Feed Me

Eating in pregnancy has been a challenge at times. I am turned off by foods I used to love (sorry, Hummus). I plan a meal and sometimes have no desire for it by the time I am ready to make it. I also have to eat small meals, frequently. This was tough on my work schedule, but now that summer is here I’m finding it a pleasure to shop locally and get fresh items as they pop into my head. Here’s what’s on the pregnancy menu:

Clockwise from top left: Pumpkin and ricotta pasta with parmesan. Homemade gazpacho with avocado and tortilla chips on the side. Pork chop on the grill with roasted pears, apples, green beans and potatoes. Breakfast egg, asparagus and grapefruit.

I make batches of foods like frittata and gazpacho (I toss in whatever fresh ingredients I have and hide all the nutrients I can in the mix). I am loving the Oh, She Glows cookbook’s Gazpacho recipe and the local tomatoes and red peppers are making this a fave to drink straight from a mason jar.

Clockwise from top left: Baby arugula salad with goat cheese, toasted pecans and strawberry with apple cider vinegar dressing. Shaved carrot, tofu, asparagus, goat cheddar on crostini. Homemade rhubarb and custard pie (thanks, Aunt Jan!). Strawberry salad with mustard dressing and fresh cracked pepper. Steamed broccoli, grated carrot, sesame tofu and snap peas in a peanut sauce with basmati rice. Mouflata (baguette with goat cheese, garlic, olive tapenade, basil and roasted red peppers).
Clockwise from top left: Banana bundt cake with chocolate icing! Chocolate pudding with local strawberries. Pumpkin ravioli with sage and pine nuts, cranberries and spinach. Chicken spaghetti Alfredo. Fried chicken and waffles!

I am following an intuitive eating plan – I look up what I’m not allowed to eat, strike that from the record – and eat whatever my body is craving. Grapefruit. Steak. Broccoli. Asparagus. Cereal. Papaya. Peaches. Cashew butter on English muffins. Strawberries and cherries.

Baby is getting lots of good stuff. Plus I’ve found (thanks to my sister-in-law) a great sub for my daily icecream cravings: PC makes a fantastic Skyr frozen yogurt bar in three flavours (berry, mango and caramel) – they are high in protein and delicious. There are also great Motts fruit freezies in a variety of apple and berry blends.

I’m not saying no to foods. This has been a huge blessing. I am enjoying the full palate available and really giving myself permission to eat what I want, when I want it. What a nice, guiltless approach. Sometimes it’s not so healthy: “Babe, I need you to go get me Chinese food and a Dairy Queen Blizzard.” But more often, I’m eating fresh, whole foods and feeling pretty great.

Clockwise from top: Banana flax bread. Zucchini noodles with avocado, pine nuts, tofu, tomatoes, nuts and dressing. Mushroom pizza and steamed broccoli. Butternut squash soup with croutons and veggie burger with cheddar and bbq sauce. Fresh bowl… again.

What are your cravings? What are your thoughts on how to eat well for yourself and/or for baby?


Weight for it…

I hear that the ‘touching’ and ‘comments’ get worse as your belly gets bigger. So far I’ve heard nothing but excited comments that my bump is now ‘showing’. I was a body skimming, baggier clothes person previously, so I could hide the less round stage at the start, but now, it’s out in full force.

So, what do you do when people say things like:

Oh my God! You are SO big!

I noticed this on the baby blogs and there are many women who hear this from total strangers. I agree with other commenters; pregnant bodies are amazing. People need to learn some manners, or at least be prepared for a less than sweet response to this blunt ‘observation.’

You’re making a human life!

