A Day in the Life

So many of you asked what a typical “day in the life” looks like now that I’m back at work and balancing a career, mom duties, being a wife and generally living my life. Here it is, as honest as I can be. Hope that you’ll find some comfort in the fact I’m a completely normal person, just trying to get through a day.

6am Alarm on phone rings. I hit snooze for 10 minutes. My husband has been up since 5:30AM getting ready for work, and of course, because I have super human mom hearing, I knew he was awake even before he did! I try to sneak in some extra Zzz’s because I am NOT a morning person.

6:10am Snooze goes off. I check the baby monitor to make sure Charlotte is still dozing. She usually wakes by 7am, so that means I have 50 minutes to get ready in the morning. My hair is washed from the night before, so that saves shower time.

6:15am Wash my face and moisturize. While waiting for my serum to soak in, I check social media and the weather. I refuse to do more than 3 steps of skincare in the morning, so 5 minutes later I’m onto makeup and hair, which take 30 mins total (I will totally share these routines when I am not strapped for time!) Hubby leaves around this time, so I kiss him goodbye for the day.

6:50am My clothes are chosen the night before so I never have to try to think of outfit inspo…because again, I am not a morning person! I inevitably always change once before settling on an outfit. Today I’ve chosen a dress that I’m absolutely in love with. It’s from one of my favorite online stores, Pink Blush. They carry everything from maternity, plus size, regular size and even plus size maternity. It’s fashion for modern motherhood. I’ve talked about their incredible dresses before HERE and HERE. I love a wrap dress because it’s the ultimate feminine silhouette. I love how the wrap shows off my waist, and for once, the neckline actually stays closed! I did NOT have to re-adjust ONCE! Miracle of miracles. You can get this exact dress HERE. It’s a stunner.

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Navy Stripe Ruffle Plus Wrap Dress available at Pink Blush.

6:55am I head downstairs to make Charlotte’s breakfast (fruit, yogurt and multigrain toast with PB) and prep my coffee. I try to let Charlotte sleep for as long as possible so I eat breakfast quickly solo and get my shoes/coat/bag ready. Lunch is made the night before, so I don’t have to worry about that in the morning.

7:10am-ish I start to get antsy if Charlotte hasn’t woken up by now. So I’ll head upstairs and pace outside her door before going in to wake her. I absolutely HATE waking her because, like me, she’s not a morning person. But the morning cuddles are the best! Quick diaper change and change out of PJs into daycare clothes (which I lay out the night before).

7:15am Charlotte is a super fast eater, so everything gets devoured pretty quickly. If she wants to take her time with her yogurt pouch, I bring it to daycare so that she can finish it there. We do 10 quick minutes of playing/cuddling/talking/singing/dancing/reading before packing up and walking to the car.

7:30 am Charlotte and I are in the car on our way to daycare. It takes approx 9 minutes to get from home to the daycare and Charlotte is dropped off by 7:50 latest. I like to take my time and chat with the daycare educators…they are looking after my child, after all! I want them to know everything she’s been up to since yesterday and also let them know that I value them and respect how hard they work.

7:50 am Headed towards the highway, probably listening to Adele “25” because I’m a mega-fan like that…feeling like my life is under control…until I hit TRAFFIC! Living in the suburbs can be the worst! Work is only 20 kms away and it can take upwards of an hour to get there.

8:30 am Ideal day, I’m at my desk by this time, checking emails, gossiping about the latest fashion news or what we bought online the night before.

Yadda yadda yadda (wait, did you just yadda yadda work? Yup! Because my days are always different and my routine constantly changes, which I love…but this blog post is long enough already LOL)

4:30 pm Time to hit the road. TRAFFIC sucks the life out of me. I usually call my mom and chat with her on the drive home. If she’s not available, I’ll listen to a podcast to pass the time. But mostly, I’m counting down the minutes until I can see my little nugget.

5:15 pm FINALLY HOME! I burst in the door as Charlotte is eating dinner. My husband finishes work early so he always picks up the baby and gets dinner ready. I try my best to have something made the night before for her. I also made a ton of frozen meals before I went back to work, so that that there’s something ready to go for hubby and me.

5:30 pm  Family time. Usually it’s a dance party starring “Baby Shark”, but sometimes it can be a walk together. This is my favorite part of the day.

6:00 pm Bathtime. Another favorite. Charlotte is happiest in the tub. I have her bedtime routine down to a science and it takes exactly 25 minutes to bath her, slather her with cream, in her pjs, in the sleepsack, 3 songs and then sleep.

6:30 pm Charlotte asleep and it’s time for Mommy and Daddy to eat.

7:00 pm Post-dinner cleanup and wind down. I like to watch any “Real Housewives” series, and Pat prefers working on his truck or watching something sci-fi. Or, I’ll blog while he cleans up from dinner, or, he’ll snooze while I fold laundry. Ah married life, it’s so sexy. We usually chat about our days, or organize the weekend’s activities. Maybe even watch a movie if we’re feeling wild LOL

9:00 pm I shower the night before work to save time in the morning. It also allows me to luxuriate and take my time with my skincare routine and hair prep.

