evening out with the girls. Seriously; 24/7. When it really comes down to it though, plain and simple, I really do need to look out for me and my mental health. How was my day? Was it tough? Should I go out tonight? Will this all just snowball in to tomorrow if I don’t take some time to rest and just be. Bringing myself back down after a day of constant ‘mommy-I-need-to-have-one-hand-on-you-at-all-times-or-else-I-will-cry-bloodymurder’ calls for a well needed glass of grape juice, fishy crackers and good ol’ HGTV.

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What are some things that you’ve found have helped you through the dull&darker times of motherhood? Especially in that first year. What have you found to be a comfort to you? old or new? I want to hear your thoughts and help you through this special, amazing and empowering time of motherhood!

Xox.