The Purple Fig http://thepurplefig.com Wed, 06 May 2015 17:20:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.4 May is Melanoma Awareness Month: #newfamilyrule Putting Sunscreen On Our Kids http://thepurplefig.com/may-is-melanoma-awareness-month-newfamilyrule-putting-sunscreen-on-our-kids/ http://thepurplefig.com/may-is-melanoma-awareness-month-newfamilyrule-putting-sunscreen-on-our-kids/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 14:05:52 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=8049 One bad sunburn before the age of 18 doubles your chances of getting melanoma – the most serious and often fatal form of skin cancer. Let’s make it a #newfamilyrule to protect our kids from this risk each and every day. 

 Please watch this video from The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund and #newfamilyrule

 

Why a new family rule?

The good news is that the majority of melanoma cases can be prevented. Since sun/UV exposure is the primary cause of melanoma and other skin cancers, the best way to reduce your child’s risk is to protect their skin.

What is Melanoma?

The most dangerous form of skin cancer, these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas often resemble moles; some develop from moles. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. Melanoma kills an estimated 9,940 people in the US annually.

If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that at present, more than 135,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed in a year. In 2015, an estimated 73,870 of these will be invasive melanomas, with about 42,670 in males and 31,200 in women.

Credit: SkinCancer.org

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See Melanoma: The Young Person’s Cancer

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Post Baby Droop And Drip: Let’s Fix This! http://thepurplefig.com/post-baby-droop-and-drip-lets-fix-this/ http://thepurplefig.com/post-baby-droop-and-drip-lets-fix-this/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 16:42:59 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=8037 “When you get up from laying down, it’s always the Sexy Senior. Remember that, Sexy Senior,” Nikki Bergen of The Belle Method, Pilates extraordinaire and prenatal expert, says as she leads a room full of women towards stronger pelvic floors and the reparation of abdominal separation after pregnancy. 

Sexy Senior is the process of rolling on to your side and lifting yourself up from that position rather than pulling your body straight from your back into a crunch every time you get up. These are not the things you think of when you’re pregnant with your first child. Your vagina falling out. Your abs separating. Peeing a little every time you cough. Chronic back pain.

When I was pregnant with my first baby I thought of the labour and delivery. How is it going to go? Will I get the epidural in time? Will it be my doctor that actually delivers the baby or some stranger on call covering for her? I thought of the sleeplessness that I would endure because of what I’d witnessed being around my sister and her babies but it was sort of an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ type of thing. I was focused on getting this baby out and then figuring out how to care for him would come next. Doing kegels seemed about as irrelevant as the technique of rolling a tennis ball along my spine during labour. It wasn’t going to do anything. Or would it? 

As it turns out, everything is connected, and kegels aren’t just performed to cure pee-when-you-giggle syndrome. They actually play a huge role in the process of healing Diastasis Recti, aka Mummy Tummy. The first 8 weeks postpartum is the most critical time for healing DRA (as people in the bizz call it) but it can still be fixed many years after pregnancy if workouts are done correctly. 

Bergen says, doing kegels isn’t just the motion of stopping your pee from coming out, there is a complete breathing technique that goes along with it. “Think of your core as a barrel. All around to your back, up top and down to your pelvis. Expand the breath when you inhale. Fill the barrel with wine and then release. The release is just as important as the inhale in term of kegels. You need the full contraction.” 

So, how do you know if you have DRA? 

Do an ab crunch or get down into a four point kneel or simply just get out of bed. Do you see a tent going up for business on your stomach? when you’re standing, does your belly still look slightly pregnant even though you’ve lost all the baby weight? Sorry toots, you’ve got DRA along with the rest of the millions of women in North America who deal with the same issues. If you are French however, you’ve been educated on pelvic health right out of the delivery room.

In France the government pays for ten pelvic physio appointments after the baby is born. Here in Canada, we don’t so much as hear our doctors utter the words pelvic floor repair. Anita Vandenberg, Registered Physiotherapist-Pevlic Health and Orthopaedic, says that when we go for our six week post delivery appointment, most doctors don’t even do a vaginal exam. We are told that we can go back to our regular exercise routines and life carries on. This is irresponsible. Hence why Vandenberg has made it her professional and personal crusade to educate women on the importance of taking care of our pelvic health. 

