Essays


– SERIES –

 

DSCF8642On C-sections

 

On miscarriage


– MOST RECENT POSTS –

 

-1Post-baby body B.S. (The View)

I’m standing in the shower staring forlornly in the mirror, lifting and flattening my belly in an attempt to remember what it looked like four years ago, before babies. There are days when I look at this body and don’t recognize it. Read story


Feeding my family is the bane of my existence (Today’s Parent)

Feeding my family is, hands down, the parenting task I loathe the most. No matter how much forethought I put into to each person’s individual preferences, the meal I make will offend someone. Read story


Love letters to C-section moms (from your spouse)

I get the excited phone call just after lunch: Baby is here! Everyone is healthy and happy. And of course the inevitable condensed version of the labour: No interventions, no drugs. I want to give them both a high five. I’m crying with happiness. But a part of me is also feeling like shit. Read more


-1Cellphone Neglect & the Judgment of Others

I’m at the pool watching my kid in her swim lesson. I can hear my daughter shriek with laughter and my eyes look up to find her splashing with her classmates. Then they slide back down to my phone, where I’m emailing my editor. Read more


What you should never say to a C-section mom

I’m not going to name names, but after my first c-section, someone had the gall to inform me I was lucky because I got to forego labour. It wasn’t the first boneheaded comment someone made about my C-sections but it was maybe the most presumptuous. Read more


16195043_10158164935450381_6431637684570849653_nLet them be

I’ve been struggling with feelings of frustration when it comes to my kids. My preschooler gets the brunt of it, because three year olds are difficult – as far as adults are concerned anyway, and therein lies our issue. She thinks and feels and acts exactly how she should at three years old. Our problem is that I haven’t mastered the art of understanding why she behaves the way she does. Read more


What I wish I’d know about having a c-section

It was the labour that would never end, and the baby that would never descend. No amount of walking, exercise balling, hypnobirthing, and pitocin-ing was working, and after four days we finally waved the white flag. I remember a doctor standing at the foot of my bed while they prepped the OR, and asking, “Do you have any questions?” Read more


Parenting, and other peoples’ advice

Have we all gone a little bit overboard with the “how dare you judge me?!” outrage that’s sweeping parenting blogs, Facebook groups and play dates lately? I feel like every other article is a tirade against parents who pipe up with “unsolicited” advice, which apparently makes you a total d-bag. Read more


IMG_9105On million dollar families

The house cleaner was dusting around the play kitchen and smiling at the kids. Polly, wearing a blue onesie, was chilling in her swing. “Boy?” she asked, motioning to Polly. “No, she’s a girl,” I responded. “Oh, two girls?” She shook her head with unreserved pity. “That’s too bad.” Too bad she was born a girl, because you already have one of those. And who needs two of the same thing, right? Read more


Screen shot 2015-02-16 at 5.20.07 PMBoys will be be boys, and girls will be girls?

One of my biggest parenting pet peeves is the insane, almost obsessive propensity for the toy and kids’ clothing industry to market their products toward either girls or boys. Take a stroll down the aisles of big box toy and clothing stores and you’ll see a clear gender divide between the boys’ section and the girls’ section with very little middle-ground. Boy aisles in toy stores are full of toys promoting building or engineering, fighting, vehicle play, and traditionally “male” occupations or pastimes. Girl aisles are full of toys promoting nurturing and home-making. Read more


Time, slow downIMG_3602-1024x768

They were right. Children grow up too fast. Way way way too fast. It’s like a blur. Case in point: my baby is turning three years old in a few months. THREE. I literally cannot fathom this truth. It simply cannot be. I try to hold on to little scraps of evidence that she is still wee: she still naps, she still cries for us when she is scared, she still climbs into bed with us and wraps her arms around our necks, squeezing us closer to her. Read more


DSC_0488To my beautiful second born

It’s quiet in the house and it’s just you and me awake, which means I have a spare minute to watch you sleep in my arms and marvel at the fact that it’s been two months since you came into my life. And wow do I love you. Read more


