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My Favourite Products for Pregnancy!

Since my pregnancy is coming to an end in a few weeks, I wanted to share a few of the amazing products that have helped me get through the last 35 weeks!

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Boppy Pregnancy Pillow (Not Pictured)

This was one of the first purchases I made and I’ve been thankful for it every.single.night! I chose the Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow because I could adjust the support for exactly where I needed it most and after baby arrives, it can double as a nursing pillow! I’m especially thankful for this pillow now as my body is going through such dramatic changes and my belly, hips and lower back need more support.

Lavender Essential Oil 

I’ve been going to TAP (True Aromatherapy Products) in Fort Langley for years and I’ve always been impressed by the quality of their products. Chris and I really value locally made, eco-friendly and fair trade items; we make every effort to shop and live with these core values in mind. TAP makes pure essential oil products on site and they are always so knowledge about natural healing. Not only is pure lavender oil great for household cleaning, its aroma is relaxing and therapeutic. I love diffusing it at the end of a long day or mixing it with epsom salt in a soaking bath.

Mama Mio “Keep Calm Nipple Balm”

Ahh! This balm is a lifesaver! This perfect blend of medical grade Lanolin, organic Shea Butter and organic Coconut and Olive Oils has saved my sanity as it relieves, soothes and moistures nipples that are going through changes of their own! I will definitely be using this balm when its time to start breastfeeding!

Usana Baby Care Prenatals (Not Pictured)

From the top-rated vitamin supplement company in the world, I wanted to make sure that I was getting pharmaceutical grade vitamins that were free from unnecessary fillers and effective in providing my baby with exactly the right nutrients for his growth and development. I also took additional Vitamin D, Biomega and Calcium supplements to ensure that baby got everything he needed! Get yours here.

Saje Mother’s Wellness Oil

Made in Vancouver with Grape Seed Oil, Apricot Oil, Jojoba Oil and the essential oils of Rosewood, Frankencense, Tangerine and Neroli. Needless to say this blend smells amazing and I never have to worry about what my skin is absorbing. (And so far…no stretch marks!)

Amber Necklace 

You can find these almost anywhere these days but I got mine from Jack and Audrey’s Natural Products in Chilliwack, BC. Made with authentic Baltic Amber from Lithuania, Amber stones are widely known as a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. I’ve only recently started wearing mine and it has made a huge difference in the hip pain that I’ve been experiencing as my ligaments loosen and prepare for childbirth. Seriously, I see why so many parents give their babies Amber teething necklaces to wear!

Lush Fair Trade Foot Lotion

There are so many products from Lush that I could easily gush about but the Fair Trade Peppermint Foot Lotion has been such a treat for sore tender toesies! Honestly, after long days carrying around the extra baby weight, I really enjoy this stuff! And I love knowing who made it, when it was made and who made it. I also love that it supports a group of small scale farmers and if I bring back 5 clean Lush pots, I’ll be rewarded with a fresh face mask. Good for the earth, good for people and good for me! Plus, when mixed with a foot rub from a caring Husband before bed…its just heavenly!

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth 

Finally, the book that is helping me to make the mind/body connection in preparation for childbirth. Seriously, Ina May Gaskin is an absolute genius! I loved reading every positive birth story and strategy. It’s stories like these that remind me to trust my body and know God has perfectly equipped Baby and I to go through this journey together. If there is any book to read during pregnancy, this.one.is.it.

What about you? Any Mamas out there have some of their own favourite pregnancy products to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

What I’ve wanted to say for the last 8.5 months.

This is my every day.

Every.single.day.of.my.life.right.now someone comments on how “small” I am and has from the very beginning. It’s not like I’m surprised, really. I am naturally petite, with a long torso and a half-asian baby living inside my womb so I don’t fit into most people’s ideas of what a pregnant woman “should” look like.

However, my midwives constantly inform me that baby’s growth is right on track and they are pleased with his progress. He is healthy, I am healthy and our size is exactly as it should be.

But when people say that my bump is small, it makes me feel like all the effort that my body has put into growing this little human is for nothing. I feel so unaccomplished every time someone says I look small…and pregnancy is hard work! My body and I have accomplished a lot in the last 34 weeks so I don’t need someone belittling that. I’ll laugh it off like it doesn’t bother me; but it does and I’ll remember your comment next time I check out my bump progress in the mirror. 

(The comments from some people have truly surprised me. A lot of people have argued with me about my size and I even had one guy ask specifically how much weight I had gained so far. Not that the number on the scale is ANY of his business. One woman that I worked with refused to acknowledge that I was pregnant for almost 6 months because she insisted that she was “bigger” than I was. How do you respond to that politely? Such an awkward comment.)

I can’t believe this even has to be explained: Mothers come in every colour, size and shape. Every mother is different, every pregnancy is different. We cannot measure women up against one another, just like we cannot compare the development of babies to one another. Not when they are within the womb and not after they are born. Everyone is unique and there is no “normal”.

