Why Every Parent Needs a Mini Fridge in Their Room

Four AM Mom thought, “I wish we had a mini fridge in our bedroom.”

I’d have bottles of water, juice boxes, oh my goodness and my favourite snack – energy bites!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Bites

1 1/2c old fashioned rolled oats
1/2c peanut butter
1/3c pure maple syrup
1/3c semi-sweet chocolate chips

IMG_3258.JPG


It's honestly not that my kitchen is super far away, but I wouldn’t have to walk up and down all those stairs, I wouldn’t have to worry about making any extra noise that could wake either of my daughters, dogs or husband. Plus, I’m also sore from my caesarean and would rather not have to leave my room in the middle of the night.

Oh, and how could I have not thought about bottles? I could store my breast milk for the hubby to do a night feed.

Genius! Pure genius!

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

And what else is brilliant? Trading your night side table for a mini fridge for the first few months postpartum! Everything is within reach, right when you need it!

xoxo

Amanda

Your Postpartum Body

We are so very hard on ourselves, especially shortly after having a baby. There is an intense amount of pressure in the media to strive for perfection....

a clean house

kids in designer clothing

well kept yards

IMG_0550.PNG

and after having a baby, there is pressure to have an incredible body. We see it all the time. Post-baby bootcamp. Workouts and eating plans that place strict rules on what you can and cannot do...that don't necessary take into account (some of them do!) sleepless nights, hormonal changes, the demands of breastfeeding, your pre-baby body and lifestyle, your post-baby lifestyle (or lack thereof).

Be gentle

Be kind

It took 10 months for your body to change. On one hand, that's not a whole lot of time for your body to make all of these incredible changes. On the other hand, 10 months is a long time for things to shift and move and it's difficult to expect that within a few weeks of having your baby, your body will be back to its pre-pregnancy state.

Be gentle

Be kind

Your body doesn't undo all of that 10 months of change in a few weeks. It takes time, and while it can certainly be frustrating, we encourage you to love your new body and take it day by day. The scale does not define who you are.

xoxo

Shannon

Stress Relief During Pregnancy

As hormone levels are out of whack during pregnancy, so are stress levels. Things that were never a trigger for you may cause an extreme amount of stress during pregnancy, so being prepared and filling your toolkit with stress relief exercises is a great thing to do in the early stages of pregnancy.



The first step in creating your stress relief toolkit for pregnancy is to think about the activities that you enjoyed prior to becoming pregnant. Maybe it was going to the gym or hitting the trail for a hike. Perhaps it was exploring a local bookstore or coffee shop. Maybe even a trip to the salon or spa for some pampering. Whatever gave you stress relief prior to pregnancy is a great place to start for what will give you relief during pregnancy.

Take it day by day. As your body and hormones change, so will your needs.

Then, think about the foods that you're loving right now that give you all the good feels. Chocolate, ice cream, pickles, salads, fruit, cake, cheese. Whatever it is that you're craving, tuck a few things away in your fridge or pantry so you have emergency stores for when your stress levels are high.

Finally, practice your breath and visualization. Breathe in evenly for a count of four and picture a place that brings an extreme amount of calm for you. It might be a beach, or wherever your partner proposed. It could even be your own home! Wherever you feel calm, grounded and centred, bring that place into your mind and breathe.

When all else fails, there's always Netflix, ice cream and napping!

xoxo
Shannon

5 Things You Should Know About Home Birth

Thinking of having a home birth for your baby? We've compiled a list of 5 simple things that you should know and consider if you're thinking that this way of birthing is right for you.



Having a home birth means being able to create your environment

While is same is true of hospital births, birthing at home means having even more control over your environment. You are in familiar surroundings, which instantly lowers stress and keeps adrenaline low, letting oxytocin flow. To prepare, think about what your ideal environment looks like, smells like and feels like for birth. This may be the smell of a freshly baked batch of cookies, the blanket that you love to curl up with on the couch during movie night, or photos from your favourite vacation spot.

Embrace all of what this environment will be for you. Set up those pictures, wrap yourself in something lovely and comforting, bake cookies (or have your doula bake you cookies!).

Home birth can be messy

Well not can be, it is! All birth is messy! Have a shower curtain (or a few) on hand to protect your home and surfaces the best that you can and don't worry...everything can be cleaned!

Visitors may want to come earlier since you're already at home

This is definitely something we see with our home birth clients, and we encourage you to consider it carefully. At the hospital, if you've given birth in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning, chances are you won't be sharing the good news and visitors won't be knocking on your door much before noon. With a home birth, visitors seem to think that because you're already at home, you're free game for visitors. If you want space following the birth of your baby, you're perfectly within your rights as a new (or new again) parent to not share your news until you're ready, or post a sign on the door indicating when you will be accepting visitors.

Home birth isn't for everyone

If you are having a particularly difficult or strenuous pregnancy, are considered high risk or simply do not want a home birth, that's perfectly fine. There are loads of different conditions such as elevated blood pressure, prior cesarean birth, and prior significant postpartum hemorrhage, that make home birth a less than ideal option for some women. If you're still wanting a low intervention birth and to control your environment, discuss what your options are with your medical team and make a plan that includes as much of your home birth ideals as possible.

Only midwives attend home births

If you're considering a home birth and are under the care of an obstetrician or family physician with maternity specialty, chat with them about your options as only midwives (at least in Ontario) will attend home births. A simple transfer of care may be all that you need to carry your home birth wishes!

Remember! This is your body, your baby and your birth. Only you know what is right for you!

Having a doula present at your home birth provides a great deal of benefits, and we mesh incredibly well with the care of a midwife. While they are tending to your medical needs, we can provide emotional and mental support.

Put us to work! We're happy to head to your kitchen and make food to keep everyone energized. We can run out and grab supplies if they are needed. We can entertain older children if they are at home during the early stages of labour.

We can hold the space and help with the environment.

Wishing you all the best for a happy, safe, and healthy home birth!

xoxo
Shannon

Bonding with Baby during Pregnancy

Do you know the reason that newborns stop crying to the sound of their moms voice once they are born? The answer is so simple, pure and raw.

At around 18 weeks gestation, baby is starting to pick up sounds in utero. By 25-26 weeks, they respond to noises and voices, and are able to distinguish familiarity.

That gives almost 15 weeks from the time that baby can recognize mom's voice to their birth



So!

Talk
Sing
Read

Find a favourite book that you want to teach your baby about, maybe something that you are exceptionally passionate about or your family history if there are important people in baby's life that have passed away. I used to tell the boys stories about their Grandpa all the time while I was pregnant, and would sing the Beatles to my belly all the time.

