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Fall 2017 /





UPCOMING EVENT Etsy Holiday Market

November 25, 2017 RIM Park – Forbes Hall 2001 University Ave. E. Waterloo, Ontario For more information, visit

䄀琀琀愀挀欀℀ 䌀漀氀氀攀挀琀椀瘀攀 Art based clothing, colourful prints & notecards Custom art work welcome |


Pacifier Clips & Teethers, Nursing Necklaces, Bandana Bibs, Crochet Hats

Baby Carrier Drool Pads & Sensory Necklaces

Skullz N Beadz Handcrafted Mala Jewellery

Natalie Shushack owner/designer skullznbeadz skullznbeadzmalajewellery

FACES OF LOSS Removing the shroud of silence and shame


OUR TEAM Meet the writers who make this magazine awesome PAGE 4

UP FRONT The power of plant-based protiens PAGE 6

PRODUCTS A mini holiday gift guide PAGE 8


MIND Riding the Waves PAGE 10

BODY Facing the Rain PAGE 12

SPIRIT The Gift of Rebirth PAGE 14

BACK PAGE Embraced PAGE 30



A crash course in essential oil safety, sustainability and usage PAGE 25


Simple yoga for emotional regulation PAGE 28

ON THE COVER The cover image featuring Shelby Foster was shot by Nicola Toon of Hulahoop Photography ( in Cambridge under the direction of Ian Sullivan Cant of Made By Emblem.





KATIE KAVHO Holistic Nutritionist | Fertility Advocate Katie Kahvo is a registered holistic nutritionist who runs the online group Fertile Beginnings for women struggling with fertility. Katie is dedicated to filling the gap in the fertility world, providing education and support around the topic of fertility and nutrition. For more information on Katie, visit Check out her information piece, Hope After Loss on PAGE 19 as part of our Faces of Loss cover story.

Volume 04, Issue 01 | Fall 2017


TINA LACKNER Psychotherapist | Yoga Instructor Tina is a psychotherapist, professor, registered yoga teacher, certified play therapist, and holds a certificate in applied mindfulness meditation. She has been committed to working with children, tweens, teens, adults and families within the mental health field for over 25 years. Tina is passionate about her work combining Eastern approaches to the management of mental health challenges. Read her feature article Breath, Movement and Mood on PAGE 28.

JENNIFER NOVAKOVICH Natural Health Professional

Erik Mohr (Creative Director) Ian Sullivan Cant (Associate Art Director) Mantej Rakhra (Graphic Designer) Sally Tan Soriano (Production) ADVERTISING DESIGNER


Nicola Toon Hulahoop Photography FEATURE WRITER

April Scott-Clarke CONTRIBUTORS

Jen studied nutrition and nutraceutical sciences at the University of Guelph. She has been working in the natural health industry for six years in research, science writing, education and sales, and she currently owns The Eco Well (, a Waterloo-based “clean beauty” company. She does public talks and DIY beauty seminars throughout Ontario, has her own science podcast and has a line of skincare products sold locally in natural health and beauty stores. She’s also the founder of The Eco Market (, coming to Kitchener-Waterloo on April 21, 2018, at the Waterloo Region Museum. Read her article The Oily Life on PAGE 25.

VERONICA QUBROSSI Culinary Nutrition Expert Veronica is a holistic nutritionist, culinary nutrition expert and aspiring childbirth educator. She’s also mama to the most remarkable four-year-old daughter there ever was. She loves writing and educating others about nutrition, natural childbirth and breastfeeding. Veronica is managing director of Healthoholics, plus you can learn more on her website at Her article and recipe Plant Protein Power appears on PAGE 6.



Dr. Jen Forristal, Katie Kavho, Tina Lackner, Jennifer Novakovich, Veronica Qubrossi, Nicole Schiener, Dr. Shannon Viana PROOFREADER

Lesley Wiltshire


The Holistic Parent magazine is published three times per year. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher © 2017 Copies are available for free at one of our 75+ community partners in the Waterloo Region, Wellington County and surrounding areas. Visit for a list of distributors. ISSN 2368-6790 Publications Mail Agreement No. 42845523

Because little ones love snacks, and you,, love

pure, organic, goodness.

new oaty chomp & love duck flavours!

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Are you looking for an easy way to incorporate these plant-based proteins into your diet? I’ve got a recipe for you, to make it effortless!



The nutrition world is noisy these days. It seems every time you scroll through social media or listen to the radio, there’s a new claim regarding what diet is “ best.” It can be confusing — even for a trained nutritionist! With popular diets ranging from vegan to paleo and everything in betweek, many North American’s are wondering how to nourish their families in the most beneficial way. I’m here to remind us all that there’s one thing that nearly all diet-experts worldwide agree upon that we can use to help guide our eating habits. So, what’s the secret? Our diets should included more plant-based protein. Early this year, it was announced that Canada’s Food Guide was looking to be revised to prioritize plant-based protein over animal-based. When I suggest my clients consume more plant-based foods, the first question I often hear is, “How will I get enough protein?” Well, check out the chart below for The World’s Healthiest Foods top seven plant-based protein sources, based on protein density: FOOD Spinach Crimini Mushrooms Asparagus Soybeans Broccoli Swiss Chard Collard Greens

SERVING SIZE 1 cup 5 oz 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup

PROTEIN QTY (g) 5.4 3.5 4.7 28.6 4.7 3.3 4.0

Even for those of us who choose to consume meat, whether for health reasons or simple enjoyment, we can still benefit from the positive effects of a plant-based diet. Eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables brings us well on our way to our daily protein requirements. Consuming other plant-based protein sources including beans, lentils, nuts and seeds is advantageous for most people as well.



1/2 cup brown rice macaroni 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 cup cremini mushrooms (sliced) 3 asparagus spears (stemmed and chopped) 1/2 cup broccoli florets 1 cup unsweetened almond milk 2 tsps onion powder 1 tsp garlic powder 2 tbsps almond flour 1 tsp sea salt 1/2 cup frozen edamame 2 cups baby spinach (chopped)

1.In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Cook

brown rice pasta following the directions on the package. When cooked to your liking, strain pasta and run under cold water immediately (this prevents overcooking, and removes some of the gooey starch).

2.While the pasta is boiling, heat a large

skillet with olive oil over low-medium heat. Once the skillet is heated, add mushrooms, asparagus and broccoli. Cook until vegetables are softened. Set vegetables aside.


In the same skillet, add almond milk, onion powder, garlic powder, almond flour and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.