I haven’t had people tell me I look bigger or smaller than ‘they expect’ but really… none of these people are experts or doctors, so what do they even know? I hear that it gets worse as people start to offer you advice on how to parent, feed, nurse, etc.  Maybe they need a dose of their own medicine, like if these moms just zoom in on some aspect of the commenter’s appearance and wait for the ‘wow, you’re big’ comment, so they can offer them some offhand comment in exchange for their

“Wow, are you sure you’re not having twins!?” …

Some mildly passive-aggressive to downright aggressive options, to respond to these unwanted belly-commenters:

“Yes, I’m enormous. And so is your mouth…”

“Thanks…And I hate your t-shirt/shoes/haircut”

“Hmmmm. I was just about to tell you how tired and rundown you were looking, but I’m trying this thing where I don’t offer unsolicited comments on other people’s appearances”.

These are the things I’d say in my head, but if someone really makes a shitty comment I probably won’t hold back from saying,

“That’s an interesting observation; what kind of response do you expect from me when you comment on my size?”

“That’s actually kind of hurtful, given how sensitive pregnant women are about their changing bodies.”

“Are you a physician? Are you accepting new patients? I would love to come by your office for an official consultation!”


So, what does this new bod actually feel like and look like? A few updates:

9 Weeks: I am 5’10, 170 pre-pregnancy, and I’m getting a little tummy. I just wear floaty, loose tops and dresses that skim. Highlighting the parts that are still toned and distracting from the newly puffy areas seems to help. 🙂

I’m saying yes to everything I want. I just keep the portions small so I don’t feel queasy.

I’m always hungry but feel a bit nauseous. I eat often and avoid spice! Carbs and fresh fruit have been sitting well. Also boiled broccoli and green beans are things I’m craving.

20 Weeks:  I have gained 13 lb. But my boobs, which were small B cups are now a very plentiful C. Am I gaining it everywhere or just in certain areas? My belly is popping. I learned that you don’t just gain ‘weight’, in pregnancy there are many changes occuring; it’s increased blood volume, muscle around your uterus, water weight, and … boobs (in my case). Surprisingly, my skin has been the ‘good’ kind of pregnant. Mostly blemish free and even. I’m wearing SO much sunscreen. Moisturizing the belly and torso every night to minimize the stretch marks (if they come).

25 Weeks:  I have gained 17 lb. My lower back is starting to hurt. The belly isn’t low or high. In the middle and pretty round. My ribs feel like they have to start spreading and by the end of the day my lower abs are exhausted. It feels very tight. My hips are really sore (icepacks and heat packs) in the morning and end of day. Heartburn is CONSTANT. It’s better when I don’t drink water with my food, leaving about an hour before or after meals to drink liquids; otherwise I risk throwing up as the water sits on top of the food and my gag reflex is as much a pain as the acid reflux. Ranitadine tablets are helping, but I only take half of one at midday. Nothing pressing against my stomach, please. I am wearing things below or pulled up and over the bump. Very dry skin on my limbs (the babe is sucking all the nutrients and moisture out of me!).

I have my Gestational Diabetes test this coming week. How are your pregnancies and TTC been going?!