To this day, they still ask for Yesterday at bedtime.

Making those memories starts while you are pregnant. Find your voice, and let your baby get to know their mom in the most simple and pure way during your pregnancy.

If there are others that you want baby to recognize by the sound of their voice, encourage them to talk to baby too! This is a great way to get a soon-to-be big brother or sister involved and bonding with baby before the big day!

Once baby is here, you may be surprised at how quickly they settle to a familiar voice and song, and how the books your read to them during pregnancy become their favourites as they grow into toddlers!

xoxo
Shannon

How Life Trauma Can Impact Your Birth

It seems that this month we are talking all about the hard and challenging topics surrounding birth. At the beginning of the month, we talked about breastfeeding challenges. In the middle of the month, precipitous birth. And now? Trauma.


Trauma is something very real and very scary for alot of people, and yet something that we tend not to spend a whole lot of time talking about. And trauma can have different meanings to different people.

Rape
Divorce
Death of an important person
Abuse
Car accident
Injury
Bullying
Abortion
Miscarriage
Infant loss
Childhood experiences
Adult experiences

Trauma takes many, many forms and has a massive impact on your birth process (and postpartum recovery!)

How?

Well, most often when trauma hits, human beings tend to bury the emotions that are associated with that trauma. Fear, guilt, anger, despair, depression, sadness. There are so many emotions going on at one time, that it's often easier to bury them than to face them and let them go.

As we bury them, we hold onto them (rather unnecessarily) and then they creep up in situations that we don't expect....like birth! When hormones are running wild and you're being faced with a life changing event, it's reasonable to think that those buried emotions and experiences will come to the surface.

So, how do you deal with life trauma while you're pregnant? Isn't that just opening a can of worms, and inviting for stress during pregnancy?

Well, the best thing you can do (I speak from both personal experience and as a doula helping my clients through trauma) is to talk. Open up and talk about what has happened, acknowledge those emotions no matter how far deep they are buried and then let them go.

They serve you in no positive way.
You didn't do anything wrong at the time (or now).
You are whole and you are safe.
That past experience can no longer hurt you.
It won't happen again.
You are stronger than what happened to you.

Harness your own power and strength, and send the trauma on its way. Talking about your trauma may stir up emotions, but know that you are one step closer to releasing them and being free of them.

Chat with your doula, your partner, a trusted friend. Find an outlet like yoga or meditation to help you acknowledge and release.

xoxo
Shannon

The Fast and Furious: Precipitous Birth

Every one has a birth story...maybe it's theirs and maybe it's just one that they've heard once upon a time. Or maybe it's a video of a baby being born in a car on the way to the hospital.

That's right. I'm talking about faster than fast, precipitous birth.


So what does the term precipitous actually mean? Well in physical terms it means up on a precipice, extremely steep, and dangerous. As it relates to labour and birth, it means any type of leading to labour that may be considered exceptionally rapid or dangerous where there isn't enough time (technically, 3hrs from commencement of regular contractions) for things like comfort measures, changing positions or much else other than birthing your baby.

Sounds scary, right?

Well it can be, but with the right support and open communication with your care team, it doesn't have to be.

The best thing that you can do, since precipitous birth is completely unknown until it's happening, is to be an active participant in your care. Inform yourself of what birth and emergencies surrounding birth are so you're not caught off guard by medical terminology or chaos in your birth room.

If you feel like things are happening during labour maybe faster than you are prepared for, speak up. This is your body, birth and baby, so speak up and ask questions.

And have a backup plan. In the event that you're overwhelmed by what is going on in the birthing room, have someone there to ask you questions  and say things like ....

Are you ok?
Did you want to talk about our options?
Take a minute to breathe, and let's talk.
Let's find out more information.

Support from your partner during a precipitous birth is key, and know that they may be feeling overwhelmed as well. Having a doula present may take the load off both of you, allowing for calm and quiet to settle in amongst the chaos. A gentle hand on both mom's shoulder and partner's arm may be all that is needed to get through what is going on.

Support
Open communication
Active participant in your care

xo
Shannon

Common Breastfeeding Challenges

A lot of moms think breast feeding is easy and comes naturally, when in reality sometimes that isn’t the case. Breastfeeding is something that your body learns to do and your baby needs to learn how to do it as well. Sometimes it takes awhile for everyone to learn but remember that you are not alone during this time. There are many resources available to you, you just have to look for them or know the right people to ask. 

Here is my list of top breastfeeding challenges and, of course, some tips to those struggles. 


 
Latch Pain – It is quite common to have sore nipples when you first start breastfeeding. Your body needs to adjust to the new situation. If your baby has latched and the pain is lasting longer than a minute into the feed then you should double check on the positioning of the latch. The best latch is an asymmetrical latch where the mouth covers more of the lower nipple. If you need to reposition the baby put your finger inside their mouth in order to break the latch. Tickle your baby’s chin or feet so their mouth is open wide and position your breast again. If the baby’s chin and nose touch your breast and their lips are spread out around your nipple (so you cannot see your nipple) then you have a good latch. If you have a good latch and are still in pain, your nipples may be dry. Try using a nipple cream like Lansinoh in between feedings. Also try to avoid washing with soap as that tends to dry out your skin. 
 
Cracked/Bleeding Nipples – There are many different reasons why your nipples could crack or bleed, again this is quite common. It could be caused by dry skin, pumping issues, latch problems or thrush (see below). During your first week of breastfeeding you may have bloody discharge which is caused by baby learning what they are doing and your body adjusting to it, this is not harmful for your baby. Ensure you have a good latch or try feeding more regularly and in shorter periods. If your baby isn’t as hungry they tend to suckle softer. As stated above, try using a nipple cream to soothe your nipples. Leaving some milk on your nipples to air dry will sooth them as well, plus the milk has natural antibiotics to help healing. 
 
Blocked Ducts – If your ducts are blocked it is because your milk isn’t coming out properly. You may even notice hard lumps, redness or tender spots on your breasts. If you start to get a fever or feel achy that could be a sign of infection and you should see your doctor. Try not to go too long in between feedings as milk needs to be expressed often. A tight nursing bra may also cause your ducts to become blocked and of course, stress can also be a factor. Applying a warm compress to your breasts and massaging them will promote milk movement. 
 
Engorgement – This makes it hard for baby to latch properly since your breast is hard and it is uncomfortable in their mouth. If you hand express a little before you try to feed then your breast will be softer and it will be easier for baby to latch properly. Engorgement is due to high milk supply so the more you feed (or express) the less likely your breast will become engorged. Try using cabbage leaves or watermelon rinds to sooth your breasts if they become painful due to engorgement. 
 
