This blog is about life with a baby. It's not always what you expect and there is definitely no job description. Every baby is different and unique which is why motherhood can be so scary, fun, terrifying, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time.

Be sure to also check out our Travel Blog where you can share and read stories about travelling with the family.

We encourage you to share your experiences - by sharing your experiences and commenting on other posts, you may be helping other moms.

  • Tuesday, January 30, 2018 7:30 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    When I was asked to be a guest blogger and share my experience having postpartum depression (PPD), I was so excited. They wanted me? Really? Wow, am I interesting enough to be a guest blogger?

    After my excitement wore off, fear set in. Now that I’m feeling better (PPD free) I find it’s really hard to write about my experience living with depression. Just reading other people’s PPD blogs sucks me into a vortex so deep, it’s hard not to get sucked back into the old feelings of pain, sadness and alienation I felt just a few short months ago. Most times, even just the mention of having PPD makes me sad, and sets off a cry-fest.

    But, I know that talking about it is therapeutic – not only for me, but for other mom’s out there who may be experiencing the same emotions, and for husbands trying to figure out how to be supportive in such difficult times.

    So, here’s a little bit about me and my story as a postpartum depression surviving momma of one, with another on the way.

    I remember the day like it was yesterday. My son was due May 28, 2010 but he decided to cook for an extra 7 days. On June 4, 2010 my husband and I obeyed the doctor’s orders to check in at the hospital, we were going to see if this baby boy was ready to be born. Well, he wasn’t but letting him cook longer wasn’t an option and the induction procedure moved ahead full force. I was a bit nervous to be induced but really wanted to get the show on the road so to speak so I was all for the induction. Not long after the medication had been administered did the baby’s heart rate drop extremely low. Twice the nurses and doctor had to rush in to help get the baby’s heart rate back up. It was so scary and fast. Next thing I knew, the doctor was saying an emergency c-section was needed, we weren’t taking any chances to let the baby’s heart rate drop again, they were worried that he was reacting to the medication, or worst, the umbilical cord may be wrapped around his neck.

    Fast forward a few hours, our little boy was born super healthy and robust, and we were left to rest and recover in the hospital. Next came the feeding – he hungrily latched on to my breast, it hurt a bit but I wasn’t complaining. I was just amazed that he knew what to do.

    But then things took a turn for the worst. He couldn’t get any colostrum from each feeding, my nipples wouldn’t cooperate (one decided to invert out of the blue) and he ended up with jaundice. The nurses were trying to help show me how to get him to latch, reminding me how important breast milk was and how inferior a choice formula would be. They were just doing their job, but man, did I ever feel like an utter failure as a mother. Most of the nurses were trying to support my decision to breast feed, and my family, seeing me struggle and struggle, tried to reassure me that if I wanted to give the baby formula it was perfectly fine.

    I felt caught in the middle and felt so useless. First a c-section with no labour, then no breastfeeding? What was wrong with me? One of the most miraculous things about pregnancy and being a mother is getting to experience giving birth, I didn’t even know what a contraction felt like, then my baby had to be surgically removed from me because my body practically attacked him. Now, I can’t even feed him?

    I felt totally ripped off and was so angry at my body, and everyone else who just couldn’t understand how I felt.

    I really think that’s when my postpartum depression started, but to tell you the truth, I only recently realized this.

    After our hospital stay, for weeks and weeks, I thought I had a really bad case of the baby blues. But thinking back to when we were finally home and rested, if someone even mentioned “Hey Jen, I think the baby is hungry,” I would have a hysterical cry-fest, and would scream at everyone for making me feel like a failure at being a new mom. Everyone was convinced it was baby blues, even my dad tried to comfort me and reassure me that these hormonal baby blues wouldn’t last very long and I’d feel “normal” again in no time.

    Fast forward six months later, I was still feeling really sad, overwhelmed and extremely short on patience with everyone in my life. I was mad that my husband got to go to work while I stayed home alone with the baby. I was mad that my friends’ babies were older and sleeping through the night. I was mad that I had to spend so much money on formula, to watch this little baby spit half of it up on our leather couches. I got angry if the baby was fussy.

    Then I’d get sad that I got mad. Then uncontrollable guilt would set in. It sounds so silly but it’s true. My emotions were literally all over the place. I fantasized about running away. I was the worst mother to ever walk the earth; surely everyone would live a better quality of life if I just packed my bags and ran away.