Once the sauce reaches a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken.


Add reserved vegetable mixture, edamame and spinach. Once the sauce is simmering again and spinach has wilted, toss in pasta and stir until well combined. Serve and enjoy!

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A mini

An Oil-loving Momma Fox & Bear Essentials Lava stone represents strength and courage — offering grounding and stability to its wearer. It’s naturally porous surface makes it a perfect vessel for diffusing essential oils. Place a drop of your favourite essential oil on the lava stone and let it absorb for a few minutes. Then wear your necklace and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of your oils for several hours to all day, depending on your choice of oil. Fox & Bear Essentials is a local Etsy marker based out of Kitchener.

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A Fine Man Acre75 Gift Box Co. Focusing on handcrafted products made by artisans in small towns and rural areas of Canada, Acre75 has put together a gift box ideal for the man in your life. This box features a reclaimed railway spike bottle opener from Metcalfe Iron Works, an upcycled beer glass from Artech Glass Blowing Studios and a Jamaican-inspired marinade and finishing sauce from County Fare. $78 |




A Stylish Toddler ReFluff Easily convert a 250ml mason jar into a portable sippy cup for your little one. Featuring sturdy double handles, safety strap that securely keeps the jar in place, and has reinforced stitching, ReFluff’s mason jar sippy cup allows your child to enjoy the benefits of drinking from glass and is BPA free. Handmade from  upcycled material. Currently selling in select baby shops across Canada, including Fenigo in Waterloo. $20 |

A Nerdy Nerd The Chemist Tree The Chemist Tree is a collection of fun chemistry cards and other goods emerging from a curiosity about the everyday — what we eat and drink, how we feel, ways of life, textures of materials, how the world works —fused with a passion for creative expression. Handmade in Milton, The Chemist Tree products can be found at the UofW bookstore, THEMUSEUM and reFIND Salvage in Elora. $20 (Math Pocket Notebook Set) |

A Deserving Chef Love Child Organics From the founder of the Love Child Organics brand of baby and children’s food, Leah Garrad-Cole, It All Begins With Food is an all-occasions book of recipes and parent-tested advice on how to feed your child wholesome foods that the entire family will enjoy. Recipes like Cheesy Veggie Mash, Overnight Strawberry Cocoa Oatmeal and Raspberry Vanilla Heart Cookies will inspire any home cook! Visit a local bookstore, such as Word Worth Books in Waterloo, to get a copy.

A Bathing Baby Ubbi Ubbi’s line of bath toys will let your child switch, squeeze, stack, splash and smile with these bright, colourful and fun bath essentials. Mould-free and dishwasher safe, the Interchangable Bath Toys feature a set of four colourful animals to promote development of hand-eye coordination — and are super cute! They are also PVC, BPA and phthalate free. A selection of Ubbi products are available at local shops including Diapers n’ More in Kitchener, or online at Guelph-based $9.95-$19.95 |

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RIDE THE WAVES Turning towards your emotions Story by NICOLE SCHIENER


familiar scene has played out countless times throughout my life: shaking, a pen gripped between my fingers as tears dripped down my hot cheeks. The pain of the world along with that of my own failings and fears often felt too much to bear. But there was a sense of solace that came from turning towards the pain. For the past 40 years, I’ve been riding the waves of my emotions. Sometimes they felt so intense that I feared being pulled into the undertow and drowning in my sorrow — sobbing and gasping for breath. But somehow, every time I re-emerged back on the surface a little lighter with more clarity or at least a sense of relief. I believe my tears and my journals insulated me from addictions or selfharming behaviour, especially during my teen years. After miscarrying my first baby, not knowing if we would be able to become parents, I cried in my husband’s arms at least once a week for months. Even though the life I had carried was so new, I felt like I was weeping for the thousands of dreams we had for him. This soothing ritual of allowing our mourning brought us closer together as a couple and cleared the way for two healthy pregnancies. Sadly, so many people try to avoid their feelings, and depression and anxiety are rising steadily. Are we really helping our children when we try to shield them from their pain or sadness? No, it’s only when we are fully in touch with our emotions that we can live a life of integrity and authenticity. Why? Because our feelings are there to give us vital information about what we desire in our life or what we can no longer tolerate.



Fall 2017

take away ...

Sometimes it takes a compassionate witness to help you feel safe with your feelings. You deserve to be nurtured.

As parents striving to be more conscious, the intense feelings triggered by our children are not something to be ashamed of but are actually lighting the way for deeper healing. Our children are inviting us to turn towards the needs or pain of the child within that has been ignored or forgotten. The more mindful we become on this journey, the more opportunities we can seize to grow up again. This isn’t always easy but as we learn to welcome and tolerate our emotions, the more we can empower our children to harness this incredible gift. Sometimes it takes a compassionate witness to help you feel safe with your feelings. You deserve to be nurtured. Despite all the benefits I know of feeling our way through life, I can fall prey at times to distractions as a way of numbing or stuffing feelings. What about you? Are you having that extra glass of wine to push down anxiety or dissatisfaction at work or in your relationship? Are you hiding from loneliness or fear of not being good enough through social media or video games? Do you try to cover up insecurities with compulsive shopping for self-improvement products or programs? Are you using food to stuff down what you truly crave — perhaps creative expression, a job change, going back to school or getting involved in an important cause? What if you could let the tears flow and get curious about your fears or insecurities? Glennon Doyle reminds us that we are “fireproof.” Our courage is greater than our pain or struggles. Instead of running away from your feelings, sit with them. As she’s discovered, “your purpose and your tribe is found in what breaks your heart.” Let’s help our children see that riding the waves of our emotions helps us find our bravery, purpose and a sense of belonging. NICOLE SCHIENER is a registered psychotherapist, soulful

writer and public speaker. She is the proud mama of two passionate little people, 7 and 10 years old. Find her poetry and inspiration on Facebook at Peace and Possibility. Follow along on her conscious parenting journey on Instagram @mindfulmama_nsm.

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FACING THE RAIN Building umbrella skills to weather life’s challenges take away



he conversations we have with our kids inform them about the world, give situations meaning and are powerful tools in shaping their perspective on the world. As parents, our words have the power to build skills that will help our children weather the challenges.


