Yeg Inspired, Baby Issue

Life with Babies, Identity as Mother, Play, Feeding Struggles. With Featured Advertisers, Pamper & Play, Edmonton and Area Doula's, Birth Photographer by Appletree Photography

Life with Babies, Identity as Mother, Play, Feeding Struggles.
With Featured Advertisers, Pamper & Play, Edmonton and Area Doula's, Birth Photographer by Appletree Photography


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A Motherhood Magazine for Edmontonians

Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY





Athena Raypold


Jennifer Bly


Chelsey Krause


Marjorie Campbell


Shauna Roughley





Rachel Jones


Cynthia Priest


Hannah Hamilton


Christine Bruckmann


A Motherhood Magazine for Edmontonians



Advertising Sales:

Advertising Liaison:




Lorraine Stephanyshyn


Athena Raypold


Lorraine Stephanyshyn


Athena Raypold


Lorraine Stephanyshyn


Athena Raypold


Jennifer Bly

Christine Bruckmann

Marjorie Campbell

Hannah Hamilton

Rachel Jones

Chelsey Krause

Cynthia Priest

Athena Raypold

Shauna Roughley





From a family of passionate photographers, Lorraine grew up with

a camera in hand, photojournalistically capturing the world around

her. Since becoming a mother, Lorraine has lovingly witnessed family

histories, documenting lives, creating heirlooms to serve as family

legacies. Inspired was born of a desire to connect with and support both

mothers and local, independent entrepreneurs and businesses; Inspired

is Lorraine’s heartfelt offering to Edmonton’s motherhood community.

With the exception of advertisements and sponsored articles, Inspired’s

pages showcase Lorraine’s documentary style family photography.

Contact Us:





Instagram: @yeginspired

Twitter: @YegInspiredMag


All contents copyright © 2016 by the contributors

All Trademarks presented in this magazine are owned by the registered owner. All advertisements

appearing in this magazine are the sole responsibility of the person, business, or corporation

advertising their product or service. All content, photographs, and articles appearing in this

magazine are represented by the contributor as original content and the contributor will hold




Her Moleskine notebook forever in hand, Athena writes prose and

poetry, essays and articles on topics ranging from motherhood to

feminism to food. Also writing over at The Salty Almond, Athena

celebrates Edmonton’s food scene, community, and cooking with a focus

on supporting local. Athena’s addition to the Inspired team is a natural

collaboration that combines her writing, editing, and design skills.

As Inspired’s Editor, Athena curated and edited the articles within, in

addition to laying out the magazine and contributing her own work.

Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY



JENNIFER BLY is the author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to

Homeschool, creator of local blogs The Deliberate Mom and Deliberate Homeschooling,

and contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith,

and life with her husband and two girls. She has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service

Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.

CHRISTINE BRUCKMANN is the writer behind Just Another Edmonton Mommy

and a born and raised Edmontonian with a background in social work. As a trusted

voice for many families and passionate about supporting her local community, Christine

writes about things to see and do in Edmonton as a family, local events, DIYs, food, and


MARJORIE CAMPBELL is a bilingual stay-at-home mom with two children. From

Montreal, Marjorie has worked extensively as a volunteer in communications wearing

many hats: graphic designer, writer, and editor – most notably for the Glastonbury

Gazette. Married, she met her husband in London, England where she worked as the

graphic designer for the Canadian High Commission.

HANNAH HAMILTON writes at Edmonton blog, The Momoirs, where she shares her

honest and often hilarious take on motherhood. Dreaming of cultivating true community

wherever she happens to be, Hannah wants to live in a world full of creativity, where

naps are mandatory and good food is priority. When she isn’t writing you can find her

teaching yoga, taking pictures or sharing life with a friend over a bottle of wine when

not spending time with her husband and two mischievous little boys.

RACHEL JONES is the blogger behind Edmomton and is a new mother who recently

left the desk job of her dreams to parent full-time. A talker, connector, planner, and

community enthusiast, Rachel enjoys living in the heart of downtown Edmonton with

her young family. Learning as she goes, Edmomton centres on important places, news,

events, and resources for new parents in Edmonton.

CHELSEY KRAUSE is the author of novels Can’t Always Get What You Want and

All Shook Up. A nurse, wife, Starbucks addict, and mom to two girls, Chelsey can often

be found repurposing other people’s junk or considering whether or not the library will

let her move in. The rest of the time, she’s reviewing for Chicklit Club or writing.

CYNTHIA PRIEST was born and raised in Brunei, where co-sleeping is a cultural

norm, Cynthia is a cloth-diapering and baby-wearing first time mother, who loves to

cook and bake. Cynthia plays and teaches piano, develops recipes, maintains a food

blog, Cynful Kitchen, and aspires to write a cookbook in the near future.

SHAUNA ROUGHLEY is a photographer, writer, and mom to two boys. Her

photography business, Roughley Originals, is a partnership ran with her husband,

Gareth. When she’s not working, Shauna loves camping with her family and being

outside as much as she can. With a passion for travel, she hopes to continue to travel

the world with her family.



“As a mother, raising an empathetic child is my

primary goal. More than anything, I want my son

to approach and engage others with sensitivity and




Unlike sympathy or compassion, which inevitably

place distance between two people – you feel sorry for

her loss, you feel compassion for his pain – empathy

requires that you understand and share another’s

feelings and respond in kind. It compels us to disengage

from our own thoughts and feelings in order to

engage in another’s; which can be extremely difficult,

particularly during a disagreement. But when we

willingly enter another’s emotional space with empathy

– be it frustration, grief, or elation –we find genuine


As a mother, raising an empathetic child is my primary

goal. More than anything, I want my son to approach

and engage others with sensitivity and kindness. When

he sees someone struggling, I want him to respond

with empathy, to be supportive, helpful, genuine, and

gentle with others. Because when we allow ourselves to

view a situation from another’s perspective, we truly

hear them. And being heard, being understood, is

paramount to creating trusting relationships and happy

people. Empathy is healing. Empathy is understanding.

