The 30 Second Observation

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We constantly judge each other based on a 30 second observation.

The mom in Walmart, whose two year old is screeching like a banshee, “she must not discipline him.” The little girl in your daughters class with messy hair, “poor girl, her mom must be a lazy slob.” That woman who just yelled at her kids in the middle of the grocery store, “what a horrible mom.”

We’ve all been there, we have all had these judgmental thoughts. Whether we voiced them or not, we thought them. That 2 year old boy in Walmart could have Autism for all you know. The little girl with messy hair in your daughters class, her mom could be dealing the loss of a loved one and is just trying to maintain composure for her baby. People forget sometimes, especially when they’re grieving. You don’t know that woman yelling at her kids in the grocery store either, maybe her husband just left her.  Now she’s left to care for those children alone, she might be scared and stressed. We all have our weak moments, being a mother is super stressful.

So remember the next time that 30 second observation begins, have an open mind. Remember that you don’t know the whole story, and you don’t know what that woman faces every day. She could be breaking down inside and using the last of her strength just to be a mom. We’re all doing our best. As long as a child is fed, happy, healthy, and has a roof over their head, that mom is doing exactly what she needs to be doing. Thumbs up mom !

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Launching a Modeling Career While Changing Dirty Diapers

Me

I’ve dreamt about becoming a model since I was little. I finally decided to start in 2014 when I was 21, which is also the year I got pregnant.

My first job was at the Milano Official Grand Opening. It was a weekend long thing so I was super busy, I walked my first run way the night of the opening. I sat for 9 hours in hair and make up, came out looking like a completely different person. It was a very exciting first taste of the modeling world, even better the grand opening was featured in Salon Magazine October 2014 issue. There were a few little photos with the piece written on Milano, one of which me and all the rest of the models were in! Even though it wasn’t a huge publication it was my first, and I was over the moon excited.

Being so happy and absorbed about the kick start of my modeling career I hadn’t realized I missed my monthly pal. Now a few months prior to this I had miscarried and it was very hard on my boyfriend and I, as we WERE trying for a baby. I was at a loss for words, this was what we had been waiting for. We were going to be parents! It was great news. A little while after we found out I booked my first official paid photo shoot. It was with modDOLLS Everyday Women, I enjoyed it. It was a very fun experience and I was lucky to get a kind, professional photographer who gave me amazing directions. I didn’t have my make up done or hair, I did them myself, it was my first photo shoot so I wasn’t too sure how things were supposed to be done.

I like the photos, but looking back on them today I can tell it was my first time and I didn’t have much experience. Which is okay! We all need to start somewhere and learn from our mistakes.

After that photo shoot I went off the modeling grid for a while until my little one was a few months old. It was a difficult birth and they had to do an emergency C-section, so healing took a little longer. I was also unable to change my blonde hair back to dark brown while pregnant, so I did not want to model with my hair looking the way it did. On my very first mothers day, my mom took me out to get it fixed! I was finally ready to get back on the horse and continue doing what I truly love.

Now I book shoots on Saturday’s and Sunday’s here and there, while raising my daughter. If you want to be a model you can’t just step on the scene and say “here I am, pay me, I am great.” Cause that’s not true, in this industry everyone has to start somewhere. You need a portfolio before you can go out and book paid jobs. I have been building my portfolio for the past 2 years approximately by doing as many TFP (trade for print) photo shoots as possible. Which is very hard when you are a mother with no license.. Lucky for me I have a grandfather who lives close and doesn’t have much to do on the weekends, and I pay him travel expenses of course.

Since I have started building my portfolio I’ve been featured in 3 more magazines. A 3 page spread published in Femme Rebelle October 2016 issue. Also another 3 page spread, this time in Femme Modern February 2017 issue. Then most recently again in Femme Modern March 2017 issue. I am very proud of my accomplishments, and I’ve come a long way. The other day I read a comment online made by another model saying something like; “I’m glad I waited to have kids or I would have never been able to do what I do.”

I’m here today to say, ignore comments like that. Whatever your goals, dreams, aspirations, you CAN do them even if you’re a mom. Being a mother should not define our limits to be great. Who else are your kids going to learn from when it comes to following their dreams? Whatever it is whether it be modeling, singing, acting, teaching, maybe even politics.