Mastitis – This is a bacterial infection in your breasts. It is painful and usually is accompanied by flu-like symptoms. This is also quite common during the first few weeks after birth (but can also happen when you wean) and is caused by dry/cracked skin, blocked ducts or engorgement. The best way to treat mastitis is with antibiotics, hot compresses and frequent expressing. It is actually recommended that you continue to breastfeed when you have mastitis since breast milk has antibiotics in it. 
 
Thrush – This is a yeast infection in your baby’s mouth that can spread to your breasts. It is very itchy, sore and sometimes is accompanied by a rash. The best way to treat thrush is with antifungal medication. It is important to remember to treat baby and you at the same time or you can prolong the healing by continuing to pass it along to each other. You can also use coconut oil, tea tree oil and garlic to treat thrush and watermelon rinds or cabbage leaves to soothe your breast. 
 
Inverted Nipples – There is a simple test that you can do to see if you have inverted nipples. Softly pinch your areola with your thumb and index finger, if your nipple goes in instead of going out then you have inverted nipples. It is important to remember that this doesn’t mean you cannot breastfeed. However, it will be more of a struggle for you. Try using a pump or hand expressing to get your milk flowing before you try to latch your baby. If your baby is still having latch problems after you have a good supply try using nipple shields.

As always, if you feel like something is wrong and are struggling, please seek the knowledgeable support of a certified lactation consultant or your doctor! The information above are merely suggestions and should not be taken as medical advice, in any capacity.

xoxo
Stephanie

There is Always Time for Stories and Snuggles

In our fast paced world, it's so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of to-do lists, errands that need to be run and feeling exhausted at the end of the day.

Slow down, mama!

IMG_0552.PNG

There is always time for an extra story (especially with the older kids!), and to-do lists should always be plentiful in snuggles!

Take time this month to think about what is really important. The bills will always get paid, the car will always get to the dealership for service, the groceries will always get done and the pantry will be restocked.

But those snuggles? Those stories?

Those moments with your kiddos?

Make time. The other things, the errands and whatnot...they can wait.

Spend time with those that matter most, and I promise you, you won't regret it!

xoxo

Shannon

Getting on the water with a baby

Adjusting to life with a baby involves figuring out how to continue much loved activities, like getting out on the water during the warm-weather months. Boating is a big part of our summer, and a pastime we hoped to introduce our son to. 

photo credit: Millennial Mama blog


As a newborn and within the first few months, our son didn’t like his car seat – Was it too hot? Was it a wet or poopy diaper? Perhaps a general discomfort with being away from Mom? His fussiness in the car made it difficult for us to travel anywhere with baby.

Boating, we quickly learned, has a magical effect on babies. We first took our baby out on the boat at two weeks in order to introduce him to life on the water. The loud sound and vibrations of the motor coupled with the movement of the waves must have reminded our new baby of life in the womb where the loud beat of my heart accompanied his daily rhythms. In this way he always slept soundly on the boat, and great nighttime sleep resulted from these days of long naps and plenty of fresh air.

Travelling by water quickly became our preferred means of getting around with a newborn baby, and we came up with some creative ways to do so. We would boat to the town docks and walk to the nearby grocery store, buy ice cream cones, or pick up some wine for dinner with friends at the lakeside liquor store. Once we took weekend guests through waterways and locks to a restaurant only accessible by water. Another time we anchored on the shores of a popular island where we picnicked on snacks and enjoyed the company of other boaters. Feeling more adventurous, when Finn was seven weeks old we boated through a series of lakes to camp overnight on an island. Knowing Finn was comfortable boating at an early age gave us confidence in resuming our lifestyle outdoors.

photo credit: Millennial Mama blog

Here are some tips for boating with a baby


  1. Start them young. A baby accustomed to the sounds, smells and feeling associated with boating at a young age is less likely to develop anxious feelings about boating.

  1. Choose a good lifejacket. During our first boat ride, we borrowed a lifejacket that wasn’t a good fit for us. It rode high around our new baby’s head and was padded all around making it difficult to hold baby comfortably, making him fussy. Our infant lifejacket is made by Salus, which fits babies 9-25 pounds well and is easy to get on and off.

  1. Bring coverage against the elements. Grab a muslin blanket for even those hot days on the water. Wrapping your sleeping baby in the thin layer will help protect him from wind while on plane while still allowing breathability. Coverage from the blanket doubles as protection against sun exposure, especially when babies are too young for sunscreen.

  1. Take swimming lessons. When baby is old enough to do so (our private aquatics instructors recommended after 4 months) take swimming lessons to acquaint your baby with the feeling of water. Most babies love the weightlessness and comfort of water. It might surprise you how babies instinctually close their eyes and hold their breath come when submerged properly. Lessons will get baby ready for swimming and activate baby’s instinctual behavior in water.

  1. Have fun! Parents who are comfortable doing so will encourage children to enjoy boating as well. Be creative and boundless in how you and baby can explore lakes and waterways near you.

photo credit: Millennial Mama blog

Becoming parents is transformative, but having a baby doesn’t have to mean an end to much loved pastimes. We may have to rethink activities we used to do with ease, but with a little reimagining it’s certainly possible. You’ll be happier as a result and your baby will benefit from a richer life outdoors in nature.

What tips do you have for getting out in nature and back to activities you enjoy? Share your boating babes with #sweetstellas on Instagram.

Danielle is a high school teacher who is currently enjoying her days listening to baby boy giggles at her home by the water that she shares with the love of her life.

She and her family call lake country of Ontario, Canada home, where they spend their days on the water, walking in the woods, and living mindfully.

While always known for her devotion to reading and writing, motherhood inspires Danielle to tend to her passions and to unapologetically make meaning of her life.  She is mindful of the importance of wellness for herself, her household and the environment we all rely on.

Danielle is the writer and creator of the beautiful Millennial Mama blog.



5 Questions to ask a New Mom

We've all been there. A friend has a baby and we immediately want to swoop in for a snuggle, go ga-ga over buying cute baby gifts and maybe even make a meal or two to bring to the new parents.

Before you head over for a visit, consider the following questions and tips that we've compiled for you.



Did you know that one of the things that new mom's crave most is adult conversation? So often at our weekly Moms Get Social group we hear stories of motherhood, women coming forward and talking about their birth experiences and the first few weeks postpartum, and really what rings true is that they want to get back to being themselves.