Empathy is everything.

John Medina, author of Brain Rules for Baby, dubs

empathy “the glue of relationships” because it binds us

to each other. Medina argues that the seeds of empathy

are planted in parenthood. Through parents’ conscious

choice to practice empathy with each other, they not

only mitigate and reduce marital conflict, but they

also positively affect their baby’s development. Medina

notes that “Infants younger than 6 months old can

usually detect that something is wrong [when parents

are in conflict]. They can experience physiological

changes – such as increases in blood pressure, heart

rate, and stress hormones – just like adults.”

Stress hormones are detrimental to babies and can

increase risk of anxiety disorders, depression, lower

the immune system, inhibit focus, decrease emotional

regulation, and lower IQs. However, this doesn’t

mean that we should avoid conflict at all costs because

conflict is inevitable. What’s important is how we

engage in conflict, how we fight with each other,

and especially, how we make up. In conflict, then,

we should refrain from abuse and name calling, stick

to the “When you..., I feel...” statements and if your

baby is present, resolve that conflict in front of her.

Babies absorb everything: tone, body language, facial

expressions, but if they witness conflict followed by

healthy resolution, they will internalize and grow up

understanding that disagreement is normal, but that

through empathizing as a way to resolve conflicts,

relationships are nurtured instead of injured. Thus,

raising an empathetic child starts with practicing

empathy ourselves – with our partners, our families,

and our children.

For anyone, but particularly babies, empathy has a

calming effect. When your baby is teething and in pain,

respond with affection and verbalize what you imagine

your baby is feeling, “I know, honey, your mouth is

hurting you.” Medina says, “Your ability to move from

you to them, which is what empathy forces anyone to

do, makes all the difference to your child’s brain.” As

hard as it is to catch yourself when you’re frustrated,

when your baby is forcibly squirming away mid diaper

change, or melting down in a store, the more you

vocalize what he’s feeling, name his emotions, and

empathize with him, the sooner your baby will calm

himself. And the more you practice empathy, the more

you model it for your child.

Even as young as six months old, babies look to their

parents for how to respond and interpret the world

around them. How we engage and speak to our babies

and children matters, we must empathize with them,

especially when we feel frustrated by their behavior; we

must talk about other people’s feelings (ours, theirs,

their friends, their siblings, and even their pets); we

must give them examples of how to show empathy (i.e.

Sarah’s upset, let’s offer her a hug); and we must model

empathy for them in our interactions with others. As

Medina says, “The more empathy your child sees, the

more socially competent he’ll become, and the happier

he’ll be.” And what parents universally want more than

anything is happy children.

References: Medina, John. Brain Rules for Baby.

Seattle: Pear Press, 2014. Print.

Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY




“The brain is the only unfinished organ at birth”

(Schiller, n.d.). Isn’t that amazing? This means that you

can directly contribute to the formation of your child’s

brain. While secure, caring relationships are essential,

there are some other things that parents can do to help

nurture healthy brain development. Here are some of

my favourite brain-building activities for babies.

Cause and Effect

Babies learn through interactions with things in their

world. Set up activities that allow your infant to

experiment with cause and effect.

• Stack some soft blocks for your infant. Watch him

knock it down. Repeat.

• Place a soft ball by your infant, when it rolls away,

bring it back to her. Repeat. When your infant is

older, she will enjoy crawling over to the ball and

pushing it away.

• Shaking any toy that makes noise is a great cause and

effect activity.

• Set up shatterproof mirrors for your infant to

interact with. Wave at the mirror, make faces, smile,


• Place a lightweight piece of fabric on a chair or stool

by your baby. Allow your baby to pull the fabric off.



This is a wonderful time to expose your infant to a

variety of music. Classical, jazz, ethnic, contemporary…

make time to play music for your infant. Observe his

face as he hears the tunes. You can also dance with him

Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY


or play along with his favourite rattles.

Read. Read. Read.

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of reading

to young children. This key component of brain

development applies to babies as well! Short, repetitive

stories are wonderful for infants.

Allow your infant to interact with books too! Babies

learn so much by touching and putting things in their

mouths! My favourite books are the “Indestructible

Books.” The manufacturers claim that these books

are “chew proof, tear proof, non-toxic and washable.”

I also love that the nursery rhyme stories show

interesting, worldly “twists” on the rhymes.

Rhymes and Songs

Words are a big part of your infant’s brain

development. Sing to your infant – any simple song

will do! You don’t even have to be a good singer; your

baby doesn’t care if you can carry a tune. Simply make

eye contact with your baby and belt out those tunes.

Simple classics like Mary Had A Little Lamb, The

Wheels On The Bus, and the Itsy, Bitsy Spider will

surely delight your infant.

Sensory Play

Infants learn about their world through their senses.

Expose your baby to a variety of sensory experiences.

Set up an environment which is safe for them to

explore, taste, and touch:

• Place a variety of different fabrics around your infant

and allow him to explore the different textures

and colours. You can extend this activity by using

descriptive words with your infant while he is

exploring the fabrics i.e. rough, soft, smooth, silky,

prickly, etc.

• Fill a large Ziploc bag with shaving cream and two

different colours of paint. Tape the opening closed

and secure it to your infant’s high chair with more

packing tape. Allow her to squish and squeeze the

bag. The texture is unique and the mixing of the

colours is fascinating. The bag can be filled with

other things as well… hair gel and glitter; water, food

colouring and oil; etc. Get creative!

• Allow your infant to finger paint. Afraid they’ll

eat the paint? Let them finger paint with food (rice

cereal, pudding, etc.).

• Infants are fascinated by water. Set up a small basin

of water and allow him to splash and play with it.

(Always make sure to be present when your infant is

playing with water).

• Cut shapes out of sandpaper, foil, and other

materials and tape the shapes to the tray of her

highchair. Your baby will love touching these

interesting things!

