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Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Physical Activity category.

Everyday Champion Series – Part 1: Miscarriage, a word that can’t describe an experience

As part of the Everyday Champion series (with a special focus on mom / parenting challenges and their journey back to health, balance and well-being), I’m delighted to welcome a guest writer who has agreed to share their honest and heartfelt experience of miscarriage.

This journey will be broken into two parts: the first will highlight the immediate physical and psychological experience and the second will explore how this individual and her family are moving forward. As with all posts, this is one person’s experience, but it’s an experience that many women (and their partners) face when entering the procreation journey. It’s an experience worth sharing and discussing so that those who experience know they are not alone and supported.



Photo by Ben White on Unsplash.

Miscarriage, a word that can’t describe an experience.


You hear about miscarriages. They happen every day. Statistically they happen in as many as 1 in 4 pregnancies. They sound like they’re an awful, painful, emotional time for families. You imagine women are excited about a pregnancy and then it suddenly ends, and they grieve and move on to trying again. But that wasn’t my experience.

I had my positive test on November 23. My due date was August 6. My son was going to be a big brother; the best big brother. I was going to be a Mommy to two, my husband was going to be a Daddy to two. Our lives were going to change. I had this immense love because I know how it feels to love a child. I felt that my heart would burst with that love all over again. It already was.

On December 19, I went for my dating ultrasound before heading off to visit family for the holidays. I was expecting to see what I did with my son, a tiny little bleb of a baby with a strong heartbeat. What we saw instead was an empty gestational sack. No yolk sack, no baby, just an empty space. My heart sunk. They said it could just be too early, but I knew that my dates weren’t off. I spoke with my doctor and she said it could just be too early, or it could be a loss; it was 50/50. I couldn’t have another ultrasound until January 3 and had to try to “relax” and “enjoy” Christmas and New Years when all I could think about was whether my baby was okay. I decided over the next 2 weeks that the word “relax” was my enemy – it was the worst thing people said to me. From my experience, that’s not something I could do, and being told repeatedly to do that made me feel like this was either being trivialized or that I was failing at managing it. Both of which weren’t true.

Over the following two weeks I swung between optimism and excitement, sadness and hopelessness.  I would tell myself that it would all be okay, and as my pregnancy symptoms were increasing I felt deep in my gut that my baby was just hiding and would show up. The other side of the swing was a profound sadness and fear of what it meant if my baby didn’t show up. What would a loss feel like? Would it hurt, would I need surgery or would it happen naturally? How do I emotionally move past it? I don’t want to try for another baby if this is a loss, I want THIS baby.

I love this baby.

January 3 was a bad day. My baby didn’t show up. I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum which means that some weeks ago my baby stopped growing, but my body didn’t recognize the loss and continued with the pregnancy. Hormones increased, symptoms increased, and my belly grew, but my baby didn’t. It’s a cruel joke that the body can play on you, and I was the butt of it. I felt a sense of relief that I was out of limbo and not just waiting to know what was going on, and knew that now I could finally allow myself to heal emotionally once the physical part of this was over.

I was referred to the early loss clinic urgently, but didn’t have my first consultation until January 8. The 5 days in between were awful. I cried, analyzed every little cramp or backache, afraid of what was to come. I knew I was going to miscarry, but I didn’t know when. Would I need intervention, or would it would happen on its own? I cried a lot, I was angry, I was trying to make light of it. I was all over the place.

I tried to get some natural remedies to cause uterine contractions from a herbal store that I was told would help me miscarry. They wouldn’t give me the herbs because they were afraid I would hemorrhage. Which was a word I heard way too often; it made me scared of what was to come. People told me to grieve, but how can I grieve something that’s still inside of me, especially when I still feel pregnant? Every pregnancy symptom was like a punch in the gut instead of a reminder of joy.

I knew I needed my body back before I could have my mind back.

I went to the clinic on Monday and they referred me for a D&C the following day (this is a process to remove the blighted ovum from the uterus). I was so relieved that this nightmare could finally be over. I went home and laid down and decided I could finally get some rest. I received a call an hour later – the hospital rejected my application for a D&C because I have sleep apnea. I was at a loss. It’s a pretty awful day when you get rejected from your own miscarriage. I fell into a hysterical fit of tears. This needed to end. It had been 3 weeks of emotional ups and downs, loss, and finally when I thought I had a solution, to have it taken away was more than I could handle. They said that they had rescheduled me at a different hospital the day after and the anesthesiologist would consult with me – it wasn’t a guarantee that I would have the surgery. I was still in limbo and it was making me crazy.

That night I saw some spotting. It was bright red; it gave me hope. Maybe my body knew I needed this to be over and was finally doing it itself. I felt a wave of relief and hope that my body could let this baby go – so I could let this baby go. It stopped by morning.

I went though the following day arranging my surgical time and prepared myself for surgery the next day. I said a little prayer that they would do it. As I said goodnight to my son, I felt a deep fear that I hadn’t felt before – I was scared about my surgery. I love this little boy so deeply and I hope once this is over I can get back to being his mommy, his 100% present mommy, and not the sad one he’s had for the last few weeks. I’m now scared because I don’t want him to lose his mommy, or lose more of her than he already has to this situation. I want my husband’s wife back, my son’s mother back, I want me back.

That night I started having more intense cramping and back pain, and lots of bleeding and passed a lot of clots. I thought, it’s finally happening. But it stopped in the early morning as I headed to the hospital. I was admitted and when I went up to the surgical floor I felt a pressure unlike before – I asked the nurse for assistance and within 5 minutes I had passed the gestational sack. I knew in my heart it was over.