    It was such a terrible emotion to be feeling when I wanted this baby so badly. I had everything I could ever want, a husband who was just amazing, a beautiful home, a dog, a baby boy, lot’s of friends, a crazy close family and a wonderful career. So why was I so sad, angry and ungrateful?

    I thought it was just the adjustment of having a new baby and really didn’t think much of it until my mom and husband encouraged me to go see my doctor.

    It came to no surprise to our family doctor that I was suffering from PPD, after all, she’d been keeping an eye on me each month as I brought the baby for his monthly check ups. I think she was just waiting for me to open up to her about how I’d been feeling. Looking back, she was probably going to just stage an intervention if the crying visits went on any longer…and I can’t say that I’d blame her!

    As much as I was really upset and kind of ashamed to have PPD, I was happy to have such a sympathetic doctor who helped me to understand the different degrees and kinds of PPD. With the help of some medication, and my family’s encouragement to join a local postpartum depression support group, I finally had the tools I’d need to get myself some help.

    I think the best part was how it felt to be able to just talk about it and be able to put a label on how I had been feeling. Knowing and understanding what I had (and it’s so common) made me feel so much better and optimistic about my road to recovery.

    My little guy is two years old now and I’m expecting again. I’m due in September and while I am free from depression now, I know that the risks of getting PPD are a bit higher since I’m predisposed to it now. I’m scared about what my experience will be with a newborn and a toddler in tow, but, I’m hopeful that with the support of my family, friends and amazing doctor, I’ll be able to kick PPD in the butt once again if needed.

    If there is someone out there reading this blog that thinks they might have PPD or maybe has a friend who is going through a tough time post-partum, here are a few links I found that have really helped me understand this condition.

    Postpartum Depression – Canadian Mental Health Association
    Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression? – Women’s Health Matters

    Jennifer is communications professional by day/blogger and postpartum depression surviving full-time mommy always.  She’s a social media junkie, obsessed with coffee, blogging, celebrity gossip and online shopping. Visit her blog at

  • Monday, January 29, 2018 4:05 PM | Glynis

    Like many illnesses, postpartum depression expresses itself differently in each mom. There are signs we are told to look out for which the majority of mothers may have, sure. Ultimately, though, there’s enough variation in the symptoms that it can be confusing for both the mothers experiencing it andthose in a support role. To someone who doesn’t have training or a background in depression, the assumption may be that PPD is just an extended period of the baby blues.

    Those of us who have experienced postpartum depression know better.

    Jessica Porten is a mother from California who, according to her viral Facebook post, had been trying to see her OB for several months. When she was finally able to get an appointment at four months postpartum, she reported what she believed to be PPD symptoms to her nurse practitioner, who then called the cops. What followed was a nightmare of an ordeal that would’ve been terrible for anyone to go through, never mind a mother suffering from PPD. Once the police arrived, they escorted her, with her baby, to the nearest ER where she waited for 10 hours to be seen. When she was finally seen, it was by a social worker, not a medical doctor, and she was discharged without medication or a follow up appointment booked.

    The key in this story is that Porten’s PPD symptoms manifested as rage and violent intrusive thoughts. Those are disturbing symptoms to hear about, but they are absolutely terrifying to experience. With that said, Porten made it clear that she felt completely in control and did not have any intention to carry out any of those thoughts.

    Anyone who has studied postpartum depression should be aware of the widespread occurrence of these types of intrusive thoughts. In my own postpartum experience, the psychiatrists and social workers I saw would regularly ask if I was experiencing them, and how they manifested. I also experienced a lot of rage, and eventually it became too much to bear. It wasn’t until I was five months postpartum when I finally began taking medication that the rage began to subside. For me, however, the rage was never directed toward my baby. All of my intrusive thoughts that involved harm coming to my baby were as a result of accidental, unintentional harm

    Life With A Baby’s founder, Claire Ziobin, had similar experiences with her intrusive thoughts. 

    …when my daughter was about 4 months, I fell on the stairs the night before. I immediately started thinking about what if Katelyn was in my hands, what if I had fallen on her, what if… this irrational fear that my daughter who I love and cherish  could be have gotten hurt played out in my mind in many ways. It led to irrational thoughts where I could picture myself falling down the stairs with her in my arms. This resulted in me spending a whole day on the main floor of our house until my husband got home because I did not want to be alone – in case I really did fall with her in my hand.

