motherhood

What they don’t tell you about having a baby

A few days ago, I went to a party for a friend’s birthday. I was talking to two of my close friends (one pregnant, one not) and somehow, we got on the subject of having babies. More specifically, what happens to your body when you have a baby. Even more specifically, what happens to you downstairs area when you have a difficult birth experience like I did (i.e. pushing for 4 hours, getting forceps used on you, and all of what that entails). They asked questions, I obliged with real answers.

Now, I won’t go into any details here, because it’s not pretty. I’ll just say that my non-pregnant friend got faint, hearing what happened to my ooh-ah (woo-ah? oo-aah? I’m not used to talking about my vagina is such a public way, you’ll have to excuse me) when I had my dear, beautiful, large-headed, 8-pounder son. As I said, it wasn’t pretty.

Later on, that conversation really made me think about the whole “giving birth” experience. I realized how we, as women, are uninformed about what really happens to your body. I mean, we go to prenatal classes, we are told about the whole process, the contracting, the pushing. We are told about how they care for the baby at the hospital. We are told how we’ll take care of that baby when he comes home (to a degree). But no one tells you about you. Or at least no one told me.

When I was in the hospital for 36 hours after having Sam, I was amazed at the extent to which the staff checked on the welfare of the baby (he was great, by the way) compared to how little anyone cared about how me, as the mother with pretty traumatic injuries, was doing. It’s all about the baby. I left that hospital not knowing in the slightest about the intense pain I was to feel every time I sat down for the next 6 weeks, about the risk of infection. I had no idea about how I would come to almost resent my child every time he asked to be fed, because sitting down would just be too damn painful. I had no idea about the incontinence that would become part of my life for months on end. I had no idea about the emotional scarring, the sense of shame, and everything else that came alongside the physical pain.

And you know what? Even though I know having all that information would have scared the hell out of me before living it (like it did my friend), I still wish someone had told me. I wish I had been prepared. I wish I had know going into this that other women had lived this and felt the same. Because I know now I was in no way the only one to live through this. And I know women have had it far worse than I did.

I still wish I’d known. It may have gone exactly the same way. But at least I would have been informed.

Of course in the end, I got this:

baby samuel

All worth it, wouldn’t you say?

shopping

Modcloth love

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a bit of a rant on Facebook because Modcloth, my all time favorite store ever, increased their shipping rates to Canada. Despite their explanation that USPS had increased their rates and they had no other choice but to increase shipping rates, I was left disappointed and quite unwilling to give them any of my business again.

Last week, I broke down. I love their store so much, I decided to buy a new dress. And as a result of that order, they did something that totally makes up for the shipping rate issue.

My package came in on Friday. I went to pick it up at the post office, because I had custom fees to pay for the order (blah!). Lo and behold, when I got home and opened the box, I was super pissed to see that they had sent the wrong items! And not even in my size, so I couldn’t even keep these items (which would have been awesome since these were some very nice, expensive dresses).

One thing that is awesome about Modcloth is they offer 24/7 Live Chat. So I logged on, and explained to Karen, the lovely customer service rep, that they had sent the wrong items. After a few back and forth, she informs me that not only they are sending my items out that same day, but they are also paying for my custom fees! And they are not even waiting for me to send back the items to send me my things. AND she gave me a coupon for 20% off, so I get to go shopping again!

Long story short, thank you to Modcloth for their awesome, amazing, outstanding customer service!

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health

Wheat and dairy and the impact on my skin

Image of a woman's face

I have often talked on my blog of my issues with my skin. I started having acne when I was 13 or 14, and I have never had clear skin since then. I used to blame it on my adolescent state, and then on my young adult state. Then I got older, the acne remained, and I realized there were other factors at work here.

I have very healthy skin care habits. My products are all natural, pure, I use products with no butters or comedogenic oils, I cleanse twice a day, use a mask once a week, use a exfoliant sparingly. I make my own hydrating lotion using aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin and tea tree essential oil. Even if it has been an issue in the past, I am fairly certain that my skin care habits are NOT what is causing my acne issues.