Simple Games

What baby doesn’t love Peek-A-Boo? You can also cover

baby’s favourite toy with a piece of fabric or a bowl,

then unveil it: now you see it, now you don’t!

Talk. Talk. Talk.

Your baby loves you and your voice delights him in

ways you can’t even imagine. You are his world! Talk to

your baby frequently.

• Let your baby know all the steps of her diaper

change, “Off come your pants; there’s your belly;

Mommy’s wiping your bum clean; here’s a fresh

diaper,” etc.

• If your baby is in the early babbling phase, mimic his


• Extend her simple sounds into words (i.e. mmmmm…

mama; baaaaa… baby; duh… dada, etc.)

Playing with your baby creates special, precious

moments. It’s such a privilege to watch our babies learn

and grow. Enjoy this age and stage because it really does

go by quickly!


Schiller, P. (n.d.). Brain research and implications for

early childhood programs. Retrieved January 19, 2012,

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“It’s tough having a tiny human full of demands in the house, let us

take care of the demands, so you can enjoy the tiny human.”

Providing Domestic In-Home


You’ve never heard of a Postpartum Doula, have you?

Hiring an Edmonton Area Family Postpartum Doula

can aid in transitioning a family who has just brought

home a brand new screaming, pooping, um I mean,

beautiful bundle of joy (that doesn’t sleep at night).

As a Postpartum Doula I will be the domestic servant

you didn’t know you couldn’t live without. Don’t

fret about that load of laundry you forgot to wash

(again) or the floors that still need to be swept. As your

Postpartum Doula I will sweep in and tidy everything

for you so you can enjoy quality time with your family.

It’s tough having a tiny human full of demands in the

house; let me take care of the demands so you can enjoy

the tiny human.


Personal culinarian at your service: you forgot to eat

breakfast today? Oh and maybe lunch too? Not to

worry! I will prepare you a healthy snack and bring

it to you while you feed your baby, or I can feed your

baby a bottle while you eat. I’ll even throw your lasagna

into the oven for supper. #postpartumdoulasdothat


Invite your Postpartum Doula for a sleepover! You

didn’t realize your tiny human could eat and poop

every two hours all night long, did you? Or only want

to sleep attached to you? When I spend the night, I

can help bring your baby to you when she is ready to

breastfeed, or I can bottle-feed him for you, so you can

sleep. Let me be the one to change his diaper, swaddle

her tight, or rock him back to sleep.

In all seriousness, we are postpartum professionals who

have undergone extensive training through ProDoula

in order to best support a mom and her family after her

baby is born.







“I wasn’t the only one who felt overwhelmed, guilty, or concerned

about feeding my baby.”



As a first-time mom, feeding my baby was a constant

source of concern, but I’m realizing that, after fifteen

months, it didn’t have to be. While pregnant, I had read

and heard unfamiliar terms like lactation, let-down,

latch, supply, top-up, formula, donor milk, colostrum,

mastitis, expressing, engorgement, pumping, bottlefeeding,

solids, purees, infant cereal, and baby-lead

weaning. Feeding seemed to be a big topic, but nothing

I couldn’t handle.

When my baby was born, and breastfeeding began, I

started to experience what some of these words meant.

I felt overwhelmed. I wanted to give up. I sobbed to my

mom, telling her I didn’t have the strength to keep it up

for much longer. I wondered if I should be nursing on

a set schedule, if I was producing enough milk, or if I

was eating something that upset my baby. I thought my

son would miraculously sleep through the night if I fed

him formula, but I felt guilty if I gave it to him; it was a

time-consuming (and sometimes embarrassing) process

to get my boob out; trying to bottle-feed felt like more

effort than pumping; and my boy has a tongue and lip

tie, so we had to work at getting him to latch properly.

It felt like an endless struggle.

Once I’d met other moms who’d had difficulties,

my perspective changed. Some of my friends were

unable to breastfeed due to post-partum depression

and anxiety, physical pain, or an anatomical inability

to express milk. Some babies couldn’t latch. Some

babies were fed formula or donor milk from their first

day of life. Some mothers pumped exclusively just to

bottle-feed breastmilk. I wasn’t the only one who felt

overwhelmed, guilty, or concerned about feeding my

baby. I started to feel better – because it was tough

for everyone.After three months, my baby and I had a

routine down. At five months, he was trying solids. But

then the worry crept back again – this time, about food

variety. I would buy one of every vegetable, making a

puree for each. It was time consuming and sometimes

frustrating to have my baby reject it. But, I kept at it.

And it got better and better. Six, nine, twelve, and now

fifteen months have gone by, and guess what? We are

still breastfeeding, imagine that!

I wish I could rewind the clock and tell myself to keep

it simple. I’d tell myself to trust my instinct and mute

the opinions of others unless they were positive. I’d be

more confident in my choices and adapt when I felt the

need. I would reach out for more support, and I’d try

to feel good about my choices from the beginning - for

myself and for my baby.


Breastfeeding Clinics

Grey Nuns: 780.735.7346

Misericordia Hospital: 780.735.2577

Royal Alexandra: 780.735.4605

La Leche League facilities offer free group and oneon-one

breastfeeding support in your community.

Meetings are held by volunteers and are listed online.

go to www.lllc.ca and search your area for information

on the meeting date, time, and location. Call

1.800.665.4324 if you have questions.

Entrepreneur Mom Now supports members

like Kaye Burrows, owner of Core Love,

Prenatal and Postpartum fitness in Edmonton!

Visit her at corelove.ca

Kaye can take advantage of group mastermind

calls, grant money, coaching and courses to

help her grow her business.

Learn more at entrepreneurmomnow.com

Join our free Facebook Group for networking!

Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY


Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY


“ They don’t have to know that I bed-share. It’s our

dirty little secret.”



Babies are primal beings; they will wake up hungry and

cry. Sharing a room with my almost three-month old

son, Art, has been such a joy; I fall back asleep so much

more easily. As Art sleeps for four hour stretches or

more, it has been five nights since I have moved him to

the nursery. Nonetheless, we still bed-share when it is

time for his night time feedings.

