All about Postpartum: Doula Dialogue Replay, Postnatal Education, Doula Services and Postnatal Yoga offerings

There was a time when, like many of my friends, I was obsessed with pregnancy and birth. Don’t get me wrong, these things are still some of the most important things! But these days, where my heart is, where my work is is supporting people in the Postpartum period.

Notice I say “people” and not “moms” or “women.” The majority of people I work with postpartum do happen to be women who have recently given birth. But as Birth Doulas are there to support the whole family, as is the Postpartum Doula.

What do I do as a Postpartum Doula? Anything the family needs. I wear babies in carriers while I tidy up. I cook lunch or chop vegetables. I fold a lot of laundry, sweet floors, help with breastfeeding, teach parents how to massage their babies. Sometimes I feel babies formula that I can help prepare. Sometimes we do yoga. I might arrive with something I’ve cooked or with groceries that the family was missing. Really, truly, anything that needs doing, I do. Fun? You bet.

So I’m writing this to explain what I’ve been up to and tell anyone interested about some of the services I offer if you’re starting to see the appeal. I have an equal amount of clients that have family in town, as those who are in Canada with family far away. because I really don’t think you can have too much help in the first days, weeks and months of baby’s arrival. Especially the unobtrusive, impartial help of a hired pro!

If you missed the conversation RTC founder, Sylvia Otvos and I had last Friday in our Doula Dialogues, you can watch it below. RE: How to Prepare for Postpartum!


POSTPARTUM SUPPORT AT HOME
If you’re looking for help at home, in the capacity I’ve explained, it’s a good idea to get in touch before baby is Earthside. We’ll get organized and you’ll have an idea of when I’ll be coming to check up on you. Rates vary depending on the amount of time I’ll be chez toi. You can email me at Jenny @ jennybeeyoga dot com. or call me at 514.318.4566.

ABCS of AFTER BIRTH
This is a brand new workshop happening at naada yoga, for couples on Sunday, Dec, 9. It’s a continuation (or rather prequel) to the Couple’s Birth Workshop that I’ve been offering for years.

It’s easy to imagine how yoga is useful in pregnancy and labour, the postpartum period is generally a little more abstract.Join Jenny Berthiaume, postpartum doula, postnatal yoga teacher and mother of two, for this workshop on how to prepare for what comes after baby is born.

Learn about:
-pelvic floor health, diastasis recti
-safe exercises you can do at home, postpartum, including a link to exclusive online video clips
-herbs and products to heal tearing
-what the postpartum period looks like
-postpartum depression or baby blues?
-feeding baby (breast, bottle and beyond)
-finding your sangha (community)
-simple recipes to nourish mama

Participants will receive their own free perineum herb healing sachet, prepared by Jenny, for free.

PRENATAL EDUCATION WITH ROCK THE CRADLE
These classes are given by the wonderful team I am blessed to work with, Rock the Cradle. I don’t always teach the classes, but am happily teaching the second weekend (postpartum) of the last session of the year. See the website for all the details.
POSTNATAL YOGA
I am currently giving postnatal yoga classes at Naada Yoga:
Mondays 11am for walkers and crawlers and Fridays 1:20pm from 6 weeks old and on
INSURANCE RECEIPTS 
Please note that I am a member of the ANQ and write receipts for all my private services.

Yoga and Birth stories by Katherine

Guest Blogger
October 1, 2018

Guest post by Katherine Seiler

I never would have thought that my experiences during childbirth would change the way I see myself, that they would have such a profound impact on myself as a person. Obviously having children is a big impact all around but I mean the specific act of going through birth. It still resonates strongly and I doubt that will ever diminish.

When I was pregnant with my first, my daughter, I was twenty years old and avoided any panic by taking things one step at a time. I wouldn’t think about the ultrasound until the day of the appointment, I wouldn’t think of the tests until the day before, I wouldn’t think of that terrifying concept of labour until the contractions started. I knew there was no way around any of it so I handled it the same way I handle anything I’m not particularly fond of but have no choice in – I put my head down and kept pushing forward until I got to the other side. When I got to the other side I was astounded at my very first thought, sitting there holding my baby for the very first time. “That was amazing, lets do that again!