They monitored me at the hospital, checked my hemoglobin levels and made sure I was safe to leave. I didn’t need the surgery anymore. It was about as good an outcome as anyone could have asked for. My body let go with moments to spare before I would have had surgery.

People have been incredibly supportive, some have sent food and treats, some well wishes, lots of hugs, some friends cried with me. Some have said things in the effort to support me that really were hard to hear. Even when the words were wrong, I knew people were coming from a good place, wanting to help. I also realized just how fortunate I am to be surrounded by the love and support of so many people. I have a husband who makes my well-being a priority over his own, a family that worries about me and supports me through everything, and friends that continue to surprise me with their love and support. I’m sure not everyone is as lucky as I am, and I’m filled with gratitude for that.

Even though this baby stopped growing a long time before my body realized it, she was still there. I felt like it was a girl (not that that’s significant given I thought my son was a girl, but I’m going to call this baby “she”).

She was here and even though it was for a very short period of time, she was loved, she was wanted, she changed my life, and she will be missed.

I’ll never know why she didn’t stay on earth with me, but I was her mommy from the moment I saw that positive test and I will love her and mourn her because she deserves that. January 10 was the day she was born. To some people that was the day I had a miscarriage, but to me that’s the day my little baby was born of my body and we said goodbye to each other. I’m so sorry I couldn’t have done more to keep her safe.

I know this wasn’t my fault, and I know there’s nothing I could have done to change it.

I also know this doesn’t mean that I can’t have more children. But I don’t want to think about that in this moment. In this moment I want to think about her, and give her some time and space in my heart because that’s where she lives now. I may have my body back, but my heart still belongs to my baby, and I suspect it will forever.


Every time I read this, I cry. Thank you, my darling friend, for sharing a piece of your soul; you are truly an Everyday Champion. I have no doubt this will resonate with so many mothers and fathers who have experienced and mourned the loss of their baby boy or girl.

I will post the second part of this journey next week (so stay tuned). If you wish to connect directly with this guest writer, please contact me and I will put you in touch with them.

With much love,


Interested in learning more unique and useful parenting strategies? Check out Live It Active’s upcoming Speaker Series, Discovering the Inner (and Awesome) Parent in You.

Check out and subscribe to my YouTube Channel, Mom(me)Thinks.


Guest post: Feeding your family (and picky eaters) with Shée Lillejord, Registered Dietitian

I’m finally getting my New Year’s ducks in a row; I have been wanting to implement a more themed and consistent approach to blogging since January, but alas, my son has thwarted my efforts (we will forgive him as he is only 3.5 months old). In this new and inspired approach, I am excited to introduce guest writers and the return of the “Everyday Champions” series featuring moms returning to health and well-being after a brief hiatus (or an extended one). So tune in for some neat (and hopefully inspiring) material over the next while (I also hope to include the return of my more humourous parenting posts).

This month we will focus on new beginnings and change. In this vein, I am delighted to welcome guest blogger, Shée Lillejord, momma of three little humans and a registered dietitian who writes about the challenges of creating balanced, nutritious meals for her family (and yours). Shée will be returning in a month or two as part of our Everyday Champions series. 

Without further ado…


image1Feeding my family healthy food is definitely one of my biggest challenges as a mom of 3 little ones (9 months, almost 3 years old and 5 years old) and as a registered dietitian.

It’s so easy to judge other families on how they feed their children and think  you would do things differently until you have children of your own or you get one of those picky eaters.

There is really nothing that prepares you for all the eating issues that arise with kids. It starts as babies – maybe your baby won’t eat a certain texture; then to toddlers and they won’t sit down to eat a meal; and then school aged kids who may become picky eaters and refuse to eat anything. Or maybe it’s a combination of all these!

Even as a Dietitian I still struggle with getting my kids to healthy foods all the time. It’s often a struggle just to find the time to make the healthy food. Sometimes we need to have quick and easy meals and this is OK. You would be spending your own day in the kitchen if everything was made from scratch. It’s OK not to be perfect. You can only do so much in a day (Amen…yours truly interjecting, as per usual).

Managing Picky Eaters

This is always such a challenging topic for parents. I feel that all children go through some form of picky eating phase. One of my biggest successes with dealing with my own picky eaters is repetition. It can take up to 20 attempts for a new food to be accepted by your child. Too often as parents we give up after one or two attempts and just decide that our kids don’t like that food. Moral of the story: don’t give up.

Another big one is to role model. Kids learn best by watching their parents eating habits. If you want them to eat more fruit and vegetables, then you need to eat more fruit and vegetables (le sigh).

Another strategy is to provide new foods with familiar and already accepted foods and again, repeating this process over and over. In doing this, make sure they are actually hungry.

A strategy that many parents employ is that of disguising food. This should actually be avoided. Children need to know what foods they are eating. You may lose their trust if you try tricking them.

Making Healthy Happen

Fitting in healthy meals between school and activities can also be a challenge. Being organized and prepared is the key to success. Meal planning is the strategy I take.

Key tips to meal planning:

  • Before you go grocery shopping, plan out your meals out for the week.
  • If you feel that planning for the entire week is too overwhelming at first, start with your busiest days. These days are the most important to plan. If you don’t plan meals on these days, you are more likely to eat out.
  • Make the grocery list with all the ingredients for all the meals. There are now options at grocery stores that you can order your groceries online or have delivered to your door (Morgan’s advice, pay the $10 delivery fee with Save On Foods and save the headache). This definitely helps you stick to your grocery list and budget and reduces impulse buying.
  • Once you get back from grocery shopping, prep your vegetables. Make a big bowl of salad and chop your veggies  so you can easily grab some for lunchtime or a mid-day snack.