Here is a list of questions to ask a new mom when you pop over for a visit, and a snuggle.

What would you like for breakfast/lunch/dinner?

Chances are, Mom doesn't quite remember the last time that she had a full meal. Bring something with you that is either something she has been craving since being pregnant or something that is exceptionally tasty and good. If the response is I don't know or Oh, don't bring anything, we are fine....bring something anyway. Coffee and donuts. Breakfast burritos. Her absolute most favourite meal. Sushi. Butter Chicken. Anything. She will love you for it even if she doesn't want to ask for it.

What setting do you use for the laundry?

Weird question, right? While it might catch Mom off guard for you to be asking about their laundry habits, it makes perfect sense to ask if there are any special instructions for their washer or dryer
before throwing in and completing a load for her. 

How do you install the carseats?

Important information for you to have for when you pick up the older kiddos and take them to the park, museum, splashpad or library! Giving a new mom some peace and quiet, time to nap, and space to breathe is an incredible gift and she's lucky to have you do that for her!

When is the best time to visit?

This is something that people often forget. Babies have schedules and parents like to stick to them if they are working. While certainly, babies sleep a lot, there are certain times that don't make for great visits. Bath time, feeding time and nap time are definitely times to steer clear of as they add a level of stress to the parents that they simply do not need.


Is there anything you need? 

If the answer is no, I'm ok...ask more questions. Advil? Hygene products? Wine? Chocolate? Formula? Diapers? Go through a list of essential mom and baby items, and even if the answer is still no, I'm ok...bring chocolate. And wine. Always chocolate and wine.

At the end of the day, never arrive to a new mom with empty hands. Bring something with you whether it is coffee or a meal, a gift card and instructions for her to take herself out shopping for a half an hour while you get your snuggles in, or even candles and a bath soak for mom. Bring something for mom specifically....she matters so so much.

xoxo
Shannon

Why You Need A Doula: A Dad's Perspective

Recently a few skeptical Dads-to-be have scoffed at the notion of using a doula. Given that I was once a (very) skeptical Dad myself, it seemed pretty reasonable that I could provide some perspective, so my wife asked me to pen a few thoughts. The elephant in the room here is that, at present, your wife (or baby-mama) is presumably giving some consideration to utilizing my wife’s services as a doula. If, because of this, you think my opinion is too tainted to provide an objective opinion, you might as well stop reading. Seriously, just stop now. I won’t be offended (I also won’t know).




If you’re still here, it means you’re willing to accept the fact that I can give an unbiased account from the guy’s perspective of what utilizing a doula is all about.

An important item to acknowledge is that before we used a doula for the birth of our second son, I had only an extremely vague idea of what a doula was. I pictured someone who would push herbal remedies and be against modern medicine assisting with my son successfully navigating his way into the world. Basically I pictured someone you couldn’t even pay ME to have at my son’s birth, let alone the other way around.

With that said, I conceded a meeting to my wife with the doula she wanted. While this was to placate her, to a degree, I also admittedly was coming to the process with an open mind (despite what I wrote above). To understand the full story (and understand why I even gave consideration to my wife’s request that we use a doula), you need a little context. This was our third pregnancy, and it would be hard for the first two to have gone much worse.

In 2010, we had our first son, Owen. His arrival was more than a little rocky. A few months into the pregnancy, we had a pretty major scare. We had to rush to the hospital, and really weren’t sure if he was going to make it. Fortunately, he was ok and we trudged on.

Things really came to a head when she went into labour. The day was seemingly going according to plan, but once she delivered we were missing that expected sound of a crying baby. They whisked him (and me) away from my wife and began fervently working on him with some emergency measures.

It was a total freaking whirlwind. I had absolutely no idea what was going on and nobody was telling me anything. It was pretty clear that the umbilical cord had wrapped around his neck and had seriously inhibited his breathing. Looking back on it, they clearly didn’t have high hopes for our little man pulling through. At one point all the doctors stopped their work on him and just asked me to stand with him, hold his hand, and wait. At the time, I seriously had no idea what was going on. Looking back, thinking about what they were having me do, I can’t even type the words.

After that, things started to go downhill (you think I’m kidding, just keep reading). For the first few months of Owen’s life, my wife battled pretty severe post-partum depression (PPD). Her biggest “trigger” at that point was the (ever controversial) topic of breastfeeding. She couldn’t do it. Given that this is completely out of her control (maybe her physiology wouldn’t do it, maybe Owen wasn’t latching properly, etc.), this seems like something you’d try to have roll off your back. But for so many women, and my wife in particular, there’s a huge amount of guilt associated with not being able to successfully breastfeed.

Add it all up, and first 6 months were just brutal.

Flash forward now to the summer of 2013. My wife had been trying for quite some time to convince me to have another kid. For so many of the reasons above, I was skeptical. Why would I want to do that again? The only (not-so) logical answer was how amazing a person our little guy had turned out to be. It was all “worth it” goes the cliché (clichés don’t become clichés without being true).

So I agreed to give it a go (the process of bringing the baby about was also a drawing card).

My wife got pregnant pretty quickly (my boys can swim!) and we excitedly began to picture our lives with two little ones. In late August, we had a scare very reminiscent to the one we had during Owen’s pregnancy. Perhaps because we had pulled through the first time, I actually didn’t think much of it when we went to the hospital. I assumed everything would be fine. Well, it wasn’t. We lost the baby. Essentially all of the fears that I had going into the process had been realized. So that was nice.

All of that brings us to pregnancy #3. A few months after the miscarriage, we tried again, and again my obvious baby-making proficiency came through in relatively short order. By the winter, we were through the first trimester and things were well on their way.

That’s when my wife introduced the concept of utilizing a doula. I did a little bit of research (ie. Wikipedia) to understand what a doula was, asked my wife a few questions, and agreed to the previously referenced meeting. My wife was convinced that using a doula would help to alleviate a number of the aggravating factors that had challenged our first birth experience. I was less so convinced.

But I attended the meeting nonetheless, and much to my chagrin, the girl was super nice and not at all weird. She spoke at length about providing support for both parents through the process to ensure everything went off without a hitch. It became clear to me that a GOOD doula (at least by my definition) does not push their own views on the parents, does not fear-monger about breast feeding, and certainly does not add another stressor to the process.

A good doula takes stress off the table. A good doula provides support in whatever size, shape, or form you need.

My wife became fast friends with our chosen doula and our interaction with her was very comfortable. We built a strong rapport very quickly (which was good, given that she would soon be there to witness my wife passing a human out of her vagina).

