I hear it all the time—“breastfeeding vs. formula-feeding”—like they are constantly in competition. People would ask how I fed my older daughter and I would say, “Oh she's exclusively breast-fed,” like it was some kind of badge of honour. Sure, it's a great accomplishment and we totally understand how amazing that is, but the other side of it is that I felt like I could never give a bottle of formula without feeling like I completely failed. Like if she had formula, I should just throw in the towel and stop breastfeeding altogether. Yes, I actually thought that at one point.

But the thing is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Formula-feeding and breastfeeding can coexist quite happily. You can give a bottle without feeling guilty. Whether you are working or taking a night off, you can give formula and then continue to breastfeed. It doesn't have to be one or the other: it can be both!

In a local doula group, someone recently asked all the members what was their favourite thing about being a doula.

YOU! You are my favourite thing about being a doula. Seeing women like you faced with one of the most challenging moments of their lives; watching them grasp at every ounce of strength they have, seeing them transform from woman to mother as each surge brings their baby closer; YOU are the very best part of my job.

As a doula, I work hard, and tirelessly for my clients. But I don't work harder than you labour to bring forth new life.

At Heritage Birth Services, we are good at what we do, and we know that, but we are also incredibly humbled every time we are in the presence of a woman delivering her child. Why? Because we realize that you don't NEED us to give birth all the fierceness, the power, the strength that radiates through every part of you while you labour: that was God-given.

To celebrate Pi day, here's a review of my absolute favourite pizza place. The first time I walked in to Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, I immediately thought, "Where have you been all my life?" The modern yet inviting restaurant in Edmonton's new Manning Town Centre is everything a pizza lover dreams of.

The always-friendly staff will explain the process and take your order. If you order a build-your-own for $11.75, you can get your choice of sauce with unlimited toppings and the ability to always ask for more cheese. You can tailor your pizza to be exactly how you like it. Down the Subway-style assembly line it goes, as you chose your perfect toppings, then into the pizza oven that cooks your pizza incredibly fast, but with a perfectly finished crispy yet chewy dough. You then have the option to add finishes, a selection of cold sauces or toppings that go on after the pizza is cooked. I always opt for pesto and arugula.

There you have it, the perfect pizza! Grab one of there mouth-watering s'mores for dessert and a blood orange lemonade to drink and you're all set.

Whether pizza is your ultimate pregnancy craving or you just need a reason to get out of the house, with the kids, Blaze Pizza never disappoints.

To celebrate pi day, their pizzas are only $3.14, so there is officially no excuse not to celebrate pi day with some of the best pizza in town! 

It snuck up on me today when I least expected it. I haven't really been counting. Has it really been two years—two whole years—since we lost you? When I was in it I thought I would never see the light. It felt like everything was crashing down around me and that no one understood.

But time is healing even for the deepest of wounds.

Two whole years. I'm still not over it. I don't ever expect myself to be over it, but I am okay. I still think about it about you often, and smile at what could have been but wasn't quite meant to be.

I know one day we will meet you and until then, I take comfort knowing you are wrapped in our father’s ever-loving arms.

Missing you always,
Mamma

"​Oh the screaming, the crying, the chaos! Is this normal? Is it supposed to be like this?"

I find my self wondering as I adapt to life as a mom. Why does it seem like the house is always messy and I can never quite catch up? What am I doing wrong? Shouldn't it be easier than this? But when I'm on the verge of loosing it, you walk in and stand in the midst of all the chaos, just happy to be home. You wrap me in your arms and ask me how my day was. I savour the moment then a toddler squeezes in and yells, "group hug!"

Baby cries to be fed, I continue with dinner preparations, and the moment passes like meany perfect but ordinary moments do. Later, I catch myself dreaming of romance, roses, and hotel stays, time that's only ours and I wish that could be our life. Then I come to the conclusion that it will be like that one day. But for now, I am so increadbly blessed that you're here with me right in the middle of all the chaos.

So even though our current reality is more movies and ice cream than hotels and roses, I wouldn't want it any other way. 

I’m so glad you found us. I’ll save you the trite platitudes—you’ve likely heard them all, and instead congratulate you on the upcoming arrival (or recent arrival) of your littlest love. Whether you scheduled an elective caesarean section early in your pregnancy, or it was recommended later in your pregnancy; if it was a hasty decision made in the midst of an emergency situation, or something you feel you had plenty of time to think about—weighing carefully the risks and the benefits—I hope (with all of my heart) that you feel supported here, that you feel listened to here, and that your feelings, whatever they may be, are validated here.

Here are a few things I wish I would’ve known before my c-section.

Heading into your third trimester, you might be wondering what to pack in your hospital bag. If you don't want to forget anything but you also don't want to over-pack and have to lug around a bunch of unused stuff, here's our list of favourite things to pack.

It's everything you will need, and all the things you will want with you to make your hospital stay as comfortable as possible.

​September 28th 2016
The day started out pretty normal. I was 38 weeks pregnant and anxious to meet our baby but didn't really think it would be anytime soon. Zelena and I headed off to Bible study that morning, and a group of ladies prayed over me that I would be content and that baby would arrive in God's perfect timing. I left feeling at peace that baby would come when the time was right.

My mom had come to Edmonton to help me get a few groceries, because when your hugely pregnant with a toddler in tow, you need all the help you can get. I also met with my midwife in the afternoon for a completly routine check-in. I had no idea I would be seeing them both again later that night!

Who knows if eating cookies helps increase your milk supply but who needs an excuse to eat cookies? Not me!

This recipe like most of the great ones has been passed between neighbours and friends, adapted and tweaked to perfection the way only tried and true recipes are. Cristy made up a batch of these cookies for me before I had my baby and they were the perfect post-birth snack. Even my toddler and husband loved them but don't worry—you don't have to share. These cookies are the perfect mix of healthy and comfort food, so go ahead have a cookie or two!

There is so much in a name. My name, Cristina, for example, is an Italian name that means “Follower of Christ”, something I strive to make truth in my life. Not just because it is my name, but because it is ingrained in every fibre of my being.

Kaitlyn and I met in February, at a Rebozo training. (The rebozo is a traditional Mexican shawl, usually long enough to wrap around a woman, that has many uses in labour—feel free to ask us more about using a rebozo during your baby's birth!) In April we got together, and while our girls played, we talked more in depth about birth work: our experiences, our passions and frustrations, and what we envisioned for ourselves in the future. We wanted to work together and we wanted to change this perception that some births are better than others—something that is often (unintentionally) perpetuated by birth workers, even doulas.