I also find batch cooking or cooking larger amount of foods helps with those busy nights. You could either cook enough food for two meals or freeze the extra food and pull it out on a busy night.

Bottom line: the more organized and prepared you are with meal planning and meal prepping the easier it will be. In saying that, you also need to be real with your expectations of yourself.

You can follow me on Instagram @sheelillejordrd


A quick note from yours truly – the meal prepping has been a life saver for my family. And…a cooked chicken and bagged salad from Costco. You can’t beat the price and the simplicity. And, it isn’t too bad for you either (if just a little salty). Plus, it’s the chicken that keeps on giving as we can usually get 3 meals out of it (two main meals and then a lunch of chicken salad – yummo).

Thank you, Shée, for your insightful and gentle approach to eating well with your family. We look forward to your return to the blog next month. 


Interested in learning more unique and useful parenting strategies? Check out Live It Active’s upcoming Speaker Series, Discovering the Inner (and Awesome) Parent in You.


Thank God for Yo-Yo Ma

You’re likely wondering, who is Yo-Yo Ma? Or if you know the genius cellist that is Yo-Yo Ma, perhaps you’re wondering why he is featured in my blog title? Have I suddenly strayed from health and wellness (this happened long ago) or parenting (this is my new health and wellness) topics? No, I just respect his mad genius and appreciate that he soothed my newborn to sleep and kept my toddler silent for 10 minutes this morning in the car, after much crying for all individuals in said car (mommy included).

It’s been a time. Between sickness (and I mean like pants-pooping sickness) for all living in my domicile, toddler sleep regressions, a brutally cold and snowy winter (like just end already) and general fatigue, I have been pushed to my maximum this past month. I also think my toddler is getting her 2-year molars as she continues to ask me to “kiss her her teeth better” (which I politely decline) and state “her mouth is itchy” (itchy is her word for hurting and, well, itchy).

Over the course of the last four weeks, I’ve noticed an acute change in my mood and mindset. While I may not be the most gentle of souls (thanks for that reminder today, mom), I am a fairly positive and upbeat person. I tend to see the good in people and the world generally – I thoroughly enjoy my life. And yet, recently I can’t escape the negative train. I can’t shed the gremlin on my shoulder when I’m out for my mood-clearing walks. I can’t find the motivation to get my yoga on or throw on the ol’ meditation soundtrack. I am not finding and feeling the joy in child rearing (and my little boy has some seriously mind-blowing smiles).

As I was sharing this with my husband last night, he reminded me that this happened with our daughter – mood, mindset, etc – around the three month mark. I was desperate to go back to work (which I’m fantasizing about now) and didn’t feel I could keep going. Odd, as we should be ending the 100 days of darkness (what we call the black hole in our abode). But perhaps, for me, the three month mark is when the sleep and social deprivation have finally amounted to something greater than I can bear (or so I think…I do manage to carry on…like so many other moms and dads).

So what am I going to do about it? Blogs should always have some hope at the end, shouldn’t they? I would love to end on a high, but I need to honour that right now I don’t have a tonne of “high” or solutions in my toolkit.

But I do have a little hope – something light(er) to end on because I know there are others out there in the black hole or just coming out of it. Or perhaps you’re 9-months out or 2 years…and you too, need a little hope to keep hanging on. So here it is: it gets better. I know this because I survived my first and it did get better – it actually got so much better. I know that the endless slog that is feeding, diapers, feeding, laundry, toddler tantrums, bath time, toy pick up, feeding and putting my kids to sleep will lighten and shift to something that is less tiring and more invigorating (or maybe it doesn’t with two…just kidding…I hope). Until then, I have help arriving next month (thank you, mom) and I will continue to find ways to facilitate some much needed me-time (perhaps this includes locking the bathroom door…no wait, my daughter will just bang on the door and scream…such serenity abounds).

Keep hanging on, parents. It does get better (I’m telling myself this as much as I’m hoping to instill hope in you). You got this.


Check out the upcoming Live It Active Speaker Series here


“Lying facedown in the (parenting) arena”

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt (quote taken from Brene Brown’s book, Rising Strong)

I’m in the midst of Rising Strong, written by the incredible researcher, author, and person that is Brene Brown. And I have to say, it’s hitting home given my day yesterday. After an exceptionally trying morning, I was lying facedown in the parenting arena and it sucked. In fact, it physically hurt.

While Brown writes about how we need to courageously feel and face the suck, she also writes passionately about how we get up, how we “rise strong” after getting knocked down in whatever arena we are fighting in. I imagine this will resonate with many people, not just parents, as we are all faced with challenging and life-altering arena moments.

So back to the “suck” for just a moment.

I’m an emotional person. A very emotional person and while this can be a wonderful and beautiful thing, it is also a challenging aspect of my personality. I also do very, very (very) poorly with little or interrupted sleep. With a newborn and a toddler, sleep isn’t always acquired easily (what a revelation, I know). You think about it constantly, you crave it, you dream about getting more sleep (this is a real thing). You understand why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. You understand how and why people can enter a state of psychosis after prolonged wake time. You get it because you sometimes live it. Well, I have. Thus, after a fairly challenging night, an early awakening and a clingy / whiny toddler waking up the baby, I lost my cool. I lost my cool on my husband in front of my daughter and son.