Our birth experience with Graeme was night and day different from that with Owen. It was stress-free. It was positive. I dare say it was easy.

Through the labour with Owen (just under 13 hours from when we arrived at the hospital to when he arrived), I was the only resource available. Anything she needed, any comfort measures, any complaining, it was all me. I was the gopher, the sounding board, everything (which is fine, because it’s what you do).

Through the labour with Graeme? Umm, well basically I had a 3 hour nap while our doula stayed up with my wife. It was glorious. I think they woke me about 20 mins before Graeme was coming (enough time to shake out the cobwebs and fix my hair). He arrived happy and healthy, without any issues.

I realize if you’re a skeptic you’ll (fairly) note that the doula’s presence had nothing to do with us avoiding the trauma we had during Owen’s birth, but in truth the biggest misgiving I had about the first experience was how little of an idea I had of what was going on. I’d never done any of it before, didn’t know what I could ask, or what I was allowed to do/say. A doula reminds you that you’re the ones having the damn baby and have a right to know what’s going on. Believe me, I’m very much of the mind that we should get out of the way and let the very-well-compensated doctors do the work that they’re so well-compensated to do – but communication is nice, and having a voice there to help us through the first process would have been huge.

This experience has been totally different. I’m sure a big part of it is that having a second kid comes without the shock factors of being a new parent, but this experience has been so much easier, and I’m certain that part of the credit for that goes to us having worked with a doula.

To be clear, this is not a blanket endorsement for doulas. This is an endorsement for expanding your support system with someone that you are comfortable with, someone that will improve your personal experience (and that of your wife/baby-mama) with the crazy, challenging, amazing, insane process of bringing a human into the world.

So if you’ve read this far, you might as well at least agree to sitting down with my wife to hear what she has to say, to see if you think there’s a fit, and to see if you think she might bring a positive element to the process for you. If after that, she’s not for you, no hard feelings. The best thing you can do right now is at least have an open mind. Having a baby is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and you don’t even have to physically HAVE him/her. The fact that you’re reading this tells me that you’re a logical, sensible person at least willing to consider all angles of something before passing judgment. I’d encourage you to give this some consideration as well.

Colin

Coping with Heat: Summer Pregnancy Tips

Being pregnant in the summer is such a fun and wonderful thing. Trips to the beach, baby bumps in bikini's, ice cream for maternity pictures and so much more!

But being pregnant in the summer also comes with a whole host of challenges, namely surviving the heat.



Heat and humidity generally leads to water retention and swelling, which are friends of no pregnant woman. Here are a few tips to keep you cool during the hay lazy days of summer!

Put a fan in your bedroom

If you or your partner loves to sleep with the windows open to let the summer breeze in, investing in a small fan that can circulate the air and blow cooler air on you while you sleep can be really lovely.

Kiddie pools aren't just for the kids!

One of the most enjoyable moments during my last pregnancy was putting on my bikini and enjoying the sunshine in our backyard, while having my feet in a cold kiddie pool. It was absolutely glorious! Add is a frosty drink of some kind and it's heavenly!

Keep the ice stocked in your freezer

For drinks, for cold plunge baths for your feet, to fill freezer bags and be able to put cold compresses on your swollen joints...keep ice handy!

Crank the AC!

When all else fails, stay inside, close the blinds and shut the windows and crank the AC. Set up a loungey area in your living room, have your ice water or lemonade handy, and enjoy a good movie.

Surviving the summer heat during pregnancy can be tough, but you can do it! Remember that it will pass, it is temporary and soon yuor sweet baby will be here!

xoxo
Shannon

Don't Give up On Dad

In a month where we honour all of the father's and father figures in our lives, and the lives of our wee ones, I wanted to take a moment to write a piece about Dad's. In the realm of birth, Dads and partners often get overlooked. They get given up on; treated like they don't have the foggiest idea of what's going on.


I will fully admit that there are times in my mama journey where I get frustrated with my husband for not being intuitive enough or following my lead when it comes to parenting. I will fully admit that there are times where I give up on him as a parent and think I know better.

And I will fully admit that I am wrong for it. (hey Husband, did you read that? Love you!)

My message this month is to not give up on Dad. They are fully capable of changing diapers, soothing babies, feeding them and they know full well what they are doing. We need to trust them, and we need to now give up on them. We need to feel confident about taking time away so that Dad can bond with baby, and not guilty for taking that time away. While our instincts might be strong, so are theirs...it's just different.

When it comes to birth, absolutely Dad's get pushed aside. It's such a great moment to connect with them as the doula in the room and say "hey, why don't you come here and hold her hand?" or "rub her back with a bit of pressure right here", then stand back and watch while Mom and Dad (or partner!) have a few quiet moments just the two of them.

It's amazing to be the person in the room providing emotional support to both parents, as it can be hard to watch the woman you love in such intense pain and emotion. Being the one to hold the space and be the calm in the storm is incredible, and I wouldn't trade those moments for anything.

So, don't forget Dad. He's a huge part of this process, and he needs to feel confident and incredible during birth, as a father and a partner and human. He needs to feel capable as a parent during the postpartum transition and he needs to trust himself just as much as Mom needs to trust herself.

Don't give up
Don't forget

xoxo
Shannon

5 Questions to ask Your Doula

When interviewing your prospective Birth or Postpartum Doula, there are a few key questions that you should be asking to know if they are the right fit for your support team.



Where did you take your Doula Training?

Technically, you do not have to take any formal training to be a Birth or Postpartum Doula. However, there are so many layers to comfort measures during labour and birth, positions, postpartum recovery elements and emotional healing that having a trained Doula can make a world of difference in your experience as a parent. Being certified adds another layer of professionalism and seriousness to your Doula.

At what point are you on-call for me?

The answer to this is a bit tricky, but technically your Doula should be on call for you from the moment you sign your contract with them. If you have a question during your pregnancy, you should feel confident that you can text or email your Doula and that you will get a prompt response.

Do you have a back-up that I can meet prior to 36 weeks?

This is an important one as babies arrive on their own time schedule. If your Doula books more than 1 birth per month (which many of us do) you will want to be sure that they have a backup Doula who can assist until they are able to get to you, or who can spell them off in the instance of a particularly long labour. You are well within your rights to ask to meet the backup prior to full term!

What is your opinion on (insert topic here)?

As Doulas, our opinion stays at home. It is not our place to tell you, advocate for you, advise you what is best. Whatever is best is what works for you, and that is what your Doula should respond with.

What happens if you get called by another client while you are attending my birth?