Our lives are filled with little obstacles and challenges and sometimes we get so caught up in trying to make them go away or in the drama of the small things that we forget these hurdles have value. Much like small doses of illness help to stimulate our immune system, small doses of stress for our children can aid them in building the skills needed to deal with the bigger stresses. When your child experiences these stresses, try not to get upset or wish it was different for them. These are normal and essential parts of growing up. Here are some common parenting pitfalls which can inadvertently disempower our kids: 1) Solving the problem for them. This can give kids the message that we don’t think they have the skills to solve the problem on their own. It feels good to solve problems and protect our kids, but are they missing out as a result? Model good problem-solving in your life and let them practice on their kid-sized problems. Step in only when the problem is clearly beyond their coping skills. 2) Over-reacting to the situation. Getting really upset when your child encounters a mean friend or bad grade in class can put your child in the victim’s seat, making them feel an injustice has been done to them. This



Fall 2017


The more storms we successfully weather, the more we trust ourselves to deal with challenges and the more resilient we become.

ignores the value in recognizing rainy days as a normal part of life and the need to learn to deal with constructively. Instead, empathize with their feelings and help them work through solutions that will teach them the skills they will need the next time a similar storm roles through. The more storms we successfully weather, the more we trust ourselves to deal with challenges and the more resilient we become. STAY HONEST WITH YOUR CHILDREN

It can be hard for our children to come in second place, lose a big game or fail to meet their own expectations on a test, but protecting your child from disappointments by being dishonest, while making them feel better in the short term, doesn’t help them learn how to be honest with themselves. In fact, falsely pumping up their ego just raises the pedestal for the next fall, a sure way to make kids afraid to try. Tell your child the truth gently. Give them honest, constructive feedback and avoid sugar-coating. Help them think about what tools will help them succeed where they are struggling. Keep these principles in mind when talking to your child about challenges: • Be empathetic. Failure is difficult and kid’s coping skills are just developing. • Don’t externalize the loss. This disempowers your child to do something different next time. • Don’t overfocus on ability — hard work is needed for mastery! • Help them recognize what they can and cannot control; i.e. their attitude vs. the referee’s decision. We often waste most of our energy on the things we cannot control. • Give true, specific, process-oriented praise. Notice the skills that they have worked on that are improving. The outcome is not what they should be basing their self-worth on. For more about having powerful conversations with your kids, visit, where each month focuses on practical parenting strategies to build your children’s coping skills. DR. JEN FORRISTAL is a naturopathic doctor specializing in family medicine and pediatrics. She practices at True Wellness Integrative Health Centre by Fiddleheads in Waterloo.

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THE GIFT OF REBIRTH A life-changing year Story by DR. SHANNON VIANA


his Thanksgiving I sat cozy in wool socks catching up on Outlander and counting myself more thankful than ever. The past year has sent me on an epic journey filled with betrayal and loss, failure and finding. For me, it will be remembered as the year which single-handedly changed the trajectory of my life forever. Even though I wouldn’t wish such a year on anyone, I wouldn’t change it either, and I certainly wouldn’t go back to the way I lived before. I was busy, I was successful, I’d built a life on accountability and responsibility, and I’d have been the first to admit how great I was at taking care of everyone and everything. Until I wasn’t. I sat at the bottom, but I didn’t sit on the bottom alone. Because beside me sat great women, with great experience, patience and kindness. They sat with me, and they offered hands when I needed them and wise words when they needed to be heard. Somewhere I knew deep down that to find a new way I had to give up on everything that was part of the old way. I had to give up on friendships and relationships that were toxic, and I had to cling to people who would mould the life I knew that my family and I needed me to live. I had to accept that capable, responsible me couldn’t pull this off on my own. I had to accept help from friends, from strangers, amazing counsellors and from other doctors. I had to say “no” a lot, and I had to walk away instead of trying to fix



take away ...

I realize now that in the process of chasing dreams I forgot to live. If I would have listened back then, I would tell myself not to take life so seriously.

everything for everyone. I had to find my I-don’t-give-a-damn. I reflect on what I would tell myself a decade ago, even two decades ago. I picture myself, pouring over textbooks, insistent that I be the best that I could be at the expense of sleep and fun and friendships. I realize now that in the process of chasing dreams, I forgot to live. If I would have listened back then, I would tell myself not to take life so seriously. I would allow myself the freedom to quit things I hate, to walk away from friendships that took and never gave, to remind myself that it isn’t my job to fix everything for everyone. I would memorize the words “good enough,” and I would give myself permission to not excel at everything. I would never apologize for being ambitious, kind and helpful. These are not faults but gifts that should be given freely — but to the right people. I would remind myself each and every day that right now is all I have and if I knew that this was my last day, my last hour, would that person, that job, that responsibility get another second of my time? I would ditch anything and anyone that didn’t pass that test. The reality is I would never have gotten here without going through what I did — knowing now what I didn’t know then — I’d go through it all over again for just another second of living free. DR. SHANNON VIANA is a chiropractor and treehugging momma. She is also the owner of Inspire Health and Wellness in Kitchener where her practice focuses on children and families.

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Still shrouded in silence and shame, it’s time to remove the ‘scarlet letter’ of miscarriage and infant loss Story by APRIL SCOTT-CLARKE and ELAINE KAPOGINES



hemical pregnancy. Etopic pregnancy. Early-term miscarriage. Blighted ovum. Molar pregnancy. Preterm delivery. Stillbirth. Placental abruption. Cord accident. Incompetent cervix. Chromosomal abnormality. No matter the term used or the reason given — a loss is not just the loss of a baby, it’s the loss of hope, potential and a future. As anyone who’s peed on a stick knows, the instant that second line appears, there is a primal shift in your core being — it’s that moment that you have been transformed from a “me” to a “we.” And whether a loss happens within days of the little pink line, or 9 months later, the foundation of who you are as a woman and mother is forever changed. “In our society, pregnancy and infant loss is shrouded in silence. When you don’t hear about it or have it reflected back to you, it’s not something that’s okay to talk about — so you just don’t,” says Michelle La Fontaine, program manager with the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network (PAIL), a division of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Women and Babies Program. We all know the stat: 1 in 4. It’s estimated that 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage before 20 weeks, and according to Statistics Canada, perinatal mortality (loss after 28 weeks of pregnancy or during the first week postbirth) occurs at a rate of 0.6 percent, equating to 2,259 babies that died either just prior to or within days of being born in 2011. Shelby Foster is one of the “1.” She’s not a statistic, but a person — a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a woman. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and two girls, Tessa, 5, and Molly, 7-months. She could be your colleague, your neighbour or that bubbly mom running after her oldest as she learns to ride her twowheeler. There’s nothing fundamentally remarkable about her. There’s no visible sign of the “L” she wears on her heart. She will forever carry her loss with her — but won’t be hiding in the shadows of shame and silence where many women involuntary find themselves.