Bed-sharing can be such a dirty word, can’t it? My

cousin who gave me the What to Expect books firmly

told me that sharing a room is fine, but I should never

bed-share for fear of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

(SIDS). If you are breastfeeding, however, bed-sharing

is completely safe. The night I chose not to bed-share, I

woke up a few hours later in the rocker glider, instantly

panicking about whether or not I had dropped Art.

Worse, my husband once found me napping in a

recliner with Art rooting on my lap, edging towards the

foot of the chair, not in my arms!

When my husband and I were taking Hypnobabies

birth classes during pregnancy, the instructor

recommended that we read Sweet Sleep - Nighttime and

Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family by La

Leche League International (LLLi). The book outlines

the following requirements for safe bed-sharing: you

must be a non-smoker; you must be sober (not using

drugs, alcohol or drowsy medications); you must be

breastfeeding; your baby needs to be full-term and

healthy; your baby needs to be kept on his back when

he is not nursing; your baby needs to be unswaddled

and lightly dressed; and, both baby and mother need

to be on a safe surface. For a safe surface, since our

bed has a soft memory foam, we place yoga and rubber

mats on my side of the bed under fitted sheets, with

an adult-sized bed meshed rail, so that our baby will

not fall once he starts to roll (do not bed-share on the

sofa). Keep the baby at breast-level, expose one breast,

curl around your baby for sleep while laying on your

side and you will immediately form a protective frame.

LLLi calls this the “cuddle curl,” which is also known

as the side-by-side nursing position. Make sure you do

not use any nursing pillows as they can be a suffocation

hazard. Oh, and you want to make sure you place a

waterproof mattress protector under the mats for

potential blowouts and leaks.

As the weather starts to get chillier at night, to keep

myself warm, I wear a long sleeved nursing pyjama

top and a pair of long johns with socks. My hair is

usually up in a high ponytail bun. For comfort, I use

a tiny pillow wedged between both knees to maintain

a sideways position for a long time. It isn’t a foreign

position to sleep in since I have been trained to sleep

sideways with a Snoogle during pregnancy!

Babies are not easy to sleep with! Some babies don’t

like sleeping on their backs, but bed-sharing saved my

life as I was able to let Art sleep with his shoulders on

my arm in the cuddle curl. “How is the baby sleeping?”

I am often asked. I smile and say, “Good.” They don’t

have to know that I bed-share. It’s our dirty little

secret: I get decent sleep while getting cuddles with an

infant who seems to grow so fast by the day.

References: Wiessinger, Diane, Diana West, Linda J.

Smith, and Teresa Pitman. Sweet Sleep. New York:

Ballantine Books, 2014. N. pag. Print.



“Becoming a parent isn’t necessarily akin to drowning or walking

an endless desert (though, there are times, when it certainly feels

that way), but I feel like there’s this cultural expectation that

“good” mothers live their entire lives for their children. And this

pressure can make you feel like you’re the worst mother ever.”



To be honest, the first few months (with both kids)

are a blur. I’m so glad for photos, they captured the

months that I was too busy and frazzled to really

remember clearly. When I was pregnant for the first

time, I didn’t realize how fully and completely having

a baby would change me, change my life, my goals,

my worldview. Sometimes I wonder what the hell I

did with my time before I had kids; my day revolves

around them so much now, that it’s hard to remember

what life was like before them. Before kids, I worked

full time as a nurse on a busy acute care ward. I met

up with girlfriends, I read books, and I had sex with

my husband whenever we wanted, wherever we wanted

(can any of you relate? If not, I’m sure you’re laughing,

and that’s good).

And then, I had my darling baby girl and suddenly, my

entire life revolved around this beautiful, demanding

creature. Between feedings and naps and consoling her

cries, I rarely had time for myself. I was just so focused

on being a mom and keeping my baby alive that there

were days I’d forget to eat. And privacy? Pffft. Forget

privacy. For months, I’d set her up in a bouncy chair in

the bathroom with me so I could shower. (That doesn’t

go away, by the way! My four-year-old still loves to

barge into the bathroom just to say “I love you” or ask

what I’m doing).

Anyway. So had I this new baby. I loved this dear, sweet

little one more than anything. I loved cuddling her and

dressing her in cute outfits and talking to her. I enjoyed

taking her for walks, and playing with her, and giving

her baths. But there were many days (most days, in

fact), where I would cry and feel helpless and absolutely

lost when I couldn’t console her, no matter what I did.

And once I finally got her to sleep, and she slept for

three hours, I was convinced that she’d died then felt

guilty for wanting her to fall asleep at all.

I was in a body that I didn’t recognize, I felt

embarrassed that I had to wear maternity pants for

months after delivery because they were the only

thing that felt comfortable. My once clean, trendy

living room was peppered with gaudy toys and huge

battery operated swings and burp rags and wipes. My

pretty purses were replaced with ugly, squashy diaper

bags. My husband and I were usually too exhausted to

do much more than watch TV and go to bed. These

might sound like trite complaints, but damn, they

felt important! And though I absolutely loved being a

mom, I felt as though the things that made me me were

slipping away.

Life became more complicated when I had my second

baby. I was so excited to have a new baby girl. I loved

that my two girls were close in age, and envisioned

them being close sisters, but life got complicated fast.

My new baby projectile vomited at every single feeding.

She’d drink for a few minutes, and then wail loudly, as

through she were in extreme pain. She wasn’t growing

well. Changing her diaper and bathing her were

absolute torture because I could see each of her ribs,

so I consulted my midwife and doctor about possible

reasons and solutions. I tried feeding her upright. I

elevated the head of her bed, so she’d digest better. I

fed her in quiet, dark rooms, where she could focus

(because if the slightest sound or movement disturbed

her, she’d come off my breast, wailing). Nothing

seemed to work. My doctor thought it might be reflux,

but figured she’d grow out of it.