The whole experience was roughly four hours, from the very first contraction to that very first thought. I didn’t take the epidural, not because I knew anything about the discussion of natural vs medicated but simply because I have a hatred (and anxiety) of medication and was terrified of the concept of a needle in my spine. Which is fortunate as it turns out I didn’t have time to get one anyway! In the end it was my experience with yoga that helped me tremendously. The breathing, the concentration, the stamina, and especially the ability to release my muscles (particularly when a contraction hit), it was what I called upon and oh did it ever serve me well. But the real key was my doctor, this woman I had never met before that just happened to be on-call at the time ended up being such a core piece of my experience. She massaged my hand, gave me tips on better use of the birth ball, she encouraged me the whole time. She never nagged me with a “are you sure you don’t want an epidural?” and gave a word to the nurses that were. She never questioned my decisions or actions but backed me up at every step with full support.  After my daughter was born she told me the benefits of skin to skin and then stayed with me for an hour to help with our first latch, to make sure she was nursing properly. It was with my first birth experience that I discovered the Joy.

My second experience, my son, was the complete opposite in every way. For starters, I researched everything and actually wrote a birth plan (pretty much all of it ended up going out the window in the end) For the first time I was experiencing morning sickness (tremendous amounts of all day non stop morning sickness), my back was hurting, I gained twice the amount of weight as my first, I tore my abdominal muscle during my second trimester and was put on immediate bed rest. In short, my daughter had set me up with totally unrealistic expectations in regards to pregnancy. Nevertheless I was still excited for the birth even with the ever growing concern that it wasn’t going to be quite so easy as the last.

I knew from the first contraction that it wasn’t right and it grew after a night in the hospital when they all but stopped. I told my then-partner almost immediately that it was headed for a c-section but he thought I was just getting worked up. At the time there weren’t any signs but… I could feel it. The atmosphere was completely different from the first. The staff wouldn’t let me eat, they wouldn’t let me get up as they had me constantly attached to monitors, and the nurses wouldn’t stay for small talk. In that position I did what I could to help move things along with exercises but it wasn’t until eight hours later that a ray of light came through… they had a shift change in the morning and in walked the doctor that delivered my daughter. She went to break my waters only to discover that I had none to break and it was a bit of a mystery as to when that had actually happened as nothing had been wet, even slightly, the whole time. But the action at least forced the contractions to start up again and finally things were moving. Until the nurse came in to hook me back up to monitors so I confronted her with the question “what’s wrong with the baby?”  “His heart rate slows with each contraction. We believe the cord is around his neck.” All I could think about was how my brother was born the same way. In my mind a cord around the neck automatically meant c-section. But the doctor came in, helped me move, massaged my hands, talked me through it. “It would only be surgical if his heart rate dropped below a certain point…” and he was getting close. But then I got hit with a contraction that never stopped and the pain felt like my body was catching up for all the time it had wasted, like it was doing everything all at once to make up for eight hours of a stalled birth. It lasted minutes and never let up, I couldn’t move or speak, I could only breathe and focus. It was meant to be the big home run but then the doctor discovered his head was facing sideways and the only hope was for me to stop pushing and for him to turn.

They gave me a relaxant to stop the contraction, put me on an oxygen mask, but I told them they needed to give it time. I needed him to turn and he was going to but they needed to step back. But instead the doctor stepped forward and she helped me with position changes and whatever I wanted to try. Even to the point where my eyes rolled to the back of my head and I actually felt myself on the precipice of unconsciousness. He had taken his sweet time but at the last minute they were willing to spare he turned and out he came. The doctor stepped aside and his father was the one to catch him and cut his cord.

The whole experience took about sixteen hours (in a hospital room so cold my ice chips sat there for half the time and didn’t melt). Upset when she heard the staff hadn’t let me eat my doctor grabbed their pastry tray from their lounge and brought it for me before hanging out for a while, asking me questions about how my yoga experience had helped me through sixteen hours of difficult labour, while silently helping me get my son to latch.

I can’t put into words the power it took for me to go through that. I also can’t put into words the power it gave me in return. My second birth experience is where I found my new Strength.

