Author: Annie

The Problem with Mental Health Care: How Our System is Failing Mothers (and Everyone Else for that Matter)

As many of you know, I’m an open book. I’ll openly talk about my uterus, breastfeeding and  discuss the mistakes I’ve made over the course of my life. It’s why I started this blog. To share as a way to help myself heal, remind myself to laugh, and to hopefully inspire others do the same along the way. While I usually don’t leave anything off limits, I’ve never found the courage to openly discuss…the real me. Every once and awhile I feel inspired to disclose my secret when I read a story by one of the many people who live, feel and experience life the way I do, yet I can never put my thoughts into words quite as eloquently. Because let’s be honest, anxiety and mental illness is hardly ever eloquent. Whether this comes out as beautifully written as a Shakespeare play or as confusing as a grade one journal entry, it’s time to create something with these words. While I’m sure  through initiatives like Bell Let’s Talk Day and campaigns from the Canadian Mental …

Back to Work: I survived. It was one hell of a week, but I survived. 

This past Sunday my sweet baby turned one. A whole year old. A year where the first 6 months felt never-ending as I navigated the unknowns of motherhood. And where the last 6 months felt like my entire life was flashed before my eyes, as I watched my boy learn, grow and develop into what would be a happy, hilarious and tiny toddler. As I reflect on my year with Jack my heart hurts. There were so many moments I neglected to enjoy as I struggled with postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation. My heart also hurts because it’s beaming so much with love and pride, a hurt that can only be felt when you truly love someone more than yourself. While sitting on my couch this Tuesday morning at 3 a.m. the memories from this year, both good and bad, flew through my mind like you expect your life to flash before death. Indeed, I felt like a piece of me was dying – more specifically, a piece of my heart. In only a few …

Honestly, I Don’t Care How You Feed Your Baby, But I Want You To Know This…

Last week The Honest Company approached me and asked if I wanted join them in a conversation about one of the most intimate and important experiences in a family’s life: feeding their newborn baby. Without hesitation, I said yes. Honest presents judgement free stories on its blog covering moms from every walk of life. Today I share my story and a letter to parents in hopes to end the judgement and stigma that comes with the personal choices families make to feed their baby. Before I dive into my raw and real  experience, I’d like to say I’m not here to argue breast isn’t best. Instead, I’m here to shed some light on why breast wasn’t exactly best for my family under our circumstances. I would never encourage or discourage a mother from breastfeeding, pumping, or formula feeding. I’m 100% in favor of supporting moms by advising them to do what they feel is best for their baby and family. It’s my hope in sharing my story that a mommy in need, a mommy who feels …

Hello – Adele (Sleep Parody)

Hello, It’s me. I was wondering little baby, will you ever go to sleep? To hit the pillow, would be a dream. They say caffines supposed to help ya, Well, then hand me a Venti. Hello, can you hear me? I’m mixing bottles, changing diapers…trying every damn thing. Shut your eyes, baby, please. I’ve forgotten how it feels to have a solid block of sleep. My eyes are droopy, yours are wide, We’ll be rocking through the night. Hello stars up in the sky, I’ve counted you a thousand times. To my dog, I’m sorry, you’re losing sleep too, But I promise, I’m doing all I can do. Hello from the night time. At least I can say that I’ve tried, To go to bed early and sleep if I can. Doesn’t matter, insomnia has another plan, every time. Hello, how are you? It’s so typical of me to huff and puff, oh my dear, I’m sorry. The moon, it’s shining bright, On the spit up in my hair and the bags under my eyes. It’s no …

Being a Mother in the Twenty-First Century

We live in a world where we are never alone. We’re constantly surrounded by vibrant images, conversations and social distractions. In seconds we can be connected with friends, family and even strangers through a compact digital screen. Yet even with a social realm right at their fingertips, mothers often feel isolated and alone.  They often struggle through long nights, keep their head up through long days, and hit their pillow emotionally and physically exhausted. For decades, mothers have been simply trying to keep up. We’re trying to keep up with laundry, friendships, children, careers, our spouse, and even at times, ourselves. We’re trying to give 110% to each and every role in our life but often slide into bed each night fulfilling the bare minimum of our responsibilities. We put our laundry in the washing machine but forget to transfer it into the dryer. A dear friend sends a text for dinner on Friday night. We read it, put down our phone, forget about it and respond on Saturday when it’s already too late. We …