Shame. It oozed through my being all morning (the only bright spot was my daughter’s music lesson). It seeped into my afternoon. It kept me awake when I tried to squeeze in an afternoon nap. The physical ache I felt (partly due to another potential round of mastitis) gnawed away at me. Why? Because while I believe in expressing emotions and being my authentic self, I don’t believe in displaying emotions the way I did in front of my children. Furthermore, my husband was deserving of my emotional explosion at six o’clock in the morning. It isn’t healthy and is potentially damaging. Hence, the shame and the guilt.

Brown talks about shame and guilt in Daring Greatly (another great and highly recommended read). She talks about the healthy aspects of guilt – that it can motivate behaviour change and help us grow. But, shame, oh nasty, nasty shame can keep us locked up inside ourselves unable to move forward. It stops us in our tracks; it stops us from opening up, sharing, exposing our dark moments and true selves because we believe this will threaten our social security, our status, our place in the world. What if people don’t like how I behaved? What if people judge me for what I said? What if people cut me out? What if they stop liking me?

Yet, by not sharing, we are not our authentic selves, and thus unable to meaningfully and deeply connect with those around us. And being the social creatures that we are, we crave and more importantly, need, social connection to survive and thrive. Hence a significant and troubling conundrum – how do we live honestly and courageously and still maintain our relationships? 

In her research, Brown has found the happiest individuals are those who move into vulnerability and prevent shame from taking hold. It’s not surprising. If we give ourselves the permission to show up how we need to and speak our truth (to use that ever-so-corny expression), we allow ourselves to be the unified and unique human that we are. And furthermore, if we are who we are, it’s a hell of a lot easier to get up after falling face down in whatever life arena we are playing in.

So, yesterday, when I was facedown in the parenting arena, a good girlfriend reminded me of Brown’s words: it’s not how we fail, it’s how we get up.

I’m getting up by sharing my facedown moment instead of letting shame work its nasty dark magic and keep me silent. I am getting up by continuing to explore and utilize strategies such as mindfulness (and sleep…oh I will be finding ways to get more glorious sleep) to prevent my emotions from getting the better of me. I am getting up by striving to do better next time in the presence of my family.

But don’t let that last paragraph fool you. I’ll fall again. And again. I’ll be facedown in the muck a few more times over the next ten months of this maternity leave…oh and the next 20 years raising my children, but each and every time I will get up. I will strive to do better. And each time I will talk about it. That’s all I can do.

Facedown moments are inevitable. They indicate that you are trying, that you are willing to take risks and play in whatever arena you’re playing in. You’ve likely had some mega and not-so-mega setbacks. And you’ll have more (well, only if you’re in the arena taking risks). But next time it happens, why not change the ending? Why not ask yourself, “how am I going to get up?”


Simplify; Get real about your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again – well, if you engage in year-end reflection and contemplate / prepare for the year ahead. Finding a reliable metric on the percentage of Canadians who make resolutions has proven more challenging than expected, but the Toronto Star tells me around 68 per cent made a resolution in 2012. Research conducted on behalf of Goodlife Fitness (by Ipsos), tells us that 33 per cent of those polled plan to make a health-related resolution. The website Statista tells us that after health and wellness goals, financial goals, travel and leisure and quitting bad habits are a respective second, third and fourth in terms of priority (I’m fairly certain they are simply reporting the Ipsos survey data without sharing their source…cheeky). Yet, the metrics around who keeps these goals is a bit disappointing to say the least. It seems very few of us stick to our guns and see our resolution(s) out. My reliable data source, the Toronto Star, tells me that only 19 per cent of Canadians see it through the year.

What are we resolving to change? We tend to focus largely on our bodies. Why? Because we want to improve our quality of life, prevent health risks, lose weight, have more energy, and so on (just check out the Ipsos data). These are great reasons, but I think it’s largely to do with our body-obsessed culture of looking like sexy, greased-up muscle gods (or beasts). We want to be the people we see everywhere we look (aren’t those paid ads on Instagram infuriating?) – and damn, that’s hard to achieve.

So what do we do? We head to the gym. We crush our first workout. We drink our shake. We eat our protein bar. We feel incredible. We know, without a doubt, we are going to kick this year’s resolution’s ass. And then, the next day…well, it hits us. We can barely move. Our arms feel like lead. Every step an agonizing stretch of tight (but stronger) muscles. We collapse on the couch, unable to put the peeled carrots and avocado in the juicer. We wallow in self-pity and reach for the almost-finished Terry’s Chocolate Orange under the Christmas tree (we realize we need to take the tree down and agonize over the pain you will feel when you reach for the star). And we eat the orange (the chocolate kind, not the fruit kind). And we love it. We tell ourselves, “I’ll burn this off in my next workout…I’ve got this…OK…just one more piece”. We don’t return to the gym. We tell ourselves we’ll go tomorrow.

Side note: I love me some Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

We may repeat this cycle at another point in the year. Perhaps we save it for the following year. So why do we do it? Are we self-sabotaging out of the gates because we don’t want to run the risk of failing. Is it easier to fail with the masses at the outset than stick it out and fail later? Is it because we simply lack the grit?

Perhaps it’s because we are expecting too much too soon. Perhaps we need to take another look at the goals we are making and determine if they are reasonable. For example, if you haven’t been to the gym in 6 months, creating a workout routine that includes a 5-day regimen of weights, cardio and yoga is perhaps not going to end well (read above scenario with said orange). Even for those overly active folks, this sounds daunting. That’s way to much, too soon.

So what is Live It Active encouraging you to do?