When she was older and I tried giving her solids,

she’d either choke or puke everything up, and cry

inconsolably. Every meal felt like going into battle. I

started to dread feeding her. It even got to the point

where I had to feed her with a syringe, a few millilitres

at a time, just to get something into her. At my request,

we finally got a swallowing assessment done, followed

by visits with dietitians and occupational therapists,

all of whom reassured me that I was doing everything

I could, and that she was probably just following her

Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY


own growth curve. But when I’d bring her into the

public health clinic, I had judgy nurses breathing down

my neck, accusing me of not feeding my baby properly,

sending fiery letters to my doctor. On top of this, my

husband was working a lot of overtime, including 12-

hour night shifts, and I was potty training my two-yearold.

My maternity leave was almost done, and I dreaded

going back to the stressful, understaffed environment

of hospital nursing, but I didn’t want to give up my

career. I was stressed beyond comprehension.

Now, this might seem like a weird time for me to start

writing a book, but that’s what I did. My youngest was

about nine-months old, as I recall. Looking back, it

seems so strange, but I’d always wanted to a be a writer,

and had this idea for a book. And one night, when my

husband was working and my kids were in bed, I just

decided to start. I used writing to explore my fears of

choosing the wrong career, and to wonder what my

future options might be. I used writing to enter a new

world for a while, and to forget about my own. It was

cathartic, soothing, exciting! And though it didn’t erase

or diminish any of the challenges I was facing in real

life, for me, writing became my lifeline. I felt like I got

a bit of myself back.

Now, my kids are four and six years old, I’ve written

and published two books (the first with Random

House in 2015, and the second this summer, with Tryst

Books), I’ve just done my first book signing and book

launch this summer, and I’m getting great reviews. I

love writing and I plan to do this for the rest of my life.

Being a writer is something I’ve wanted to do since I

was a child, and I feel like it’s an important part of me.

I imagine you’re thinking, “I can’t do that. Besides, I

don’t even know what I’d want to do!” Believe me, I

hear you. The challenges you’re facing right now are

real. Each family situation is different. And yet, I’d

venture that despite the varying details, every new

parent feels exhausted, overwhelmed, and drained. I’ve

been there, and I imagine that some days, dear reader,

you feel like you’re barely keeping your head above

the surface. You feel like you’re about to drown. I

don’t mean to make it sound more dramatic than it is.

Becoming a parent isn’t necessarily akin to drowning

or walking an endless desert (though, there are times,

when it certainly feels that way), but I feel like there’s

this cultural expectation that “good” mothers live their

entire lives for their children. And this pressure can

make you feel like you’re the worst mother ever.

For example, if I go out without my children, I can

guarantee that someone will ask “So, who has the

kids?” My husband is rarely asked this question (and I’d

wager, he’s only asked this when I’m with him). I could

go on and on about this point alone, but suffice it to

say that there is immense cultural pressure for women

to limit who they are and sacrifice their personal

identities in the name of family. But it’s important that

as women, we examine our lives and take stock of how

much we invest in ourselves, in our time, our interests,

our goals, our aspirations, and our dreams.

A pitfall we often fall into (myself included) is that we

take better care of other people than we do of ourselves.

That’s why having an identity, separate from being a

spouse or parent, is so important: it’s your lifeline, your

flotation device, your oasis in the desert. Your flotation

device doesn’t have to be anything big, it doesn’t have

to be something you’re passionate about (though, if

you do have something you’re passionate about, go

for it!), it merely has to be something that gives you

joy, something that piques your curiosity. It could be

anything: photography, writing, painting, running,

anthropology, car mechanics, starting a business,

traveling, or learning a new language. Anything you

want. Once you’ve decided on something, begin carving

out space for it. And I deliberately mean carve, because

that means you have to cut something out.

If you’re like me and struggle with the guilt of not

giving your family 100%, then here’s your homework:

Listen to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons.

Season 1, Episode 1 is about a mom blogger who wants

to write a memoir and devote more time to writing, but

she is struggling with the belief that she’ll somehow

take something away from her family if she does so.

Liz basically gives her (and all listeners) permission to

follow her curiosity and to be a “good enough mom.”

Oh, to be released from the pressure of perfectionism!

To let go of the expectation that we must do it all and

make it look effortless. I don’t know about you, but

that’s damn exciting for me. More than anything, I

want to lead my girls by example. I want them to do

things that give them joy. I don’t want to dissuade them

from being a wife or a mother because there is joy and

beauty in being those things, I just want them to know

that there’s so much more they can be.




FB: mshawmakeup

IG: mshawmakeup



“My dear old Mum said something back in 1975 that is even more true

for embattled parents today: it is way more important to seek out and

find people who lift you up, support and love you (in all your flawed

wonder), and say, ‘Tomorrow will be a better day, have a hug and your

favourite [beverage of choice]!’”



I have been gearing up for a return to the workforce

after a nearly ten-year hiatus, during which I was a stayat-home-parent.

If I can impart one piece of wisdom

from my time in the trenches, it is this: never, ever, ever

get involved in an online discussion with a friend based

on a click-bait parenting article they have shared online.

Like. Ever.

Everyone has fallen for clicking them – they are like the

kryptonite of the Internet. Click-bait articles usually

start with a screaming headline that targets your primal

outrage, and they have several things in common: they

are usually opinion dressed up as fact; they have little

or no verifiable sources or basis in provable fact; they

are an offshoot of an impossible-to-replicate-withoutstaff

celebrity lifestyle or fad; and they have a mean,

judgmental, and/or preachy tone. Following these links

is like traveling down a rabbit hole, delivering you to a

land where all commenters eventually resemble those

kids from Lord of the Flies!

We, as parents, are in a constant state of doubt and

anxiety over whether we are doing this thing right.

Like no other generation before, we have access to an

ocean of resources for advice on childrearing. Back in

the day, the odd book would come out, but your Mum,

smoking her fifth cigarette lit from the last, whilst

driving you in her no-car-seat car, would likely read

some of it, ignore most of it, and get on with her day

being mentally healthier for it. Back then, people just

got on with being insecure about things and didn’t

turn it in to a weekly article, competition, or try to

make everyone else feel bad about doing it differently.

