A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Love makes a baby. Motherhood made me the woman I am today

My boobs were sore.

I remember that’s why I thought I might be pregnant. And not in an “Oh, I’m getting my period” kind of way. They kind of felt like they’d been through a few matches of Fight Club. So I took a test.


Positive.

I couldn’t believe it. I came out of the washroom and did a kind of a nervous laugh as I told the news to my husband, Ashley.

“It’s positive,” I said. “We’re pregnant.”

“Really?” he replied. He was as exhausted as I was; don’t knock him for his reaction.

I felt exactly the same in that moment. Please, please don’t take my wine away from me!

“I need a shower,” he said. We hugged and kissed, and I brought him a beer in the shower.

At least one of us could have a drink while we digested this life-changing news.

But really, the story starts earlier.

Like two months earlier. We were sitting on our torn-apart brown leather couch, watching Doctor Who and having what we consider the perfect evening.

We’re both social people, but snuggling on the couch is sometimes exactly what you need. I turned to Ash and said, “Hey, hun, know what would make this night really perfect?”

“What?” he replied.

“If there was a cute and snuggly little baby sitting in between us.”

Just like that. No big discussion, no nothing really. We were ready to become parents. And like most decisions the two of us make together, we were already on the same page. So we started trying. Or rather, not not trying.

We were ready to become parents. And like most decisions the two of us make together, we were already on the same page.

Fast-forward eight weeks and... beer in the shower time.

After we both had a good night’s rest, we celebrated and got properly excited in the morning.

Really, we were excited!

But that first reactionthat is what really set the tone of what motherhood is for me.

It’s not the second celebration where you take photos and post them on social media looking perfectly styled.

It’s that first moment.

That moment where you gain the knowledge that suddenly the two of you aren’t alone anymore.

That your love created a third—a child.

It’s overwhelming, and, frankly, I think we reacted in the only way we could.

Reassuring each other that, yes, we understood each other.

That, yes, we could still be ourselves with each other like we always had.

And that, yes, we are still each other’s best friend. The best friend who brings you beer in the shower (be honest, you wish your best friend did that for you).

Fast-forward another nine months (we really like our time travel around here), and baby Sawyer was born. She was everything I hoped she would be, and we quickly mastered all the things I was nervous about: nursing, diaper changes and baby-wearing.

I was loving it.

And yet, navigating the changes that motherhood brings is not easy.

In a sense, motherhood forces you to grieve the person you used to be before you can love the person you’ve become.

It’s a grief that feels out of place next to the euphoric exhaustion of a new baby. But it’s there.

Grief, hiding just under the surface.

Looking back, I can clearly see that I went through all the stages of grief.

Denial that my life would be any different, that I would be any different.

Anger at myself and my baby for preventing me from doing things like six-hour road trips. (Trust me: Do not attempt this with a 6-week-old who hates her car seat.)

Bargaining: If I just get through the next few weeks, life can go back to how it used to be.

Then I had what I think may have been a brief stint of postpartum depression around the eight-week mark.

And acceptance. Finding a rhythm. Starting to enjoy my hobbies again. Stretching, exercising, playing music. And did I mention starting a company? I didn’t? Oh yeah. When my baby was 4 months old, I launched Beluga Baby. But that’s another story. The story of “Starting a business with a newborn,” or, “How Haley went insane.”

The thing that sets apart the transition into motherhood from grief is this: There is a sixth stage. I’m going to call it “Bloom.” Because this is my article, and I can call it whatever the heck I want. Bloom is when all the best pieces of who you used to be and all the pieces of who you’ve become start to collide and make a wiser, more loving you.

A baby is love, and that love permeates through me and affects everything I do: every conversation I have, every action I take, every business decision I make.

I like myself better now. She’s made me a better person.

And that was worth every ugly cry, mom bun, puke stain and missed appointment.

It was from that love that the new me was born.

Haley is the owner and developer of Beluga Wrap, a bamboo baby carrier made in Vancouver, Canada. She gave birth to her baby girl April 2015 and launched her company four months later. Despite the insanity of running a startup with a newborn, she wouldn’t do it any other way.

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like the heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends, which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent.

Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, it's more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby—in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued. Crisis averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it all through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

The fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so that there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas

www.pinterest.com

Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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