Go back to those goals (you need to write them down to have any hope of sticking to them) and carefully review each one. Break them down. Make them simple. Make them achievable. And as you achieve, make your goals more challenging. There is no rule that says you can’t revisit your goals or change them throughout the year. In fact, you should be reviewing and updating on a regular basis. Why? Because we change as our lives change. Things are in constant flux and thus, having static goals simply won’t work. We need to be kind to ourselves and being kind means being realistic about what we can commit to.

dev-dodia-327647Here’s an example of how to tackle this:

  • Original goal: (A non-runner) Run 5 KM 2 times per week and one long run on Sundays.
  • My thoughts: For a non-runner (someone who doesn’t regularly run and hasn’t trained in let’s say, six months) to commit to three runs a week, starting at 5 KM, is a stretch and will prove painful. My recommendation is to break this down a few more levels to set up for long term success. Your body and brain will thank you.
  • My recommendation (and remember, I’m no professional): Find a local running club. The Running Room has great programs for individuals learning to run. They break running into 1-2 minute increments to start and build up from there. More specifically, you will start by running for 1-2 minutes followed by fast walking to recover. You will then repeat this as you build up your endurance, ligament and muscle strength, and overall mental grit. Running is as much mental as it is physical (perhaps even more). Also, having a support crew is awesome and makes entering the exercise world much for pleasurable. If you want to go it alone, look up beginner running programs and follow. Don’t push it.
  • Revised goal: Explore local running programs. Find a 5 KM running group and / or a beginner’s running program online that breaks running into small increments with recovery time. Run 1-2 times per week of increasing length and speed, as advised by the running group or developed program. Follow rest and recovery recommendations.

The same approach goes for any goal – meditation, financial monitoring, calorie intake, cleaning…start off small and manageable. Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Change takes considerable time and energy and you’re going to have days and weeks when things don’t come together – and that’s OK. In fact, that’s normal and to be expected. If you’re able to forgive yourself and move on, you’ll likely have a greater chance of success.

In summary, go back to your resolutions and simplify. Break them down. Make them manageable and relatively easy to start. And as you grow and start meeting your goals, you can revisit and make them more and more challenging.

Happy New Year and best of luck with your resolutions,


Photo credit to Dev Dodia on Unsplash

Two kids: When 1 + 1 ≠ 2

Today as I ate my delicious charcuterie style lunch in our bedroom, in the dark, with Rain Rain (white noise) playing in the background as “mood” music, watching for the soother to drop out my son’s mouth and wake him up, I recalled the formula my former boss shared with me: “two kids is the only time in your life when one plus one does not equal two”. No kidding.

Eating my lunch in my darkened bedroom isn’t my standard Sunday luncheon spot. I typically like to eat at the table with my family. But alas, it was nap time for both children. We were a little late getting our ducks in a row so my daughter’s lunch consisted of Babybel (I’m too lazy to check the spelling) cheese and raisins. A balanced meal. Following her filling and oh so healthy lunch, my husband whisked her off for nap time while I worked to get our beautiful (and bloody alert) baby boy off to zzz land. So in to the dark bedroom we went. My hope was he would nod off and allow me the pleasure of eating alone, in absolute silence (no Rain Rain, thank you very much). Alas, my dream was thwarted by his inability to keep said soother in said mouth (this go around, I’m trying to get my newborn to fall asleep sans boob and rocking…so it takes approximately 1000 years).

As my beautiful boy was nodding off, my wonderful husband opened the bedroom door (with flare) asking where our daughter’s monitor was as he had just found her lying on the bedroom floor – the perfect place for her afternoon nap. As I quietly searched for her monitor, I, of course, roused my light stage sleeper. Without the success of finding the monitor, I had to listen at her door while keeping an eye on said soother in said mouth. In that time, I quickly made my charcuterie plate (referenced above) hoping to enjoy some savoury bites…alone. Yet, squawks abounded from the bedroom and racing back I went. And thus, ensued a back and forth battle until I admitted defeat and ate in the room. I did manage to savour every bite; setting be damned.

Our morning wasn’t much better. It consisted of getting rid of a mattress and bed frame, playing with stickers, picking up a new mattress from a friend, baking banana bread, trying at all costs to keep the house tidy, a visit from a good friend, two arguments, multiple tantrums (toddler and mommy) a very awake little boy refusing to nap. Oh and my one moment of peace, a shower, was shattered as I shared our coffin-sized (no joke) shower with my toddler (it was the only way I was going to get clean as hubby was on baby soothing duty). So much rest and relaxation to be had.

I promise, there is a point to all this moaning…

In my five short weeks as a parent of two small humans, I’ve been reminded of the absolute necessity of a supportive spouse. Holy smokes, is that co-pilot necessary. You need a partner who will step in when things are going south and will tell you to “stop” when you need to seriously stop (whether it be housework, complaining, or behaving like something that rhymes with “itch”). You need that person because goddamn two kids can be challenging (not at all times, but most of it). You need someone you can give the crazy eye to when they get home from work as you rock your newborn and placate your toddler who wants “mommy (to) push” the stroller with her “baby” (a stuffed cat). You need that person who will push through the ugliness (not referring to my appearance, but I have seen better days) and slog it through to the other side (not sure what the other side is, but I like the metaphor…is it a metaphor?).

I’ve also been reminded that you need your tribe. You need to lean on family, friends and neighbours. You need to say “yes”. You need to accept help. Well, I most certainly do. So when someone asks if I need food, I say “yes”. When someone offers to bring a coffee, I say “yes”. When someone offers to take my toddler for an afternoon and bring me dinner, I say “YES” (one amazing human did actually do this). I am no hero. I couldn’t do this without my tribe and I’m so unbelievably grateful we are surrounded by such love and support.