People certainly judged, but they were far more discreet

about it. Ghosting – cutting someone off completely in

a social context – is not new. The virtue in this was that

it was based on people not telling you why you were

not invited to have your gin and tonic with the other

bad mums in the ‘hood – it was just that you didn’t fit

in. You would have known before the ghost and been

relieved that it happened. Eventually, you would find

your group of like-minded parents and all would be

well in the world.

We are the “say everything” generation. You know

what? Don’t. People (myself included) are not very

clever overall. Giving my opinion is not going to change

anything. I now carefully pick and choose who and

how I share my thoughts – and by not sharing every

single thing, I save my blushes. I don’t need everyone to

agree with me, and when I really am incompatible with

someone, I am okay with them drifting out of my life.

My dear old Mum said something back in 1975 that

is even more true for embattled parents today: it is

way more important to seek out and find people who

lift you up, support and love you (in all your flawed

wonder) and say, “Tomorrow will be a better day, have

a hug and your favourite [beverage of choice]”!

You won’t remember those times you got your pithy

point across in the comments section – but you will

remember that friend who showed up with a coffee and

an offer to give you a sanity break from your kid(s). Be

kind to each other and yourself – resist falling for the

click bait, or if you can’t, don’t pass that darkness on.






Edmonton, AB

Phone: (780) 953-9590

Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY

Blessed Grove Keepsakes

specializes in making memory









Providing professional photography services to

families in the Parkland County and Edmonton areas,

photographer Rachel Melnychuk specializes in

maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family






Phone: (780) 920-9877



classes workshops parties

classes workshops parties


#3 1109 Summerside Drive SW Edmonton, AB


780-469-0280 • summerside@4cats.com

#3 1109 facebook.com/4catsstudio

Summerside Drive SW Edmonton, AB

780-469-0280 4cats.com/summerside • summerside@4cats.com






I’m jerked awake from sleep once again. There is no

slow waking in this house, not anymore. My alarm

clock has barely been used in the last three years. My

days start when my kiddos decide it’s time to rise. Some

days, that’s a glorious sleep in (until 7 am), and some

days, I’m up before the sun.

Most of my days are theirs, so our mornings typically

centre around their moods. If they need to stay in their

pajamas and go play in the sand box first thing in the

morning, that’s what they do; if they need to run and

chase each other and shout at the top of their lungs,

that’s what they do. My coffee constantly goes cold,

I rarely eat my breakfast sitting down, and my plans

revolve around keeping them happy.

Our decision to keep our kids at home with us (only

using occasional child care) has been a choice I will

forever be grateful we made. I love that I get to spend

my days taking my sons on adventures and introducing

them to new experiences. I want to know my boys, and

I want them to remember the time we spend together.

It’s rare that parents can take their kids swimming on a

random Tuesday morning; I feel constantly lucky that

we’re able to.

Trust me, there are days that can’t end soon enough.

Some days, I’m grateful for Netflix and naptime, and

there isn’t enough coffee in the world. Some days, the

endless chatter and questions make my head feel like it’s

going to explode. This parenting gig is never, ever easy,

but most days I try to make it fun.

Most people don’t realize the flip side to trying to run

a business while having your kids at home with you.

My job as a photographer has unconventional hours

in which childcare isn’t available. My parents are my

biggest supporters, and without their help, there is no

way we could do our jobs.

I feel a constant nagging in my head trying to figure

out when to work, balancing the time with my kids and

time away from them, when to book shoots, when to

do the laundry, all the while wondering when the house

is ever going to be clean again. Because with our whole

family home all the time, the messes are endless. Most

days, I choose not to worry about the constant clutter,

the dishes that are always piling up, and the neverending

laundry. The house will be quiet and clean

soon enough, and I know I will miss the bustle. Some

days though, it eats me up and there is a whirlwind of

cleaning. And then it’s messy the very next day.

I’ve considered getting more childcare. I’ve thought

about the need to have more time to work and cultivate

this business, our passion, and the way we pay our

bills. But soon enough the boys won’t want us around

constantly. They will entertain themselves, be off and

busy with their friends, and I will miss these days.

So for now, I’ll put on pots of coffee at 8:00pm to keep

me up for late night work sessions, I’ll guzzle more the

next morning, and I’ll practice my truck sounds and

digging skills.





What makes you passionate

about pampering parents?

Parents don’t generally put themselves first. And so we

have supplied them with an outlet where they can go

get their haircut or a beautiful pedicure or a facial or

anything they need, all while their children are being

well taken care of in the supervised playroom.

What is special about

Pamper + Play?

Pamper & Play Salon and Spa is Edmonton’s first and

only premiere salon and spa with a fully supervised

playroom that allows parents to regenerate and take

care of themselves while we watch their little ones. Our

goal is to give parents a space to nurture and replenish

their spirits, without the stress of having children in

tow. Our playroom is fully supervised with a capacity

of four little ones at a time. We change diapers, bottle

feed, and work around nursing schedules!

How do clients respond to

your services?

Our parents absolutely love our services! They thank us

when they find out that we even exist and love that we

allow them to go completely out of mommy and daddy

mode while they’re in the building, which gives them

a chance to basically start over and be ready to face

anything after they leave.

What advice can you offer

to parents with babies?

Do not forget about yourself and even though it’s very

difficult to put yourself first, you’re better able to take

care of your family when you practice self-care. I really

love seeing that tired, tired, tired first-time mom come

through the door, and by the time she leaves she has a

fabulous glow, she feels so good about herself, and she

is ready to deal with the next issue that arises.

I was that mom. I have two amazing little boys, Connor

(4) and Cameron (3). One day, when they were one

and two years old, I looked in the mirror and my hair

was horrible, my skin looked tired and gloomy, and

I just didn’t see myself. I thought if I felt that way,

so must other moms, which is why I opened Pamper

& Play Salon and Spa two years ago. Now, we have a

wonderful, amazing clientele, and I really look forward

to what the future brings for us.