Two days after our 12 week ultrasound we were called in to discuss the results. Our identical twins weren’t developing properly. Nine agonizing days later, we were given the diagnosis of Trisomy 18, a fatal chromosomal abnormality. We also found out that their hearts had stopped beating — perhaps the best news we could hear because it meant we wouldn’t be faced with making an impossibly difficult decision about terminating a pregnancy that would never result in healthy babies. - Kendra

We could hardly wait until after the “12 week” mark to announce to world we were expecting baby #2! We naively thought after 12 weeks everything was safe, but unfortunately at a regular midwife appointment around 15 weeks she couldn’t find a heartbeat. I was sent for an ultrasound to confirm if there was still a heartbeat. There wasn’t. It felt as though the world stopped, but there was still more to come. The induction was long and painful, but I was able to see and hold my sleeping angel before I had to say good-bye. Life continued on as I somehow found the path to move along with it. We are still waiting for our rainbow baby and everyday my heart aches for what was lost when I see baby or a swollen pregnant belly. But we are still hopefully for our wish to come true. - Lindsay


In March 2016, we lost our first baby when I was 12 weeks and 3 days. It was a traumatic experience for both of us. The pain after was the most excruciating experience I have ever had. We did some tests which determined that I lost that baby due to a virus (I had a really bad cold, strep throat and a double ear infection at the time). We were then given the all clear to try again, and I got pregnant right away. I was so happy that I pushed aside my sadness from the loss to focus on the new life growing inside me. Then at 8 weeks we lost that baby too — that was two losses in four months. - Stephanie

Hope After Loss Story By KATIE KAVHO

As a registered holistic nutritionist, I often discuss the importance of optimal health when embarking on the fertility journey. When it comes to miscarriages and pregnancy loss, here are some areas in which to explore.

Thyroid Testing

Many doctors run the standard TSH test, but when we have more questions than answers it’s time to take it a step further with a full thyroid panel. According to research published by the British Medical Journal in 2011, the presence of thyroid antibodies increased the risk of miscarriage by 290 percent.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Study after study shows the importance of proper nutrient levels for optimal fertility and health. A study published in August in the New England Journal of Medicine found a significant link between miscarriage and a lack of B3, a vitamin found in green vegetables and meat. Start a good quality prenatal vitamin, and request your doctor run nutrient testing.

Sperm and Eggs

Ensure you are both eating a healthy diet rich in good fats, protein and vegetables. Encourage your husband to get his sperm checked (test covered by OHIP). Chromosomal abnormalities are estimated to be responsible for 40 to 75 percent of all miscarriage.


The MTHFR (methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase) mutation is becoming much more talked about and there have been studies showing a link to the increased the risk of miscarriage. Taking methyl-folate in lieu of folic acid has been shown to help decrease this risk. Start with the basics and nourish your body. Take time for you and don’t disregard the huge importance of self care — your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health when it comes to fertility. The more information you have the easier it is to move forward supporting our bodies and minds through this rollercoaster fertility journey.

Shelby admits to being an open book, and made the decision after losing her son Calvin at 28 weeks to a placental abruption that she wasn’t going to sweep the death of her son under the rug and mourn silently. “I decided I would talk about because I needed to,” she says. And when she started opening up about her experience, she says she was surprised by the number of people who knew what she was going through firsthand. “I had never heard these stories before. Women who are still suffering 25 and 30 years later because they haven’t had an opportunity to talk about it,” she remembers. “People are carrying around a lot of stuff. One day you’re pregnant and the next day you aren’t, and people don’t even say anything to you? That’s pretty crazy.” And by speaking about her experience, she’s hoping to be part of the catalyst for more open discussion about the subject. A discussion that registered psychotherapist Nicole Schiener believes needs to happen to help in the healing process. “The therapist I was seeing prior to my own early-term miscarriage discouraged me from telling others to prevent further upset,” explains Schiener, clinical supervisor at the Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge and North Dumfries. “This is not something I would ever tell a woman as it left me feeling alone and invalidated. Trying to pretend everything is fine when it isn’t is exhausting and can ultimately prolong the grieving process.” We know that the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy is when expectant mothers are at the highest risk of pregnancy loss. The first trimester is when about 80 percent of miscarriages (medically termed spontaneous abortion) happen. Once women move into the second trimester, the chance of losing the pregnancy significantly drops to between one and five percent, according to research from The March of Dimes. During those early days many women keep their special news to themselves, their partners and maybe a select few close friends. Doctors and midwives don’t tell them to keep it hushhush, but it’s the societal norm. Potentially rooted as well-meaning advice, an unintended consequence of the “12 week rule” is that an early-term loss can feel like something to be kept quiet. “I’m a bereaved mother myself,” says PAIL’s La Fontaine. “I had an early-term




miscarriage at eight weeks. I told my best friends, my mom and sister. It really didn’t feel like I could grieve. That was about 13 years ago. And I don’t think much has changed. But a loss is a loss. No matter the stage,” she continues, explaining that even when you lose a pregnancy in the first trimester, especially first-time moms, it can be traumatizing and it’s important that both parents are able to grieve — and should feel justified in doing so. “You’ve already started to imagine what life will be like. That’s what people grieve. It’s not necessarily grieving the loss of the baby, but the loss of what you thought your family would look like.” Maggie Hilton, registered labour and delivery nurse, childbirth educator and owner of Balancing from Birth to Baby, says that the veil of silence goes both ways. “Sometimes we are so scared to say the wrong thing that we say nothing at all. I think medical professionals, as well as friend and family, could do a much better job of offering support through a loss. People just want to have their feelings validated, not to be shut out by their care providers or loved ones.” Hilton has experience loss in a way most of us can’t imagine. “I’ve worked with women in a wide range of awful scenarios. I’ve helped women who have come to the emergency department experiencing very early losses, and also bathed and handed couples their over 40-week stillborn wrapped in a warm blanket. People think working as a nurse in labour and delivery is all happy sunshine and baby holding. It’s really not. It can be sad and dark. “The parents and babies faces appear in your dreams and play in your mind. I’ve often found myself in tears driving home or lying in bed unable to sleep because I’m thinking of how sad I am for the families I’ve cared for. How I wish I could have said more to comfort them or done more for them. As someone who aims as a nurse to be a healer, it’s awful to know that no matter what you say or do, you can’t bring that baby back for them. I can’t fix it, I can only hold and comfort them, and help them begin to grieve.” For Foster, and for many others, it’s those moments immediately after a traumatic incident that can help or hinder moving forward. Two days after Calvin’s passing, Foster’s family had a small and very private ceremony. Foster said this



