I've started an interview series focusing on the transition to motherhood. I know so many amazing, honest, candid women that I really want to start sharing their stories. The first interview happens to be with myself. I figured I'd get the ball rolling by sharing my honest truth about motherhood, in hopes that it resonates with someone who may be struggling or feeling less than perfect. Below is an excerpt. You can read the whole interview and view all of the images at https://lauriejanay.com/interview-with-laurie.
Who were you before you were a mother?
Before I became a mother I could probably be best described as a vagabond. I had floated in and out of many roles in my life and lived in a few different cities across Canada. Born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, I spent most of my childhood growing up in Medicine Hat, Alberta. My mom, brother, and I moved there when I was about 6, a couple of years after my father left the picture. We were close to family and I had a comfortable, happy childhood. My mom worked really hard. Harder than I can even comprehend and she bought a house when I was about 10 years old.
After graduating high school, I worked for a couple of years then attended university in Vancouver to study fashion design and technology. My mom had taught me to sew from a very young age and it's always been something I come back to no matter where I am in life. I attended the program for two years before deciding I did not want to work in the fashion industry, but happy with the amount of pattern drafting and sewing knowledge I had obtained. I dropped out before completing my degree. I spent one more year living in Vancouver during which I fell into major debt and in love with a musician. We bought a van and moved part way across the country to Toronto, where my partner had joined a band.
I arrived in Toronto with nothing to my name. I got a job with Lush Cosmetics and signed up with a debt relief company which meant I had 5 years to pay my debts and no access to a credit card during this time. I learned so much about money management, living cash only, and how to hustle during this period of my life. For 5 years I worked for Lush, moving up in the company until I managed to not only pay off my debts but save a lot of money on top of that. The caveat is that I was working myself to death. I travelled constantly for work and a salaried employee knows no boundaries when it comes to hours. I was sick and miserable. I decided to take a leave of absence which was spent living in a car and touring around the USA, trips to Europe with my mom and brother, and a lot of relaxing. And that folks is what I spent my hard earned savings on. I never went back to that job and I didn't work for about a year. It was glorious and I wouldn't change the way I spent that money.
I joined the work force again as an antique store employee, focused on sewing and creating, and started apprenticing as a shepherd (I'll get deeper into that some other time, maybe). I hopped around jobs for a bit, not willing to settle anywhere that didn't fulfill me. Eventually after almost 10 years of living in Toronto and not loving it, my partner and I broke up and I immediately decided to leave and pursue working with sheep and a life in the countryside. I bought an old Roger's van that had done a stint as a touring van for a couple of years and decided it would be my new home until I found work and some where to settle. During this transition I met my current husband who found me work on a sheep farm in Huron County. I only lived in the van for a week until moving in with him in a tiny apartment in Bayfield. We got married three months to the day after we met, started a business, had a baby, closed our business, and now here I am. A mother!
How has life changed for you since becoming a mother?
It has changed dramatically. I've always been one to just get up and go when I feel dissatisfied with how things are going in my life or just feel the need for change. I've never felt rooted anywhere or needed the security of a stable home or income to feel happy. I've never been afraid to take chances and make big changes. Now I have a little person to think about. Someone who thrives on stability and routine and needs a familiar bed to sleep in every night. I can't run away from my problems like I used to.
How has your postpartum experience been?
Full of major ups and major downs. An introduction to the biggest love I have ever felt and the deepest depression I have ever known. Crying tears of joy as I look at my son and watch him grow while also mourning the loss of my freedom and former Self.
My immediate experience was filled with anxiety. My son was born with only one ear and a deformation on the left side of his face and jaw that makes them slightly smaller than the right side. These conditions are named microtia/atresia and hemifacial microsomia for you scientific people. We were not aware of these conditions until his birth. When I first met him, I saw his ear and it meant nothing to me because he was perfect. But in the days and weeks that followed I could not sleep for fear that he would die. We were instantly followed by a number of specialists to check his kidneys, heart, eyes, general genetics and so on. I was afraid to put him down or let others hold him because I needed to hear at all times that he was breathing. Breastfeeding was extremely challenging. Henry was jaundiced and lethargic and my milk came in late because of my anxiety. Breastfeeding never became easy for us. This made me feel like a failure as a mother.