GO FOR IT!

A Mom Living With Anxiety

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Motherhood is long and enduring. Not for the faint of heart you could say, it takes a strong woman to be a mom. We’re all human, and some days are just bad.

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Today I’d like to share my story, my name’s Gabrielle. I’m the mother of a beautiful 2 year old little girl and I live with an anxiety disorder. I don’t think many people understand this and often times it’s written off as being “moody.” Some teenagers claim they have anxiety but haven’t seen a doctor to actually diagnose it. Most of the time when a teenager feels symptoms of anxiety it’s normal, this is called “teen angst.”

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I’m 23 years old and my symptoms started getting worse about a year ago. I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, and I try to take it day by day. As for treatment, I have medication for outbursts that cannot be soothed by my significant other. I don’t like using medication unless I have to though. At this point you might be confused asking “so what, you are sad all the time?” No. It’s nothing like that.

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I am not depressed all day, every day. My life is actually filled with wonderful days. I notice keeping busy helps prevent attacks. I could be having a fantastic day though, everything is going great and all it takes is one thing to make my mind race or worry. It’s like an ignition switch, and I go from there. A lot of the time I start off relatively calm, but then lose control quickly. Commonly this happens when I am confronted, or if I’m in an argument.

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It’s like tunnel vision, and I can’t concentrate on anything else. I will say mean things without comprehending they hurt people and lose all composure completely. The worse part is; my brain is telling me to stop and it’s hurtful but I can’t because of the overwhelming emotions I am feeling. The best way to describe it is you lose all control. Like you know when you can smile and say you’re okay when you aren’t? That’s totally impossible, in fact anything that comes to my mind I have to say it.

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While all this is happening I am crying uncontrollably too. The slightest thing like my boyfriend walking away to get some space makes it worse. When the attack’s at it’s peak my chest tightens up, I feel like every breath is a battle. It basically feels like trying to breathe with an elephant standing on your chest. My significant other knows it’s best to just hold me, which is really difficult when the attack is brought on by an argument. He is still angry but knows I need help or it wont stop.

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I get hot, sweat, and shake. I scream too when the attack is really bad… literally I feel like a baby again. It’s debilitating, embarrassing and I could only imagine how hard it is for my boyfriend. We have been together for 7 years now. In the beginning it was very hard for him, it wasn’t this bad either though. He’s a really great and understanding guy, he balances me out and knows how I work. I don’t think I could get through this without him.

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When the dust has settled and my panic attack stops, I’m drained! These attacks take a lot out of me. My eyes sting and poof out for the rest of the day. My muscles are sore for at least 24 hours afterward, and emotionally I am still tired. It actually takes a while depending on what started the attack, to actually expel the sadness from my mind. You know that extreme overwhelming feeling of “I must cry” when something really traumatic happens? Well that’s what I feel when I have a panic attack. Uncontrollable, mind numbing, sorrow.

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Anxiety disorder is terrifying, and ugly. I know it’s hard to handle, and I definitely know it effects my child. She see’s her mommy so sad and doesn’t understand, especially when it’s over say… a spilled jug of juice. It breaks my heart, I know I need to work on this and hopefully one day say goodbye to it completely. My daughter deserves the best, most level headed, and cheery mommy possible. One day I WILL be exactly that, I am bigger than my disorder and it won’t control my life.

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No mother is perfect. Be kind, have courage.

An open letter to the people who haven’t got to know my children.

To whom it may concern, (and you know who you are)

This letter is to the people who said they would be there. Who told me they couldn’t wait to meet my children, or how they would call them Auntie or Uncle. To the people who made plans to come see them but never showed. To the ones who I thought would always be apart of our lives.

Part of me wants to be angry, maybe hurt a little when I realize that may never happen. I want to be sad for my children who may never have you in their lives. But when I think about it, the only person who should be sad is you.

You should be sad that you will miss them laugh and say their first words. Take their first steps and their first birthday. Watching them play sports and arrive at their first day of school. You will miss major achievements and graduations. You will miss their hugs and kisses. Their first relationship and one day their wedding. You will miss all the firsts that they ever encounter and for that I am sad for you.