“It’s not necessarily grieving the loss of the baby, but the loss of what you thought your family would look like.” Shelby’s Story Story by APRIL SCOTT-CLARKE

Shelby Foster is the mother of fiveyear-old Tessa and seven-month-old Molly. There’s about four years between the two girls, not an uncommon gap but a noticeable one for Foster. Her son Calvin came in between the girls, but she lost him at 28 weeks. Foster said from the get-go this was a harder pregnancy than her first. She had had some bleeding at 10 weeks but nothing that she or her midwives were concerned about. Then at 21 weeks she had more bleeding and was sent for an ultrasound. Again, she was told not to worry. At 25 weeks, she started to have some mild cramps. Then, one evening as her and her husband were about to go out, she felt a gush of fluid. She was bleeding heavily, so they called the midwives and met them at the hospital. Foster was in labour. “They were monitoring me and I still didn’t realize what was going on,” she says. Because she was so pre-term, Foster had to be transported from Cambridge Memorial Hospital to McMaster Children’s Hospital. Cambridge is not equipped to help babies that are born that early. Once at McMaster, Foster was in the labour and delivery ward for two and half days. Things stabilized for her and she was moved to a ward with other women who were at high risk. “I was told that if I could just get to 28 weeks than the baby had a good chance at survival,” she recalls. But on February 15, 2015, things changed. Her husband and other family members were at her grandfather’s funeral. They’d decided that Foster would stay at the hospital because the car ride might cause more issues. Foster recalls sitting with a friend and chatting when the intensity of her cramping went from

uncomfortable to unbearable. “He was breech so I thought he was just moving his body around,” she says. “I could talk through contractions and then something changed. I was on my hands and knees and I was shaking so I called my nurse...I knew something was off but I didn’t know I was having my baby.” But Foster was in active labour. They wheeled her back into labour and delivery, and that’s when they couldn’t find his heartbeat, she recalls. Calvin had descended too far for Foster to have a C-section, so she had to do a vaginal delivery. Because of her grandfather’s funeral, Foster’s family was unreachable for the delivery, but shortly afterwards they were able to make it to the hospital and be together. “We all took turns holding him. The nurses took a bunch of pictures of him and gave him a bath. McMaster was very helpful in supporting me in the death of my son.” Foster was diagnosed with a placental abruption, where the placenta partially or completely separates from the uterus. This affects about about one per cent of pregnant woman and can occur at any time after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It’s most common in the third trimester. But, what causes it in healthy women with healthy lifestyles is mainly unknown.


Prior to my son’s birth, I’d suffered a miscarriage, and since his birth I’ve suffered two more. The most recent, at Mother’s Day, was a ruptured ectopic pregnancy which nearly resulted in the loss of my own life as well as my complete removal of my right fallopian tube. I’m still recovering both physically and emotionally. - Shawna

After suffering hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) in my first pregnancy, my husband and I were both traumatized by pregnancy and very afraid to try again. When our daughter was 5, after counselling and support around HG and with a great supportive medical team behind us, we decided to try again. We very quickly got pregnant (naturally) with identical twins. I was suffering HG again, very ill and learning that things were going “wrong” with the pregnancy at around six weeks. Four weeks later, after questioning the loss of one or both babies, we learned they have both passed away. Suffering with HG, IV hydration and extensive medications, then going through the loss of our twins was the most difficult and emotional thing we have ever experienced as a family. - Christine

“families need more resources available and timelier access to them.”

was very helpful for her and her family to find closure. While both Hilton and Schiener agree that community support is available, we still have a long way to go to crush the stigma of loss and offer true support to beavered families. “There is support offered through the hospitals in the form of counselling, which I would recommend to anyone seeking support,” says Hilton. “Our social workers are experienced in counselling specifically when I comes to a miscarriage of stillbirth. There are also spiritual services available if needed, and our hospital holds a candle lit ceremony once a year to remember the babies we have lost. Parents are invited to attend — some come, some don’t.” Hilton adds that while she’s “glad that the issue of pregnancy loss is becoming more forefront in conversation, I do strongly believe that families need more resources available and timelier access to them.” La Fontaine says that because of this cloak of silence about pregnancy and infant loss, most women are not prepared for a loss after the get through the first trimester. She doesn’t suggest that the medical community put fear in the minds of pregnant women but more education about what could happen needs to happen — more education and support for when it does. But true support goes beyond just the availability of resources or the acknowledgement that something needs to change. There are practical steps our society could be taking. “Grief impacts our ability to focus, concentrate and remember details, which could impede work,” explains Schiener. “Often in the early days and weeks, people are in survival mode, feeling lost, distracted, having low energy and easily triggered. Depending on the circumstance, women may also need to heal physically.” Healthcare providers should be encouraging women to take a short-term leave from work if that what they need, and women should be feel supported at all levels if that’s the path she wishes to take. Schiener adds, “Friends, families, employers and coworkers need to be flexible and sensitive to the needs and feelings of the couple during and after their experience.” This is where organizations like PAIL come into the equation. Advocacy and getting these issues into the public mind will help break down barriers. Healthcare providers needs to be encouraged




to education themselves on proper support. Community outreach needs to be accessible. Attitudes need to be shifted. Private counsellors and bereavement doulas needs to be more readily available, and the public needs to understand what resources are available before, during and after a loss. Nothing is going to change overnight, but for every woman who feels validated, supported, loved and heard is one less woman residing in the shadows. Especially in Canada, statistics around pregnancy and infant loss are scares, outof-date or non-existent. One of the biggest issues surrounding miscarriage is that there are no cut-and-dried answers as to why. A woman’s age, prepregnancy health and lifestyle play factors, but so do generics, uncontrollable fetal development issues and plain ol’ luck (for lack of a better term). There’s also still this prevailing attitude of “it just happens,” almost like because it’s common we should just brush it off as normal and move on. Almost two years later, Foster says that she’s come to terms with the loss of Calvin, but accepted and forgotten are far from the same thing. “I’ve accepted it and I’m okay that it’s happened, but I’ve had to re-arrange in my brain to what my life looks like now,” she says. Talking about losing Calvin is what helped her through the experience and strongly encourages other women who experience losses to consider opening up. “We need to be more open about [pregnancy and infant loss]. It shouldn’t be the elephant in the room. It doesn’t matter when you lose the baby. Even if it’s a pregnancy at five weeks, you still had hopes and dreams. It’s not easy to go through that by yourself.”