    For me, it was my fear of dropping the baby as I put him in his car seat, when it was already in the car. I would often ask my husband to do it for me, because I was so certain I would drop the baby. The gruesome images that played out in my head are ones that I never want to share, to this day.

    Life With A Baby was created with the purpose of supporting new mothers during a time when a lot of their normal support network may not understand the complexities of postpartum mood disorders. In Porten’s case, she encountered a nurse practitioner who clearly didn’t understand the difference between postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis; for other women, it may be a case of their support networks not understanding how serious postpartum mood disorders can be. 

    In the case of Janet (name changed for anonymity), a LWAB member, her own husband didn’t take her postpartum depression seriously:

    He said nothing is wrong with me and that I should just GET OVER IT. I decided that he would be my person for everything else but my depression. I had other supports in family and friends.

    Thankfully, Janet is now seeing a prenatal psychiatrist as she moves through her second pregnancy. A functioning support system can make all the difference to a mother who is suffering.

    Porten’s experience might not feel like something that could happen in Canada, but the reality is it could. As of right now, maternal mental health screening is not a recommendation in Canada, which means there’s no guarantee your primary healthcare provider is looking for signs and symptoms of a postpartum mood disorder. Until that changes, expecting and new moms will need to take on the burden of advocating for themselves and looking for resources that will act as a support.

    If you’ve been struggling and are afraid to approach your healthcare provider, either because you’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously or you’re afraid you’ll be taken too seriously, there are options. Here are links to a list of resources for each province:


    New Brunswick

    Nova Scotia

    Newfoundland and Labrador





    British Columbia 

    Prince Edward Island


    Northwest Territories


  • Wednesday, January 24, 2018 3:24 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    In 2007 when I had my daughter, I was alone and isolated, and I wanted to connect with others. Even more, I wanted to prevent other moms from going through what I did. I didn't have the support I needed, and that's how Life With A Baby was born, but it is sustained because of the over 500 volunteers that raised their hand and said, I, also, want to help; I, too, want to make a difference.

    Over the past decade, the program Life With A Baby has helped more than 180,000 families online, and over 70,000 have participated in our in-person support programs.


    I'm not sharing this to say - oh look what I've done - Yay me! I'm posting because it's proof that one person can start something that will make a difference in the lives of others.  Yes, ONE person can make a difference, but it takes a team of people to turn a big goal into reality.

    Maternal mental health is my passion and my purpose. It drives everything I do. However, I cannot do it alone. It is bigger than one person, and it's also bigger than one organization. I love what we do at Life With A Baby but we can't and shouldn't be attempting to do this alone.

    Moms deserve for us to work together with other organizations to change the way things are for moms who reach out for help. The stigma surrounding maternal mental health issues is killing moms and ruining lives.

    This is a plea for even more help because we want to do more. As our program and our membership grows we need more and more help to continue the work of preventing moms from falling into crisis after they have a baby.

    How can YOU help moms in your community through the Life With A Baby network?

    I believe in the power of moms! This is a movement, and I want YOU to be a part of it.  Connect with us at to help

    With an abundance of gratitude for all the community managers who make the Life With A Baby program possible.  

  • Wednesday, January 24, 2018 2:39 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    It's January, the most depressing month of the year according to many. The holidays are over, it's cold, It's back to work and routine, there is less sun, and it's generally grey and dreary outside.  It's also the time of year that we decide, usually after indulging way too much over the holidays, that we need to do something about those extra pounds.  I've wanted to get in shape for a few months, not necessarily to lose weight but to gain strength and muscle and to tone up and tighten my core, the one thing we all wish was a bit firmer after kids.  My kids are 10 and 6 so there is no excuse really that I haven't gotten back to where I feel I want to be.  And it's not that I don't exercise - I run on a regular basis, and I had been going to a gym a few times a week.

    What I realized after only 6 weeks at Orangetheory Fitness is that I was not exercising in the right way to lose weight or sculpt muscles. There is a difference between exercising for general health, and with the intention to change body composition.  I made some faulty assumptions: I assumed that because I was running for 30 minutes a few times a week that I was working out. I wasn't. I used to do track since the age of 5 until high school, and I have crazy good endurance. A 5k run doesn't phase me, but 20 minutes on the treadmill at an OTF class and It feels like the hardest I've ever worked.   