9:30 pm In bed. I always read before bed…it relaxes my mind. I really try to avoid any screen time 30 mins before I go to sleep because I find it riles me up too much!

10:00 pm Asleep! Pray for me that Charlotte doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night. And hopefully I’m in a deep enough sleep I can’t hear my husband’s snores.

And there you have it! An exciting day in the life. I didn’t even realize I was so scheduled until I sat down to write…but you know what? It’s what keeps me sane!

Real talk: What’s your day-to-day like? Any life-saving tips for surviving through the morning/evening rush?

 

 

Summer Reading List

I am a self-proclaimed bookworm. I rather read a book than watch TV and the novel is certainly ALWAYS better than the movie. As a kid, my summers were spent under a shady tree reading or biking to the library to load up on books. And now as an adult, let’s just say that I’ve spent more time (and money) than I’d like to admit at Chapters-Indigo.

Now that  Charlotte is transitioning from 2 naps to 1, and sleeping in 2-3 hour chunks, I seem to have more time to get things done and squeeze in some leisure time for myself! Reading is one of the ways that I can slow down and reconnect with myself. It helps me keep my #MamaMojo full! My book devouring took a bit of a hiatus over the last year as an early bedtime and catching up on sleep has trumped reading before bed. But there’s something about summer that makes me want to sit outside and enjoy a great book.

My favorite genre for summer reading are murder/mystery/suspense. But I also love biographies and memoirs about people overcoming adversity (or as my BFF calls it blunty; “really messed up people”), and I adore historical fiction (anything by Ken Follett or Philippa Gregory).

So here are some of the books I’ve read over the summer or are up on my reading list next! Please send me your summer reading recommendations; I love a good book.

Murder/Mystery/Suspense

In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware. I finished this book in 2 days! A who-did-it that flips between past and present as you try to figure out what happened in the woods.

Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll. I’ve actually read this twice, years apart, without realizing because it’s so good and I had forgotten the twist-ending. Sharp, dark and twisted!

 

I’ll be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle Mcnamara. Half part non-fiction, half part modern crime thriller.

The Perfect Nanny, by Leila Slimani. Absolutely terryfing as a parent!

The Book of M, by Peng Shepard. Picked this up the other day because I loved the combo of sci-fi and mystery.

Non-Fiction

Educated, by Tara Westover. A stunning memoir about family, loss and the desire for a better future. If you loved Glass Castle, you’ll love this!

The Home for Unwanted Girls, by Joanna Goodman. The story of an unwed mother seperated from her daughter and the lengths they go to find eachother.

Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance. A look at the struggles of America’s white middle class.

 Brain on Fire, by Susanah Cahalan. I read this so fast too! It’s about a woman’s struggle to recapture her identity after a traumatic brain infection.

 

On the Lighter Side…

The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Currently reading and loving it. It’s about a family with a substantial “nest egg” and their dysfunction.

Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan. I love all of Kevin Kwan’s books. They’re funny, name-dropping, pure entertainment about very very rich people and their families.

She Regrets Nothing, by Andrea Dunlop. Think Gossip Girl meets Great Gatsby. Waiting for this to become a movie or TV show.

The People We Hate At the Wedding, by Grant Ginder. The title sums it up – a fabulous wedding is about to take place and the cast of family characters and their drama is even more fabulous!

 

REAL TALK: What are you reading this summer and loving? Send me your book recommendations!

Interview with my Mother

It’s not until you become a mother that you fully appreciate your own mom. That’s certainly been the case for me. Franny, aka Franny Lams, aka Lambo, aka Mom/Mommy/Ma/Mother is a prominent figure in my life. She’s the big cheese, the boss, a larger-than-life tour de force. She’s always been my biggest cheerleader, my strongest advocate, the president of my fan club and my ride-or-die. I would not have survived my first year of motherhood without her guidance, support and love. So, as any annoying daughter would do, I asked her to talk about me and gave her less than 24 hours to come up with something meaningful. Here’s how it went down…

Tuesday, 9:01 PM

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Tuesday, 9:04 PM

Phone call to my mom

Me: Mom, I sent you an email did you see it? Why haven’t you answered yet?

Mom/Fran: You sent me an email? I’m doing my crossword, I have priorities. Let me look and I’ll call you back.

Tuesday, 9:07 PM

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Tuesday, 9:10 PM

Phone call to my mom

Me: Mom, I’m going to email you the questions now.

Mom: Wait, so you’re going to pawn off your blog post this week to me?

Me: Yup!

 

Wednesday, 9:00 AM

Calls mom x 2. No answer.

Wednesday, 9:01 AM

Calls mom’s cellphone x 3. No answer.

Wednesday, 9:02 AM

Facetimes mom x 2. No answer.

Wednesday, 9:03 AM

Mom sees my missed calls and panics. Calls me three times in a row. I ignore her until 12pm. Aren’t daughters wonderful?