I don't think many of my family or friends really knew how much I was struggling. I'm very self aware and I think in the beginning I hid it well and coped. I hate to be a burden to others. I forced myself out of the house even though I dreaded it. I did all of the things you are supposed to do when depression sets in, except I didn't ask for help. I've never been good at that. Shortly after Henry turned one I admitted to my husband what I was carrying, or I should say he called me out on it. I had become numb, neither feeling sadness or joy. Just tears slipping down my cheeks whenever I was not keeping myself busy. Working together with my husband to recognize when I start to slip again has made a huge difference in my life. He is often the first to point out that I need a break and help me find ways to take one. It's been just over a year and a half and things are very different. I am starting to feel like myself again and am able to take action when I feel myself slipping again.
How do you balance family, work, and your passions?
Not very well! I could use some serious tips in this department. I truly feel like I am often behind in at least one if not all of these things. My son comes first. I try my best to make sure he eats well, gets lots of time outside, has chances to hang with other kids, as well as gets lots of practice listening and speaking, not to mention getting him to all of his appointments. My husband and I definitely don't get the opportunity to spend quality time together like we used to. I would say that we have lowered our quality standards in order to accommodate. I like going to bed fairly early and am not much of a T.V. watcher but these days I'll often stay up late and fall asleep on my husband while we watch Netflix, just so we get to be together. I love weekends. They are always super busy and we often work on our house and yard, but it's really nice to be all together and not have any schedules to keep (aside from naps).
My work and passions have been altered where they can to cater to my new lifestyle. Luckily, being a doula works well for us. I can schedule my client meet ups when Henry is in childcare (he goes two mornings a week) or when Chris is home with him. We have a wonderful care provider for him who is flexible enough to take him if I get called to a birth on other days. I also host toddler play groups through Huron Birth so I can bring Henry to work with me. It benefits us both because he gets to hang out with other kids while I get to hang out with other moms. My sewing work has been put on the back burner. I just can't fit it in these days but I know I'll come back to it as I always do. My spare time is currently spent studying, cooking or taking care of the house and yard. I do try to treat myself to a bath and a face mask here and there. I'm trying to meld my passions into forms of income so that I can earn a little doing things I enjoy and being with Henry. Relaxation doesn't always fit in there, but now that Henry is older and a little more independent, I look for it in different places and smaller chunks. My husband an I make an effort to take turns going on mini vacations to visit relatives with Henry so the other person can have a weekend to themselves. This is extremely rejuvenating for me and brings me back into balance.
Anything else you would like to say?
Becoming a mother has been one of the most challenging and important lessons in my life. It has brought to the surface many old wounds and things I need to work on as a person. It is making me a better person because I choose to dig deep and work on these things for the sake of my son. I know he is who he is and that I can only be a gentle guide. But if I choose to work on myself that is the best I can do to help him grow into a person who is kind to others and true to himself. I know I will never "get it right" or reach perfection and that is why sharing this information with other mothers is important to me. We're all out here floundering in the deep waves, thinking most others have got it down. We are all trying our best, even if some days your best is laying on the floor with toys spread around you, your kid climbing on you while you try to sort of have a nap because you feel like you can't go on another minute without sleep.
March has come in like a lion and we’re ready to send winter on its way with our amazing Pregnant in March session planned for this Saturday!
The afternoon will be jam-packed with incredible guests and activities for all of our expectant mamas.
After gathering and taking a moment to meet the other mamas in our village, we’ll welcome Melissa Snowden for a centering, calming session of pre-natal yoga.
Once we’re feeling zen and glowy, Darien Funk will visit to capture beautiful maternity portraits of each of our participants, followed by belly casting and affirmation-art creation.