Again, this is where your Doula having a backup will come in handy! We always stay with whoever called us first, and while we may need to check out phone from time to time if we are on -call for another family, you can be rest assured that we will stay with you until an hour or so after the birth of your baby. The backup may need to start care with the other family, while we stay with you, and only following your birth will be bid adieu and tend to our other client in person.


Other notable questions to ask could include....

What happens if my labour is particularly long? Do you take breaks? Is there an hourly rate over a certain number of hours?

How many prenatal visits will we have prior to birth?

How long do you stay with us after birth?

Can you help us with (insert topic here)?


You want to feel confident in your birth team, so make a list and ask all of the questions that you need to. Your doula is there for you, so no question is off limits! Building your confidence, empowering you, supporting you...that's what you Doula does.

xoxo
Shannon

Sibling Transition Tips from a Postpartum Doula

Many people say that the transition from one child to two is much harder than going from zero to one, but have you ever thought about how hard it can be for the sibling? For the new big brother or sister, especially toddlers, it can be a huge adjustment. For the longest time, they have been the sole recipient of all of their parents love and attention and now, they have to share that. The first few weeks especially can be trying as newborns do need lots of attention.



Here are some ways to make that transition easier for the newly promoted sibling.

During Labour:

If you are having a hospital birth, chances are that your little one will be spending some time with a relative (possibly having their very first sleepover!) Consider packing a photo album that they can take with them so they can see you if and when they start to ask for you. If your labour isn’t intense and you are having longer breaks between contractions, try and squeeze in a quick phone call or Facetime to let them know you’re thinking of them.
After the baby is born, have big brother come visit at the hospital. An excellent way to transition at this time is to have the baby in the bassinette at first so mom can get a proper cuddle in before introducing the new baby. This helps them to see that even though there is a new baby, there will still be one on one time. Once your child feels comfortable, have someone bring baby over and let them see. I suggest even letting them hold the baby (with help of course!) and letting them touch and hug. They are going to be curious and restricting that first interaction with lots of no’s or scolding could make them resent baby. Another popular idea is to have a small gift for them “from the baby.”

If you are having a home birth, and don’t feel it would be a distraction, it is completely acceptable to have your older child present at the birth. They can even be a mini doula, helping get you a drink or towels! This makes them feel like they are part of bringing baby into the world and would be an amazing experience for all. I would recommend having another adult present, such as a relative, that could be there just to watch over them though, in case they need to be put down for a nap, or fed lunch for example.

The first few weeks:

Once you’re back home and start to settle into a routine, big sister may start to act out a little. This is completely normal and shouldn’t last too long. Be sure to include them in as much as possible when it comes to baby. Some children love having jobs, so having them grab the diapers and wipes at changing time, or if baby is bottle fed, helping to hold the bottle, that can be great, but don’t try and force it. If they don’t want to, making them do it can only make them feel like they are only being used to take care of baby.

The one thing I found to be most important was setting aside time that was just me and my oldest child. My youngest baby was breastfed and refused to take a bottle, so our time was short, but even just popping out to the coffee shop for a special treat or going grocery shopping with just the older child, is huge in their eyes. It shows that mommy (and daddy!) will still be there for them and life doesn’t revolve around the new tiny human.

There will be times when you absolutely cannot tend to the needs of both children and that is totally okay. When this happens, having a basket of toy, books, or crafts that your child can use independently can work wonders when you need to tend to the baby. By only pulling this out at certain times and changing up what’s inside, it keeps your child’s interest and they will start to look forward to it! There is also nothing wrong with having movie days or turning on the t.v. when needed.
.
There is absolutely going to be an adjustment period when you go from having one child to two (or more) but hopefully by keeping these tips in mind, it will be a little bit smoother for everyone. 

xoxo
Lisa

Car Seat Safety Tips

Taking a new baby home can be a stressful event. Leaving the comforts of the hospital, where someone can answer any question with the press of a button, to strapping your tiny human into a car seat and taking them out into the real world! How scary is that? Wouldn’t you like to know that your baby is as safe as possible from the get-go?

It is estimated that 80-90% of car seats are being used incorrectly. Many people think it’s as simple as putting the seat in the car and buckling up the straps. Not so! Before you even put your child in the seat, you need to make sure it’s installed correctly.

When buckling the seat into your vehicle, use either the UAS (Anchors) or the seatbelt. NOT both!! After attaching the lower straps, pull on them and tight as they will go, while applying light pressure to the seat to push it down. When this step is done, your seat (or base, in the case of an infant seat) should not move more than an inch from side to side. If it does, keep pulling on the straps until it doesn’t.

After the seat is secure, if it is a forward facing seat, you will need to secure the top tether. This is the strap that is at the top of the seat and the anchor for it can be found either on the ceiling above the seat, or on the floor or back of the vehicle’s seat. If there is no top anchor, you cannot install a forward facing seat there.
(photo courtesy of healthychildren.org)


Once the seat is properly installed, you can now buckle your child in. For a rear facing seat, the straps must be at or below the child’s shoulders. Once they are in, tighten the straps by puling on the bottom strap that hangs off the front of the car seat. Don’t be afraid to pull it tight, it won’t hurt your child. You shouldn’t be able to pinch the straps. If you can, it’s too loose. The chest clip should be at armpit level.
For a forward facing seat, everything remains the same, with the exception that the shoulder straps are at or above the child’s shoulders.
Rear Facing Strap Position
(photo courtesy of rearfacingtoddlers.com)
Forward Facing Strap Position
(Photo courtesy of orbitbaby.com)
Proper chest clip placement
(Photo courtesy of csftl.org)
(photo courtesy of treadingragingwaters.com)

The other thing that many people are doing wrong without even realizing it, is using after market products on their seat. These range from strap covers to car seat covers. If it didn’t come in the box with your seat, it hasn’t been safety tested and could compromise the safety of your child. The only exception to this is car seat covers that don’t go behind the baby, such as shower cap or canopy style covers.

After making sure the seat is installed correctly, the next question many people have is “what seat should I be using?” or “when can they move to the next stage of car seat?”

Here is a breakdown of each type of seat and the recommendations for each.

Infant seat

These bucket style seats are great for brand new babies as they can be clicked in and out of the car and the stroller without disturbing a sleeping child. Most of these seat have a weight range of 5-30lbs, but most babies are either too long, or the seat gets too heavy to carry long before it is outgrown. At this point, is a recommended that you move to a rear facing convertible seat. 