    I also could never stick with a gym. I couldn't find the motivation to go on a regular basis, partly because I didn't see the difference in my body and I wasn't feeling the difference in my mood. I would get on the stair climber, elliptical, or treadmill for 30 mins and then  do some weights but everytime I left, I felt that I didn't get a good workout. Do you know that feeling? What was preventing me from pushing myself harder?

    The answer for me was that I didn't know how hard I was working out. I couldn't tell if I was pushing myself or not. In my case, I felt that I needed to be extra careful. I have a heart murmur and I need to work out to keep my heart healthy per my doctor's orders b/c heart disease does run in my family, but I also didn't want to push myself too hard (which is more to do with my own anxiety than a medical order). This is where the heart rate monitors that we wear at OTF makes ALL.THE.DIFFERENCE.  For the first time I can see how hard I'm pushing myself. I can see that I was not pushing myself hard AT.ALL.  

    After 6 weeks and only going to the gym twice a week I am beginning to see improvement in my body and my mental health is feeling great too. I actually got up early twice last week so that I could make the 8:15 class because the other morning classes were full. I am actually excited to go to the gym. I love the way I feel afterwards and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way my body is changing for the better.

    These are the top 5 things I love about OTF and why I keep going back.

    1. The Coaches - the coaches do a great job of getting to know everyone and learning our names. They motivate in a supportive way and connected with me right away so that I could feel comfortable in the class. I love that everything I meet a new coach they seem to follow the same system of making the newbies feel comfortable in the class.

    2. The heart rate monitor system - The heart rate monitors are connected to TVs around the room so we can see how we are doing and if we need to make small adjustments to reach our goal.

    3. The music - The music is so good. And I know you are thinking I have good workout music already what is the big deal? The big deal is not having to keep putting earbuds back in after they fall out, or having anything connecting to me at all. The fact that it's just amazing music that seems to be choreographed perfectly with the workout structure is pure bliss!  

    4. The Orange effect -  All I need is 12 minutes in the orange zone to have an amazing workout that is going to keep burning fat and calories through the next day. 12 minutes.  It's perfection.

    5. The flexibility with the number of classes and locations - I'm very lucky because there are two OTF classes next to me, but a few weeks ago I was in Ottawa for holidays and there is an OTF gym there, and there are OTF gyms all across Canada so even when I'm traveling for work I can still go to the gym and get the same great workout.

    Overall I'm really enjoying OTF and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next 6 week brings. You can try it for free and see if you love it, too.

    Disclaimer : I received a discount off membership at OTF but as always the opinions are my own.

  • Friday, January 12, 2018 7:10 PM | Christina (Administrator)

    As a parent, it's hard to find time to catch up on things: the laundry, the dishes, with friends, with your spouse. But in the summer of 2017, we finally had time to catch up... and catch our breath at Fern Resort.

    Over the course of Two nights, we were able to leave the resort with smiles all over our families faces, feeling like we've finally had a connection yet again. 

    When we arrived, my kids (4 and 2 years old) just couldn't wait to go to the Trampoline area. Of course, my 35 year old Husband felt the same so immediately once the keys were in hand, the feet ran over and UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN as my 2 year old said. It was a great way to "JUMP" into our weekend.

    Catching some air Fern Resort! Could spend hours here, but it's time for dinner then off to the Play Village! 

    Off to dinner we went, the kids enjoying the buffet and Kid Favourites. Then it was time to drop them off to the Play Village for Mommy and Daddy to continue the theme of catching up, this time over a wonderful dinner... just the two of us! When does that happen at home?

    Just me and the hubby, kids enjoyed their play time at the Play Village! Delish and quiet meal! #NomNom #SummerAtFern

    The food was delicious, but as a parent you know it's hard to relax when your children are being watched by someone you don't know. Well, the staff at Fern and the Play Village are SPECTACULAR!  When you drop your child off you provide them with your phone number and they unlock a gate to let your child in. There is always a staff member at the welcome desk which I was so pleased with the amount of safety procedures they took.

    I am not going to lie, we dropped the kids off and watched for 20 minutes and the attention to safety, the personalities of the staff, the genuine caring for your children is apparent. I was more than comfortable to walk away from my children knowing they were in caring hands.