Might I also mention… that doctor was the reason I became a doula!

Katherine Seiler is a 27 year old part time doula and full time single mom of two from Montreal. She enjoys spending time with her kids with impromptu dance parties in the kitchen, spontaneous yoga sessions, light saber battles, and bed time stories about genetics and the periodic table of elements. “We’re a slightly crazy and totally crunchy household and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!”

 

Keep your child’s unique light shining. It’s too easily dimmed

Jenny Bee
September 24, 2018

As a child, I do not remember picking out my own clothes or doing my own hair. My mom did that, as she did everything, for me. I promise you, it came from a good place.

I have memories of school picture day. That was certainly not a time when I remember deciding how I wanted to present myself. My sister, who is three years older, and I still cringe about the years we were sent in matching dresses. But in some ways I’m grateful. Because look how AMAZING I looked. I could not have crimped my hair and put it up in that genie comb all on my own.

I had a moment this week, when I felt myself slipping into a place that might place more value on appearance than I like. I wanted to help my girl pick out matching clothes. I wanted to do her hair for her.

Maybe I was a more complacent child than she is. Maybe I legit didn’t care what I wore and was happy to be told what to do. That, I don’t remember. But I could tell with a few gentle comments, that my desire to control how my 7-year-old appeared moments before stepping out of the house, could easily dim her very bright light.

She decided on leopard pants and a flowered t-shirt. I asked if she wanted to wear something that matched. She looked disappointed or hurt and then quickly assured me that her outfit did match– leopards and flowers are both from nature. Boom. She didn’t say boom. So her outfit was intentional despite it not being matchy-match like her grandmother would have chosen.

I suggested we put water in her ringletty hair. She did and then slicked it into a ponytail. As I watched her tame her unruly mane, I felt my own insecurities as an adolescent with curly hair. And I heard my mother’s voice yammering about “the beautiful curls!” A phrase which undoubtedly led me to spend five years as an adult with a buzzcut.

 

Keep their light shining with yoga (excerpt from A Yogi Mama’s Guide to Yoga, Ayurveda & Your Child)

Our five- and six-year-old kids are in yoga classes saying, “Ooh, it hurts, I’m not flexible enough…” They are too young to feel this way. Too soon, they are losing flexibility in their bodies and in their minds. They are limiting themselves before they’re even in the first grade.

A few years earlier, they were quite literally sucking on their toes. Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby pose) gets its name with good reason. A few years earlier, Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) and Bhujangasana(Cobra pose) were a daily occurrence—even before they could walk.

We are born yogis. Born flexible, in every way. In a short time, we can quickly become rigid. Rigid in body, rigid in mind, rigid in spirit. Doing yoga as a child helps that not happen. When we keep a kid flexible, we are helping her become her best self. We are instilling confidence and helping her learn to follow herdharma (inner guidance).

I believe it is our duty as parents to keep our child’s shining light alive, as she grows and enters a society that mostly wants her to… blend in. If we do not extinguish our child’s light, but learn who she truly is, we can accompany her on her path, her dharma, every step of the way…

 

I would personally rather a kid whose clothes never  matched in a conventional way, grow up overflowing with confidence, than a kid looking outside of herself at every turn, never quite sure if her instincts are good enough.

 

 

Defrauding the Yoga Mama

Guest Blogger
September 17, 2018

Guest post by Kimberlee Jensen Stedl

“I thought you were a yoga teacher. Doesn’t that mean you’re supposed to be always calm and zen and never get upset at your kids?” challenged a friend of mine one day, and suddenly I felt like a massive fraud. How could a so-called yoga teacher ever be upset about anything ever? What kind of teacher and student does that make me? What kind of mom does that make me? Remember, there is no word for guilt in Sanskrit. How could I forget that?

It not only floods us with hormones, motherhood also slams us with transformation. Suddenly we are something completely different and we are no longer we. Suddenly we have a powerful attachment and this powerful attachment stuns us with raw, organic emotion that takes us by surprise. Herein lies the challenge. In yoga training, we learn to let go of attachments, to achieve liberation, but how can we not be attached to someone who spent nine months physically attached to us? Even without the act of pregnancy, how can we not feel attached to something we nourished at a fragile, dependent time? How can we not experience strong attachment when a small human attaches to us so deeply? When we see our child about to be injured, of course our attachment kicks in, and we react. In some ways yoga asks us to deny our basic biology, and if we go back to the ancient texts yoga prescribed a monastic life for many reasons. This makes the path harder.