I will never beg you to be apart of my children’s lives. They have many people who love and care for them. My children’s lives will be great either way! It’s up to you whether or not you want to be apart of that.

People are busy. People will always be busy. We all have our own lives and believe me when I say this, I do understand that! People are busy trying to juggle family, friendships, work and even just time for themselves.. We all are. But time doesn’t slow down. Children grow up too fast.

So to the people who haven’t got to know my children, I am sorry. I am sorry that you are missing such a wonderful thing.

10 Things They Didn’t Tell You Before Becoming a Parent.

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  1. Get as much sleep as you can before your baby arrives. Being pregnant makes you super tired anyways, so take advantage of it! Getting the right amount of sleep is easy when you aren’t a parent. When it’s the big day and you finally meet your little one, immediately you will regret not getting more sleep when you could. So if you’re expecting; sleep, sleep, sleep!
  2. Check your language! If you’re prone to swearing, stop! It’s better to stop now rather than to try while your child’s in the “parrot stage.” This is the time when everything is fair game for a toddler to repeat, including swear words. I know it sounds of little importance right now but trust me, when your two year old says “F$%!” in the middle of the grocery store. You will agree.
  3. Children grow fast, like super fast! They eventually grow out of that intoxicating fresh baby smell, soft velvet skin, and those adorable cues.. When I say this I obviously don’t mean your child becomes less cute, but they do grow up. So enjoy it while they are tiny. I know you’re stressed and this is all brand new, but really enjoy the early years.
  4. Smoking. It’s a terrible habit, expensive, and stinks. It’s ideal to wash you’re hands and mouth prior to touching a baby after smoking tobacco. If you are a heavy smoker, just take a second to think of how many times you’d have to wash your hands every day. Most importantly, kids look up to us and learn everything they know from adults. Do you want your child to smoke? No. So it’s simple just quit.
  5. There will be endless dishes and laundry. Whether you breast or formula feed there will be lots of bottles to wash. Laundry is a must to keep up on. Babies spit up a lot, and sometimes can be just…well messy. This leaves behind countless dirty receiving blankets and onesies to wash. If you want good advice, keep up on these two chores. It’s better to spend 10 minutes each day on it, rather than say 5 hours in one day.
  6. It’s nerve wracking! After that life changing day of giving birth, nothing will be the same as it was before. Every action, decision, and precaution made will revolve around your baby. You are constantly playing out the worse case scenarios in your head, and thinking every choice over thoroughly. Rest assured, this is a good thing! This just makes you a great mother. If not you, who else is to make these choices and take these precautions when needed for this child?
  7. Getting sick is 10x worse when you are a parent. Don’t get me wrong getting sick sucks in general, but when you are a parent you have to be tough. You can’t sleep it off and be a baby about it. Even worse in most cases your child catches whatever you have or has given it to you. Now you have to take care of yourself and your little one. If it’s the common cold, manageable. The flu, well then you’re in for a stressful few days of vomit clean up.
  8. Get used to watching G rated movies. We all know that television and movies influence our children, so we limit what they watch to kid friendly choices. That’s great and all, until you realize this is what you’ll be watching for the next 12 + years, during the day anyways. So sit down, enjoy, maybe even sing along and just “let it go.”
  9. Your sex life changes. Yes we’re going to discuss that! Because quite frankly more women should be warned. Showers become a delicacy, and hard work becomes the norm. Free time as adults starts to become limited, so it’s hard to find quality time for each other. As long as you actually make time for each other. It’s very important to remind your significant other you’re still interested. It’s not only good for him/her, it’s good for your relationship and in turn leads to being good parents.
  10. Eating healthy becomes important. Not only for you but for your child, a well balanced meal is crucial. You start to really embrace this way of life once you become a parent. All meals should consist of at least one portion from each food group. Pork chops, mashed potatoes, and peas with a glass of milk is a perfect example of a well balanced dinner. It’s easy to construct a good meal once you grasp the fundamentals like protein, starch/grain, vegetables, and dairy.