And caring for our lady bits means getting informed. The first thing to note? If you’re going to do the work to correct the problems, do it right. Bergen writes in a recent Huffington Post article:

It turns out that a functional pelvic floor is pretty much the most important thing ever. Want to prevent pregnancy back pain and reduce your risk of mummy tummy? Want your body to bounce back after you deliver your baby? Want to avoid organ prolapse and incontinence? It comes down to keeping your pelvic floor — the base of your torso and centre of your stability — strong. It comes down to your “kegels,” and whether you’re doing them right (hint: most aren’t).

 

It’s also important to remember that just because you’re leaking doesn’t mean you’re loose down there.  Women who are incredibly tense suffer in the same way. Their floors are hardly ever released which can cause the same issues as what Poise pad wearing women face.  

So ladies, let’s start doing right by our pelvic regions. See a physiotherapist and get assessed. Start doing the work to strengthen the area. And if you’ve just had a baby, check out the FITsplint to help with post baby recovery. Unlike corsets or other over-the-top materials, these splints are recommended by doulas in the postpartum period to help mama recover quickly, safely and comfortably. 

fitplint

Click to order

Also, check out The Bump Method at-home workout video programs from The Belle Method. The 4th Trimester program is the one designed to help repair diastasis recti. 

 


 

If you are in the Toronto area and you’d like to attend a Mummy Tummy workshop led by Nikki Bergen and Anita Vandenberg, you can check out details here for their June 7th event

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The Kylie Jenner Challenge: Race Against Self http://thepurplefig.com/the-kylie-jenner-challenge-race-against-self/ http://thepurplefig.com/the-kylie-jenner-challenge-race-against-self/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 20:31:23 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=8034 It doesn’t come as a surprise when your favorite make up artist or brand posts a picture of a latest makeup trend and you find yourself adopting the same techniques for the desired result. But it becomes disturbing and extreme when the technique involves physical pain and mental anguish to achieve that look. The Kyle Jenner challenge has taken the social media by storm with teens uploading pictures of their plumped lips to resemble those of Jenner. And some of the images online are extremely disturbing. The ‘do it at home’ procedure entails putting your lips in a small glass container like a shot glass and suck as hard as possible. Your lips briefly swell as if you got a cosmetic injection. But during this method lips can tear or get bruised. But those few moments of plumped up lips is what youngsters are attracted to and it lasts just long enough to take a selfie.

 

For teens this comes as a free ride to instant (and transitory) popularity on social media. Are teens to blame when that’s all they get to see around them? Cosmetic surgeries and use of botox injections is on the rise; what may have seemed uncommon years ago is today as common as going for a blow dry. And the simple reason is that we no longer want to look like ourself.

 

The Kim Kardashian look has penetrated the beauty industry, every one wants that chiseled look, perfect hair and curvaceous body. The makeup industry is booming with almost all leading brands introducing contouring products that can give that defined look, high cheekbones and plumped lips. Nothing wrong with that, provided all that is practiced with moderation, without an unhealthy state of mind. But is it really that easy to define a boundary today, where you want to look good but not at the expense of looking like ‘another’?

 

The moments of glory that are experienced with social mediums such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are enough to make us want more. The addictive aspects of likes, comments, compliments and shares are the new currency to self-actualization. With that thirst for achievement, recognition and acceptance, women/ girls (primarily) are targeting their looks. Society feeds women that their acceptance and popularity is first and foremost through external aspects, such as luscious hair, beautiful looks and a perfect body. Attaining the look is made easy with use of excessive makeup, while those with thin hair can now get thick locks with extensions that are commonly available everywhere. Hair extensions, that were only used for special occasions years ago, have now become a part of every day beauty routine. The different kinds of extension options have given us the freedom to look our best, even if it’s a borrowed luxury, something that’s not natural.