Lastly, I’ve been reminded about mindfulness. It’s not that I forgot – I used many techniques during my labour and delivery, however, the principles for everyday living need a refresh. During my dark room lunch, I contrived a strategy to better handle situations where I’m becoming agitated with my hubby and daughter. My plan: to perform a condensed three second mountain meditation whereby I visualize a mountain and count to three. Nothing fancy, but I need to do something to ground myself and manage my emotions (which can easily take on a life of their own).

Thus, while having two kids is an ever-present challenge that tests my patience and goodwill on a minute-by-minute basis, I have a variety of resources and tools that I plan to leverage and cultivate over the next 11 months of my maternity leave (and beyond). Kindness – to my children, my husband and myself – will be at the forefront, in addition to those listed above. Oh, and humour. A good laugh is essential. My girlfriends always know what GIF to send to help get through a trying situation.

So if you have two kids – I feel you, sister. It can be a serious slog sometimes. If you’re planning on two kids, go for it, it’s awesome. If you’re on the fence about kids, go for it, it’s awesome. No matter what I write or how much I whinge, having children and a family is the best thing I will ever do. No joke.

Happy Sunday. Hopefully you didn’t have to eat your delicious charcuterie plate in your bedroom today (and if you did, I salute you).



Midwives v. Medicos: Is going natural worth it?

I’m 7 days postpartum. My baby is sound asleep beside me as I write. I’m in love. He’s in love. The whole fam-damily is in love. It’s been blissful.

I just had my last home visit from one of my incredible midwives and after talking to her about my most recent birth experience, I was inspired to share (don’t worry, I won’t get too gory).

My first and second labour / delivery experiences could not be more different. While both took place in the hospital, one followed the typical route (perhaps becoming less typical) with a doctor specializing in obstetrics, a team of nurses, drugs, more drugs and the other involved two midwives – that’s it. Oh, and both involved my husband and had the same end result, an amazing new human.

The arrival of my daughter was initiated by my waters breaking. As I was GBS positive, I was required to go to the hospital in the event my waters break to ensure I received my first dose of antibiotics in a timely fashion. So off we went. Upon our arrival, we were told I was to receive Pitocin (exogenous oxytocin) to get things moving as I was only 1 cm dilated. I knew this could increase the likelihood of drugs, but I didn’t know there were other options. I wasn’t told that there were more natural ways to induce labour. So we went along for the ride.

It took a while for things to ramp up, but ramp up they did. The contractions were awful (not sure there are any contractions that are great). I couldn’t sit still. There was nothing that could bring relief, not even the shower. I was frantic; the nurses referred to me as a “wild cat”. At 4 cm dilated, I couldn’t withstand it any longer and decided to receive the epidural. It brought instant relief, sleep, and allowed me to deliver my daughter pain free (while laughing – yes, laughing).

I didn’t know the doctor that delivered my daughter, nor the nurses. All were amazing, patient and kind, but given my recent experience I can now verbalize something I didn’t realize at the time, I never felt fully safe or protected. I felt vulnerable; I was never able to take off my gown and felt completely uncomfortable when they put me into the stirrups. I now understand why.

This time around, I decided to shake things up; I decided I wanted to take a drug-free course of action. Thus, I decided to request a midwife and was delighted to be accepted into my preferred practice immediately (I am forever indebted to a girlfriend of mine who made the recommendation).

Over the course of my 6-months with the midwives, I was never weighed. I was simply asked what my weight was and my belly measurements were taken. They kept me informed about my belly size; thus, I wasn’t surprised when they told me I was measuring behind (just like my first). Instead of sending me for an ultrasound and raising alarm bells (like the first doctor, and not without good reason), they let me wait one more week to see how things progressed. They instructed me to “eat” and to “watch my stress levels”. They asked about my life outside of the one they knew about; they seemed to genuinely care (now I know they genuinely do). In the end, it all worked out and no additional ultrasound was required.

Then it was time. Four days prior to my due date, I started to demonstrate signs of natural labour. No waters broke this time. We didn’t rush to the hospital. We stayed at home. I timed my contractions while we watched TV with my TENS machine on (AH-MAZING device). When the contractions intensified, I moved to the bath. And when the ratcheted up again, I called my midwife and we decided to head to the hospital. I laboured in the car peacefully. We arrived at the hospital and my contractions slowed. My midwife assured me this was normal. As I waited to be checked, the nurses wheeled in my plastic pool, put the liner in, started the water, and left. That was the last I saw of them until we needed some extra hands due to a bit of scary situation at the end of delivery.

Upon my exam, I was shocked to discover I was already 5 cm. The pain was manageable. The contractions were nothing, I repeat, nothing like the ones I had experienced with oxytocin at 4 cm. Nothing. It was then I realized I was going to be able to do this; that I could manage without drugs. It was incredibly empowering.

From that point, I switched between the tub and standing at the sink with the TENS machine on my back and butt. I had on my sports bra and a warm blanket / cape. I felt like a badass batman. In addition to water and the TENS machine for pain management, I used sounding. For any woman who has laboured before, you will be very familiar with sounds (most partners will also be familiar with labour sounds as us women can sure make some mighty weird ones). Yet, those sounds help. They helped me move through the discomfort (yes, discomfort, not pain…I never felt pain during labour).