What is an Infant and Pregnancy Loss Doula? Story By LEE-ANN MOSSELMAN-CLARKE

When I walked into the training program in June 2017, I didn’t really know what was going to come of it. What would I define as being an infant and pregnancy loss doula (IPLD)? Would my community be receptive to someone entering such a personal space in their lives? All I knew was that I wanted to help. I wanted to make sure that any family that wished to honour their baby could do so, at least for the families that I was going to be trusted to help. In becoming this type of doula, I have learned that someone who needs you really needs you. Either because their hospital experience didn’t give them the answers to their questions, they weren’t properly informed, they didn’t get closure for their grief, or anything in between.

AN IPLD WILL: • fight for you and with you; • help you put together the overwhelming

pieces during a time of grief and sorrow;

• ask questions for you; • advocate for you and your baby; • be present for your birth and support you and your family; and

• suggest ways to bond with and create

memories with your baby. As an IPLDs, I am here for the practical — and what might seem like the impractical — requests to loss families. We can help facilitate closure to families who have experienced infant and pregnancy loss. We will help navigate memorials/funerals/ cremations. We will educate the community, midwives, hospitals, clinics, doctors, pas-

CONTEST! Home Hospice Association and The Holistic Parent present a scholarship opportunity for a birthing professional from the Waterloo Region! Be the first in the region to be trained by HHA. Through the generous sponsorship of The Holistic Parent, Home Hospice Association invites birthing professionals from Waterloo Region to submit a letter of interest for the receipt of a $500 scholarship to attend the training weekend in February 2018.

tors, birth doulas, nurses, funeral directors, etc. We will teach them that some families would find meaning and perhaps healing in a funeral or memorial no matter the gestation of their baby or birth circumstance — or decide that they would like to seek closure and healing for themselves in other ways and need help to work through those steps. The common theme that I seem to hear when talking to people about what I do is, “Why does society seems to treat the terms ‘miscarriage,’ ‘stillbirth,’ infant loss,’ ‘pregnancy loss’ as such ‘dirty’ words?” Through hearing this repeatedly from parents, doctors, nurses, pastors, midwives and funeral directors, I’ve tried to show them that this is my passion as an IPLD. This needs to stop being such a taboo subject, because a loss is a loss. Your neighbour, sister, mother, friend or co-worker could have experienced a loss and you might not know that they have. So many struggle and sadly will continue to struggle with talking openly about something that society wants to try to sweep under the rug. Imagine if more people had the space or resources through an IPLD to talk openly about their loss or losses? Imagine the community that they could build, knowing that they never had to feel alone? My hope would be that they could find support as they continue to grieve the loss of “what could have been.” That on the days/ milestones that maybe only they remember, there’s an IPLD, or a group they could reach out to, without it seeming “taboo.”

Lee-Ann is an infant and pregnancy loss doula candidate through Home Hospice Association.

Those interested simply need to send an introduction to yourself, your practice and what being and infant and pregnancy loss doula in the Waterloo Region would mean to you. Your submission may be sent to Sue Balaz at susan@ with the subject line “The Holistic Parent Scholarship.” Entries are due no later than December 1, 2017. The winner will be contacted and will be made known to The Holistic Parent by December 31, 2017. An opportunity to write an article for an upcoming issue

of The Holistic Parent about your experience during the training will be available to the winner. If you would like to find out more about Home Hospice Association and the Infant and Pregnancy Loss Doula Program, information can be found at www.

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A crash course in essential oil safety, sustainability and usage


magine walking through a thicket of mint, you’d smell the aroma emanating from the mint. If you pick up a mint leaf and crunch it with your fingertips, you would notice some oil being released from the plant and a burst of aroma. Now, say you put the leaf under the lens of a strong microscope. You would notice fat globules interspersed throughout the matrix of the plant. That’s the essential oil. Quite simply, essential oils are the aromatic volatile components of aromatic plants. In nature, they serve as a defense against pests, a means for communication between plants and a tool to attract pollinators. For us, they’ve been used for thousands of years for fragrancing, medicinal benefits, food flavouring and more. Today, aside from being a hot topic in scientific research, essential oils have become incredibly popular for skincare and aromatherapy. Unfortunately, topics like safety and efficacy seem to have fallen by the wayside in favour of public fervour. The process of making essential oils tells a lot about their characteristics. It takes anywhere from hundreds to thousands of pounds of a given plant material to extract a single pound of its essential oil. For example, it can take around 50 to 60


“IT TAKES HUNDREDS TO THOUSANDS OF POUNDS OF A GIVEN PLANT MATERIAL TO EXTRACT A SINGLE POUND OF ITS ESSENTIAL OIL.” pounds of eucalyptus, 200 to 250 pounds of lavender and 10,000 pounds of rose blossoms to make a single pound of their essential oils. This plant material is most often steam-distilled or cold-pressed (in citrus fruit). During steam distillation, steam is used to break apart the plant matrix to release the essential oils, which rise up through connecting pipes before it’s forced into a condenser where the vapour is cooled back into a liquid. At the end of this process, you end up with a vat of liquid, with the essential oil sitting on top of the floral waters, where it can be siphoned off. It’s a common misnomer to equate natural as safe at whatever dosage and even to equate essential oils as natural. They may be naturally derived, but we certainly don’t have them in such potent concentrations in nature. As a result, improper use can result in burns,

blisters, sensitization and even toxicity. Taking a look at the end product of steam distillation, clearly essential oils don’t mix with water or water soluble ingredients. Remember the whole “like dissolves like” idea from science class? Well, this applies to essential oils. If you want to dilute them, which you should any time you’re applying them to the skin, dilute them in an oil. The usual rule of thumb for diluting essential oils is to dilute in a carrier oil (such as avocado oil) at 0.25 to 0.5 percent for children, 1 percent for older children and sensitive adults or day-to-day use, and 2 to 3 percent for more acute conditions like acne spot treatment or wounds. What does that look like? For approximately 2 tablespoons of oil, 0.5 percent would be about 2 to 3 drops of essential oil (total); 1 percent would be about 5 drops; 2 percent would be about 10 drops; and 3 percent about 15 drops. Moreover, properly diluting essential oils will save you money, give you better results and seriously reduce your likelihood of having a bad reaction to them. While this is an oversimplification of dilution, it’s a good start. With that said, the chemical composition of essential oils dictates their effects, including their harshness or potency. For example, essential oils rich in phenol