Rear Facing/Forward Facing

It is recommended that your child stays rear facing until at least 2 years of age, if not longer. Nowadays, many seats allow this by having rear facing weight limits of up to 35-40lbs. The main argument many people have for turning around children before this, is that their legs are too long and it won’t be comfortable for them. Have you ever watched young children sitting on the couch or even at the kitchen table? They are acrobats, and put themselves into crazy positions without any effort. Many children cross their legs, or hang them over the sides of the seat.
Once your child reaches the rear facing height or weight limits of the seat, it is time to turn them around (don’t forget to adjust those shoulder straps!) Many seats allow for a forward facing child to remain in a 5 point harness until age 6 or 7 (around 65lbs).

Booster seat

Many people seem to want their child to be in a booster seat the day they turn four. This is not recommended as many children that age do not have the capacity to sit in a booster seat properly. Your child is ready for a booster when they have outgrown the height and weight limits of their current seat and can sit properly the entire duration of the trip without slouching, leaning over, unbuckling the seat mid-ride, etc. If they can’t do this, but have outgrown their current seat, your safest option is to purchase a new 5 point harness seat with higher height and weight thresholds.
In Canada, the minimum requirement for sitting in the car without a booster seat is 8 years old or 80 lbs or 4’9” tall, but many children aren’t ready to be booster free until closer to 10-12 years of age. To see if your child is ready for this next stage, they must be able to pass the 5 step test:

(photo courtesy of thecarseatlady.com)

People will always have questions about car seats and their child’s safety but the best way to ensure you are using your seat correctly is to contact a Certified Car Seat Technician. These people have been trained to know all about each and every car seat on the market, how to install them perfectly, and even which seats work best in which vehicles. They will often host car seat clinics where you can register to come out and have your seat checked for free! Keep your eye out for a Sweet Stella’s hosted clinic coming soon!

xoxo
Lisa

Restoring Energy During Labour

Whether your labor ends up being 6 hours or 36 hours, at a certain point your energy stores will be depleted and you will feel exhausted. Your body is hard at work, and it's certainly difficult to labour effectively when you are wiped!


As a runner, I've learned overtime that I can't expect to perform well in a race environment if I sprint out of the gate, or if I don't fuel my body properly throughout the course. Hard lessons to learn, but they apply to childbirth as well.

There are a few things you can do during labour and birth to restore your energy, and they may not be things that you would originally think of.

Take a walk - a change of scenery can do wonders to restore your mental energy

Juice and water - staying hydrated is key to digging deep during the most strenuous endurance tests, so the same goes for labour!

Honey - popping a honey stick or sucking on a honey candy can provide the wonderful natural energy boost that honey provides!

Nap - if you're exhausted, your body may just need a nap to recover. If you're experiencing a long early labour, you may want to rest as much as you can to preserve your energy before active labour hits.

Talk to a friend - sounds weird, right? Have a conversation with a friend during labour? Well, sometimes a pep talk from a good friend who can help you see your strength is all you need to push through and continue!

Whatever brings you those happy, strong, confident feelings...do that. Follow your instincts and let others around you know when you need a break, a sip of juice, to go for a walk or just need some quiet time.

You're in control, mama! This is your birth - you call the shots!

xoxo
Shannon

10 Reasons to Choose Cloth Diapers

As a first time mom I did not know that I had to make a decision on how to diaper my baby and even that cloth was an option. No one in my family used them, none of my friends (at the time) used them and I certainly skipped that part of my registry. I assumed that if I walked into Babies R Us that they had everything I would need, little did I know there was a small boutique baby store adjacent that I could have seen all my options for cloth.


In hindsight, I spent way too much time worrying about the colours and theme for the nursery, what brand of stroller and car seats were the best that I forgot one of the most important decisions I had… how to diaper my baby! It took me 5 months of midnight store runs, counting diapers and wipes for the week, spending way too much money for my family and all for something I was throwing in the garbage. I did some research into organic disposable diapers, which in turn I spent even more money on but it made me feel I was making a better decision for my baby’s health. I calculated how much it was going to cost to diaper my child for the next few years and a decided to jump head first into the world of cloth diapers. It was a large upfront cost, which I could have avoided if I would have known earlier and started buying slowly for our stash. I could have even put them on my registry as a cloth diaper that can be used hundreds of times is much more useful than most of the stuff I had received at my baby shower.

Disposable diapers were only invented 50 years ago, as a convenience and luxury item for families used only for those special occasions like vacation trips, visits to the parents or the doctor. It was not common to see a baby wearing a disposable diaper, which is the exact opposite in this day and age. It is not like cloth diapers are a new invention just catching on, the industry of cloth has just been perfected with easy snaps and even inserts that agitate out on their own.
We all know cloth is better for the environment. But did you know there are many other reasons that more and more parents are choosing cloth diapers today (yes, in the 21st century!!). These are only the top ten reason why moms and dads should consider cloth diapering their baby. Once you actually give them a try, you will discover many more. Promise!

1. Cloth diapers have come a long way!

Chances are you wouldn’t even recognize them today. Cloth diapers have evolved to such an extent over the last ten years that many rival disposables any day. In fact, if you were to put an All-In-One cloth diaper next to a disposable, you would find very little difference in bulk, size and function.

2. Cloth diapers are more economical!

Disposable diapers become very expensive when you consider a 2-3 year diapering period. They can only be used once and are then tossed away. They cannot be used for a second (or more) child. You can cloth diaper one baby for 3 years for as little as $400!! That’s a savings of $2500 (considering the average family spends $2800-3000 in disposable diapers over 3 years) for one child. Now, how much would you save if you had 2 or 3 more babies? Yes, that could mean a savings of almost $8000!! By the way, that initial $400 you spend on cloth diapers? Due to their excellent resale value, you may be able to get as much as 70% of the money spent on cloth diapers back on an auction site. Try doing that with your used disposables!

3. Babies are healthier in cloth diapers!

Disposable diapers contain many chemicals, poisons (TBT tributyl tin), dioxins (which are highly carcinogenic) and even perfumes and dyes that are all harmful to your baby and lead to diaper rash. The majority of babies in cloth tend to have less diaper rash as cloth diapers are more breathable and have none of the harmful chemicals or bleaches found in disposables. The gel that is used in disposables to absorb and hold in moisture is known as Sodium Polyacrylate. This substance has been found in the urinary tract of babies and may cause severe diaper rash, chemical burns, and bleeding in the perineum and scrotal tissue. Sodium Polyacrylate was removed from tampons because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome!! There are also many studies that have been done to show a direct link between using disposable diapers and childhood asthma as well as an increase in infertility in boys. Considering we have alternatives that are so easy to use today, why take the risk?