    That weekend went by in a blur. So much to do, and just not enough time before we realized the weekend was over.  How to camp everything in only 2 and a half days?From more trampoline time, to driving at the Play Village, to paddle boating with the kids on a beautiful sun lit lake.

    The catch up time was completed and we left relaxed, complete and with smiles on our faces... but of course, not before catching one more thing... FISH!

    So many fun activities for the entire family to do together! E caught her first fish, D's first peddle boat, swimming in the sunshine #somethingforeveryone #summeratFern #CaughtASunfish

    The one thing I realized on this Holiday was this: You don't need to always be around your children for them to be happy. You need to focus on time for yourself and in turn, everyone around you will feed off of that positive energy. And, just look at this face. She had a blast. Next summer, we'll have to add a few more days to get even more stuff in; and get even bigger smiles!

  • Thursday, January 11, 2018 1:23 PM | Bhavishree (Administrator)

    Anonymous author

    Reflecting on the early years of parenting the first words that come to mind are exhaustion and overwhelmed. Last year a teacher said it's assumed that parents want to volunteer with their children's age bracket but in reality many parents really need a break from whatever stage their children are in and/or don't like certain ages and stages. Amen! She went on to say that most new parents don't belong in the church nursery - why don't the people who aren't on 24/7 baby duty take that role and let the new parents have a break she said... hmm...

    Both of the churches we attended when the boys were babies said that all new parents are to take turns in the nursery. Well, I've come to realize why I hated the days I was on nursery duty. I never had the desire to be in the nursery before having babies, and I still don't now. I definitely didn't belong in that nursery room. I should've said no and served elsewhere. You see, I was completely exhausted, overwhelmed, longing for adult conversation and a break from caring for a baby and a toddler. I was on the verge of a mental break for years. Instead of getting a break from parenting duty I agreed to take care of even more babies and toddlers out of perceived obligation.

    One of the churches had my injured husband on the schedule as well when it was known that he suffers from chronic pain. We had to explain why not only did he have no desire to be in the nursery but he physically shouldn't be doing it. No really, he will not be doing nursery duty. He cannot put on his own shoes nor shower himself, he can barely take care of himself and his own young children, he will not be regularly volunteering to take care of more babies and toddlers.

    I write all of this to give you permission to say no even if you aren't a chronic pain sufferer. If you are as overwhelmed now as I was then don't allow peer pressure to put you on nursery duty if you dread it. Find a way to serve that energizes you and uses your skill set. Ask the people who want to hold your baby in the lobby to take a shift in the nursery on occasion.

    I wish that churches would hear the woman who gave me this insight and stop obliging new parents to serve in the nursery. I'm not frustrated with the nursery coordinators for putting me on the schedule, I do however wish I knew then that I shouldn't have agreed to it. I'm proud of the people who said no to me when I asked them to volunteer for stuff. There's endless places to serve within a community, and we give best when we are giving in our areas of expertise and capacity.

  • Thursday, January 11, 2018 11:28 AM | Bhavishree (Administrator)

    Author - Jenny M. 

    After the winter holiday, it’s time to plan for the summer! We still have fond memories of our last #SummeratFern. We love traveling but it’s always been to big cities. It was our first road trip and we were not sure if staying in a resort is going to keep us entertained. We were traveling with my 3.5year old and 7 months old baby. Packing for a weekend trip was fairly simple since Fern Resort provided a crib and everything there is family oriented. The room had blackout curtains so baby can nap during the day. The checking in process was quick and easy. Just remember there is no elevator, it’s a workout just getting to the room. Bring your travel stroller as the room is not big enough for a full size and carrying the stroller up the stairs is no fun.


    Let’s talk about food! The dining area was set up like a cruise ship. We sat at the same table for all our meals. We walked in and high chair, towel and bib were already there for us. Crayons and coloring pages are available by the door if you want something to entertain your kids. When we travel, we always dine earlier just to skip the crowd and tantrum. At Fern, they also have that options but it is catered to the kids. It's buffet style for main and dessert. Kids can pick and choose what they want to eat. After they finish their meal then its time to send them off to Playvillage! By the next meal, they will be BEGGING you to go! It’s free and they entertain your kids while we enjoyed dinner like real adults. We got to dine kids free, adult conversation, hot food (yes that’s a luxury) and the best of all no dishes and floor to mop after! Don’t forget to bring a snack box to pack fruits from lunch as afternoon snack for the kids. There’s a refrigerator in the room so the food won’t go bad.