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Becoming a parent is exciting, nerve wracking, heart warming, eye opening, and sometimes can be down right terrifying. The most important part to remember is you are not alone and there are lots of support outlets to discover. We’re all taking this day by day, and sometimes a little heads up can make a worlds difference. Happy parenting!

“I spent 3 weeks of my life, lying in bed crying.”

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Nothing mattered anymore. Not food, friendships, loved ones, or even hygiene. My body and mind could only accomplish one thing; cry.

Being 3 months pregnant is so very exciting, especially when it’s your first baby. The birth announcement, shopping for cute little outfits and accessories. Your belly is slowing growing, not very noticeable at this point but you know that tiny miracle is inside you.

Your first ultrasound is an experience you will never forget. Those little fingers and toes wiggling and waving hello. That harmonious heart beat. Then bringing home that beautiful sonogram of your perfect baby to show to all your friends, family and loved ones.

Among all the bliss and euphoria you forget. Miscarriages are possible. It can happen to any woman during any pregnancy. We put it in the back of our minds and tell ourselves something like that would never happen to me. “I’m young, healthy, and taking my vitamins every day.”

The truth of the matter is you won’t see it coming. You don’t know how you will react until you actually experience this kind of loss. You will hold onto this pain forever. It gets easier but is like a faint scar that always reminds you, never take anything for  granted.

 

~Gabrielle’s story~

I woke up in the morning feeling optimistic about the day that lay ahead of me. I was going to see my baby for the first time! Words can’t explain the excitement I felt going to the doctor that day. Accompanied by my boyfriend and mom I arrived at my ultrasound appointment.

This was my first sonogram and other than seeing my sisters done I was new to this whole experience. The technician asked me to come in alone, I got into a gown and we began. The tech put that lovely jelly on my stomach and started the procedure. She was quiet. Which at first was weird, but as I said this was my first ultrasound and did not know what to expect.

She then got up and said to me “one moment, I will be right back.” I laid there for about 15 minutes. She returned and told me they booked an appointment with my family doctor in the next town over for about an hour later. I was a little confused at this point, I didn’t receive any pictures and there was no updates given to me. I had a bad gut feeling.

So we got back in the car and drove to my family doctors’ clinic. This next part is very difficult for me to write let alone think about so forgive me if it’s hard to understand. I sat down in my doctors office, there was a strange uncomfortable atmosphere in the room.

Due to PTSD symptoms I cannot completely remember how my doctor said these words.

“Gabrielle, I’m sorry. We brought you here today to let you know your baby did not have a heartbeat during your sonogram.” A wave of devastation, denial, anger, and sheer heartbreak washed over me. “No” I said. “Check again…. please!”

My doctor shook his head, he told me that when a technician does not hear a heartbeat it’s a 99% correct assumption there’s no life. He began educating me about something called a “D&C”. It’s a brief surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and a special instrument is used to scrape the uterine lining. You are put to sleep for this thankfully.

I was booked an appointment for surgery, prescribed lorazepam, therapy and sent home. I remember thinking how am I going to tell the people I love and who are excited for me. I didn’t want pity, or attention, I actually didn’t even want to tell anyone. I wanted my baby. I believe it was my mom and boyfriend who broke the news to family members and friends.

My boyfriend was affected deeply by this, he is a strong man though and exactly what I needed during that time. He cried with me, he let me cry in his arms for days on end, he lost his child that day too. He was by my side during the D&C and offered the best possible support he could. Even though he was hurting too…

I want to state that before I went in for my D&C I got the doctor who was doing the surgery check for a heartbeat one last time. I needed confirmation. There was nothing, my heart broke again feeling just as freshly painful as the first time.

After my surgery, I got home and my bed was the only place I wanted to be. To cry was the only thing I wanted to do. There was nothing, I had nothing left to give. It was the worse depression I ever fell into, countless spurts of uncontrollable sadness, and many sleepless nights. I cried constantly, and didn’t leave my bed for about 3 weeks.