And then it was time. We moved to the bed and I started to push. Now, this my friends, is where the pain started. Holy mother of god, this was painful. My midwife broke my waters and then s*** got real. My legs cramped. My feet cramped. My butt felt like it was about to fall off. And the ring of fire is real; oh, it’s real. But after just ten minutes, and my Tarzan hollering, I held my baby boy on my chest. It was incredible. They then allowed us to enjoy extended skin-to-skin, waiting patiently to do all of his measurements until he had completed his first feed. It was incredibly peaceful. We left 12 hours later (only because I had to stay for extended observation, otherwise we could have left very shortly thereafter).

With midwives, I also receive the benefit of home care. They come to your house, they answer your questions and concerns, they hug you when they leave. I can’t say I ever received a hug from my doctor (as nice as she was). Yet, everything aside, the greatest differentiator between midwives and medicos (in my humble opinion) is the fact that I felt respected, safe and informed throughout the entire process. I never felt “exposed” or vulnerable during the labour or birth; I felt the birthing room was my sacred space, welcome only to my “team”, my tribe. Now, let me be clear, when the doctor and charge nurse arrived on the scene, they were also incredible. They were respectful and supportive, and helped me through a very difficult moment (I just want to ensure my account is balanced and fair).

So to all the women out there who think they can’t labour without drugs, you can (if you wish to; it’s 1000x more manageable than contractions induced with oxytocin). You need alternative methods. You need the right space. You need to do some reading to help prepare. You need the mindset. But most importantly, you need the right people. And man, did I have the right people.

Any other benefits? I believe that labouring and delivering naturally has led to improved healing, mood, and overall health postpartum. Oh, and one last thing, my husband was more actively involved (and in awe) of the labour and delivery and said he wouldn’t change a thing (and he saw EVERYTHING). He was my rock and helped me in my final stretch (I couldn’t have done it without him…or my two midwives).

So who would I choose if we decide to have another baby? My midwives. Without question. The entire process from start to finish (which we haven’t reached yet), has been beautiful. I have felt informed, respected and cared for and wouldn’t change a thing for baby #3 (if that happens). It isn’t that my first experience wasn’t positive, it was. But this experience has been far richer and empowering.

Thank you to my tribe. You know who you are.





Re-Blog: The Rejuvenation Retreat; A Monumental Success

“Transcending down into the ground of things is akin to sweeping the leaves that cover a path.  There will always be more leaves.  And the heart of the journey, the heart of our own awakening, is to discover for ourselves that the leaves are not the ground, and that sweeping them aside will reveal a path, and finally, that to fully live, we must take the path and keep sweeping it.”

~ The Way Under the Way, Mark Nepo

Retreat participants enjoying quiet reflection at the Ghost River.

These delightfully apt words, shared by yoga guide and goddess, Tamie Murphy,  kicked off Live It Active’s inaugural Rejuvenation Retreat on Saturday, August 19, 2017. Throughout the yin yoga session, Tamie shared a variety of different poems and sentiments to inspire and ignite the imaginations of retreat participants. Ignite the senses and imagination she did; the words and metaphor resonated powerfully with me. It was a beautiful reminder that the “leaves” of life – the dishes, the appointments, the sicknesses and the deadlines – are not the path, simply distractions, and that we must keep sweeping them to stay on course (perhaps with fewer grumbles). But perhaps it resonated most powerfully, because I have finally found (and am walking) my path (more on this later).

The Rejuvenation Retreat, set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at The Crossing at Ghost River Retreat Facility, was attended by powerful, creative, and beautiful mommas, all at different ages and stages of their care-giving role. Following introductions and intentions, we moved into our yoga session, followed by quiet reflection anywhere on the grounds, and mindfulness meditation (during which many enjoyed a quick snooze). Massage therapy was also available for anyone interested. During quiet reflection, many participants were drawn to the Ghost River to reflect, write and read. All came with different intentions, but there was one definite overarching theme – to take a moment, to clear thoughts, and to rejuvenate.

Lunch, served in the main house, was a joy to the senses. Hearty, homemade comfort food (with a much inspired flare) adorned plates for only a brief period before being gobbled up. Gentle conversation about our babies (and grandbabies) was sprinkled with much laughter and joy (my daughter’s poop story was a hit; I’ll spare her the future embarrassment by not immortalizing it on social media).

The afternoon exposed participants to a completely different experience for the senses: Shinrin Yoku or forest bathing. All a little uncertain, the participants courageously walked into the forest with local Shinrin Yoku guide, Ronna Schneberger and accepted the first invitation, “to pay attention to all that is moving in the forest”. After 20 minutes of simply observing we reconvened to discuss our experience and receive our next invitation.

As the afternoon progressed, we (myself included) slowly began to disconnect from the rush and swirl of the day to day (even though much had been let go in the morning) and tune into the natural beauty surrounding us. Tuning into our senses allowed our brain to rest and our bodies to relax. The final invitation, to simply sit in nature, allowed participants to reflect on the day and their intentions for the day, week, and beyond. We came together, drank tea, enjoyed some goodies, and chatted about how we can find more time outside with our families.

The day was perfect – the attendees, the space, and the magic of the Ghost River helped to create the atmosphere for rest and rejuvenation. I will be forever grateful to the women who decided to attend my first-ever Retreat; from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I sincerely look forward to what the future holds for Live It Active and myself. As I said above, I believe I’ve found my path. This path will take a lifetime to walk, yet I excitedly await the challenges, joys, and will work to relish the inevitable sweeping of those forever falling leading me to my life’s work and calling: to help people find wellness, balance, and contentment in their everyday lives.

