Body Anxiety: My Changing Pregnant Body

 

There’s a lot other women and doctors don’t tell you about pregnancy. I think if they did tell women all the gory details, no one would dare have a baby. Also the list of unpleasant body changes and emotional turmoil a woman experiences is far too long.

By far the most challenging thing I’ve had to endure so far is weight gain. I’m sure it makes me sound like a terrible mom and an awful woman but the weight gain has got to be the most depressing thing on the planet. I understand it’s for a good cause, but it’s still painful. I’ve lived my whole life trying to stave off weight gain and in one fell swoop I’m supposed to just embrace my ever-expanding waistline.

Within the first two months of pregnancy, I ballooned like a damn beached whale and I was getting comments like, “I’ve never seen someone show so soon” and “You must be having twins”, but then my waistline miraculously shrunk back down. After much googling, I realized it was completely normal for bloating within the first trimester and then for it to subside.

As of now though, none of my pre-pregnancy jeans fit and any tight t-shirts are insanely mid-drift barring. OH, and all my workout clothes look like sausage casings, so that makes it challenging to look at myself in the mirror at the gym. But it’s all for a good cause, right?

Not to mention the fact that in 2 weeks, I’m suppose to fit into my WEDDING DRESS for our second wedding party in Cuba this Christmas. All the while my mom is in my ear about her vegan, clean-eating, challenge and all the weight she’s loosing. I told her how it must being coming off her and on to me and she lectured me about how it’s going to be hard to lose the baby weight once junior is born.

When I first began this beautiful pregnancy journey, I was constantly nauseous and couldn’t stomach being in the kitchen, eating vegetables, or eating anything other than carbs without dry heaving. Now that I’m able to stomach a wider variety of things, I’m actually doing a lot better with the weight gain and I’m starting to feel it even out a bit more and stabilize. For a few weeks there I could only stomach bagels and cream cheese, popcorn, eggs on toast, and salt and vinegar chips but now my day looks like: Eggs on toast, frozen fruit and soy milk smoothies and stir fries and veggie filled pastas. I’m still not able to stomach too much meat which is fine by me. I’m taking lots of vitamins to supplement the lack of protein in my diet.

All these feelings I’ve been having have been teaching me about selflessness. This is the first time in my life I’ve been making major sacrifices for someone else. I’m very much ready for all these changes but it still doesn’t make the blow any less shocking and depressing.

PS: if I didn’t make it absolutely clear, I’m very much in love with my beautiful bundle of baby love and I wouldn’t change any of this for the world.

Dear plum sized baby

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Dear baby,

When I first found out you were leeching life off of me, you were the size of a poppy seed and now you are a plum! Your hands are now big enough to hold and your face is looking more life-like every day. I find every step of your development so fascinating. For the amount of manual labour going on inside of me, I sure don’t notice you very often. Actually, let’s be clear… The last three months I knew you were there every time I hung my head over the toilet, dry heaving away or every time I felt I was “so hungry I could puke”. But other than the odd cramp, you’re a pretty quiet house guest.

Now I feel better. I feel happy and healthy again. Hurrah for the second trimester! What’s really got me excited right now is feeling those little legs and arms thrashing around. For a while it will be just between you and me. I reckon we will share a quite a few things that are just between you and me. I feel like we already have a bond.

Just like I was for my mom, you little wee one are my source of inspiration. You have already made me a better person than I ever could have imagined. Baby, because I wanted you to have a happy and healthy mommy, I got help. I knew several years ago you were a not so distant dream and I wanted to heal my brain so I could soak you in and love every minute of our life together. You make me realize how precious life is….how fragile we are.

I already feel like I’ve made a huge mistake as a mother. In order for me to function and not be a complete emotional wreck for these nine months, I had to continue with my medication. I’m only on .5 mg a day and my doctor says she’s delivered hundreds of babies who’s moms were on much higher doses and the baby was perfectly happy and healthy… But I can’t help but worry. Like I said, you’re so fragile. Whenever I sense a possible threat, I play my fight song in my head and get all maternal.

So baby, you see I’ve weighed my options and you having a mom that can’t function is not in the cards for us. Happy moms make happy babies and I can’t wait to see your tiny little smile and hear that infectious little laugh.

Love from an extremely happy little momma

The Strength Behind The Uniform

Priscilla Blake, Navy, Canadian, Memoria, PO2 Craig Blake

Once in a while we have people come into our world and put life into perspective for us. You hear their story and their struggles and you learn the value of human life. You understand something just a little bit bigger than yourself.

My dear friend Priscilla Blake came into my life in the fall of 2012. I had just left school to take care of my health and focus on healing, when I met Priscilla at an event I helped a friend put together called “Workout For the Fallen” — an event aimed at honouring our war heroes that live and have lived in our own back yard, fighting for our freedom. Priscilla’s husband PO2 Craig Blake was one of the unfortunate ones. Craig was only a few weeks into his first tour of Afghanistan when an IED killed him and injured a fellow soldier. Craig was the first Canadian Sailor to die overseas in the war. His death came on the eve of the Navy’s 100th anniversary, a time of celebration. While the military community gathered for the celebrations in Parade Square in Halifax Nova Scotia, it was with heavy hearts we learned of Blake’s passing.