 

How far is this illusion going to go. Social media is here to stay, and social mediums are now the life blood of our daily lives. Whether it’s for work related purposes or personal, daily interaction with friends and strangers alike has blurred the line of who are we out to impress? Boy’s may be fighting a different battle, but their’s doesn’t include constant evolvement and changes to self, especially when society and different industries make it one of the strongest most effective currency for acceptance. This is the day and age where our self image seems to have superseded our mind’s power and soul’s spirit.

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10 Tips For Young Writers, From A Young Writer http://thepurplefig.com/10-tips-for-young-writers-from-a-young-writer/ http://thepurplefig.com/10-tips-for-young-writers-from-a-young-writer/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:59:44 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=8014 As I graduate from Ryerson University’s prestigious School of Journalism, I find myself looking back on the incredible writing mentorship and experiences I’ve had throughout my degree.  It feels simple enough to type this story, as I reflect on my personal writer’s journey to becoming a fashion and lifestyle journalist. However, like any other piece, I’m struggling to find the correct words, the right usage of emotion and the balance of language to share my thoughts.

How exactly do you write? Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Of course, it’s now 2015. Typewriters have been reduced to relics in antique shops, and twentysomething digital journalists like myself are now tracking our every move on social media. We still bleed (or maybe #bleed), but there’s a new self-awareness and self-consciousness with writing,  largely due to the 24 hour news cycle and a highly competitive industry.

Here are 10 tips from an emerging writer. I hope that these can inspire you to break out that long-forgotten secret diary, or perhaps finally work toward that dream of being published. Let’s #bleed together.

1) You are as good as anyone else, maybe even better: It’s easy enough to pinpoint your peers as the future superstars. When in doubt about our own greatness, we tend to shift the responsibility to someone else. For many aspiring writers, that attitude can follow them into the real world. You are as good as anyone else, if not better. Who says that YOU are not the all-star in this room?

2) Words are not your enemy: In order to #bleed, we need to stop fearing words. Sadly, there are many languages I do not understand, like the spider web of HTML codes and the whispered, exotic phrases from my array of vibrant, multicultural friends as they call home. However, I am not afraid of the English language, and I will take the time to befriend that perfect sentence.

3) Look for inspiration in unexpected places: Whether you’re writing a journalistic story or a work of fiction, head into the great outdoors and interact with your fellow humans. Places like the park, waterfront, a library or a coffee shop can help bring your mindset from corporate and urban to creative and thoughtful.

4) Be grateful for great editing: Editors are a primary resource and solid source of support for up-and-coming writers. Ask for assistance and do not fear constructive criticism. Your writing is not perfect, but you’ve still got plenty of potential. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be receiving critique in the first place, would you? You’d be at home, watching “that movie about that girl who became a writer” on your laptop (and wishing you were her instead).

5) Promote and prosper: Today, the world of journalism and writing has become closely linked with marketing. Journalists and writers have to develop business savvy and social media skills for their published work to be noticed. Once you develop confidence in your written work, promote as often as possible on Twitter and Facebook. Chances are this will allow bored acquaintances from your past to track your EVERY single career move on social media. On a positive note, you can also inspire others, share your work and bring awareness to your story topics. You’re an all-star, aren’t you?

6) Take a break to stay efficient: Whether it’s a phone call with an old friend (by old friends, I do not mean potentially nosy acquaintances, see #5) or a quick walk, a refreshing break can help you stay on deadline. By bringing focus and a clear mind to your work, you’re more likely to write a successful story.

7) Keep your words simple to relate to your readers: I’ve learned that good writing is concise, witty and to the point. This is a tough skill to master, but it’s essential to think of your reader. To keep your audience engaged, offer all the facts, use simple language, and add in a joke or two if you can. Humour will keep your writing fresh, which will keep your readers tuned into your story- and away from Netflix.

8) Carry a pen and notebook at all times: Recently, I did an interview with a brilliant, engaging subject. I was speaking to her on the phone and also recording the conversation on an iPad placed next to me, when I realized that the speakerphone was NOT on! Technology can fail all journalists, so always take notes if you can. Even a black liquid eyeliner and a receipt from 7-11 beat the alternative of lost information.