7 Reasons You Should Have Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Life

Plain and simple, I love vinegar. There are literally hundreds of uses for it. From cleaning your floors and counters to drizzling it on your salad, vinegar is natures secret weapon. Apple cider vinegar in particular has been cited as the cure-all for decades. It has a wind range of benefits and some people have turned to it to help with health concerns including diabetes, high cholesterol and weight issues. Each and every day as part of my morning routine I take one tablespoon of Bragg raw apple cider vinegar. I’m actually pretty fond of the taste but if a shot of straight vinegar makes you as squeamish as a shot of straight vodka then I recommend mixing the vinegar with water. On the other hand, vodka pairs nicely with orange juice – but I digress. Here are 7  of the many reasons you need raw apple cider vinegar in your life today! Lowers Blood Sugar By far, the most successful use of apple cider vinegar is to lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. …

Mindfulness for Happier Minds

You’ve probably heard the term mindfulness being thrown around lately. Although it may seem like the newest fad, it’s actually been something that’s been around for a really long time. With Millennials being the most-stressed out generation in recent decades, it was only a matter of time before this method of reducing stress came front and center in the media. Research shows that mindfulness works. It can help you be happier, healthier and reduce stress. But if you’re like me, you probably think the whole idea of mindfulness is down right weird. Or, you may  think it does absolutely nothing. Let’s start with the science. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a microbiology Ph.D. then teaching at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, was inspired in the late 1970s to apply the basic principles of mindfulness meditation to patients in a medical setting. His studies found that mindfulness was effective in helping alleviate the suffering of chronic and previously debilitating medical conditions such as chronic pain. Further studies have shown that the ways we intentionally shape our internal focus of …

Chaos and Clarity

There are moments in life when you find yourself at a crossroad facing two decisions. One decision is often safe and familiar while the other takes you through uncharted water offering greater return but also greater risk. Every few years I find myself at this crossroad questioning whether I’m living my most authentic life (often I’m not). For fear failure and judgement, I stick on the safe and familiar road, ignoring my higher self and my truth. In recent months my identity has been compromised, inspiring deep thought, self exploration and a lot of personal judgement. I’ve been craving fulfillment outside of being a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. Even with my greatest accomplishment currently tickling my toes, I’ve felt unaccomplished. At the same time, my return-to-work date is my Apocalypse. My heart and soul are with my family and the thought of missing moments to be present in my home make me anxious and ill. Through all of these emotions and feelings, I’ve desperately needed an outlet. I’ve created little side projects, some …

Making the Most of Nap Time

As mom’s we get a few glorious moments a day to do as we please or catch up on what we must. These moments are our children’s nap time or as I like to call it: mom time. Now that Jack is exiting the world of the fourth trimester, nap time is becoming a luxury. Gone are the days of eat, sleep and poop. The days of Elmo’s Song on repeat, “don’t put that in your mouth” and “ouch, that’s mommy’s hair” are among us. We’re also entering the wonderful world of the four month sleep regression. For the mom’s who have been through it, you know what I mean. For the mom’s not yet there – stock up on the wine. When I was still adjusting to life as a mom and living on minimal hours of sleep, I’d usually find myself slumped on my couch trying to grasp my new reality. These days, with a little more sleep and a new appreciation of these quiet moments – I go all out. My favourite nap time …

Jack’s First Thanksgiving

This is a year of firsts for us. For Jack, everything is a first – which is why I’ve been trying my hardest to make each holiday extra special (even though my son will remember none of it). Earlier this month we dedicated an entire week to celebrating Thanksgiving. Lord help this child when Christmas rolls around. Next to Christmas, Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. Growing up, my parents would load our kick-ass, boxed style mini-van with a turkey, cranberry sauce and our little family to head north for Thanksgiving weekend. There is only one Thanksgiving I recall not being there – a weekend when my Dad threw his back out, and coincidentally, our hamster Molly kicked the bucket (R.I.P). The first year Dave joined our family for Thanksgiving at the cottage was in 2012. We were just two early-20-something’s in love. First came love, then came marriage, then came our dog Louie, and THEN a baby carriage. To celebrate Jack’s first Thanksgiving and our first year of marriage, Dave took a week off of …