The afternoon will wrap with an invigorating prenatal pilates session led by Maria Detenbeck, and a time to chat and share.
A limited number of spaces are still available for this amazing event.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
We wanted to send out a big thank-you to all who attended our Winter Weaving workshop as well as to Kate from Tree Town Arts for sharing her love of weaving with us all!
With the funds generated from this workshop we are able to fully fund a birth doula for one family and pay our artist (Kate) fairly!
We had a lot of interest in this workshop. Sadly we had to turn a few away. So we're hosting Kate again for another!
April, 27th 10am-2pm. $95
All skill levels welcome!
Email email@example.com to register.
“Kegel exercise, also known as pelvic floor exercise, consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, now sometimes colloquially referred to as the "Kegel muscles". The exercise can be performed multiple times each day, for several minutes at a time, for one to three months, to begin to have an effect.”
While pregnant, and into postpartum your health practitioner may recommend Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Although widely suggested, it is not recommended from a Yoga/Pilates Instructor perspective. Unless you have been to a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist to examine your pelvic floor, you may be doing more harm than good by doing Kegels.
Kegels will NOT benefit a hypertonic (too tight) pelvic floor. Doing Kegels under these circumstances will compound your pelvic floor problems. As an alternative to kegels for pelvic floor strengthening, we recommend the following:
Moving with mindfulness for overall healthy postpartum healing. Our posture and alignment have a profound effect on our overall health pre and post baby and beyond. Keeping our bodies in a neutral alignment, avoiding slumping down when we're sitting, as this causes pressure systems in the core and pelvic floor. Remembering to roll to our side when lying down or sitting up, are a few ways to avoid a weak core and pelvic floor muscles after having your baby.
To restore proper function in the core after having a baby we must reawaken the intrinsic muscles of the trunk. If these muscles are not working properly, this can inhibit the overall function of the core muscles. Possibly causing problems in the long run. (think wearing depends at 50!!)
Breathing properly also has an adverse effect on our healing and pelvic floor health. Our bodies need to be able to expand and contract properly for the amount of work the body takes on. Practicing this breathing technique throughout the day will assist your body in the healing process. Breathing through the rib cage- inhale wide and down - exhale lifting from the pelvic floor.
Another great way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles is squats. They are just about the best thing you can do postpartum. We want to remember to stay in neutral alignment. You challenge yourself by placing a small pilates ball in between your thighs to wake up the adductors. The femurs stay way back in the hips joints and we lengthen through the glutes. inhale - down - exhale up. you can also support your self-using the kitchen counter, or the back of a chair.
-Melissa & Maria
Unique reformer sessions that are exclusively designed for postpartum women to strengthen the muscles most affected by pregnancy. Return to your pre-pregnancy shape through inspired breathing and movement using the Pilates method. My approach is rooted in the classical teaching of Pilates, with a fun and magical modern twist, that allows you to improve posture, decrease stress while enhancing overall health and wellness so you can feel amazing in your body and live a more present life.
The Pilates method focuses on breath, concentration, control, centering, precision, balanced muscle development, whole body movement and relaxation.
1 session $40
5 sessions $175.00
10 sessions $340.00
Pilates Circuit Training
Pilates mat & reformer exercises
This class is perfect for those looking to connect the mind and body while creating elongated muscles , flexibility and coordination. Each class is customized to your specific needs and goals.
Pilates is an exercise system developed to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and improve overall health. My teachings are rooted in the Classical Pilates repertoire, with a modern twist. Breath, concentration, control, centering, precision and whole body movement are the core principles of Pilates. Integrating movement into a flowing whole body experience, connecting the mind, body and spirit to create a life balance.
Rebounding boots lymphatic drainage and immune function, it helps to create circulation and oxygen throughout the body to increase energy, improves muscles tone and strength, as well as helps to improve balance.