Yoga gives us many useful gifts, such as the ability to self-regulate and self-care. However, those gifts are only available when you have the space—temporal and corporal—to hone them as skills. You wake up early in the morning to sneak in some yoga before your kids awake—sneak because of a looming expectation we should be doing something for our kids instead—only to find your child rising as well and soon you plunge into a crisis of a missing crayon. What happens in this complete immersion is aparigraha, or selflessness, is moms have nothing left for self care. Self care takes effort, it takes tapas—self-discipline. We become all heart chakra and no belly fire.

Mothers are exhausted—it’s physically and emotionally exhausting. Research proves how much sleep depravation changes our behavior and temperament. It affects our ability to remember our training that if we just stop and take a breath for a few minutes we can ground ourselves. So much of our wonderful training goes out the window when the brain has no chemical processes left to retrieve this information for us.

Our biological, or make that our survivalist, self takes over for a while, however, while we are functioning on a different plane we can comfort ourselves in the knowledge that this slice of our lives is just that—it does not define us completely and eternally—we still have tucked away, somewhere, that light inside that transcends the moment to moment. Remembering we have this light, however, might be tricky in the midst of remembering where we left the diaper bag.

Being a yoga parent also carries some additional baggage beyond temperament—the expectation of being the consummate, selfless, earth mama who breastfeeds on demand 24-hours a day, who purées only organic vegetables, who practices elimination communication, etc. All these things are wonderful, but sometimes unattainable. However, it’s a wonderful opportunity to check our selfs and define the true self. It’s a great opportunity to let go of these labels, to realize that the self is not the organic cloth diaper but rather the intention, or the light that guides all our choices.

However, yoga does not necessarily demand an all-in or nothing approach. Many philosophers have made space for householders, or people with families. This new space we explore with care, and with reasonable expectations. We can use many of the teachings of yoga, the concept of impermanence. The care of young children presents us with an imbalance—we naturally need to give up our space and time—but this is a phase, it is in many ways a fire we walk through. It changes us but we come through transformed. We feel like we lose ourself as mothers but we do not truly lose our selves. We lose things we used to cherish. We may lose our ability to have a 90-minute daily yoga practice but that is not our true self. We are not our practice. We are something more. Our true light shines. Sometimes our immersion may make it difficult to see, but the light shines waiting for us to embrace it.

Kimberlee is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher. She has been an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified instructor since 1992. Kimberlee is also a YogaFit® certified instructor and an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) certified Group Fitness Instructor. She is a member of the American Council on Exercise (ACE) Continuing Education Faculty and is an authorized AFAA continuing education provider. Kimberlee is also a certified Moms in Motion instructor. Her yoga teacher training includes the special arts of teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga, yoga for seniors, and kids yoga. Kimberlee is author of the Punk Rock Yoga Manifesto: Look, Work, Accept, Transcend and co-author of Yoga for Scuba Divers and Yoga with a Friend.

The Dust in the Corners

Jenny Bee
September 11, 2018

One of the last posts I wrote was all about my NEW AMAZING SPECTACULAR apartment. The one I manifested. You can read it here if you missed it. I wrote it on a bit of a high. The post is sparkling and new, light, just like my new amazing spectacular apartment. But you know what isn’t any of those things? My old, small, dishevelled, dingy, dirty apartment across the hall. And it’s that one that I had to deal with this weekend. That I’m still dealing with.

I’ve been running into people who’ve read that post and saw we moved, and they’re asking, “How is it to be settled in?” And I say that I’m not, and all the other shit is still on the other side of the door of the apartment across the hall. I’ve been telling them that I wanna just leave it all there and keep the door locked, or set fire to it. And I mean it. And I have that tendency as so many of us do…

Relationship not working? Get a new one. Having a hard time with your job? Get a new one. Don’t like the city you’re living in? Move to a new one. The idea that “I’ll be happy when…” (why we need Santosha, or contentment.) And of course, every Good Yogi knows that happiness is within. D’acc?