9) Have other hobbies: Journalism, especially covering fashion, beauty, culture and lifestyle topics, is my passion. However, as much as I love writing and am privileged to be a young writer, I believe that everyone should also have another hobby. Join a mermaid swimming class (yes, such a thing exists), hit the gym or stay creative with arts and crafts. Your mind and body will thank you, and you may get a story out of it.

10) Spread the love of literacy: Writing is known to be therapeutic, as an expressive release of emotion. Spread the love by mentoring youth through writing, or helping international students master their essay skills. Perhaps, you can even discover the next all-star writer. You’ve made it this far, after all.

Photo: Designerpics.com

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Video: Hilarious Mom Parodies http://thepurplefig.com/hilarious-mom-parodies/ http://thepurplefig.com/hilarious-mom-parodies/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:51:19 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=8010 Need a giggle and a distraction? Check out these mom parodies. 

 Blank Space – Taylor Swift

 

I’m So Pregnant – Iggy Azalea 

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I Dated an Older Man – And Didn’t Like It http://thepurplefig.com/i-dated-an-older-man-and-didnt-like-it/ http://thepurplefig.com/i-dated-an-older-man-and-didnt-like-it/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 15:50:12 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=8005 I’ve always had a thing for older men.

Posters of a shirtless, tanned Mel Gibson and a smirking Kevin Costner in a V-neck T-shirt – both well into their late 30s — adorned my walls as a ten-year-old.

The first man I pictured as I dry humped my pillow at thirteen was 35-year-old David Duchovny.

And don’t even get me started on what I’ve done to Robert Redford in my mind.

I don’t know why I was attracted to men who were old enough to be my father. It was so innate and so natural that I’m sure there’s some kind of Electra-complex thing going on that I’d rather not think about (sorry, Dad). Maybe it had something to do with my being an only child and being exposed to adults 24/7. Maybe this old soul of mine was the culprit. Whatever it was, unruly chest hair and crow lines did crazy things to me.

My obsession with May-December romances wasn’t helped by my mom, who would regularly say to me during dating fiascos in my teens and twenties, “You should date an older man.” Her reason being that an older man would be more mature. More stable. More equipped to deal with my “strong” personality.” I had a tendency to date men around the same age as me, take a few years below or above. Whippersnappers who slept on messy futons with emotional availability issues up the yin yang. I soon considered these men useful “practice” before the inevitable older man entered my life. The man who would just “get” me.

I imagined this older gent had been around the block, both professionally and personally. He owned a car or a home, or at least a piece of furniture that wasn’t Ikea. He could advise me and guide me about whatever I was navigating in life with support and a “been-there-done-that” confidence. He could pay for dinner without coupons or a pile of loonies, and he liked vinyl records unironically. Most importantly, he had sowed his wild oats in his youth, so he wasn’t into playing games and knew what he wanted in relationship and wasn’t afraid to ask for it.

I eventually dated this older man. He was twelve years my senior with chest hair, a stable job and his very own Manhattan apartment. He was also a friend of mine for over a decade, which, I believed, boded well for our connection because we got along swimmingly, and he did “get” me. An added bonus was my being privy to his dating past. He was one of those perpetual New York bachelors: never married, never engaged, with a short list of long-term committed relationships. Maybe his relationship history would have been a red flag for most, but, instead, I only saw green. I thought based on his age, experience, and our friendship, that I would be the exception, not the rule. And I liked him. A lot.

At first, our relationship was what I had pictured life with an older man would look like. We spent quiet nights in his apartment with a great vintage bottle of wine or dined at only the most exquisite and refined restaurants. He’d tell me fascinating stories about his life, and he was always quick to offer sound advice for whatever was ailing me. He was also romantic in a way I had never experienced before, whisking me away on a once-in-a-lifetime rendez-vous to London and Paris. I felt like Amal Alamuddin — without the sky high legs.