4. Cloth diapers are more reliable and less messy than disposables!

Yes, I am talking about leaks and those “poo-splosions”! With a correctly fitted cloth diaper the majority of moms experience less leaking than you get with using disposables. New, modern cloth diapers and covers are so customizable that you have the ability to get a perfect fit on your baby each and every time. Think you will have too much washing to do using cloth? I guarantee it’s no more (maybe even less!) than with disposables. It's a little known secret that the “poo-splosions” that occur from leaky solids are actually contained better in cloth. Disposable diapers have a slippery surface to them which causes a "slip and slide" effect with messy, leaky solids. It's not pretty, and can cause more laundry then a load of cloth diapers.

5. Cloth is more comfortable!

Would you like to wear paper underwear all day? Soft cotton or bamboo next to a baby’s tender skin is much more comfortable than paper and plastic. Babies also tend to be changed more frequently in cloth diapers, as opposed to single use disposable diapers, because moms are aware of when baby is actually wet. Just because a disposable “feels” dry, does not mean a baby is not sitting in urine. It just happens to be dry, crystallized urine. And, with the new microfleece fabric used as liners in cloth diapers today, your baby will not have wetness against their skin. The liquid is wicked away to the cotton diaper underneath, keeping baby feeling dry keeping rashes and ammonia burns at bay.

6. Cloth diapering is quick and EASY!

Yes, I said easy! The concept of convenience is a marketing ploy that disposable manufacturers use. They don't want you to know how easy cloth diapering really can be! With new, modern cloth diapers and the many accessories available today, cloth diapering is easy. And it takes no more time to change your baby and run a load of laundry than it does to change your baby, get baby dressed to leave the house, put baby in a jacket, find that second shoe, fasten baby in car seat, take baby out of car seat, go into the store, weave through the store to get to the disposable aisle...wait a minute? This seems like way more work to me! Cloth diapers really is only an extra load of laundry every 2-3 days, and you are doing it anyways so why not save some money.

7. Cloth Diapering is Fun!

With all the choices in diapers, fabrics, fun prints and colors to choose from and that fact that we can do away with pins, diapering is actually fun! The majority of moms that are cloth diapering love to talk about cloth diapers and how much they enjoy using them. They love to show them off! I don’t know anyone who feels this way about disposables. I know I have been THAT mom who shows off her baby’s cute fluff butt on many occasions, who needs pants when you have an adorable diaper.

8. Babies look adorable in cloth diapers!

Cloth diapers are a modern baby's fashion statement! And modern moms love to shop for cloth diapers. There are so many choices in cloth diapers today. With all the styles, prints and colors, babies look adorable in cloth! Show your little one off in a soft, comfy, adorable cloth diaper! You can even get them customized with ruffles, embroidered with birth stats or a funny saying or add a patch for your favourite sports team. The possibilities are endless!

9. Potty learning is easier!

It is a little known fact that cloth diapered children potty learn earlier and with less effort on the part of the parent. Again, cloth diapers are saving our families time! As children are actually aware of the sensation of urinating, the average child that is cloth diapered typically potty learns faster than their disposable diapered friends.

10. Cloth diapers are better for the environment!

Okay, I just had to throw this in! But you know it’s true!! The average baby will go through 6,000 – 10,000 disposable diapers before potty learning. That is a lot of diapers that end up in our landfills and they are said to take over 500 years to decompose. Cloth diapers are less taxing on the environment even when taking the amount of water and energy used to make and wash them.

There it is, 10 very good reason to choose cloth! Whether you choose to do it full time, part time or even use a diaper service. You are expecting, your baby is 6 months old or even a toddler, it’s never too late to start. It is our responsibility to show our children how to be environmentally conscious, cloth diapers can be your door into a healthier home. Who knows, maybe in 50 years the tables will turn once again and disposable diapers will be the “luxury” item! I know I didn’t like having to make those tedious midnight runs to buy a pack of diapers, I just have to start a load of laundry.

If you would like to learn more about your diapering choices or have questions regarding cloth diapers please feel free to send me an email! I am happy to discuss cloth and tell you about how easy, cute and fun they really are.

xoxo
Janice

Infertility: When Your Husband Just Doesn't Understand

Infertility is hard enough as it is but it is even more frustrating when your husband just doesn’t understand what you are going through which leaves you feeling annoyed, overwhelmed and alone. I recently heard a male’s take on infertility and thought it was quite interesting and helpful. It made me see our infertility through my husband’s eyes which helped me to understand his reactions to certain situations that have come up throughout our journey.

I am hoping that by sharing the male perspective on infertility that it may help others through their journeys as well. 



During my conversation I was told that men and women process emotional events, such as infertility, differently and that I could be certain that my husband was hurting just as I was. A lot of women have the desire to become mothers and often that desire begins at a young age. For me it started quite young. At the age of about 10 my mom would often find me in the baby section of any store we were in. I was constantly checking out baby clothes and anything baby related. What I didn’t think about was that men often have the same desire to become fathers so of course the thought of that not happening would affect him just as it affected me.

Men also tend to think that they need to “fix” everything. But infertility isn’t something that can easily be fixed, and you cannot fix it on your own. This can be very frustrating for your husband too and apparently a man’s natural reaction is to ignore it with the hope that the pain will just go away, which is exactly what my husband did. Of course my reaction was that he didn’t care or think that it was important. I was told to be patient with him and that infertility was affecting my husband just as it was affecting me, however, men and women process things in different ways and at different times and that possibly his lack of caring/support could be a defense mechanism.

That being said, it is still crucial that each person understand what the other is going through and that you help each other through the obstacle that you are facing.

At that moment I knew that I had to have a conversation with my husband so we could figure out what we were feeling and work together through it. Sometimes it is hard for men to talk to their wives about emotional struggles as they think they need to be a strong boulder and cannot so signs of weakness. If this is the case I strongly recommend that they find someone else that they can talk to, like a friend or maybe even a therapist. If they do not seek out support, whether that is their wife or their friend, the pain and fear will build up and they could feel as though they may explode. Holding on to the guilt, pain and sadness will cause it to become something worse than it is. It could even end up making you resent each other and neither of you need that.

Infertility is not easy and it never will be. But understanding what each person is going through will ultimately help both parties. This discussion definitely helped me to see my husband’s perspective and helped me understand that he does care and that this is not easy for him either. I truly hope that after reading this you will understand your husband’s perspective as well. You may even grow closer as you go through this journey together. 

I know we have.

xoxo
Stephanie