“I noted how small he looked while he slept and how during

the day he seemed so big in comparison to his younger brother.

I tried to think of the last time I had spent any valuable oneon-one

time with him and none came to mind. ”



I have a very strong bond with my firstborn. Like a

carefully sewn quilt, we are woven together in the most

intricate and intimate way. He gave me the title of

mother and taught me more about about love than I

ever knew was possible. Our relationship didn’t come

easy though; it was an unplanned pregnancy followed

by a traumatic birth, and a long, dark year suffering

with postpartum depression. We fought for each other,

my son and I, every success we greeted between us was

preceded by a mountain that we had had to climb. The

trust we built together was unspoken but powerful,

it echoed, “Even when it is really, really hard, I am

with you.” He was mine and I was his, and I couldn’t

imagine it any other way.

He was three when I found out I was pregnant with

our second. I clearly remember looking into his big

brown eyes and wondering how exactly our lives would

change by adding another person into our very tight

knit family of three. “When you have a second child,

your love is multiplied, not divided,” I heard this

phrase often when I was pregnant and I always nodded

in agreement. I did believe it, but I wasn’t sure how

exactly I would feel. I couldn’t fathom a multiplied

love, but I knew it must be true. What I wasn’t so sure

about was a multiplied interest. How is it possible to

be fully engaged with both children? How would I

navigate the hours in a day to equally give my attention

to both children, let alone my husband and myself? As

my due date approached, I took my son on fun dates,

frantically trying to soak in our last moments together

before our family dynamic was completely changed.

The birth of my second child was easier, lighter, and

less intense than that of my first. My seasoned body

greeted him with knowing. Within 15 minutes, he was

nursing with ease, something that had always been a

difficult, frustrating task for me and my firstborn.

My mood was light and happy, I felt in control (such

a foreign feeling for me with a newborn baby). I was

not fumbling through the day, emotional and unsure,

desperately wanting to bond with my baby and feeling

completely unable to do so. I thought I had been quite

confident as a first-time mom; however, this time I felt

graceful in mothering. I knew what cries demanded

my attention and which ones I could sleep through. I

was better able to recognize needs, and I cherished the

cuddles a little more because I knew how quickly they

would grow from sleepy infant to busy toddler. There

was a stark difference between my first experience with

infancy and my last. The result of this led me down a

road I hadn’t anticipated, and one that caused me a lot

of guilt in the coming months.

My husband started taking our eldest out on dates

to give me time to rest with the new baby. Because

our children are almost four years apart, this habit

continued on for quite some time. It seemed as though

our family split: my husband and my son on one side,

my baby and I on the other. I appreciated the one-onone

time I was getting with my youngest, I loved how

easy it felt to bond with my new baby. I noticed how

close my husband and my son were becoming, and felt a

mixture of joy and relief that they were growing closer

and giving me space at the same time.

Months went by, and on one particularly hard day that

ended with me quietly stepping into my eldest’s room

late at night to look at his peaceful face, it occurred to

me how much our relationship had changed. I noted

how small he looked while he slept and how during

the day he seemed so big in comparison to his younger

brother. I tried to think of the last time I had spent any

valuable one-on-one time with him and none came to

mind. I marveled how within a few mere months, the

pendulum had completely swung the other way. While

I was once worried I wouldn’t have the space for my

new baby, I now found myself realizing I hadn’t kept

enough space for my eldest.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in having a second

child is that you must be intentional about your

Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY


desired family dynamic. It’s common to go through

seasons of life bonding more naturally with one child

than the other. I don’t think this is favouritism or a

reason to feel guilty. The challenge during these times

is to be aware of which child you might have to work

harder for, which one might need more intentional

love, and which one may need more thoughtful time

spent together. I now try to grab onto the small

opportunities that I have during the day to connect

with each member of my family. I’ve noticed that

these connections don’t have to be extravagant dates

that take a lot of time, they can be as simple as reading

books before bed, or conversations while you drive.

After all, it is a cumulation of small, thoughtful

moments that lead to a big, whole hearted life.

Offering a complete circle of support to enhance your

childbearing year. We understand the complexity of readying

for a baby and how busy life can be. We have a team of birth

related professionals, who are trained to assist families by

further preparing them with additional resources, classes and

complimentary services, uniquely setting our practice apart for

families in Alberta.



7903-14 Ave SW

Edmonton, AB.T6X 1H3

Office: (587) 521-2717

Mobile: (780) 708-0615





“At a birth, the moments after baby has arrived are so full, the

overpowering joy and relief are so tangible.”

What makes you passionate

about birth photography?

Being there for my families, whether it’s a first child

or the seventh. I photograph the moments that are

too easily forgotten with the surge of endorphins and

hormones that make remembering this exciting time

fuzzy. Sometimes that means quietly capturing their

story as it unfolds, and sometimes I’m more present:

holding a hand, grabbing a cold cloth between photos,

or lending support. Sometimes I am hired to capture

a successful VBAC where a momma feels redeemed

by having the birth she dreamed of but was denied

the first time. I capture first time parents that have

struggled with infertility and have finally matched with

a surrogate. Or, sadly, capturing the short life of a baby

who is not able to survive earth side, or a rainbow baby

to a mom who has lost a pregnancy. It’s meaningful

to visually offer a family the beginning of their child’s


What are your favorite

moments to capture?

Emotion. We (as humans) try to be perfect, we try to

hold everything together and have order and control

over every aspect of our lives including our emotions.

At a birth, the moments after baby has arrived are so

full, the overpowering joy and relief are so tangible.

Moms often drop their heads back and close their eyes

while clutching their new babe to their chest and you

can see the emotions playing over her face. I often hold

my breath (and some tears) in these magical moments

and I can almost hear them mentally shouting,” I did


Why do families choose


I hope it’s because they trust me, and connect with me,

and have fallen in love with my work. I think birth is

the most vulnerable and intimate style of photography;

my families are not only trusting me to capture images

and memories of their child, but also their rebirth

into someone new: a first time mother or father, or

expanding their family to add another child. It is not a

responsibility I take lightly.