 

tumblr_inline_n7h7eb9mLS1sp793hMiscarriage: Life after loss

My miscarriage came to me in a dream. I was at a friend’s house and was in her washroom when suddenly piles of blood came gushing from me. I screamed for my husband and he threw open the door and gasped at the site of so much blood. Then I woke up. As it slowly dawned on me that it was all just a terrible dream I lay back in bed, shaken but relieved. So, SO relieved. Later that day, I would begin to bleed. Read more


13This crazy love

It hits me sometimes when I’m not expecting it, washing over me like a tidal wave almost out of the blue. When I’m contemplating the soft brown curls at the nape of her neck, or watching her brow furrow as she tries to put her shoe on her bunny’s foot. Or when she wraps her arms around my neck and squeezes, announcing “hug” in my ear. Sometimes it’s seeing the joy in her face when the dog bounds into the room. Read more


Calling-All-Frazzled-Parents-11-2-12Losing control

It’s a ubiquitous image, one that seems to sum up parenthood in all forms of media: the frazzled shell-shocked parent – slightly unkempt, eye twitching, on the verge of melting down as unruly children bounce around a disastrous living room. I understand it finally, that feeling of being frayed. This is parenthood. Being perpetually overwhelmed.  All of this frantic near-hysteria, I realize now, comes down to this: a loss of control. Read more


1-e1406220995150Dance like no one is watching

My beautiful girl, You’re only 15 months old, but I’ve never known another person so full of life, so unapologetic, so unabashed. One day you will not live so carefree. You will tug on your clothes with a self-conscious frown. You will blush when someone tells you to settle down, keep it down, to speak up, listen up, to be more of one thing, to be less of another. One day, you will be like the rest of us. You will apologize for who you are. I’m telling you now, while you’re still young, not to feel ashamed. Read more


messy-house-620x349Small human getting into big trouble

They’re right. They’re always right: you know should be worried when your usually active and noisy child has suddenly gone quiet – because it means she’s up to something. It only takes a nanosecond. Just enough time for me to get a new roll of paper towel or to let the dog out, and she’s GONE. Plopped down out of sight ripping, gouging, spilling, staining, soaking or upending something she’s not supposed to. Read more


motherdaughter-1Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to moms near and far, to moms we get to see everyday, and moms we can only talk to in prayer. Moms whose babies have grown, and moms whose babies are growing inside them. Moms who work, moms who stay home. Moms who are sad, moms who yell, moms who are tired, moms who are overwhelmed. Moms who stay up all night tending to colds, finishing projects, baking cupcakes or worrying by the front door… Read more


 

 

DSCF1782-1024x682Advice for myself, one year ago today

A year ago today I was a brand new mother and my world was a jumble of joy and fear. I was both over and under-stimulated. Days were spent doing very little while somehow being horribly chaotic. They were so, so quiet, and yet very, very noisy. Looking back on those tumultuous, exhausting and emotional first weeks – and knowing what I do now a year into motherhood – here’s the advice I would have given that tentative and overwhelmed new mom… Read more


 

Five-daycare-problems-solved-Sept2009-iStockBack to work, baby

This has been a big week for Isla and me. The biggest one we’ve had since she came into this world. A week of growth and growing apart. This lump in my throat, I guess, is what motherhood is about. After a year of being attached at the hip (erm, boob), we have taken the first of many small steps away from each other: I’ve gone back to work, and she’s gone to daycare. Eventually we all have to entrust someone else to help us raise and educate our children. I just can’t believe that day has come so soon… Read more


 

DSCF1661-1024x682When your body lets you down

I couldn’t give birth to my daughter. I tried, the midwives tried, the on-call doctor tried, the drugs tried. Even the hippie new-age hypnosis tracks tried. But for some reason, after days of labour, my body just wasn’t going to send my daughter down the birth canal. So I had a C-section. I should feel blessed. I think of all the women who’ve had trouble conceiving, or who had rough deliveries or sick babies. But I’ve come to this realization: it’s okay to feel grief even if you know other peoples’ grief is bigger and badder. You just have to put that grief into perspective… Read more


 

stroller_on_streetcar.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxRide the Rocket – just not with a pram

I managed to make it 10 months before having to take the stroller on the TTC, and that’s only because I was disorganized while leaving the house today. I had just dropped the car off at the dealership and was planning on taking a streetcar home with Isla in her carrier. But I realized, while in the Hyundai parking lot, that the stroller was still in the trunk. For anyone who doesn’t live in Toronto, streetcars in this city are ancient and not designed for people with disabilities (or strollers). The only way on and off is up four narrow, steep steps. Read more


 

shutterstock_498375941 Congratulations! It’s … pink!