As if all this wasn’t enough, at a follow up appointment I was told that my D&C revealed I had a “partial molar pregnancy.” I know, you’re confused, so was I. In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg has 23 chromosomes from the mother and 23 chromosomes from the father, making a total of 46. In a partial molar pregnancy the wrong number of chromosomes come together, and there are abnormalities in the cells that grow to form the placenta.

I had to give urine and blood samples for 6 months after my operation to make sure my hCG levels were decreasing. If they didn’t that would indicate there was still molar tissue left over that could spread to the rest of my organs, which for lack of a better term is BAD. Lucky for me my hCG levels went down and I got better.

Today I am the mother of one beautiful 2 year girl. She is my savior, my light, my happiness, and my reason to live. My rainbow baby as society would describe her; A child born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. Everything happens for a reason, to make us stronger, to teach us, and to humble us. Remember all storms come to an end, and there’s usually a rainbow waiting for you afterward !!

  

~Christina’s Story~

I was so excited counting down the days until I could announce to all my friends that we were expecting our first child.. We had already told our parents, we gave them all Christmas cards that said “Grandparent” on them!

I remember the day like it was yesterday January 11th 2014. A normal day at the factory, 4:30-1am. I went to the washroom around 12am.. And that’s when it all started. When I saw blood I knew I had to go get checked out. I waited until the end of my shift and made my way up to the hospital.

They brought me into the room and brought out the ultrasound machine. After searching for what felt like forever, they told me they could not see clear enough with the machine they had in emerge. They would need to set up an ultrasound through imaging to get a more accurate answer for me as it was still so early, along with many blood tests.

That was the beginning of the waiting game.

I went to my ultrasound the next day, and would not get any answers until later that day at my family doctor appointment. At my appointment my doctor told me based on the ultrasound unfortunately that I had a miscarriage. I had no words to say. He set me up for an appointment with a gynecologist.

When I went for my appointment with the gynecologist her words sent my mind in a spinning motion. She told me “based on your hCG levels from your blood work, they are still rising and there is still a chance you haven’t miscarried” .. What? How is it possible? For one doctor to tell me my pregnancy is over, and for the next to bring my hopes right back up again. How was this fair?

After several blood tests monitoring my levels the gynecologist finally came to the decision that I had miscarried. Bringing me right back to where I was with my family doctor. At a loss for words. Following that I was scheduled for a D&C and back to work a few days later. Most people don’t even know it happened and sometimes I don’t know if it was better that way or not.

I was lucky enough to get pregnant again 2 short months later, with a little boy who is 2 years old now. And have recently had a little girl who is 2 months old.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through but I’m stronger now, I go on each day staying positive but it’s always there. I will always wonder if it was a sweet little girl or a cute little boy. I may never know, but that little baby will always be in my heart.


Giving Birth Hurts-Recovery Hurts.

Today I scrolled upon a post that had people commenting about which form of delivery is best. Men and women commented with what they thought was better, some comments were rude, others truthful. But it really got me thinking…

Does having a c-section or natural birth make you any more or less of a mother?
Does either make you less prone to make parenting mistakes?
Does having a c-section mean you’re “taking the easy way out”?
Should a woman be considered “stronger” because she gave birth naturally?

The answer to all of these questions is NO!

Being someone who has been down both paths. Experienced the positives and negatives of both. There is no thought needed to answer these questions.

How you give birth has nothing to do with how great you are as a mother. You will make mistakes no matter what, and that is okay as long as you learn from them! There is no “easy way out” when it comes to giving birth. It’s going to be tough no matter how you do it, but the end results are so beautiful and worth it. Every woman is strong because at the end of the day we are giving life to these little tiny humans and protecting them and raising them and teaching them everything we know.

It won’t matter what route you take, there will always be horror stories.

After going through both I could not choose again based on experience.. Because it doesn’t matter which way it happens, no birth will be the same. Every experience will be different.

Labours are long-They are short
Women need drugs-Women go natural
Giving birth hurts-Recovery hurts

It doesn’t matter how you have your child as long as they are healthy. We are all moms, learning how to be the best we can be everyday. People need to stop wasting time trying to figure out which way is “easier” or which way is more “real” and start seeing how amazing these beautiful babies are and how lucky we are to have them!