How do clients respond to

your photography?

My families are so excited to see their images and see

their child’s story from another angle, remembering the

fleeting moments they missed or forgot. I am humbled

by their gratitude when they express their joy to me.

Most parents would say the day their child was born was

the best day of their life; it was a day where everything

changed. I am truly blessed to witness these moments.

Some births do not go as planned, and moms have

told me the photos are both palpable and therapeutic.

One mom said after a difficult birth that ended in an

emergency c-section, “my photos helped me to reframe

my experience in a more positive light.”

What advice can you offer to

new parents?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a birth photographer, ask

questions and really determine if you want this “one of

a kind” experience captured. Many parents are hesitant

to be photographed during such a raw, vulnerable, and

admittedly graphic experience, but we can customize

your session so that it suits your comfort level. For some

that means I meet them for an hour in the first 48 hours

of the baby’s life capturing where he or she was born but

not the birth itself. For others, it’s an above-the-waist

session, shooting only the emotions and connections

between the parents and their supports and the new

baby. And still others want me to photograph everything

from every angle and we’ll cull the images they aren’t

comfortable with. I am here to tell their story in a way

that best represents them and means the most to them.







“Diapers are one thing you can’t compromise on and wipes are

multi purpose: sticky hands, spills, and other surfaces that you’re

not too sure have been wiped ever.”



Whether you’re travelling for the first time or are a

seasoned traveller, travelling with a baby definitely

requires some preparation and patience. Following

these simple tips will help make travelling with your

baby easier.

Use Ziploc Bags

Packing clothes in Ziploc Bags is a great way to organize

for travel. Simply get some large or extra large bags and

a permanent marker. Pack one outfit in each bag and

label it accordingly. Don’t forget to pack extra outfits

and put a few in your diaper bag for easy access! Ziploc

Bags are also perfect to have on hand to store clothes if

you’ve had to deal with a poop explosion or some other

sort of clothing mishap. Need to make an emergency

diaper change? They work great to contain the diaper.

Empty Ziploc Bags barely take up any room in your bag

and if you do have to store something in them you can

just seal it up and deal with it later.

Drinks + Snacks

If you’re little one is on formula, make sure you pack

enough bottles, formula, and water for the whole trip.

Having the formula pre-measured in easy to open

containers helps to make the process more convenient.

For the babies eating solids, pack baby food and other

snacks such as cheerios, crackers, fruit cups, cheese

strings, as well as bibs, a Sippy cup and spoons. If

they’re old enough, pack a few treats too as you never

know when they might come in handy!

Diapers + Wipes

Whether you’re on a plane or driving to your

destination, you do not want to be in the position of

not having enough diapers or wipes! Think of how

many diapers you usually use in a day and then pack

more. Diapers are one thing that you can’t compromise

on and wipes are multi purpose: sticky hands, spills,

and other surfaces that you’re not too sure have been

wiped ever. Wipes come in handy for a lot of things,

not just diaper changes. Also don’t forget a change pad!

Entertainment + Comfort

Small rattles, teething toys, board books, an iPad,

blankets, and soothers are just some things to

remember. Consider bringing a new toy or two that

you can take out during the trip – especially if times

are getting a little tough. There are many great apps

that you can download onto your device that are baby

friendly, and having comfort items on hand can help

make an unfamiliar or out of routine situation a little

more comfortable.

Baby Carriers + Strollers

A baby carrier is a great way to get your little one from

point A to point B, especially if you are travelling

alone. They are easy to store in your carry-on bag when

not in use, and can also come in handy when you’re on

a holiday and exploring, not to mention if you have to

use the washroom! Strollers are also a must if you are

travelling for extended periods of time. A compact or

umbrella stroller is ideal because they are light and easy

to pack at the gate. A stroller can be a lifesaver when

you’ve spent the day exploring and your little one needs

to doze off.

Other Essentials

You never know what you are going to experience with

your little one. Pain relievers and a change of clothes

for both of you, teething drops, birth certificates, and

passports are important. If you are flying, make sure

you pack it in your carry on bag, and if you’re driving,

make sure passports are easily accessible.

For air travel, always be sure to check with the airline

to find out their guidelines and rules are for travelling

with a baby.

Remember you’ve got this and enjoy your trip!

Volume 02 Fall 2016 Issue BABY


Art Supplies and Workshops

4 Cats Summerside 780.469.0280

Baby Equipment Rentals

One Tiny Suitcase 587.784.0212


Marla Shaw

Makeup Artistry and Microblading 780.907.9714

Pamper & Play Salon and Spa 780.440.7529


Full Circle Birth Collective 587.521.2717

Landmark Doulas 587.673.0365


Entrepreneaur Moms Now 250.616.3444

Moms Earning More 780.436.6272

Car Care

Billy’s Detail 780.975.2225


Hot Mama Fitness 780.298.5888

Home Décor

Shelley Cronin Design 780.235.1800


Appletree Photography 780.953.5802

Bille Lang Photography 780.263.2722

Jessica Leanne Photography 780.940.5579

Lorraine Mare Fotography 780.690.0945

Luciddream Photography Inc. 780.919.6691

Pinkstar Photography Inc.


Then Now and Forever

Photography 780.920.9877


Edmonton Area Family Doulas 780.966.6705

Full Circle Postpartum Doula Care 587.521.2717

Park City Doulas 780.446.8224


Modern Mama St. Albert North Edmonton


Modern Mama Edmonton


Enjoy Life, Mom’s Group 780.297.8510


Connections Family Travel 780.668.8292

Website Content and Blog Writing

Athena Raypold Freelance Writer


The Ruby Thursday Collective



QuikCard 780.426.7526 ext 2243


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Kids Apparel

House of Posie



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