But for all of the pros, there were cons with dating my older man. We couldn’t have sex in certain positions because of his back pain. Those quiet nights at home meant he was set in his ways. Whenever I stayed over at his apartment, I conformed to his way of living. My place as a “guest” was made very clear, and I soon understood that his habits of living alone weren’t going change just because I suddenly arrived on the scene.

The wisdom he liked to dispense could also be condescending. He was undoubtedly a wise man, but he frequently took on a fatherly patronization that was not only unattractive, but also made me feel like I couldn’t contribute to a conversation equally. I remember repeatedly telling him, “I can be right sometimes, too.”

And as for the emotional maturity I so longed for? Well, I should have heeded the red flag flailing in my face at the beginning of our affair. There’s a reason he’s alone and still single: because he’s more comfortable that way.

After nearly four months together, we broke up. But our age difference wasn’t to blame. The truth is we were fundamentally different people. It didn’t matter how old he was, or how young I was, we just couldn’t fulfill each other’s emotional needs. We broke up for the same reasons any couple of any age break up: we weren’t compatible.

I realize now that my idea of an instant “perfect” relationship with an older man was a naïve one. Age doesn’t always equate maturity or emotional availability, nor does it guarantee compatibility. An older man won’t automatically “get” me more than a man who’s my age, or younger. I crave now the quality of a partner – not his quantity of years.

Although unruly chest hair and crow lines still do crazy things to me.

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My Best Friend Dumped Me http://thepurplefig.com/my-best-friend-dumped-me/ http://thepurplefig.com/my-best-friend-dumped-me/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:22:36 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7999 There comes a point in your thirties, when you look around, and your friends from your twenties are nowhere to be found. It can be especially difficult when your best friend from your twenties, the university years, the single years, who’s been with you through thick and thin, has suddenly disappeared from your life.  

 

I didn’t have the most secure start in life. My parents were so consumed by their own problems, that they didn’t really have time to dedicate to childrearing. So I learned really early, I would have to make my own “family” if I wanted to have Sunday dinners and warm & fuzzy family room gatherings. As I got older, when I made friends I could trust, they were my family. For me, it was a great relief and perhaps the beginning of real social and personal acceptance when I realized, in my 20’s, I could find friends who would be lifelong fixtures in my life. I became attached to my friends the way kids with “happy” childhoods seemed like they were attached to their mothers and fathers.

 

I did take her for granted. We celebrated birthdays, holidays, weddings and divorces together. And I took her for granted, just like I imagine I would have if I had a sister. She was certainly the sister I never had. After I had them, my kids called her “Aunt.” I never for a moment considered that a year could go by without them seeing her. I never considered that I wouldn’t be as important to her as she was to me.

 

One day, she met someone. I was so happy for her. I happily anticipated being by her side as she went through all of the things she had been waiting so long for. But it did not unfold like I thought it would. Slowly, she slipped away, not just from me, but from my whole family. I was left to wonder, was it just the new guy, new life? Did she really suddenly not have any time at all anymore for me? Did I do something really offensive and not know? I was constantly second guessing myself. Where did I go wrong? I’ve seen her only a handful of times in 3 years. At first, it really hurt. Time has definitely healed the wound, but for a while, it was sure difficult to move forward.

 

Life happens to all of us. Friends meet someone else, get a job in a far off place, find a new passion we don’t ‘get’, get married or get divorced. And then all of the years of memories with that person slowly start to fade. You rationalize, telling yourself this is normal and people drift apart, right? Life takes people in different directions. Why am I being such a baby?

 

After a while, I got really sick of feeling sorry for myself. And my other friends probably got sick of hearing about it. I also realized, I might have been more attached than she was (my childhood experience sending a boomerang to hit me again). With the love and support of some wise people, I pulled myself out of this incredible feeling of being rejected (my therapist would have a field day with this).