When I got pregnant with my son two years ago, my skin cleared up a little. It remained clearer than my usual spotty self throughout my 4 months of breastfeeding. This told me that a part of my struggle was hormones. But it can’t be all of it, or else I would have had beautiful, glowing skin during pregnancy, not slightly improved skin.

After reading up quite a bit on the subject, I realized that my problem was probably caused by my diet. I found a lot of literature that linked the consumption of wheat (and gluten) and dairy to acne breakouts. Considering that I also have a history of digestive health issues, this kind of set off an alarm bell for me. Could this be the answer to my recurring skin problems?

I don’t plan on cutting wheat and dairy completely from my diet. I love both too much and don’t have the self-control for it. But I do want to limit my intake. My action plan to do that is this:

Free of dairy:

  • Replace milk with almond milk when cooking milk-based meals;
  • Replace milk with almond milk in my coffee (less fattening too!);
  • Replace cheddar with goat milk-based cheddar, whenever possible;
  • Limit my intake of cow dairy products to 1 serving per day.

Free of wheat:

  • Use my homemade all-purpose gluten-free flour mix in place of wheat all-purpose flour in all my cooking (brown rice, tapioca starch, almond meal);
  • Breakfast on cereal that have no or very little wheat, or on gluten-free products;
  • Limit my intake of wheat based products to 1 serving per day, maximum.

Other skin-loving resolutions:

  • Drink my 2L of water per day, as I’m supposed to!
  • Limit caffeinated products to 1 per day on the weekend (and none during the week).
  • More green veggies!
  • Keep active!

We’ll see how that goes, and how much of an improvement that makes. Any tips or recommendations?

motherhood

I’m back!

I used to blog quite a bit. About all sorts of things, but mostly about natural beauty and my struggle with acne. And going gluten-free.

And then, this happened:

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Being a mom has been awesome. And hard. And rewarding. And frustrating.

But I’m getting the hang of it. Kind of. Maybe.

That being said, I feel like I’m ready to get back to blogging. Being back at work, and working on social media strategy for the University, made me want to write again.

I haven’t figured out what I want to say yet so you’ll have to bear with me. But I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of that face:

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product review

Product review : Jane Iredale Disappear Camouflage Cream & Pure Pressed Minerals Refillable Pressed Powder Base

I blogged last week about a few tips to control acne. Today is almost a follow-up post on how to conceal blemishes and acne scars.

I recently discovered the Jane Iredale brand, which is a line of mineral make-up that is natural and does not contain any harmful chemicals. I have switched all my make-up essentials (mascara, eye liner and eye shadow) to this brand, and love it.

I was never big on foundations and powders, but I recently decided to take a leap of faith and try some of their products in that category, in order to camouflage my blemishes as much as possible, and have more beautiful skin (at least in appearance).

The first product I will review is the Disappear Camouflage Cream, which is basically a concealer. A very effective concealer. I have been using it every day for a week and it works wonders. It hides all the blotchy redness like no other concealer I have ever tried before. Plus it has green tea extract and other natural ingredients to help get rid of the pimple. Best of all, it rates as a 2 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database (2 being low hazard).

Once I am done with concealer, I apply their Pure Pressed Minerals Refillable Pressed Powder Base, the second product I will be reviewing. I find that for the great coverage that this powder offers, it is surprisingly light and looks very natural. Picking a color is kind of tricky, as they have so many, but I got lucky on my first try and got a good match. I love that this is a refillable container (you only replace the powder inside, not the casing), which is super eco-friendly. And this product also rates as a 2 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.

My only negative about the pressed powder is that it comes with a really cheap and thin applicating sponge, whic forces you to either buy a better one, or, as they suggest in their instructions, to buy one of their foundation brushes, which are very expensive. I would have expected, for such a pricey product, that it would come with a quality applicator sponge. I just bought a replacement one at my local Superstore (Joe brand – rocks!).

I buy all of my Jane Iredale product on the Spa Boutique website, which has an excellent selection of natural and organic products (although you have to be familiar with the brands, since they don’t identify which of their brands are natural).