Of course, the zenitude of my new pad, was largely because I originally only brought over the sorted, dusted, vetted good stuff. Everything was in it’s perfect place. Everything had a home, which is, I have learned, the key to keeping things tidy. IT FELT AMAZING. But then the time came where we really DID have to get all the crap out of the old apartment. And it needed to go somewhere. Garbage? Maybe. Recycling, renaissance, free to a good home? Any of the above, cause it can’t stay there.

I had to pull out the fridge. The stove. I had to clean these things like new because they don’t even belong to me and I dirtied them. Retch. More dust and crap down there than I wanted to deal with. The corners of every cupboard. Ugh. Because if I didn’t, you know who would? Our amazing concierge that has become like an uncle to me. And that’s just not fair. It’s my mess to deal with. I can’t leave it there. I can’t burn it. I need to clean it up. I need to deal with it. I cannot run from it.

So that’s it. That was my weekend. It was real. And only as I clean up the old, tie up the loose ends, can I truly be free to enjoy my new digs. You hear my metaphor?

NEW beginnings this fall. Will you join me?

La rentrée. I know some people; this concept is abstract. You are pregnant or you babies aren’t quite ready for school. For many, this time of year is super stressful because it can be such a huge adjustment. It was that way when my oldest (who’s now in Grade 2!) started. Everything was so unfamiliar—for all of us. But this year, even though her little brother has started kindergarten, this year’s rentrée has been pretty smooth!

When he was still in daycare I would break my neck to go get him as early as I possibly could. And now, well, it’s no longer an option. So, I have found myself with a few extra hours to fill.

What better to fill them with than private yoga for YOU? I have a few extra spots now, in my weekly schedule to take on private clients in yoga, yoga therapy and Ayurvedic consultation.

I wanted to offer those of you subscribed to this list first crack at these new spots.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Private yoga/therapy looks different for everyone I see, because the whole point is that it’s very personalized. Some people are looking to relax (well, most people), some have specific issues like Diastasis Recti. I see clients for fertility, prenatal and postnatal in their home. We can talk about goal setting, alignment, breath. The world really is your oyster and I’m here to guide you. Depending where you live, I can come to you, and I also now have space in my own home to welcome you in Outremont, and have times available at Espace Varana and Naada Yoga.

If you are interested in more details about private yoga with me, please respond to this email with any questions or call me at 514.318.4566

This fall will also bring all the regular things I am excited to teach, including another date for COUPLES BIRTH WORKSHOP, Oct. 7; SHANTALA MASSAGE Oct. 15; and the brand new ABCs of AFTER BIRTH, Dec. 8. You can read more about these below.

For those of you signed up here because of my book, A Yogi Mama’s Guide to Yoga, Ayurveda & Your Child, I have a few interesting events coming up.

Montreal’s Buddha Bazaar
Saturday, Sept 22

Centre de Loisirs communautaires Lajeunesse
10am – 8pm. I’ll be doing a reading of A Yogi Mama’s Guide at 4pm, and there will be a colouring activity for your kiddos.

Book signing and chat at Indigospirit in Orleans, Sunday, September 30 at 1 PM – 3 PM
FREE Family Yoga and book signing at Coles Carlingwood in Ottawa, Saturday, September 30 at 11 AM – 2 PM

Book Signing
Saturday, October 6
Indigo Place Montreal Trust
1-4pm

Manifest, Meditate, Move. Thoughts on the Law Of Attraction from my new appartment

Jenny Bee
September 3, 2018

I had a Meeting of the Minds with the Universe. No contract was signed, but we got it. We understood the vibe. That’s what “manifesting” is all about.

I am the Yoga teacher that is going to talk about the The Law of Attraction. Who says that the world is your oyster. And I have too much personal anecdotal evidence to believe otherwise.

“I AM MOVING!” I said. Or did I think it? Regardless, it amounts to the same thing. You plant a seed by thinking such things. You send your desire our there. You think it. Or whisper it. Or scream it loudly. The Universe hears.