 

In hindsight, this is how I did it. I started to realize, “it is what it is,” otherwise known as acceptance. I could only control me. I realized I couldn’t make anyone want to stay in my life, hang out with me or call me to go out for drinks. I started taking a lot of deep breaths. It then occurred to me, just because she was experiencing something new, didn’t mean she didn’t want me in her life. Friendships ebb and flow, and people come and go. Just because someone is in the “gone” phase, doesn’t mean they won’t be back. I learned to slow my thought process down. Rather than feeling badly, I started to poke holes in my negative self-talk theories. I also realized, I was still me. Just because my friend had forgotten how fabulous I was, didn’t mean I was no longer fabulous. I didn’t need to be constantly validated. I was still fabulous.

 

Then I realized, there was more for me to do. I cultivated more independence. Learning to focus on myself, rather than constantly (that’s how it feels) living in reaction to external demands can be challenging, but I’m a survivor. I spent more time embracing the things I liked to do, rather than what others asked me to do. I started to surprise myself. Finally, I realized this was an opportunity. I suddenly had time to explore new interests, learn new things and made some new friends, who did suit this phase of my life.

 

People expect sadness and heartbreak when a romantic relationship dissolves. But it can be just as devastating when a decades long friendship starts to fizzle (despite your childhood issues). No matter where this takes me, I try to remember that I am constantly growing and getting to know myself better. That is cause for celebration. I have me for the rest of my life. I’m making sure I am the best version of myself I can possibly be. And now I also know the people who bring out the best in me, demand the best of me and whom it gives me pleasure to be my best self around. I’m choosing to surround myself with those people. I hope she comes back one day. But if not, I’ll be okay.

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See Video: Baby Brielle Will Teach Us All Something In This Life http://thepurplefig.com/baby-brielle-will-teach-us-all-something-in-this-life/ http://thepurplefig.com/baby-brielle-will-teach-us-all-something-in-this-life/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:37:32 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7658 I met Brielle a few hours after she was born. My husband and I had her brother and sister over for the day while she was working her way into this world. Her mother Paula, a very good friend of mine, looked happy and calm (as she does most of the time) feeding her new daughter. I held Brielle and kissed her little cheek that day.

Nobody knew then how she was about to change the lives around her. 

A few weeks later, Brielle was diagnosed with Achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism occurring in about one in 40,000 babies born. Achondroplasia is a form of short-limbed disproportionate dwarfism. Dwarfism is defined as height less than 4 feet 10. 

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Brielle with mom Paula

Dwarfism is a medical condition caused by abnormal (slow or delayed) growth. Often parents of children with achondroplasia do not carry the mutated gene themselves. The mutation in the child occurs spontaneously at the time of conception. It is a seemingly random occurrence that can happen in any pregnancy. 80 percent of Little People are born to average sized parents. 

An estimated 30, 000 people have dwarfism in the United States and 651,700 in the world. So yes, it is rare. Often, the more rare, the more beautiful. And there is something quite beautiful about Brielle.

Over this past summer I went out West and saw another good friend of mine who had given birth to a boy just a few weeks before Paula. Holding her baby was very different. He could hold his head up without difficulty. His torso was strong and straight. I was so used to holding Brielle; I couldn’t believe they were the same age. He even looked different to me. Brielle had become my new normal. I had no idea anymore what an average baby’s developments should be at 3 months, 6 months etc., because Brielle was creating the new mould.

When she started holding her head up on her own, we all congratulated her. When she rolled, we practically threw a party. Because although milestones will be reached a little later than other babies, she has to work so damn hard to achieve them and in turn, we are going to celebrate, celebrate, celebrate.

Me with Brielle when she was four months old

 

For now it is physiotherapy with mom and therapist, trips to Sick Kids for tests and a whole lot of chilling and smiling. She is a happy baby and in my opinion, a perfect baby. For now she is Baby Brielle, the little baby that my boys are obsessed with and always trying to make her laugh and kissing her cheeks. It won’t always be this way.

We have talked about what life will be like for Brielle when she is a teenager and how tough it is for young girls to begin with. We live in a society where teenage girls post videos asking the internet if they are pretty or not. The world is a nasty place. It’s scary for any mother to let her child go out there and be vulnerable to all the cruelty that exists beyond our comfort zones.