Foam Rolling is a wonderful way to provide the body with a self massage, the roller helps to smooth out and hydrate the fascia. This oxygenates the blood and improves circulation throughout the entire body, boosting lymphatic drainage and flushing out toxins from the body. The roller also helps to lubricate the joints, reduces inflammation in the body while increasing flexibility and range of motion. Foam rolling the skin and muscles helps the skin to look and feel more supple and youthful.
$45.00 per session
5 Circuit training sessions $200.00
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!
**Medical clearance from your primary care provider is required before starting any postpartum fitness with Huron Birth.
I remember being pregnant in July. I can't say it was my favourite time to be pregnant. The heat, the swelling, the sweat, oh dear! I do have some fond memories none the less- the beach, the garden, and iced tea!
So our team has dreamed up a little self-care day for all the expecting mothers out there this July! Diana Lythia will lead a pre-natal yoga class, we will have mocktails, belly casting, painting, professional photos and a Dancing For Birth™ class taught by Amanda Yearley.
This event is open to all expecting women and is FREE!
Thursday, July, 5th, 6-9pm
We had so much fun this past Saturday at the Mamas & Makers event at the Huron County Museum! Not only did we have a lot of fun but we were also able to generate funds for our Maternal Outreach Fund! We wanted to give a big shoutout to everyone who helped make this an AWESOME event as well as share some pictures that Laurie took.
Special thanks to...
The Goderich Makers Market, Mercantile & Creative Space for helping us put together this event.
To the Hive of Bayfield for setting up the beautiful Photo Booth area.
Courtney Henry for her amazing face painting skills.
To Lynda from Themusicjamfactory.
A big thanks to Mike from The Trusted Tradesmen for his loose parts play set up!
To Jennifer Reaburn for her fun yoga class!
Lastly, to Miss Aimee from The Music Box for her exciting music class!
Also... a HUGE thank-you to the vendors and to everyone who came out!!!
Amanda has finished her Dancing For Birth training and is excited to start up her first class!
This class is uplifting, fun & educational! It's an awesome way for expecting Mothers to prepare for childbirth, stay active, have fun & meet some other expecting Mothers. Discover how functional movement can ease birth. Expect childbirth education to give you the knowledge and confidence to trust your body and your baby to go through birth together.
*Postpartum women are encouraged to attend as well! This class is gentle enough to participate postpartum with your babe. We so value having women on the other side of the birth to share and journey with!
May, 23rd- June 27th
68 main street south Exeter. 7-8:30.
100 dollars for 6 weeks, 20 dollars drop in.
Email email@example.com for more info.
Laurie had the honour of attending to this beautiful family as their doula. Laurie has a ton of photography experience and is quite skilled. So when she became a doula... birth photography was a natural step for her.
Her lovely doula client & her family has consented to Laurie sharing some of the images she took from sweet Aengus' birth. We love this mighty family & are so thankful to witness them.
Stay tuned for more from Laurie in the photography world.
Lots of love to the L family!
At Huron Birth, we're all about the village. We know how enriched our lives (& our family's lives) are when we live in community & help each other out. We have a lot of amazing women in our lakeside community that are forever uplifting, helping & inspiring us. We think it's time to recognize them!
Amanda has come up with an awesome idea to do just that... The Huron Heroine. We're asking you to nominate an everyday heroine in your life! Tell us why she is an amazing person. Who do you know that has made a big impact? We want to celebrate them!
We will take nominations until May, 15th and then draw a winner at random from the submissions. The Huron Heroine & her nominator will win a photoshoot with Laurie, have hair styled by Amanda (who also happens to be an amazing professional hair stylist) & make-up by Sara. The Huron Heroine & her nominee will get to choose the location for their photoshoot and will receive pictures together and separate.
This is open to all women! Mothers, aunts, grandmas, sisters, neighbours, friends, & strangers who make the world a better place. Let's celebrate the beautiful women in our community!
Huron Birth Blog
Our blog will encompass our current happenings, findings, pictures, musings, and guest blog posts on an array of parenting topics.