Wheels are set in motion. They might seem to be turning slowly or not at all, but rest assured, they are. That seed is waiting for the perfect conditions to sprout. To grow. To bloom.

I’m writing this in my new apartment. A week ago, I didn’t even know I was moving. Sometimes the things we want happen slowly and sometimes they happen really quickly.

Some time ago, we moved areas of town, also quite quickly, in order to be closer to our daughter’s school. I wrote about it in a post I had forgotten about, called Manifesting Convenience. We were tired of the long car ride so we moved mid-schoolyear a 10-minute walk away. It was not a decision we regret. We did, however, move into a teeney, tiny, shoebox of an apartment that we quickly outgrew. I would remind myself that my place was small when I lived in the UK. I felt like a spoiled North American Princess. I tried really hard to convince myself. I was thinking that maybe come July, a year away when the rest of Montreal moves, we could move too. I really, really wanted to get out of my apartment. Or from the other side, I really, really wanted to be in a space where I felt free and calm and like I had space.

And then it felt urgent. The tiny size of my apartment was beginning to affect my mental health. I felt like I was suffocating. Drowning in STUFF! There was just no space. My dresser and bed were some close together that I couldn’t open the drawers of my dresser completely. I couldn’t walk around my bed. Board games and books were toppling off of shelves in the kid’s room. I don’t need a study to tell me the negative ways in which clutter and the space around us affect our health. I could feel it in my body. I always can.

What I knew was I don’t need a three-story house in the suburbs. I don’t need a big home with a forest as a backyard (although I am really enjoying visiting the friends I have who live out in the forest). But I DO need room to breathe. I imagined a space like this.

Then the soil was ripe. On a Sunday, I decided we needed to move. On a Monday, I walked out of my apartment to see that the one in front of me was empty. I walked in and felt a huge weight lift. The ceilings were higher. The kitchen… Oh my, the kitchen was so much bigger. I SAW my family in this house. I sat and imagined how we would feel in this new, fresh space.

Then I got in touch with the company that owns the building and was told the unit was being held for renovation. They’re renovating much of my building and jacking the price up considerably when they do so. Letting me have the unit was not in their interest. I did not think that I was going to get this apartment. But I also thought it was at least worth asking. It is ALWAYS worth asking. I sent a very polite request to move into the unit. I let it go. I didn’t hear back for a day or two and thought they were ignoring this preposterous request. But I continued to visualize the colours I would paint the walls (yellow kitchen, pearl blue kids room etc. etc.) and which room would be mine, the kids… I was at work when I got a text from my husband, who by the way, knew nothing of my brilliant plan, saying that the apartment was ours, but we had 24 hours to decide if we want it because they were already drawing up renovation plans.

The apartment, which is much bigger is also much more expensive. Could we afford it? Was this something we need? Was I being unrealistic?

I woke up that night and had the first panic attack I’ve had in years. I spiralled downward thinking and saying all kinds of very unhelpful, dark, negative and ultimately untrue things.

We don’t belong here
We can’t afford this
We’re broke
We’re poor
I will never live anywhere nice

None of these things are true. But they are magnetic. They are contagious and they can become true. Because the Law if Attraction, attracts. And it worlds regardless of whether your thoughts are “good” or “bad.” Do you remember the story of the wolves? I’ve witnessed this power too many times to not believe this to be real, with my whole entire being.

When I was studying Yoga Therapy at  Re:Source I took a workshop with Carina Raisman and Peter Lavoie called Move, Meditate, Manifest. We learned very simple ways to get our desires and goals … organized… so the Universe can help make those things happen. I came up with personal, professional and health goals for 10, 5, 1 years and the present moment. When I looked at my goals a year later, I’d reached all my short term goals and was even as far along as five years in the future with some stuff!

So here we are. In our new apartment. It’s considerably more expensive, which is a little terrifying. But I know the money will come. It ALWAYS does. It does because of the magic of manifestation. I negotiated to keep some of the furniture that was already in the unit. I painted a few rooms with care and washed everything on my hands and knees. Because we’re moving across the hall, we’ve been carrying armfuls of stuff back and forth and back and forth. I don’t know when we will be done.