    During our check in we were given a newsletter that listed out the entertainment schedule. There were shows you can catch at night and family shows during the day. There is plenty to do at Fern; pony rides, fishing, paddle boat, golf trampoline, sunset cruise (extra cost), floor hockey, tennis, swimming and more. Just endless entertainment you can enjoy as a family or without kids. That's right! You can drop them off at Playvillage anytime during the day too. At night, you can call in a babysitter (extra cost) so you can enjoy the evening. I took the opportunity to reconnect with my hubby and spend some one-on-one time with my older child. It was a nice change from our usual city vacation.

    If you are thinking where to go this summer check out Fern Resort. You won’t be disappointed!

    Author - Jenny M. 

  • Tuesday, January 09, 2018 2:13 PM | Julie

    Travelling as a family of five is no easy thing.  Not only do I (because my hubby packs the car and I pack all other things) need to pack most of my house to get us through any and all situations, but finding a place to accomodate us is a struggle. Often hotels and resorts charge premium rates for the extra human or we struggle with finding things to do to entertain our age ranges. 

    This summer we had the chance to visit Fern Resort and it was hands down the best part of our summer and the easiest trip my family of five has ever taken. 

    We have a shy 6 year old, an outgoing - no limits 4 year old and a starting to toddle 10 month old.  So we need activities, safety and a wide variety of foods. Fern had all this and more.  

    We were welcomed with friendly staff who were very helpful with making sure we had all the things we required, or that I forgot (naturally). The rooms were ready with the crib I requested, bumper rail for the pull out bed and mattress protectors in case of accidents. The rooms arent as modern as you want but they are quaint old world Ontario and reminded me that resorts like this are from another time. A place that memories are made and have been for generations. 

    We have traveled with our kids but were always the ones hesitant about kids clubs or programs. Through conversation with people who had attended Fern in the past we were given tales of games, crafts and activities far beyond what we could offer our kids through out the day. We decided to give it a whirl. This is absolutely a MUST DO at Fern. It is why you go there, it is what they do best. My kids walked in with some nerves but ran out screaming "lets eat quick, I need to go back!"  They filled our dinner with tales of obstacle courses, jungle gyms, sports games, crafts etc etc etc  My husband and I were thrilled to hear how much they enjoyed it and relieved because we had enjoyed a lazy few hours laying pool side, reading and enjoying each others company. It felt like a second honeymoon. I mean how many hours do I get kid free, to read and swim - um none, ever! 

    Our dinner was a three course sit down dinner served AFTER the kids had their dinner and were returned to the kids club for the evening portion. You heard me - more kid free time! We decided to let our baby have an early evening nap in the nursery, which we kind of thought would just be the nannies entertaining her while we ate. But they sent us a text picture of her fast asleep in a comfortable crib snuggling her bunny. We had a glass of wine, ate our dinner talking with other adults and really enjoying a HOT meal. The food was splendid. Prepared fresh and it was a formal menu to choose from. The servers were polite, helpful and attentive.

    I could go on and on about kids club, nursery service, the food and the grounds. The kids loved the pool and the beach area. The shuffle board, basketball, giant chess and checkers, mini golf, fishing, paddle boarding - the list is really endless. But what is most important to share is that this vacation with three kids was truly a vacation for my husband and I. How often can you say that? Travel with kids is often just like regular life but in a new location. You return feeling as tired or more then when you left. But our experience at Fern was the opposite. We left with fond memories, shared joy with seeing the smile on our kids faces and knowing that we would return. 



  • Monday, January 08, 2018 9:02 PM | Krista (Administrator)

    I had never heard of Fern Resort prior to being invited on the LWAB Training Retreat last year so I really had no idea what to expect. My fellow volunteers suggested comfy clothes, bathing suits, toiletries and beach towels (although those could be borrowed on site) so that's what I packed! And we had everything we needed!

    We were told we could enjoy all the amenities of the resort as soon as we arrived on check in day, even though check in time isn't until 4pm, and true to their word I saw them giving out wristbands to early arrivals. We lucked out and our room was ready a little early so we unpacked the car before we headed to the pool.

