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In Health, Parenting, Random Thoughts on
November 30, 2018

The Newborn Sleep Guide

In the Words of Dr. Harvey Karp “Your babies nine months – or three trimesters – inside you is a time of unbelievable complex development.  Never less, it takes a baby an additional three months to “wake up” and become active partners in the relationship. This time between birth and the end of your baby’s third month is what I call your baby’s fourth trimester.”

Congrats mama on your new baby and welcome to the 4th trimester!  It has always been so amazing to me how in a matter of minutes a new person is welcomed into the world.  That moment when you see their face for the first time really tops the cake for experiences you will go through in your lifetime.  The newborn smell… ahhhh, nothing better! I am excited to welcome you into the world of motherhood as a first-time mama or a mama of more!  

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In Lifestyle, Parenting, Style on
May 17, 2018

DIY Mobile: Multiculturalism in Motherhood through Exploration and Creation

By Gabriela Tellier

Like many Alberta mamas, I am an immigrant mother. I arrived in Edmonton when I was 17 years old and was welcomed to a beautiful city, to a beautiful province and country, that I now call home. Today, I am the mother of two young children and am privileged to introduce to them the culture of their homeland, as well as that of their mother’s. My children are Canadian, and they are also Peruvian.

We recently celebrated Canada Day, a day that is very special for all Canadians, those who were born here, and those who arrived later in life. Inspired by that, I share this DIY. As a mother raising bicultural children, I am always looking for creative and fun ways to teach my children about both cultures. By getting the kids outside to explore, and making art together, I embrace multiculturalism in motherhood and honor the land that gave a home to my children and to the culture that came before them.

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In Lifestyle, Parenting, Random Thoughts on
November 15, 2017

No, that Baby Boy is Not Your Daughter’s Boyfriend…

The sexualization of babies in the messages we give,

“Awe, look at those babies! They are so cuuuuuute!”

“That’s her boyfriend. She just loves getting attention from him!”

Ummmmm, WHAT?

Time and time again I’ve heard this type of banter between parents. A baby girl and a baby boy who enjoy giggling back and forth with one another cues a “joke” about how so and so is her boyfriend or girlfriend. Or maybe they just managed to be born around the same time, must be her boyfriend. Perhaps he likes to grab out and hold her hand as he’s learning to perfect his baby grasp, hey not so fast buddy

While it’s all cute and friendly, have we ever stepped back and thought for a second about what messages these “harmless” conversations are sending to our little ones? When we do this we teach our children (especially the older ones who are listening to it all and absorbing everything by the millisecond) that boys and girls must always be attracted to one another. That a boy and a girl who like to play with one another can’t possibly just be friends. It must mean more. In essence, we are needlessly sexualizing babies right from the get go.

No wonder it’s difficult for many adults to just be friends with members of the opposite sex, or for spouses to not be concerned about male-female relationships. Obviously, there are lots of influences on this, but these are the very first messages about relationships we are sending our children.

Then there’s the whole, “you better stay away from my baby girl when she’s older” or “better start cleanin’ the shot gun” mentality…. My 2 year old son was told this more than once by joking father’s of female children. MY 2 YEAR OLD SON. Think about the implications of that. We are (not so subtly) telling girls that they need to be protected by a male figure (daddy), that boys are out to get them because they have bad intentions, that girls have limited consent, that boys must be friends with you for only one reason…. the list goes on.

There’s also the whole assumption this brings up that your baby is heterosexual…. Let’s not even get into what message it sends to a child who is stigmatized down that path for years of his or her life.

These comments are almost always made by parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/PEOPLE who are well meaning and jovial without ill intention. Don’t get me wrong, it is adorable when babies play together, but why does it matter what sex those children are? Can we just let them be BABIES, please?

We would love to hear your comments on this topic! Feel free to share below!

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In Health on
September 25, 2017

Train Your Perineum for Birth

Giving birth is one of the biggest challenges in a woman’s life. If you have ever trained hard for an upcoming event like a triathlon you would know that in order to be successful you are required to match the distributions you will be experiencing.

What is a perineum? And why should I protect it?

Your perineum is the area between your vulva and anus. It helps support the uterus, bladder, and vagina.  The reason you need to protect this area in birth is because when there is trauma to this area it can cause a lot of pain and many other problems that will be described below.

Depending on where you are in your pregnancy you may have been told to do a perineum massage. This is when you put your fingers inside your vagina and try to stretch the perineum. Why do the doctors or midwives tell you to do this?

First-degree perineal tears are the least severe. They may or may not require stitches. I had one minor tear inside of my vagina because my daughter came out with her arm up above her head.

Second-degree perineal tear involves tearing the perineal muscles. These muscles support the bladder, vagina, and uterus and will require stitches to the perineum.