And then I think of Brielle sitting there on her mother’s lap looking up at us as we gab away, and there is this calm knowing that she seems to possess. It’s like she knows something more about life than I do–than anyone else in the room for that matter. It is as if through her many smiles and playful stares, she is telling me that she has the perfect soul for the perfect body. She knows it. 

She will teach the people around her about disabilities and how she can do everything else her peers can do, but that she just has to work harder. Her physical differences will make sure of it every step of the way. She will also reveal how ignorance can shape a person and how they are not worth any time unless they have an opening somewhere in their heart.

But the most important lesson we will get from Brielle is to remember what really matters. Yes, she will stand in the face of adversity every day, but that calm knowing that she has will always be there. Whether it be through her smile, or her words, she will remind us all that life is not about how you look, it’s about what you see. 

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Paula and Brielle

 

 


Watch this beautiful video about Brielle:

 October is Dwarfism Awareness month. Learn a little bit here and share with others. 

More information and videos: 

Little People have normal intelligence who live long, fulfilling lives. They have lives and families and work. They have dreams and aspirations too. This is why it is so heartbreaking to find that people can still react to differences in such an ignorant way as Jonathan Novick discovered during the filming of his documentary, Don’t Look Down On Me


 
 

A small change in social attitude can make a big difference:

*Side note: The term ‘midget’ is regarded as insulting. The preferred term is “dwarf” or “little person”. 

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Working Out During Pregnancy Is About Not Falling Apart During Pregnancy With Help From The Belle Method http://thepurplefig.com/working-out-during-pregnancy-is-about-not-falling-apart-during-pregnancy-with-help-from-the-belle-method/ http://thepurplefig.com/working-out-during-pregnancy-is-about-not-falling-apart-during-pregnancy-with-help-from-the-belle-method/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:25:51 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7989 Every pregnancy is different. Yada yada yada. 

If you’ve been pregnant once or eight times, you’ve heard this statement before. Well, we hear it because it’s true. Except for one thing: in every pregnancy, you get tired and hungry and you don’t always feel like working out. Unless of course you are Sarah Stage and you look like this at 8.5 months:

640_sarah_stage (I would love to do a shot of myself in a similar outfit and place it next to this picture for comedic purposes as I too am 8.5 months pregnant BUT I’m way too tired and lazy to make that happen)

And if that’s the case, I bet you don’t even feel labour pains and your baby sleeps through the night on week one. I’m not jealous. I swear. I just hope I don’t meet you at any baby mama meet up anytime soon because I wouldn’t know what to talk about with you.

The thing is, even if you were super active before your pregnancy and you love to workout, you could potentially become quite adverse to it during pregnancy, at least at different phases throughout the pregnancy. Point being, it’s not easy to carry on with your regular routine no matter who you are when you are housing another human being inside of you. 

I’m pregnant with my third baby and all that really feels different is that I have the gift of experience this time. And what has that experience taught me? That a huge weight gain without much activity leaves the body rattled and slightly falling apart. I do believe that your body does what it needs to do in terms of gaining weight. I hardly gained anything before December and then in January and February I blew the top off of that scale like nobody’s business. The doctor looked legitimately shocked. I have not eaten differently nor have I stopped my daily walks. If my bod needs to pack it on, so be it. The only thing that I’m concerned with these days is making sure that my knees don’t buckle and my back stays strong. Oh and that I don’t pee pants too much.

Enter Nikki Bergen, pilates extrordinaire and creator of The Belle Method. Recently she released pre-natal videos, designed with the guidance from pelvic health physiotherapist Dr. Sinead Dufour, that take you through each stage of pregnancy, even after the baby is born. 

 

Check out a preview here:

This is a comprehensive pre and postnatal workout program designed with the guidance of a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist. Get full video access here

Since I am no Sarah Stage and I definitely struggle to get in workouts beyond a dog walk, I was reluctant to try these videos. I’ve attended Nikki’s classes in person (before baby) and I can safely say that this woman inspires you to not only attain the body you dream of but the health and mental wellness that comes from being active and strong. So, because of this and the fact that I was afraid to crack the foundation of an already older body this time around, I have been under Bergen’s instructional prenatal videos and I have to say, I am feeling solid. If you’re newly pregnant or even in your third trimester, check out the above teaser and try it out for yourself! You will not regret it.