We were part of a dying breed of parents-to-be who didn’t find out if we were having a boy or girl. We were willing to sit on pins and needles for nine months and let people guess for us (“you’re carrying high and forward, you are having a boy”). But we still needed to get ready for baby, so we took to the usual stores to get the usual necessities. It should have been fun, but we left most shops empty-handed and frustrated. It seemed, if you were expecting a baby in 2013, you had to know if it was a boy or girl, and you had to shop accordingly… Read more


 

534291_10153276764575381_354244642_n1 Let’s take more photos of moms

There’s a photo of my mother and me that I know by heart. I’m in her arms in my grandparents’ backyard. I’m reaching out and smiling at someone off-camera. My mother’s blonde hair is cut short. She is wearing a lavender blouse and is looking down me, smiling. She looks beautiful. And she looks proud. I want to leave my daughter beautiful photos like this, photos of the two of us together. So I take a lot of selfies. If I didn’t, there wouldn’t be too much to leave her… Read more


 

cupid-single-love-sex-valentines-day-ecards-someecards Don’t buy me a Valentine’s Day Card

When I first told my husband (then-boyfriend) that I didn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day, he raised a dubious eyebrow. Was this a trap? Was I one of those women who claimed she hated the holiday but would secretly expect flowers delivered to her office? But I assured him I meant it – and I did… Read more


 

539148_10153322457440381_2145486215_nWhen social butterflies have babies

Of all the warnings that came my way when I announced I was expecting, the most common – by far – was this: get your sleep now (ya right) – once you have a baby, your life will change forever. Goodbye spontaneity. Hello sweatpants and Netflix. People meant well, but all this did was scare me. I liked my life. A lot. I was already giving up a pretty cool job for a year. I was giving up my sleep, and booze, and non-elastic pants. Did I really need to become a hermit, too? See, I was paranoid that announcing my pregnancy would bring social invites grinding to a halt. … Read more


 

Pregnant and scale Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?

I’m calling magazines out. Us, People, Star, InTouch: congratulations, you are in the lucrative business of making women feel terrible about themselves. You and your sensational cover stories about celebrity pregnancy weight gain. As if this is news. As if it’s our right to gawk and judge. As if what’s happening to their bodies is unnatural… Read more

 


 

BE030209 Why won’t my freaking kid eat?

I just spent 20 minutes patiently trying to “persuade” my daughter to eat food, ANY food (and delicious food at that): cheese cubes, toast with peanut butter, blueberry rice puffs, strawberry and apple puree. I tried to feed her from my fingers, from a spoon, from her own fingers. I dipped her beloved Baby MumMum cracker in the mushy food and tried to coax it into her mouth… Read more

 


 

Movie_i_see_dead_people-769472I hope my kid isn’t one of those children who sees ghosts

I have a lot of hopes for my daughter. Being a spirit medium isn’t one of them. I’d like to say that it’s for her sake, but honestly, it’s for mine. If my kid pointed toward the corner of her room and said “Hi” to nothing, I’d be out of the house before you could say “Boo!” … Read more

 


 

1208825_10153177029905381_1024249363_n The bittersweet end to breastfeeding

I remember the first time I put my fresh-from-the-womb newborn on my breast. I was trying to gently coerce my nipple into her tiny mewing mouth and the nurse who was helping me remarked, “Someone’s done this before!” And I laughed because I really didn’t know what I was doing. But maybe, I thought, it’s just like everyone had promised: maybe once baby arrived, these sorts of things really did come naturally… Read more


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