Don’t worry, Don’t panic

(Image from Greatest)
I feel panic often (usually not about the baby, but about other things… which I think are really about the baby if I’m being honest). It would be weird NOT to be apprehensive. It’s a major responsibility and huge life change.
I am excited, but also scared… because it’s really important that I do a good job with this – it’s a lot of pressure and I always try, in those moments, to remember why I wanted this in the first place and keep my mind on that.
All the hormones and unpredictability make this time exciting, but also scary. People who don’t normally have anxiety often develop it in pregnancy – so for those who have it already, it can feel constant… and overwhelming.
I have been trying a few things to keep it in check:
1) watching tv and movies that don’t ramp up those feelings (so, no more insidious, back-stabby dramas)
2) using meditation tracks nightly before bed and a sound machine to lull me to sleep
3) baths, not too hot
4) diffuser in the bedroom, with baby-safe scents
5) saying ‘hi’ to anxiety. Naming it and acknowledging it when it pops up. Talking to my wife about how I’m feeling and what I was thinking about at the time
6) yoga – not doing enough of that right now, but that will change (promise!) when school’s out
7) focus on positive things: I got an amazing email from a 15 year-old boy in my class (terribly typed and punctuated, but really sincere and sweet) talking about how I inspire him, how confident he felt in my class and how he respects that I teach about treating all people kindly and being into ‘equity’
8) spending time with people who make me happy and confident. At pride this weekend, I ran into a former coworker from my gay-bar-server days. She was so sweet and had the kindest things to say about our time working together. I need to remember that for every ex-I’d-rather-not-see there are so many people that put a huge smile on my face and vice versa.
9) recognize a spiral as it’s happening. When I start to perseverate and think of all the conversations I want to have, how I’d handle X if Y happens… thinking of the worst-case scenarios… I need to take a breath. Sometimes the spiral starts because something bad has actually happened. I have lots going on (we all do) that can make me feel like bad things are lurking… like the twerp student who outed me on social media and suggested that people ‘come for me’ if they aren’t happy about rainbow flags flying at our school (yes, this really happened, but it’s a long story). On one hand, this kid thinks I’m mighty powerful if, at 5 months pregnant, I shimmied up the flagpole to personally affix the rainbow banner. And somehow made it to all the schools in our board. This personal attack felt shitty. But… the outcome involves an upturn: my colleagues and my students were amazing. Outraged, they stood strong beside me. In the end, it reminded me we have work to do, but we also have an army of people who know right from wrong. Admittedly, I felt really down about this incident, but I did what I could, and tried to recognize what I couldn’t control: that crappy person may never change their mind, and letting myself be dragged down by that one aspect of the situation would put more emphasis on the crap and not enough on the wonderful reaction from my community. Change the thinking!
10) Invest in myself: from new maternity jeans, to ice cream when I want it, from cooking yummy meals to buying books about anxiety and mindfulness… I am feeling really positive about framing my actions and thoughts around happiness.
These things don’t always make it go away RIGHT AWAY… but it makes living in the present and celebrating all the good stuff MORE of the focus. There is so much to be grateful for, which  – when I consider where anxiety comes from – is exactly why anxiety is powerful. I love my life, family, job, … and the idea of that all falling apart is scary. It is a mirror to how much I value those things. But – I’m stealing joy from myself if I let the worry and negative thoughts impede the enjoyment of all the things I worry might be taken away. I’m alive. I’m employed. I’m loved. Baby is good. Could things go wrong? Yes. Can I handle it? Probably. Is it bad/unmanageable? Not yet. Not now. What’s the worst that could happen? I lose the job I love? Sure. But then… I’m still alive. If I’m alive, it’s not as bad as it could get. This is some pretty basic, facile logic, but it really does put it into perspective (once I’ve talked myself down).
So… mantra to myself:
I’m alive and that is the goal. I’m putting out good into the world and doing my best. There is no reason why your world, more than anyone else’s, will come crashing down. You are strong and resilient. And if you need help, you have people who will help pick you up and dust you off.
It’s okay to be happy.
What are your worries? How do you cope? Do you have a nice, one-line mantra?


Open Secret

I don’t know how I thought we would keep it a secret. Allia’s favourite line, when she has any surprise is: “Okay, so do you want me to just tell you?” 

I’m marginally better at keeping secrets (that are mine to tell) when I’m excited. But how did I think we’d keep our mouths shut about this? Why not tell people when we found out the baby’s sex?

Mostly, I think we wanted to consider the possibility of avoiding the heavy gendering that happens when people find out the sex of a future baby. Maybe it’s because we already have 18 Tupperware bins of girls clothes (from my SIL) with all the gorgeous duds from our nieces… so I know we have lots of cute pink things to pick and choose from. There is no risk that our little one won’t have something pink. And the nursery is blue. Because we liked the colour. I don’t know a single person who knows us who would think: let’s have a football themed shower because… that is the least ‘us’ thing ever.

I have had tears streaming down my face since we left the hospital. Happy tears. It is definitely real now. I waited until Allia was in the room for us to both find out. We are having a boy! 