The mommas striking a pose.

With love,



Live It Active will launch it’s first Speaker Series: Discovering the Inner (and Awesome) Parent in You in Spring 2018. To check out our incredible speaker, Dr. Sheri Madigan, R. Psychologist and University of Calgary Professor, click here.


This day wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the following people:

  • Carol Pegg, The Crossing at Ghost River Retreat Facility
  • Karen Davis Rwankole, Photography
  • Tamie Murphy, Yoga Instructor 
  • Ronna Schneberger, Shinrin Yoku Guide 
  • Leah Haveman, Massage Therapist
  • Jenny Thompson, Website support 
  • Penny Sundstrom Mclaren, Logo Design
  • My incredibly supportive hubby

Employers v. Working Moms: Who’s getting the short end of the stick?

This week was one for the books. I started a new job and my dayhome provider had a seizure leaving us without childcare for two days (side note: she is doing well and recovering). My husband and I split time at home and a good friend came to our aid. Not having family in town always makes for a challenge when it comes to emergency situations, but we always find a way to pull through. And, fortunately, my new boss has children and was incredibly understanding. To top it off, I announced my second pregnancy to my new employer.

I closed off the week torn in two; I felt completely unsuccessful in both of my leading roles – employee and mother.

Since my return to work at the end of January, which has been fraught with a myriad of change and upheaval, I have felt a constant tug between both my professional and personal worlds. A tug that amplified this week when it was obvious I wasn’t quite living up to my potential in either capacity. My time at work was interrupted, disjointed, split between home and the office. I was stressed getting to and from the office, not wanting to be late (or absent at all) or appear anything but incredibly excited about this new opportunity.  I was stressed trying to find interim childcare and having to ask friends to support. I was stressed regarding the care of my child, uncertain of whether I wanted her returning to dayhome. I was stressed trying to accomplish deadline driven tasks in an an area completely foreign to me. So, yes, I was stressed.

This was a two day period. This wasn’t a week or a month. It was two days. And it’s passed now and we are returning to our “normal” routine. And yet, this experience has made me think, at length, about the bind that employers and new mothers experience. Surprisingly, it has made me incredibly sympathetic to employers who take a “risk” when hiring a young woman who may be contemplating a family.

Yes, I am using the word risk, because it is. Employers invest considerable time in training, mentoring and developing young talent; young talent that may leave shortly after training culminates. Young talent that may not come back. In my case, I’ll be leaving for another maternity leave (length to be determined) in just five months. That means in five months they may need to hire and train a replacement only shortly after finishing my training (I’m brand new to this role and area).

A number of moms who decide to return to work sometimes leave shortly after their return, finding the balance of work and family too challenging (Stevenson, 2012). Sometimes its after the second baby arrives – the daycare costs and time challenges are just too much. Some decide to work part-time. This, among many other factors, contributes to the wage gap we continue to hear about. It’s not that women get paid less on the dollar (seriously, that’s ridiculous and just isn’t the case…anymore), it’s that women more often than men have to make the hard decision to work part-time. And this is largely because women tend to work in roles that earn less (because they are lower risk) relative to men and thus, make more sense to leave to care for children and the home. Obviously this is shifting as we see more and more women attend professional schools and participating in more dangerous / higher paid work, but it’s a reality. Not necessarily a fair reality, as it indicates women are more than often then men at a disadvantage in the workplace, but a reality nonetheless.

So employers take a risk when investing in young female talent. Sometimes it pays off and other times, it doesn’t. And it’s not just the risk of young moms not returning after baby one, two or three, it’s young moms returning who are constantly torn between their role as employee and mother (reference first paragraph). While my husband and I work to strike a balance, I am often the one who has to stay home. I have a tad more flexibility than he does so it makes sense, but it doesn’t always feel right. Especially when starting a new role. And here’s the kicker: employers have to be accommodating, flexible and relatively nice about it. If they’re not or show any sign of frustration, they are referred to as discriminating and unjust. Maybe they are, but maybe they aren’t.

I now have a better sense to the challenges faced by working moms (specifically, dual-income families) and employers who take the risk to employ them. It’s not easy for anyone. Working moms are constantly torn between two worlds where they often feel like an impostor; employers are torn between employing / not employing young women who may leave them in the lurch or be their next EVP.

So who has the short end of the stick? In my opinion, it’s both.


Check out for information on my business! New or experienced mom looking for a small slice of serenity this summer? Check out the Rejuvenation Retreat, August 19, The Crossing at Ghost River. All details on my site.


Live It Active (the business) is Revived

I am so jazzed to announce the re-launch of my business, Live It Active, a health and wellness consultancy now based in Calgary, Alberta. Originally based out of Guelph, Ontario, Live It Active offers public education on mental health, resiliency and physical well-being and is incredibly excited to launch its Retreat series, Summer 2017.

In 2013, I (Morgan Craig-Broadwith, Owner / Operator of Live It Active), along with my husband packed up our pots and pans, duvet and pillows, and a few clothes and moved a few hundred kilometers west. Landing in Calgary, Alberta, I had to put Live It Active on hold while I settled into my new full-time gig. While I will continue to work a full-time day job that I love, I am delighted to be re-launching my business (aka my passion) that aims to support the growth, evolution and well-being of individuals and organizations.

Please stay a while on the site and peruse our upcoming retreat offerings. I cannot wait to spend some time in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains connecting with inspiring women this summer at the Rejuvenation Retreat at The Crossing at Ghost River.

To check out Live It Active in full detail, please visit


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