I distinctly remember hearing this news. This was my first parade with my Navy boyfriend. I had only just begun my journey as a military spouse, learning the lingo and understanding the protocol. But I understood what this meant. This was huge. This was earth shattering. For the first time I second guessed my lifestyle choice. Could I handle that news? Could anyone?

Priscilla Blake and her family are “the strength behind the uniform” personified. She handles life with grace and dignity, protecting and empowering her two brave children. Her entrance into my world has completely changed my outlook on life. Without knowing it, she’s taught me about what it means to be a military wife. I can confidently say Priscilla leaves a foot print on everyone she meet’s heart. I am so honoured to have her in my life and I treasure our friendship.

PO2 Craig Blake

Saturday afternoon, the community gathered at the former Montebello Park in Dartmouth for the renaming in honour of Craig. The park will forever be known as “PO2 Craig Blake Memorial Park” and as one of the speakers so eloquently put it, children will forever ask their parents who Craig was, when they visit the park. They’ll learn about the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country and they’ll learn about the Blake family who remained the strength behind the uniform.

Money money money…

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I’ve posted before about finances. Money is such a huge source of stress for so many people and I think it’s important to talk about. I’ll tell you a secret: I wasn’t always on top of my finances and budgeting like I am now. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will share a few valuable things I’ve learned through trial and error.

1. STAY ON TOP OF YOUR SPENDING!

If you aren’t constantly watching your bank account, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Back in the old days when we carried cash around and lived on cash diets, it was easier to be accountable. But with all the plastic in our lives, it can be way too easy to over-spend. There was a time when I would avoid opening up my online banking because I would rather not admit to myself that I had over spent that month.

2.  BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET!

Set yourself up with a budget in order to manage your cash flow. If you bring in $2000 a month but you spend $2001, you’re over budget and it’s a slippery slope form there to debt city.

3. BE REALISTIC!

In my opinion, it is NOT realistic to set aside $50 a month for shopping or extras, if you know you enjoy shopping. There’s no need to lie to yourself…believe me, you’ll only let your self down!

4. PAY YOURSELF FIRST!

First thing’s first, deposit money into your savings! It may sting in the beginning, but you’ll get used to living without that money after a while. What not to do: tell yourself you’ll put anything left over at the end of the month in savings. Believe me, it wont be there! You’ll find something better to do with that money.

5. SIGN UP FOR MINT.COM!

If you have an Apple or Android computer or phone, you have the ability to stay on the good-finances track at your finger tips. Mint does everything you’ll need: set budgets, manage cash flow, and alert you if you’ve over spent in certain categories or are getting dangerously low on money. Mint will help you stay accountable and not have any nasty surprises when you go to pay a bill!

I hope these tips help you get on track to financial freedom! It really can be this simple.

Happy saving!

Got any penny-pinching tips? Share ’em!

 

Throwing Shade

Anyone who can make me laugh and teach me something important at the same time, is a win!

Throwing Shade is a weekly video podcast that makes me die laughing each week, but I also get to learn about important issues to women and the gay community!

Summer Favourites

Over the last few years, instead of talking the talk, I’ve decided to walk the walk when it comes to eliminating toxins from my body. Eating clean, free of processed garbage has been a big step that is now apart of my daily life. The next step is eliminating toxins from my daily beauty routine.

I wanted to share with you the products I’ve switched to.

Shampoo:

I use Lush’s solid shampoo called Karma Komba a couple times a week and I’m hooked. I switched to solids last year, for ease of travel. But another perk is that they last WAY longer than liquid because you add the water to the bar when you lather it up in the shower!

Conditioner:

I LOVE Lush’s solid conditioner called Jungle. It smells AMAZING and leaves your hair feeling clean, soft, and doesn’t leave behind those nasty sulphates! UH MAZE ING

Beachy Sea-Spray:

Lush’s Sea Spray Hair Mist changed my summer! I love wavy hair but I hate having to curl it, especially in the hot summer time. This summer, I got in the habit of washing my hair, braiding it, spritzing the sea spray into my tresses and letting it set! The end result was beachy waves, like I’d spent the day at the beach! Plus it also smells amazing!

Moisturizer:

Obviously I’m a huge fan of Lush’s Karma products. If you’ve never smelled Karma Kream, get to your nearest Lush ASAP. It’s life changing! It smells fresh like flowers and clean like soap. When I’m feeling down, a wife of Karma Kream and I’m feeling brighter.

Make-up Remover:

Straight up olive oil. Before you think I’ve gone of the deep end, take a cotton ball with some olive oil on it and try and take off some mascara! I dare ya! You’ll be instantly converted! It’s gentle and natural!