I honestly would have been happy to hear anything, as long as part of it was: your child is healthy. I don’t know how either answer would have made a difference. I felt that it would be a boy, because I think we both somewhat hoped for a girl. I know that hope was based largely on the fact that we are so comfortable and confident in our own femininity. I had a hunch we’d get what the universe needed us to get.

I don’t know what kind of boy, or man, or gender-nonconforming little human this baby will become, but I think – if anyone can raise a thoughtful, socially conscious, feminist man – two lesbians are up to the task. What a gift and a privilege.

Highlights from today include: 

“Oh, baby likes to cuddle with you, right up against your bladder”

“what a nice spine!”

“Your baby is very photogenic”

“That, right there, is a nice big package”

“He likes to stand on his head” (we are definitely putting this little one in gymnastics)

“Everything looks great!”  That is what I was hoping to hear.

Sigh of relief. So much of the daily, pervasive visitor, anxiety, has been around this upcoming appointment. I have been waiting to exhale, just hoping that all would be well in this 20 week scan.

On a side note, today’s discovery makes our debate over the top two girl’s names null and void… at least for now 🙂

So what has pregnancy been like so far? 10 lb gained. No morning sickness. Bad gag reflex during tooth-brushing. Spontaneous vomiting if I drink water or lie down too soon after eating. Craving steak (all my best mostly-vegan intentions go out the window). Ice cream is a daily desire. I suddenly really like chips. My belly popped at 16 weeks. Acid reflux and heartburn pretty much all the time. Early bed times, but still loving dancing when I can stay up late enough. Pre-natal yoga – except when I cry spontaneously – is a really nice release. I felt the first in-belly movement at 16 weeks. Allia felt it for the first time at 20 weeks (June 4 aka last night) – two distinct pushes. And now all her discarded C cup bras fit me. I didn’t have to buy any! I feel pretty good considering everything. But thirsty.

Allia says, “yeah… the crying. You’re always sort of uncomfortable… you don’t sleep through the night.” And our bed has 5 pillows that are just for me.

Will she be ‘pretty’? And other ridiculous questions

More from the blogosphere: these thoughts were inspired by a post by a woman whose mother in law is constantly making comments about how she hopes her unborn-female-grandchild is as ‘beautiful and perfect’ as the one that is already born (and 3 years old). The commenter is feeling stressed that this constant, ‘will she be as pretty and perfect’ discussion is making her feel worried about her future baby, even though she realizes comparisons are impractical an futile.

First though: of course we hope our children are nice looking. Lookism is real.  It’s the same reason my mom, wonderful though her reaction was to my gayness, said “I just don’t want your life to be harder,’ when I came out at 16. No parent wants their child to have a difficult life, and in this culture, being attractive is a logical, undeniable advantage. So, superficial as it might be, I do want my child to veer more on the side of ‘cute little bundle of joy’ than Quazimodo. But I cannot imagine feeling that my child’s value was somehow connected to how ‘gorgeous’ they are. There is an inherent gamble in reproduction (as many of us know first–hand). I just want a healthy baby.


In direct response to this mom-to-be and her Toddler’s in Tiaras, Looks Obsessed Mother In Law, here are my thoughts – I’d love to hear yours!


“I’ll just be frank, your MIL sounds like a nitwit. What I have to say is, of course, just my opinion, but it sounds like you’re putting up with a lot of negative, stress-provoking comments.

MIL, from what you say, is so obsessed with the appearance of this unborn baby that it sounds like all she cares about is whether her next grand baby will be ‘attractive’. You, on the other hand, seem to have a great head on your shoulders and know that each little one is unique and that comparing two children is both pointless and unfair.