groups (for example, thyme, clove bud and oregano) or certain aldehyde groups (for example, lemongrass and citronella), while often quite therapeutic, are more likely to cause a skin reaction if used past a 1 percent dilution. Other essential oils contain furocoumarins that can lead to photosensitivity (for example, most citrus essential oils, especially bergamot). These essential oils shouldn’t be used before going out into the sun. Finally, some essential oils may be dangerous during pregnancy, breastfeeding or for children (for example, clove, rosemary and clary sage). If you’re planning on using essential oils for your kids or yourself as a new mom and are unsure, it may be a good idea to just hold off or to seek the advice of someone like a certified aromatherapist. There are a few important take-aways here. First, essential oils are extremely concentrated stuff and should be used with respect. Second, if you want to use essential oils on your skin, it’s necessary to dilute them in a carrier oil. And lastly, essential oils aren’t always the eco-friendly pick, depending on the crop used. For more information on the sustainability of essential oils, visit, an organization that monitors crops around the world, including crops meant for essential oil production. This all being said, there are many benefits to using essential oils in our dayto-day life. Lavender can be calming and soothing, perfect for night time baths, skin irritations and cuts. Sweet orange is not only incredibly sustainable, it’s also one of the few citrus essential oils you can safely use before going out into the sun. It’s cheerful and antiseptic, a favorite in baths with kids, and for cleaning products. Tea tree is healing and antiseptic, great for blemishes and cuts.

TOP4 TIPS FOR SAFELY USING ESSENTIAL OILS 1. Always dilute your essential oils in carrier oil when applying them to your skin. If you choose to use essential oils on your kids, start with a dilution of 0.25 percent.

2. Keep oils away from your eyes and ears; contact here will really hurt. If you

happen to get essential oil in either, dip a cotton swab into a carrier oil (e.g. olive oil) and swipe across your eye or dab in your ear to quickly remove it.

3. Do not use essential oils in teething recipes; this is not safe. 4. Do not give children essential oils internally or take them when breastfeeding or

pregnant. I would also recommend not taking them internally yourself either due to the chance of toxicity, gut flora alteration, esophageal burn, etc.

SALVE Salves are great ways to ease skin irritations and dry skin depending on the ingredients you chose to incorporate. For a more healing salve, we opted to add lavender and tea tree essential oils at a 2 percent dilution, as well as raw shea butter, which is nourishing and soothing. If you’re planning on using this product on kids, I recommend dropping the essential oil dilution to about 1 percent (10 drops total). INGREDIENTS: 20ml raw shea butter 20ml olive oil 1tbsp wax of choice (for example, candelilla or beeswax) 13 drops lavender essential oil 7 drops tea tree essential oil DIRECTIONS:

1. In a double boiler, melt your wax and shea butter on low heat.

2. Once melted, remove your mixture from the heat.

3. Add your olive oil and essential oils and mix

INGREDIENTS: 30ml carrier oil of choice (like avocado oil) 3 drops lavender essential oil 3 drops geranium essential oil DIRECTIONS:

1. Using a small funnel, pour your carrier oil into your packaging of choice. Opting for amber packaging that has a little dropper is my recommendation.

2. Add your essential oils, close the package and shake to mix.

4. Pour your mixture into a package of choice. I recommend tins or amber glass.

5. Wait about 5-10 minutes for your mixture to solidify.

3. Enjoy!

6. Enjoy!

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BREATH, MOVEMENT & MOOD Simple yoga for regulating emotions Story by TINA LACKNER

Sometimes when people hear “yoga” they automatically think of individuals twisting themselves into pretzel-type poses with great ease, flexibility and strength. The reality is that yoga is a way of being and living. It’s being aware of your breath, your posture, your thoughts, your movements and your intentions. There is a variety of different types and forms of yoga, all which need to be practiced cautiously and by listening to your own body. To gently step into the world of yoga for regulating emotions, there are some simple, yet effective, exercises anyone can engage in.

PRANAYAMA (BREATH) Life in general can bring moments where the breath is held, shortened, tightened, and for some it may feel like vice grips around the lungs and chest. When the breath is shortened it sends a signal to the brain to panic or become stressed or fearful. In yoga the breath (pranayama) is one of the fundamental components of the practice. There are a variety of breathing exercises one can do to elongate the breath, allowing the oxygen flow to circulate throughout the body and engage the part of our brain that supports emotional regulation, focus, clarity and decision making. Diaphragm breathing (abdominal breathing) is a simple, yet effective, strategy to immediately support a calming of the senses and refocusing of the breath and attention. The breath flows to where there is pressure, so at times when there is a feeling of panic and stress, the pressure may drift to our chest. In order to lengthen the breath and have it stream to the diaphragm, either lying down or sitting in an upright position, place a hand or an object on the stomach. Gently rest the eyes, and inhale through the nose. Focus on moving the oxygen from the upper lungs to the lower diaphragm. During the inhale as the oxygen flows downward it will extend the tummy out, expanding it like a balloon and upon the release the air should slowly flow and expel through the nose. The mind may wander and distractions may come into our practice and that is okay. Allow the mind to have its moment and then redirect the attention to the coolness of the inhale and the warmth of the exhale. Kumbhaka breathing is where the breath is contained for a brief period of time. Slowly, methodically, inhale for four counts, hold for fount counts and exhale for six counts. Short breath retention is reported to energize the body while longer holding of the breath may calm the body. Kumbhaka breathing is a simple exercise that can be done when there is a feeling of lethargia, inability to focus or fatigue. If you are feeling anxious, overstimulated or overwhelmed, you may increase the breath retention to engage in a more calming or soothing effect (for example, inhale four counts, hold for six counts, exhale for six counts).

stimulates the sympathetic nervous system while increasing oxygen levels within the bloodstream. Completing up to 10 rounds of the Breath of Joy can release tension, calm and focus the mind and support a more balanced and peaceful feeling. Standing with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, inhale a third of the breath while swinging the arms up to shoulder height straight out in front. Pull them down and inhale the next third of the breath and swing the arms out to the side shoulder height. Pull them down and finally inhale the final third of the breath swinging the arms straight up above the head. Then release the arms while folding the upper body forward and exhaling everything out. Stand upright and repeat this process. The movements and breaths are quick and short, releasing tension and stress build up.