I am overwhelmed by the thought of organizing, because organizing overwhelms me. I’m trying to take it one room at a time, particularly dreading the kitchen cupboards and the kids’ stuff.

But I am grateful—beyond grateful that things lined up like this.

To think, whisper, or yell is not always enough. I could have wished with all my might for this apartment and that would have been the end of that. I needed to take the next step. I needed to be an active participant in the whole thing or it would not likely have happened. You need to believe and you need to do. You need to co-create the reality that you want. Because the world is your oyster and this apartment is mine.

Camping with kids, like everything, gets easier with time and practice

Jenny Bee
August 22, 2018

I said to the woman with the six month old, camping near us, clearly sleep deprived as her kid was up teething all night, “Oh I remember camping with a baby. It gets easier and easier!” She seemed relieved though she was already worried about the night ahead of her.

We took a break from camping last year. The year before we’d gone to Yamaska with friends. It was mostly fun, save for the constant rain. Save for our totally flooded tent. Our spirits somehow stayed high. But it didn’t leave me looking forward to a possible next time. Instead, we rented an air bnb and tool it very easy in Gaspesie.

My girl’s first camping trip @ 1.5yo

Previous to that, I have memories of camping with kids who needed to be walked around the site in a stroller. Who wore diapers. It was doable. We did it. (you can read this post for tips on camping with a toddler. Our goal was to survive, and we did.) But this year, as the kids are five and seven, it was borderline EASY! They helped set the tent up and make the beds. They helped prepare dinner and wash dishes. They helped with the fire and roasted their own marshmallows. If they weren’t helping they could play and entertain themselves. Unlike the days when one parent had to do camp set-up while the other took care of this kids.

Like those trips downtown as a solo parent, or to Ottawa or Magog, there was just an ease. I treat every experience (camping or otherwise) with kids as learning– an opportunity to refine how we do things the next year. We tend not to camp  in the same place or take vacation in the same place, but I still take from the previous year and try to refine.

I think we need a bigger tent. And chairs for adults are non-negociable. We could have done with a little mallet and ax. I’d like to get a shelter with mosquito netting and possibly a bigger air mattress. I’d like solid, uncrooked tent pegs. Having a Colman stove was new for us, making cooking a convenient breeze and we cleverly zipped two gigantic sleeping bags together, recreating the family bed in our little tent.

We moved recently and I was feeling pretty disoriented trying to get it all together for this trip. There was a moment when I thought it just wasn’t worth it. It really is a lot of preparation. Especially if you only go once a year. But in the end, it was more than worth it. We had the most perfect experience camping at Mille Roche in Long Sault.

There was anxiety as we left because the weather was not looking good, but in the end it sprinkled only a little and we got the tent up in time to head to Prehistoric World.

We spent a day at Upper Canada Village, (and they give you free passes at the campsite) another at Crysler Marina where we rented a canoe and totally relaxed. Our one-hour canoe rental turned into an epic day of exploring a desert island, splashing in a beautifully warm lake, a wee train ride and fish and chips in Cornwall. We’re planners, but love the space to go with the flow and not necessarily know what comes next.

We ate really well. We ate a lot!

In all fairness, I will mention that my fiery girl had a couple epic melt-downs, the kids fought a normal amount and there were a few times when I threatened to throw everything in the car (or fire!) and head back to Montreal…

More people are reading about and experiencing the benefits of getting back to nature. Whether it’s earthing or spending time near water. I think we all come back feeling restored and renewed. Although in pretty desperate need of a shower.

Camping is the perfect place to really be in the present moment. To sync up with nature, because in the city we are all so incredibly out of sync. Camping, we go to sleep with the setting sun and wake up with the rising sun. We fall asleep to the sound of crickets and frogs and wake up to the sound of geese, ducks and chattering squirrels.

Same silly geese a few years earlier

On this particular trip, there were very few mosquitoes or ticks (didn’t see a single tick!). The nights weren’t too cold and the mornings weren’t too hot. I’m wise enough to know that not every future family camping trip will be this smooth and seamless, but I’m incredibly grateful that we had this experience to restore my belief in camping being the perfect family vacation.