My impulse would be to subtly start dropping hints that you really prioritize your child being ‘healthy,’ and that all of your great nurture and parenting will be the real factor that results in your future baby being kind, thoughtful, generous, sweet and courageous (or whatever traits you hope to pass on to her). I’d also be annoyed that this woman seems to think the value a girl-child brings to the world is a pretty face. That’s a pretty low bar to set for women. Just be decorative? Is that the message grandma hopes that her little granddaughters learn? And … be ‘no trouble?’ It sounds super sexist to me and putting that pressure on you to not only be a new mom, but to have a ‘perfect’ baby is really unfair.

Have you tried telling her that these constant conversations make you anxious and put pressure on you? You have no control over what kind of child you get. But what will make a difference is the way you raise her and speak in front of your child. Hearing that being beautiful and perfect is what is expected is a dangerous message for little girls to hear, and it’s heard too often in the media. I’d put a gag order on my MIL if all she talks about in front of her current granddaughter is how pretty and perfect she is; that’s not flattery – it’s the makings of a narcissistic, fragile kid who thinks she is perfect, which can really make kids brittle in the face of challenges (and intolerant of others if they think that perfection is 1) possible and 2) something you’re ‘born with.’ ) Being a great human being takes work, it’s not about luck. Also, being an easy baby doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way.

Sorry for being so blunt, but I think you’re a saint for putting up with this woman’s skewed and constant badgering. You have enough to deal with and I’m sorry you have to go through this.”

At any rate, every parent thinks their own child is beautiful… no?

Please weigh in!

The Big Reveal

We knew that the way we shared our big news would have a touch of humour and reflect our shared love of film, queer culture and not taking ourselves too seriously.

“We finally felt ready to share the news publicly. Stay tuned for some ridiculous behind the scenes shots.

So excited for this film. Thanks @alliamcleod for making it with me and @almapuraxo for the photography! #baby #pregnant #genreunspecified #lesbianbaby #babyjourney #cleodcar #stylesavie

Thanks for all the well-wishes”

Funny that I have felt comfortable sharing here for months … thank you for that!

With gratitude,


Weight Gain and Stretch Marks In Pregnancy

Another post inspired by questions and discussion threads in mommy-blog land.

Tiger Stripes. Zebra Stripes.

What about those stretch marks? Can I prevent them? Are they horrible and inevitable? Do you have them?  It seems that many women who are expecting are concerned that their growing bump will leave a lasting impact on their skin.

My answer: 

I haven’t noticed any new ones, yet, but I have them from before pregnancy. I will probably get more. I’m moisturizing and trying to eat well, often and with lots of balance. I’m really just trying to prepare for all the realities.

Just to share a bit… I was a model as a teen and had some pretty rough body image issues.  Try being 16, happy with your body, and having some 45 year-old woman with frizzy orange hair tell you that if you want to seriously improve your chances of getting work, there are hip operations where they’ll shave down your actual bones to achieve a narrower physique…and that all those sports and ballet were making you too muscular.

Now, as an adult, I am prouder and more confident about my body, even though I’m 40 lb heavier than when my body was ‘perfect’ according to that ridiculous industry standard. Honestly, few people at my height reach 5’10 without any growth spurts and the telltale marks to prove it. Few of the people in the magazines or glossy images we see have the ‘perfect’ bodies that the industry they are working in deem ‘appropriate’. Photoshop is the industry norm. Now everyone from celebrities to tweens has access to Facetune, so even our ‘real’ images… aren’t.

I had to stop listening to that racket and listen to how I feel. The way I’ve approached pregnancy (hard though it can be) is that the most important thing now is baby; never again (if I can help it) will I listen to a voice in my own head that tells me the natural, incredible body I have is not ‘perfect’. I know my baby and my partner will see the body that brings this kid into the world as a miracle. I have to look at myself through that lens.

I want to be resilient and strong, so that my child, boy or girl will grow up seeing a mom who loves her body and all that it is capable of. It will be hard to keep that voice consistent and clear, but I’m sure going to try.

What fears and struggles around body and self-image do you experience? I find hearing other people’s stories really inspiring. Please share!