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I Will Try Not To Nag My Husband…For the Umpteenth Thousandth Time http://thepurplefig.com/i-will-try-not-to-nag-my-husbandfor-the-umpteenth-thousandth-time/ http://thepurplefig.com/i-will-try-not-to-nag-my-husbandfor-the-umpteenth-thousandth-time/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:18:49 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7983 It happens. You flip the switch and there’s a sudden bright flash of light, and then darkness. It’s your cue to change the light bulb.

My most recent “light bulb moment” came at a routine time of day. I was making dinner and was once again unable to figure out where my husband had put my favorite bamboo spoon when he had emptied the dishwasher. I threw open and slammed shut every drawer in search of that spoon. I even checked the dishwasher. Twice. 

And as I did this, I mumbled under my breath for the umpteenth thousandth time, “Just once, I’d love to be able to reach into the right drawer and pull out my spoon.” And as I mumbled this umpteenth thousandth time, I was accosted by that bright flash of light. 

Somewhere in the back of my mind I heard my own voice saying, “Now that you’ve mumbled it, don’t say it out loud. He doesn’t need to hear it again, because he’s not going to put the spoon where you think it needs to be.” 

It’s true. My husband empties the dishwasher, not so much because it needs emptying, but because he needs to woolgather. While he’s performing this “menial” task (which, by the way, I don’t ask or force him to do), he’s thinking about the next conversation he’s going to have with his client, or the response he’s going to prepare to an email. He’s most certainly not thinking about how important it is to me that he put the spoon in its “proper place,” so that while I’m “winging” it with my latest culinary gem (I rarely look at a recipe), I can simply reach in a drawer, grab a spoon and stir away. It’s not on his radar despite the fact that I’ve told him how important it is to me for the umpteenth thousandth time.

All too often I’ve come up with these epiphanies on my own or I’ve read them (especially on Facebook) and thought to myself, “What a great idea,” but I rarely act on them. I file them somewhere in my brain and that’s where they stay. I hardly ever embrace the fact that I should change. Call it being a creature of habit, or having trepidation about trying something new, or – dare I admit – that I’ve been doing something wrong. It’s rare that I adopt a doctrine that has blinded me. 

There I was fumbling around “in the dark” after that bright flash had blinded me, getting more and more frustrated (yes, we have a lot of drawers in the kitchen where he could have put the spoon, and don’t forget the dishwasher), all the while the sautéed onions were over caramelizing. And I was thinking to myself what a great idea it was for me to keep my frustration to myself. So I filed it away somewhere in my brain. But before I found the truant spoon, I was again accosted by a different bright flash: change the bulb already! Seriously – adopt the notion that you really aren’t going to complain to him. Make the change in your life. For once, don’t utter a word to him about it.

Oh man! It was hard enough to admit that I’ve been wrong all these years for admonishing that dear man for not emptying the dishwasher to my standards (can you believe my audacity?), but to actually embrace that fact and appropriately act on it?  Sheesh! I wasn’t sure I could do it. 

I found the spoon in the knife drawer and immediately started stirring the onions. And the second he walked into the room, I started sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Big time. 

And then it really happened: Instead of trying to find the spoon for me like he always does when being accosted by me for the umpteenth thousandth time, he asked why I didn’t look for the spoon before I put the onions in the skillet. 

I think I went blind at that moment. 

So I changed some light bulbs that night. This time I opted for brighter, longer-lasting LEDs. And now whenever I’m cooking, I find the all the utensils I need before I heat up the skillet. For the umpteenth thousandth time I mutter to myself and only to myself whenever I can’t find them on the first try. 

Yet, being human and having been raised at my mother’s knee: a place for everything and everything in its place, not to mention that I sound just like her (or is it Charlie Brown’s teacher?) when I’m frustrated at someone, I falter some times. But mostly now, Brightness Is Mine.

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