Third-degree perineal tear involve the perineal muscles and the muscles that surround the anus. A consequence of this type of tear is faecal incontinence, urinary incontinence, and painful intercourse.

Forth-degree perineal tears are the most severe and they involve the perineal muscles, the anal sphincter, as well as the tissue lining the rectum. Consequences of this type of tear are also faecal incontinence, urinary incontinence and painful intercourse.

A lot of women tell me “I wish I would have known about the consequences of tearing my perineum or getting an episiotomy and that there was a way to prevent it”

In order to train your perineum and pelvic floor you will need to gradually strengthen and stretch the muscles and tissues so it will become stronger and more elastic. This will reduce the chance of a tear of the perineum or the need for an episiotomy during delivery. If the perineum remains intact, the muscles and tissue can easily recover following birth. And scars, prolapse of the organs, and incontinence can be avoided.

There is a birth trainer specifically for this. It is called the EPI-NO Delphine Plus. A Birth and Postnatal Trainer, designed, developed, and manufactured in Germany in close co-operation with gynaecologists, midwives, urogenital physiotherapists and pregnant women. It is also is Health Canada approved! If you have extended health benefits you may be able to use them to purchase the EPI-NO.

The training methods that are used with this device is a three stage program:

  • Exercise your pelvic floor muscles to strengthen them before birth,
  • Stretch the perineum, for the gradual stretching of the vaginal passage, the perineum and the vaginal muscles before birth, and
  • Simulation of birth to train for the delivery phase of childbirth.

Arco Maternity Clinic Recommendations for Use:

  • It is recommended that you train daily from your 36th week of pregnancy, optimally 2 x a day in a relaxed and undisturbed atmosphere.  
  • Preheat the perineum with a warm damp compress, a hayseed pack, or a hip bath.  
  • Training time not less than 10 min, according to the instructions for use, daily increase the diameter of the balloon by inflating right up to the limit where a feeling of tension is noticeable.
  • Breathe deeply several times into this tension, close your eyes and visualize the little head of the baby, then press the balloon slowly out of the vagina.
  • The training is recommendable for all pregnant women, whether expecting a first child of after several births, whether there was once a birth with the perineum intact or a perineal tear or episiotomy.

Just like a triathlon you need to mentally prepare yourself. The simulation of birth allows you to experience the sensation ahead of time, giving you more confidence and lessening any anxieties, which in turn will help you to relax.

Experiences with the EPI-NO from the Arco Maternity Clinic:

Each midwife learns and knows the active form of perineum protection, for many midwives it is a privilege to be active there where the child arrives and to avoid a rapid passage of the head and thus possible injury to the perineum. We midwives from the arco Maternity Clinic go so far as to say that an active protection of the perineum by the midwife is, after training with EPI·NO, no longer necessary. There is nothing more wonderful and fulfilling for the woman giving birth, her partner and for us midwives than for the woman to push the little head of her child with her own hand or the hand of her partner. She knows herself intuitively also through the training with EPI·NO, how much feeling and dosing this procedure requires. These births are the ones with the fewest perineum injuries and it is the most dignified, active and integral way to accompany a birth. To experience woman and man as an entity, we midwives remain in the background as extras who can call on their professional knowledge at any time and whenever necessary.”

The finish line of your “Triathlon of Birth” is the most magnificent and life-changing time of your life, and a successful triathlon of birth should involve your family, friends, doula, and physician cheering you on.

I wish you success in your pelvic health!

The Brilliant Baby Bump is a Medicine Hat company devoted to education, prevention, and healing women in their pelvic health. We are dedicated to raising awareness in women’s pelvic health to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction. We want to create a community where women are not embarrassed to talk about pelvic floor health.

Facebook: brilliantbabybump
Twitter: brilliantbabyb1
Instagram: brilliantbabybump

In Lifestyle, Parenting on
June 9, 2017

How to Survive Having a Newborn as an Oilfield Wife

How to Survive Having a Newborn as an Oilfield Wife 

I grew up Alberta Proud, in an oilfield town. My mother was a stay at home mom, and my dad has worked in the oilfield my entire life.

When I was 20, I fell in love with an oilfield man. I considered myself lucky, though he worked long hours on a 12 days on, 2 days off schedule, he came home every night.

Yet, when I was expecting, I could not have been more ill-prepared for what life would be like when he returned to work.

Lee went back to work 3 days after our son was born. I thought that I could handle everything. After all, I was a single parent before I met him, and taking care of two kids should be a piece of cake.  

Boy, was I wrong!

Life fell apart rather quickly. My perfectly cared for house was in shambles, my toddler ate whatever was the quickest thing to make at that moment, and having time to shower was non-existent.