Furthermore, pregnancy isn’t an excuse to talk about a woman’s weight, comment on her size or rub her belly. Under no circumstance would you subject a woman who isn’t pregnant to that kind of treatment and it is just as uncomfortable, unwanted and unacceptable for every woman who *is* pregnant.

(For the record, those who are a constant part of my life are allowed to *briefly* touch my belly to feel baby kicks, after obtaining my permission. But if you are a stranger, don’t be offended if I take a step back when you reach for the baby bump. Or else I just might start rubbing your belly in response!)

So *please*, whether you are a friend, family or a stranger, please be kind and considerate the next time you speak to a pregnant woman. Do not ever, ever, ever comment on her size or try to touch her belly without her consent. Instead, encourage her for the incredible, life-changing season that she is in, celebrate with her and be supportive of the transformation that is taking place within her.

I’ve held that in for 8.5 months. Rant over.

34 weeks

Maternity Photos: Iona Beach

During the last week of August I had the absolute pleasure of shooting with photographer Ryan Schroeder  and makeup artist, Gwen Perkins  of Belle and Rebel Beauty. Together we caught the last golden rays of sunset at Iona Beach, Vancouver BC and captured my little bump at 27 weeks.

We’re planning another shoot for sometime in Autumn so stay tuned and enjoy the photos!

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This final one is my favourite, purely for sentimental reasons; not many women can say that they still fit into their wedding dress at 7 months pregnant!

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One day I will miss this precious season of pregnancy where tenderness and strength mix in the holiness that stretches and embodies you to the limits of your earthly soul. For now, I am simply thankful.

Hello Autumn and Hello 3rd Trimester!

The Vancouver sky is grey this morning. Candles are burning, soup brewing, laundry washing and almost as if on cue, September has begun and Autumn has arrived. My growing belly is finally revealing the presence of my tiny passenger and everywhere I go I have people asking when my baby will be arriving. By most people’s definition I still don’t “look” 7 months pregnant but this is what 7 months pregnant looks like on me.

This year, Autumn means big knit sweaters, colourful scarfs, vibrant leaves, Pumpkin Spiced Lattes *decaf*, The Cranberry Festival, Aldor Acres, Thanksgiving turkey, Remembrance Day and… our Baby Boy!

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The Summer went by so quickly. Now that we are in the 29th week and in the Third Trimester, everything feels so much more real. I’m definitely nesting now and baby preparations are in full-swing! The house is getting de-cluttered, the freezer is full of frozen soup, private at-home prenatal classes are booked, placenta encapsulation is set up and the birthing pool is ordered! Yes- we are planning to birth our baby at home with midwives and a doula in attendance…AND I am planning on eating my placenta in all its nutritious glory after birth. #crunchymama

But in all seriousness, I am genuinely looking forward to giving birth. There’s just something so sacred about the whole idea of God using me to bring a new human life into existence and that I would get to carry him into the world. Remarkably, I find myself facing no fear of birth and I am sure that much of that is accredited to the wisdom of Ina May Gaskin and her teachings. I’m learning to trust what my body is capable of and these last seven months have been such a journey of strength. I am amazed at what the female body is capable of! Every single day I am blessed to feel my child as he stretches and squirms within my womb. At the same time I am reminded of the many women who would love to experience this journey yet are unable to or still waiting for the right time; I am eternally blessed and grateful for the journey I am on.

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Nostalgia: Miss World Ceremonies 2012

Wow. Has it really been two years already? This time two years ago I was finishing off 5 weeks competing at Miss World 2012 in China. I was so proud to represent Canada! Here’s a look back into that incredible experience through the Opening Ceremonies Celebration.

Tara, xo

6 month update!

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Wow! Time is flying by! My apologies for the extremely delayed update but summer-time is here and I’ve been busy busy busy! From gender reveal parties to camping to meeting with Ministers and Senators, this has been a very full month!

I know I rarely (**never) post photos of my bare belly but I have to admit, I absolutely LOVE my baby bump and I’m so proud of my strong body that is carrying, nurturing and growing this new life within me. Every time I feel him move, which is constantly, I’m reminded of how precious this gift is and how incredible my body is for taking us on this amazing journey.

So here’s some insight into the milestones of this month…

20 Weeks was a huge week; we had our midwife appointment and ultrasound….meaning that we finally got to find out that we are having a little BOY! From the very beginning I have had a feeling that we would have a son and now that we’ve seen his photos it makes this whole pregnancy so much more real! Our wonderful friends gathered around us to celebrate at our gender reveal party that was graciously put together by our dear friend, Becca.

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As you can see, most of the votes were heavily stacked in favour of #TeamBlue. In fact, all the family members were convinced that it would be a boy from the very beginning! We didn’t cut a cake or release balloons; instead we decided to spray coloured “silly string” for our gender reveal party! It was a lot of fun and I’m so happy that we were able to share this exciting moment with 30 of our closest friends and family.