    Our room was in the Hearthside Inn. The location was perfect - steps from the pool, beach and dining room, right across the parking lot from the kids Playvillage, and a short walk to the Marina Dock, mini golf and playground. My only complaint was that there are no elevators and the rooms are on the 2nd and 3rd floors, but if you need an accessible room there are other buildings with ground level rooms. The lower level of the Hearthside Inn has 2 conference rooms, our group utilized one while we were there, it was so convenient to have our meeting in the same building as our accommodations. The room was well lit with a large table and seats for at least 16 people. It came equipped with a fully stocked Keurig machine and a bar fridge full of cold drinks.

    Back to the fun stuff! We did bring our own puddle jumpers but it looked like there were a limited number available to guests who requested them. The first day the kids just wanted to try out the wading pool, it was a perfect size for them! A gradual incline where it maxed out at around 2' deep. The area around the wading pool has a bunch of kid sized chairs and loungers for when (or if) they are ready to get out of the water.  There are also 2 full sized pools on the pool deck, and even at a busy time never felt really crowded. Just off the pool deck is a small beach area with a box of sand toys for the kids to use - my kids spent an entire morning playing here!

    There are lots of water sports to enjoy as well, we only took advantage of a paddle boat on our last morning, and it was a short one since the rain showed up just as we got on, but still fun!  At the docks they also offered fishing, just a simple piece of wood, fishing line, hook and a piece of a worm (that they hook for you), this kept the kids busy for a little while watching the little fish nibble on it.

    The dining room experience was nice, we had the same friendly waitress all 3 days. Dinner service includes a 5:30 children's buffet, with 'basics' like chicken fingers, fries, pasta, veggies, as well as sliced ham one night and roast beef the next. This allowed parents to feed their kids, and then take advantage of the Playvillage's supervised playtime, for free! We did bring the kids there the first night, but my daughter was overwhelmed and didn't want to stay very long, so the next night we opted out. Maybe next year we'll get a child free dinner :) 

    The regular dinner menu had a nice selection of starters, salads and entrees to choose from, and of course delicious desserts to finish it off! At lunch you had the option to stay inside or have a BBQ lunch on the pool deck, the food selection for both was quite good and we all found something to eat without complaints!

    We were sad to leave, with being in a meeting for most of one day, and early bedtimes for the kids, we definitely could have used more time to experience all the resort has to offer, but I guess that just means we'll have to go back!

  • Thursday, December 28, 2017 11:00 AM | Christina (Administrator)

    Thanks for joining us during the Holiday Season. Many of us forget to take care of ourselves during this time. Let's take a moment to chat about ways to take some time for YOU.

    Kasia Pytlik joins us to chat. Kasia has been an NICU social worker both at Mount Sinai Hospital and Sunnybrook Hospital over the last six years, supporting families with their NICU journey. She currently splits her time between clinical work and parent programming at Mount Sinai Hospital.

    What is Self Care?

    Simply put, self-care is a deliberate act in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical selves. This sounds simple and easy, and in theory, it should be. But often times people, particularly busy parents, feel guilty for doing something for themselves, especially something that has been traditionally overlooked in the maintenance of “good health”. But here’s the thing: we take steps to maintain proper oral and physical hygiene like brushing our teeth and bathing without feeling guilty, so why should taking steps to maintain emotional and mental health be any different? 

    Why is self care so important?

    Self-care is not just important, it’s crucial. If you aren’t taking care of your emotional and mental health, then you can’t care for another person. Something I routinely say to new NICU parents: you need to put your oxygen mask on first before you can attend to your child. If you get sick, both physically and/or mentally, then who will care for your baby? When framed this way, it’s a little bit easier to see how self-care isn’t a selfish act—something busy parents might think when they feel guilty for taking their own ‘timeout’ from life.

    Not only does self-care maintain healthy mental and emotional health, but it is also a preventative measure against “overload burnout”. It also reduces the negative affects of stress, and it should rejuvenate you. This last point is important to underlined because self-care shouldn’t become another thing you have to do. While, yes, we should make time for it, we shouldn’t have to force ourselves to do it. That completely defeats the purpose! Self-care should refuel you; you should have a sense of being refreshed and ready to dive back into life after you do it.

    What are examples of self care? 