 

Ayurveda and the fine art of planting your ass on the couch

Jenny Bee
August 3, 2018

This has been one long week, in one long month.

And I’ve decided to stay in tonight. A Friday night. My husband congratulated me. He’s going to work this evening, and I thought about getting a sitter and going out. But I’m not going to and he knows how hard that is for me.

He said, “I’ve noticed you’ve been relaxing more.” And it’s the nicest thing I’ve heard in a long time. I took it as a massive compliment. Because I am one of those people for whom relaxing feels all but impossible.

Habitually, if there is a free space in my calendar, I plug it up. With a coffee date, a time to plan a workshop with a friend, a show, yoga class or rock climbing. The truth is, a hole in my schedule makes me nervous. The thought of not having my days planned in advance makes me anxious. So I plan and over plan, and I inevitably burn out. This pattern I’ve noticed. We all have them.

I often joke that my husband is anti-social (he’s actually not) and that my social life is “hyperactive.” (that part is accurate). And I’m pretty sure I could get myself an ADD diagnosis.

But now that I know more about Ayurveda, I know why I have these tendencies and I know how to correct them. That “relaxing more,” he mentioned is unnatural and very intentional. I have a Pitta-Vata constitution. I go go go like the wind (Vata). I push push push with my fire’s (Pitta)’s lust of life. And then. Well, there’s not a lot left. Exhaustion… We are all made up of the three doshas, but I often feel like I’m 0% Kapha. That which is grounding, steady and solid.

But I’ve noticed myself, these days, gravitating to be in the presence of those who are more Kapha. They speak more slowly and intentionally. They are loving and emotional. Most importantly, they often have big, dreamy eyes.

But the point is, I’m trying to slow down. I’m trying to honour myself and my cycles. Honour the reality that a woman doesn’t function the same way the entire month. Honour that it’s summer and it’s friggin’ humid and hot out there! There are seasons and cycles happening all the time and I am getting better and better at tuning into them. (If this paragraph is interesting to you, I highly recommend the book Wild Power). And it seems to be working.

I have friends, for whom, I am the Yang to their Yin. Those very Kapha friends who might not “naturally” have that fire that sometimes causes me so much grief. Those friends who might need a little extra nudge to embark on that project they’ve been meaning to get to for the last five months or 10 years.

Okay, okay, so tonight I didn’t do nothing. I did write a blog post and the evening has barely begun. But at least I’m in comfy pjs and by butt is firmly planted IN the couch. I “plan” to be here till tomorrow afternoon…

 

MONTREAL BOOK LAUNCH SUNDAY!

Jenny Bee
July 18, 2018

If you’re reading this, it’s possible we’ve known each other for many years. Or months or days. Or maybe we’ve not met in real life. And what better time than the present to see each other in real life? THIS SUNDAY, JULY 22, I am stoked to be launching A Yogi Mama’s Guide to Yoga, Ayurveda & Your Child at naada yoga.

Join us for:
-Snacks and refreshments
-Baked goodies by Audacieuse Vanille
-An Ayurveda- themed yoga obstacle course (5 Elements) with Alba
-A raffle! (Jenny’s book, Free Family Yoga classes and an Ayurvedic consult with Jenny)

For those of you who pre-ordered the book, you can pick it up Sunday and I’ll even sign it if you want!

If you can’t make it, upcoming dates on the #bookbabytour:

Kids Colouring Morning
Saturday, September 1

Drawn & Quarterly
11-12pm

Free Family Yoga and Book Signing
Saturday, August 18
Whetstone Wellness
1-3pm

Montreal’s Buddha Bazaar
Saturday, Sept 22

Centre de Loisirs communautaires Lajeunesse
10am – 8pm

Coles Carlingwood in Ottawa
Indigospirit in Orleans
Weekend of Sept 30
details TBA

Book Signing
Saturday, October 6
Indigo Place Montreal Trust
1-4pm

Expo Yoga, 2019
Details TBA

I really, really hope you’ll be a part of the celebrations.

Jenny
xo

The book is currently available at:
AmazonIndigo or Balboa.
Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal

Naada Yoga, Montreal
Equilibrium Yoga, Montreal
Espace Varana, Montreal
Singing Pebble Books, Ottawa