Life was harder than I ever could have ever imagined.

He was home every night, but he was gone before the kids woke up, and got home after they were asleep.

There were times where I wished could go back to how things were before… how things were when I was a single parent. It made me feel guilty because all I wanted then was to stay home and care for my daughter. Yet, I wished I could stop being a stay at home mom.

My children are now 6 and 8, and though Lee and I are done having kids, we often discuss how we would do things differently if another little being was brought into our world.

Here are the top points that we come back to.


1) Food

Food was one of the hardest things to manage. So hard in fact, that the first thing that Lee would ask when he got home at night is, “Have you eaten today?”

There is a lot of things you can do to prepare for the first six weeks home. Creating a postpartum meal plan that includes a grocery list is a great starting point. Stocking up on gift cards to places that deliver, booking a session at Simply Supper (link for quick meal prep, and having a week or two worth of freezer meals or mason jar meals are some ways to reduce your stress when it comes to eating quick and healthy meals.


2) Cleaning

When I was a single mom, my house looked immaculate. Even with working a full-time job and having a toddler running around, everything was always in the place. When I had my son, everything changed. My house was a questionable mess.

It is nice to think that our partners can help with the housework when they get home, but when they work in the oilfield, their hours are long and hard. Some work away for weeks at a time and others work from before 6 am to after 8 pm. They need a good night’s sleep to ensure that they can be safe on their hazardous work days.

During the first six weeks home, newborns eat often, sleep sporadically, and tend to want lots of cuddles. Spending 30 minutes washing dishes or cleaning the bathroom is next to impossible.

Break it up.

3) Sleeping While dishes and laundry need to happen often, spending 5 to 10 minutes every hour cleaning is often easier. As for other chores, splitting them up into a schedule can help to keep on top of things. For example, on Monday clean the bathroom, on Tuesday clean the living room, on Wednesday clean the kitchen ect.

While dishes and laundry need to happen often, spending 5 to 10 minutes every hour cleaning is often easier. As for other chores, splitting them up into a schedule can help to keep on top of things. For example, on Monday clean the bathroom, on Tuesday clean the living room, on Wednesday clean the kitchen ect.

Another option is hiring help. Having a housekeeper come and do the more time-consuming tasks, or a postpartum and infant care doula to do small tasks while you feed your baby are both viable options.


Whoever coined the term ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ must have had a whole houseful of help during the postpartum period.

As an oilfield wife, if I slept when baby slept, my house would have been a larger disarray than it already was. I was used to doing everything by myself, and I wasn’t prepared to ask for or accept help when I needed it. Not to mention, I had a 2-year old who didn’t always nap while my newborn was sleeping.

When your partner works over 12 hours a day, they may not be able to take over the nighttime feeding schedule.

To maximize the amount of sleep that you sleep at night, prepare your house so nighttime diaper changes and feeds can be done quickly and easily. If you are breastfeeding, have a dull night light in the room the baby is sleeping in, and have diapers accessible. Keep it as dark as possible so your baby will fall back to sleep after they are changed and fed. Avoid using your phone or screen during the night to so you can fall asleep quickly. If you are formula feeding, having a Baby Brezza or preparing your bottles the night before and storing them in the fridge can decrease the amount of time you need to be out of bed


4) Community

As a new mother, it is an unreachable expectation that you will be able to do everything you did before and take care of your baby. Building a strong community can be a game changer.

Reach out to local friends and family. Have them come over to have some baby cuddles while you catch a nap, ask if they can throw in a load of laundry or help with dishes, or enjoy some adult conversation while having a coffee and catching up.

Find a local moms/dads group to join. Having a reason to leave the house for an hour to hang out with a bunch of people who are experiencing the same things as you are is a crucial part of finding sanity in parenthood.

Joining a parenting community on social media that has the same parenting philosophies as you can also be a life saver.

If you are looking for extra support in creating a routine, learning newborn cues, or getting more sleep, you may consider hiring a postpartum and infant care doula. They can be the perfect addition to families whose partner works long hours during those first few months home.  

Having a strong community around you, whether it is organically created or paid for, is a crucial puzzle piece of raising a child.

Having a partner who works in the trades, the oilfield, or other careers where the hours are long provides a unique set of difficulties. There will be moments which drive you crazy, where you don’t know what you are doing or why you are doing it. Just when you don’t think you can go on, something will happen which fills your heart with hope and determination.

Parenthood is full of landmark moments. Share yours with the world.

Terra is the owner of Landmark Doulas. Terra and her team provide professional prenatal classes, labour support services,  placenta encapsulation, ) as well as postpartum and infant care services to families from Edmonton to Drayton Valley and beyond. You can find Terra and her team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest.

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