    Self-care means different things to different people—as mentioned above, it has to be something that you enjoy doing. One person might find journaling cathartic and a good way to organize their thoughts, while another person might find the thought of journalling fluffy and unhelpful. That being said, there are some guidelines that might help you find a fulfilling self-care routine:

    • Self-care doesn’t just happen. You do have to make a conscious effort and plan to incorporate it into your daily life. Put it in your schedule; tell your partner that you’re planning a ‘self-care timeout’; or actively find a free 15-20 minute chunk of time to practice self-care.
    • Identify your self-care practice as self-care. For example, someone might find a hot shower as relaxing and as a way to unwind, but only view it as a personal hygiene act. By identifying your hot shower as a part of your self-care, you can tack on a few extra minutes to your routine and (hopefully) not feel guilty for doing so.
    • Set some boundaries by identify things you don’t want to do. For example, not answering the phone during lunch/dinner, not reading emails after a certain time, not attending events that you’re not interested in attending, and limiting time with people who bring negativity into you life. 
    • Eat Healthy. I get it—this gets pushed down our throats everywhere we turn (pun intended!). But eating a balanced diet does affect our mood and thus our emotional and mental health. Eating healthy is hard most days, but especially so over the holidays. Remember the key is balance—there’s nothing wrong in indulging a little in holiday goodies, just remember to throw in some leafy greens, and fruits throughout the day too. 
    • Exercise. Yup—another thing we hear over and over again. But this too affects our mood. But how can we exercise when it’s -100 out and we have a fragile NICU graduate with us? Sometimes getting to gym is not an option. One way to work up a bit of a sweat and stay comfortable and away from crowds is to wake up early, and head to mall before it opens. This might sound unrealistic and kinda cheesy, but it does work! Try brisk walking or a light jog around The Eaton’s Centre’s three levels five times without stopping, and you’ve got yourself a sweat glow. 
    • Okay—some explicit (and traditional) examples of self-care: journalling; yoga classes; ten-minute meditation breaks; crisp fresh air; lunch dates with friends; joining a “parent and baby class”. Remember—these examples might not be something that works for you. But you owe it to yourself, and your family, to find something that does work for you. Once you become mindful of things that do refuel you, you’ll be able to identify more explicit forms of self-care that work for you and fit into your life.

    How often should I make time for “me"?

    Every day. That’s not to say you have to take two hours daily to get to that spin class. But you should be doing something for you, and only you, every day. That also doesn’t mean that it has to be by yourself. Maybe a 15 minute conversation with that friend that always makes you laugh is all you need to leave you in a great mood for the rest of the day. But try every single day to do something uplifting, or relaxing. Once you become cognizant of incorporating self-care into your life, you’ll start to develop your own routine of finding ways to bring some rejuvenation into your life daily. The more you practice self-care, the easier it will be to find ways to incorporate your self-care practices into your daily living. 

    The Holiday season is tough. My baby is home from NICU, I'm trying to get to see everyone and I feel overwhelmed. HELP! How can I accomplish it all?

    You can’t accomplish it all. And you don’t have to. Once you give yourself permission to not be super parent, the expectation to “do it all” disappears. The thing is, most people aren’t expecting us to do everything either. Most of the time, it’s an expectation we place on ourselves. The holidays brings a certain level of stress though—everyone’s in town, and everyone wants to see us (and probably your NICU graduate too!). But this is where setting boundaries comes into play. There will be some people who will be disappointed they didn’t get to see you this holiday season. But most people will understand why. It’s okay to reschedule plans for when things are less busy a couple of months from now. Maybe using Face Time or similar sort of technology to catch up with friends is an option. Prioritising your own sanity during the busy holiday season should be taken seriously, and not just an option. 

    What's the easiest way to take care of myself?

    There are many free apps out there that can lead you with mindfulness/meditation exercises. Just ten minutes of deep breathing, body scanning and letting your mind drift to a safe and relaxing space can do wonders for regulating your mood. 

    An app I really like is called Headspace. It is Guided Meditation is a free app that I’ve used and would definitely recommend.

    Thank you Kasia for joining us and providing all of these amazing insights and tips. Wishing you all some "me" time this Holiday and time for some self care every day.

    If you have any suggestions of future topics to chat about, shoot us an email to We'll see you next month (and next year!) for our next #PreTermChats!

    #SelfCare #PreTermChats #LifeWithAPretermBaby #LifeWithABaby #NICU #PreemiePower #PreemiePowerCanada #Holidays

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