PRANAYAMA WITH MANTRAS (BREATH WITH SOUNDS VIBRATIONS) According to Weintraub, the breath in conjunction with sound (or mantras) naturally stimulates the master glands of the brain, allowing for a reprieve from depressive-type symptoms. Using diaphragm breathing, inhale through the nose, upon the exhale slowing releasing the words “om” to feel calm or centred, or the word “lum” to feel grounded and steady. Exaggerate or extend the vocals for a longer sound vibration. There are no religious connections to these words; they are simply vowels and reverberations that can activate regions of the brain to enhance calmness and focus. A simple version that can be used to help children ground and focus are exhaling while slowly saying the vowels. Inhale through the nose and slowly chant the vowel, “A-E-I-O-U.” Repeat for a minimum of three times. Incorporating strategies like these on a regular basis will have a greater impact on the body, mind and thought process. Continual practice enables one to pull on the techniques when stressed, anxious, worried or feeling a sense of sadness. These techniques can be easily drawn on as life strategies as opposed to a “practice” that has to be done. Embrace them and they will embrace you. Namaste. For more strategies, techniques and practices please follow Tina Lackner on Instragram @tina_lackner or Facebook at PsychotherapyMindfulnessAndYogaWithTinaLackner

PRANAYAMA FLOW (BREATH AND MOVEMENT) Our breath in conjunction with body movements can increase the effectiveness that flows throughout the body. The Breath of Joy, created by Amy Weintraub, author of Yoga for Depression,



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t had been about four years since I’d engaged in any real physical activity other than deadlifting a tantruming toddler or doing the 100-metre dash behind a preschooler and her two-wheeler — which has its merits but may not qualify as a good long-term exercise strategy. I wouldn’t say I was ever a real athlete, but I’ve been active my whole life. From the dance studio to the yoga mat, the softball diamond and rugby pitch in the summer to the ski hill and curling sheet in the winter — I’ve always been heavily involved in some activity or other. I wasn’t always (or, more accurately, ever) the best — or fastest or strongest or most fit — but no matter what I did, I could hold my own (mostly because I refuse to put effort into anything I’m not immediately good at…but that’s a different article). I desperately tried to stay fit during my first pregnancy, but being only six months out from a full ligament reconstruction on my knee, vicious nausea and barely functioning exhaustion, any hope of regaining even a shred of pre-surgery fitness was in vain. Fast-forward four years and two babies, fitness has been so far down on my priority list, I barely remember what’s it’s like to put on a pair of yoga pants for their intended purpose. I’m not going to launch into a full history of my “scale saga” other than to say there have been lots of ups and downs — which is so commonplace these days it’s become a cliché. Diet culture is so pervasive, most of us are completely unaware of how engrained it is. But as a mom of two perfect girls who are going to have to grow up with this barrage of negative body messaging, my momma-bear senses are becoming hyperaware. The blatant messaging is so over-the-top at this point that we’re almost desensitized to it. The photoshopped magazine covers, the painfully thin runway models, and the near constant images of sexualized women in almost every medium of advertising. I’m so tired of it that I generally can’t muster the energy for much more than an eye roll. That was until I crashed a screening of Embrace, a documentary film about female body image and the discourse surrounding the female body. All of a sudden, I’m starting to realize just how influential diet culture has become in our everyday interactions, and the language is so deeply engrained we don’t even realize it’s a part of our society’s discourse. A big one for me personally, since I work in the space of “health and wellness” as publisher of this magazine, is how that diet culture has almost subliminally taken over this very broad concept. Diet companies are appropriating terms like “wellness,” “fitness,” “health” and “lifestyle” to mask what they’re really selling: thinness. So much of the conversation around “getting healthy” is really about losing weight — as if weight loss is synonymous with being a healthy (or more damaging, if you’re not thin you can’t possibly be healthy). Now obviously I realize that weight and indicators of health are directly correlated, but what I’m saying is that it’s not the only correlation. I’m also not just thinking about this from a



medical standpoint, but from the standpoint of our society’s general perception of body composition. Fat = unhealthy. Thin = healthy. And the list of judgments based on that framework may actually go on forever. Another area of diet culture that has really struck a chord with me is the almost predatory way it’s gone after new moms. My skin crawls when I hear women talking about “getting back their prebaby body” or the status symbol that comes with how quickly you can lose the “baby weight.” It’s not like my “pre-baby body” was anything to rave about, but those days (and hips) are long gone — and I have no intention of ever looking behind me. I can’t. I, as a woman, have been fundamentally changed in every single aspect of my being since becoming a mom. Even if by some miracle I woke up tomorrow weighing what I did in high school, it won’t be the same body, nor should it. My stretch marked belly grew two (sizable) human beings. My saggy breasts endured something akin to torture to nourish them for nearly four years. And my big bum has sat for hours holding them while they slept in my arms. I don’t want my “pre-baby body” back — I like this one, even if it is “filled with jelly” as my oldest daughter says. What I struggle with is the line between acceptance and complacency — and I have to think that this is where a lot of women reside. I can with absolutely honesty say that I love my body. But I would still like to lose some weight. I feel “good enough” that I can accept my body, but, on the flip side, I do crave the excitement of seeing the numbers on the scale drop — it’s addictive. Am I falling victim to a culture that tells me I’m not “good enough” or “healthy enough” because I’m overweight? No. I’m not a victim, I’m a willing participant. I embrace my body, but I don’t want that acceptance to slip over the line to complacency where I dive head-first into a vat of pizza and jelly beans because I’ve “accepted” my fate as an overweight woman. I love feeling strong and healthy, and that feeling doesn’t come from a number on a scale. When I’m more active, I feel good — I feel accomplished and productive and energized. I feel like I’m a part of something outside of myself and my family, which is a welcome breathe of fresh air after five years of all-consuming motherhood. Being healthy for me will never include a crazy diet (I’ve got enough to worry about with food sensitivity issues in my household), and my girls will never hear me say the words “I’m on a diet” or “I’m trying to lose weight,” but rather I vow to focus my energy on modeling how to listen to my body as to what makes me feel good (eggs and yoga) and what makes me feel not-so-good (dairy and running). I know I won’t be able to insulate them from internal and external forces of negative body messaging, but I’m hoping to at least use my 30+ years of trial-and-error to model healthy habits for them as they navigate their own perfect imprefection. ELAINE KAPOGINES is a protein-loving, dairy-free momma who wishes she was a ballerina. Visit for additional content and digital copies of past issues.

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Profile for The Holistic Parent

The Holistic Parent - Fall 2017  

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

The Holistic Parent - Fall 2017  

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness


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