Feminine Hygiene Products:

A good friend posted an article on Facebook about the chemicals found inside tampons and pads and it got me wondering why I’d never questioned whats inside something I put inside me. It never occurred to me to question it but after some digging, I found a product I can trust. Natracare doesn’t use harsh bleaches to whiten their products and they only use cotton. I’ve been using them for quite some time now and I’ve noticed their absorbency is even better than the others, which makes up for their price tag, which is a few more dollars a box than their competitors.

announcing…..Mrs. McDougall

Where have I been? You know… just off getting married.

I feel terrible about my lack of blogging but please please please forgive me.

On May 25th I married my best friend and partner in crime. He’s my guardian angel and it breaks my heart to think of where my mental health would be if he hadn’t come along and showed me how my life can change in such a dramatic and positive way. Life together is just so effortlessly easy.

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Today my co-worker asked me if Reid and I fight and I was honest and said no. We don’t fight. It’s a difficult concept for so many people. Growing up, I thought love was disagreeing. Love was challenging each other. But I got a little older and I realized that wasn’t the case.

Here’s a list compiled by Reid and I about how we make it work

1. Discuss VS Fight

We share our points of view, we explain our reasoning, and then we come to a compromise that’s either  a blend of  the two points of view or sometimes we just agree that one of us has a better idea. It’s not an insult if one of us doesn’t like the others idea. It’s nothing personal, at all.

2. Genuine Interest

He takes such an interest in the stories I report on at work, the mental health causes I’m interested in and the workout regime or race I’m training for. And the same goes for him. I love it when he teaches me about what he does at work or when he shares childhood memories with me.

3. Align our Goals

We are constantly talking about what we want out of life financially, for our retirement, for our children, for our investments, and our careers. We’ve already talked about what we want for our kids and when we plan to retire. Talking about our goals also reassures me that we’re on the right path.

4. Take Turns

Reid is an amazing cook and I wouldn’t gladly let him cook every night but I also love to cook so we take turns. But if Reid cooks I will gladly clean up and vice versa. It’s not something we’ve ever talked about and we don’t have a schedule. We just kind of go with the flow. If I’m not feeling up to cooking, NO SWEAT! He’s got my back. Also I’m really bad at remembering to do laundry and I know he’s always willing to pick up the slack.

5. Have Fun!

We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We are always joking and having fun. Laughter is the best medicine, remember! We are constantly making new memories and reminiscing about old ones.  It just comes naturally when you’re best friends. In my opinion, it’s not something you can force.

These are not hard and fast rules to follow but this is how we have made it work. It’s not always sunshine and roses, but we always look on the bright side and enjoy each moment together that we get. With Reid’s career with the military, we know it’s possible that he could be deployed for any number of months so we try to take advantage of what time we have together. He’s my rock and he’s so important to my mental health! He’s taught me so much about life, love, and my self.

Steph Wed day 001

Where have I been?

When I started as a Community Correspondent, I was un-employed. I spent my days at home in bed looking for work and blogging about mental health. Just over a month ago I started my first ever big girl job. I’m full time and I work 10 – 6, Monday to Friday. A dream come true! But by the time I get home from work, I am too exhausted to blog. My after-work time is very precious. It’s usually filled with eating, exercising, and chatting with my boyfriend. and SLEEPING! My job can be pretty emotionally exhausting. But having that stability in my life has been such a fantastic form of therapy. 

I want to apologize for not blogging more. It’s been a crazy time for me but I promise I will set aside time in the week to blog. I’m realizing how precious time really is! 

Triple Chocolate & Banana Protein Muffins

3 ripe mashed Bananas

2 Eggs

2 Scoops of Chocolate Protein Powder of your choice 

1/3 Cup of Whole Wheat Flour

1/3 Cup of Oats (Either whole oats or blended into a powder) 

1/2 Tsp of Baking Powder

1/4 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 

Handfull of Dark Chocolate Chips 

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Mix everything together! Pour into greased muffin tins and back at 375 for 10-15 minutes. Use a toothpick to check if they are done! Stick it in to the centre and if it comes out clean, they are ready! Let them cool and ENJOY! You should get 6 fairly large muffins for on batch. 

I added ground Flax and Psyllium Husk but forgot to add more liquid so they turned out a tad too dry but still edible. You can definatly substitute anything for anything just keep the ratio between wet and dry ingredients fairly similar to the recipe. 

Let me know how yours turn out! 

I have a massive idea.

Something so big and such a huge undertaking but something that will equal so much good for my community and beyond. 

My brother is helping me out so much with it. He is a brand strategist and is helping me develop my ideas. He’s an amazing person and has helped me out so much in life. Once again, he’s right here beside me every step of the way. 

I am filled with so much hope and joy right now that I just had to share it. 

Watch out for some big things coming your way this year. STAY TUNED