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21 Weeks didn’t have as much excitement as I spent most of the week preparing my messages for Camp Imadene on Vancouver Island. One thing that I did realize this week was how much bonding I did with the baby as the reality was sinking in that I will be the Mama of a little boy in a few short months. His movements got stronger and stronger each day and now a lot of the family members have felt him kicking against my belly.

22 weeks was out of this world as Baby and I spent the week at a Teen Girls Camp with some of the most amazing people! Being a Camp Speaker is easily one of the most favourite things and I already miss all my ice cream dates with the campers, long talks with some of the most genuine staff teams, releasing glowing floating lanterns onto the lake at night and sunset mountain top experiences at Chapel. We saw God working in the lives of these precious girls as we learned more about who God is, how He uniquely created each of us while we listened to His truth and challenged the fears and negative self-talk that we carry so that we can do the “next brave thing” and become more of the women that God created us to be. World Change begins in our hearts and it is all about grace and transformation. 

One night after we released lanterns over the lake, I was speaking with one young camper as we watched the lanterns drifting away. This sweet girl has cerebral palsy and she began to talk about how great the week has been for her. Then she turned to my belly, put her hand onto my tummy and began to speak to my little baby and tell him how great life is and that he doesn’t need to worry or freak out about anything because it will all end up good!

*tears*

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To say it was a life-changing week is an understatement; it was eternity-changing. Truly, I have never been so honoured to serve alongside such a lion-hearted staff team who loved with immeasurable grace and humility.

23 weeks is the week that I spent at home.on the couch. It was rough but I’m very thankful for the flexibility of my work that allows me to take the time to rest when I need it.

24 weeks is where I currently find myself…eager to wish the summer away and hasten my baby’s arrival this autumn but also never wanting this special time of pregnancy to end. I really do love being pregnant. I know that I will miss this season when it is over so I am doing my best to take in every moment and savour every little baby kick until I can kiss those little toes that have been wiggling inside all this time.

Until then we are enjoying weekend camping trips and roundtable dinner discussions like the one I attended last night with prominent female leaders in Vancouver, Minister Kellie Leitch (Status of Women) and Senator Yonah Martin. Our focus was on Canada’s upcoming initiative for “International Day of the Girl” and the issues that girls face within Canada and abroad. We discussed education, self-esteem, forced marriage, media literacy, human trafficking, gender violence and body image, among many other important issues. It was baby’s first time attending a political meeting and somehow, I ‘m sure that it won’t be his last! I’m so excited to raise a boy and teach him the importance of integrity, service and honouring others. 

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And that’s my recap of July 2014! I hope your summer has been as exciting as mine has! Here’s to my favourite month of the year….AUGUST! It ain’t over yet!

19 Week Catch up!

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I finally “popped”! It only took 19 weeks…almost half of my pregnancy but now, I finally look somewhat pregnant!

Seriously this has been such a fun week! I’m feeling absolutely fantastic, plus we had two sets of good friends who had their weddings this weekend so it was super fun to get together and celebrate with them! Chris was the Best Man in his friend, Brandon’s wedding. I was so proud of him when he made his speech (the video montage that accompanied it was also hilarious)!

** Congratulations to Brandon & Karina and Curtis & Patricia! Wishing you a lifetime of love and joy!

This week I finally felt the baby move!! I’ve probably been feeling little kicks for the past two weeks but this week I know for certain. My mom and Chris were both able to feel the baby move too! That was very exciting. We’re all so excited to meet this little one. It’s fun that we can start to interact with him/her now through the little movements.

photo (14)More gifts for Baby Yam!! From Emilia and Darcy- long time family friends of Chris. 

Oh! And I forgot to update you. I got my hair done last week before the pageant. I’ve been thinking of lightening up the colour for a long time and now that I’m done the first trimester, its time to update with something new for summer. I went to my long-time stylist, Alex, at Salon Montage in Langley. The atmosphere is great, the service is phenomenal and the products are all Aveda, so its gentle on my hair and on the environment.

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STATS:

How far along?: 19 weeks (currently 20 weeks…this update is late)

How big is Baby?: Mango sized

Sleep: I sleep great.

Food Cravings: Ice cream, popsicles and vanilla mochi….maybe its a typical pregnancy craving or its just plain HOT OUTSIDE. #summertimepregnancyproblems

Food Aversions: Not applicable this week.

Symptoms: Still headache free! Just making sure that I drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and cool in this intense summer weather. I made Chris buy a fan for the house. Tooooo Hottttt!

Gender: Soon soon soon! Gender Reveal Party on July 12…stay tuned!

What I’m looking forward to: Gender Reveal Party….boy or girl?? What do you think?!

What I miss: I do miss drinking a cold beer with my hubby on a warm summer evening. Oh well….I’ll have a celebratory drink in…4.5 months.

Next appointment: July 8 with the midwives and then July 9 at the ultrasound clinic. (**By the time of this post I’ll have had both appointments already…stay tuned for the 20 week blog to hear the results!)

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