 

Here are the questions I sent my mom about me. Get to know me through my mother’s eyes. Her answers may be a little bias 🙂

Q: When I was little, what did you think I was going to be when I grew up?

I thought you would be an actress! You were a natural performer and you loved attention from an admiring audience. Some things never change!

Q: Do you think I have more of your good qualities or bad qualities?

I think you have many of my good qualities – perfectionism, creativity, intellect, sense of adventure, empathy (shall I continue?) – and only one of my bad qualities – nail biting!

Q: What is the funniest thing I ever said or did as a kid?

Picture a 2-year old Jen, her hands on her hips and feet planted firmly apart, with a steely defiance as she locks eyes with me and proclaims:” I am the boss of me.” Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Q: What was the most annoying thing I did as a baby?

You hummed when you ate: a low and not-so-melodic hum to indicate your approval of food. Annoying, but also a good indicator.

Q: What were my very first words?

I wished it had been Mamma or Dada, but it was “Ju”, which was short for “juice”, and you demanded this loudly, usually in public places.   

Q: What’s your all-time favorite picture of me?

Actually, it is a picture of you and your brother (yes, HE is in it), mugging for the camera during a photo session at Sears when you were 3 and he was about a year and a half. Both of you are laughing and, for a moment, seem to like each other (Mom award for diplomacy here, svp).

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I was likely trying to push him off the table…

Q: What is your very first memory of me?

Easy peasy: you were screaming only seconds after you were born, so the nurse lay you down beside me and you instantly quietened when I said, “Hello, there sweetie, did you have a good trip?” You opened your eyes and fixed your bright blue (bloodshot) eyes on me as you saw me for the first time. We just stared at each other; it was love at first sight (for me, at least!)

Q: What made me cry the most when I was little?

You thought it was most unfair when we went to ToyRUs to buy a birthday prezzie for one of your friends and you did not also get a gift.

Q: What made me laugh the most when I was little?

Fraggle Rock, a muppets-type TV show in the 1980s, made you laugh a lot. It also scared the beejeezus out of you!

Q: What was the nicest thing I ever said to you?

Since you became a mom yourself, you said you now understand various things I experienced as a new mom, including how intensely and instantly you could love your child and would do anything to protect her from the world. Told you so…

Q: What was the meanest thing I ever said to you?

If I was in the U.S., I would plead the 5th amendment. Mum’s the word here…

Q: What age (of mine) did you hate experiencing the most?

While all the years have had their “challenges”, the late teens and early 20s were a roller-coaster. Hang on for the ride or be killed. Sometimes I wished for the latter…

Q: What age (of mine) do you feel like we were closest?

Again, easy peasy: now!

Q: What is the worst part about being my mother?

Trying to keep up with your quick intellect, navigating your sensitive nature, and meeting your high expectations of me, yourself and others.

Q: What is the best part about being my mother?

Keeping up with your quick intellect, successfully navigating your sensitive nature, and meeting those expectations! Yay me!

Q: What’s the one thing you would have done differently as a mom?

Not lose your remaining piece of “binky” (Binky was my baby blanket) at a hotel in Las Vegas. Sorry…

Q: Do you think it’s easier or harder to be a mother now than when you were raising our family?

It is definitely not harder, but infinitely more complicated because of the volume of information available through the Internet. People share their experiences and their knowledge online, so when you can search questions or have doubts you can find a hundred answers or suggestions. We had Dr. Spock and a couple of books as resources. Child-rearing techniques and ideas have changed in the past 30 years, but you can still phone your old Mom for advice. Then you can go ahead and do whatever you think is right or what Dr. Google suggests.

Thanks Mom! I love you!

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REAL TALK: Has your relationship with your mom changed after getting pregnant/having a baby? Share in the comments below!

 

On Burnouts, Comebacks & Imperfection

Hi. It’s me. Remember me? Your friendly neighborhood supermom. The one with the curated Instagram, the sponsored posts and all the right hashtags. Well friends, I have news for you…that chick is gone! She burnt out back in November and now she’s been replaced with someone a little less “perfect.”

Back in November, my life was upside down. We had sold our house in 72 hours and had 90 days to find a place to live and no hope in sight. We kept getting outbid on places we loved and the housing inventory in the area we wanted to live was non-existent. My dad is a real estate broker with a million years experience and he had never seen anything like this. Panic set in.

Not only we were homeless, but I was still getting used to my role as a mom. Charlotte was 5 months old, and even though we had started our fledging routine, that shit is TOUGH! The anxiety that I had experienced in my 20s flared up like a giant beast. The smallest task (like packing, or texting someone back) seemed insurmountable. My heart would literally race when I got a text message/email/DM that required an answer. The thought of blogging exhausted me. It felt like an impossible mountain to climb. And every day that I procrastinated, the mountain seemed a little taller and steeper, until it grew into an impossible Everest.

And then I’d get mad at myself and start to pick myself part. “I do this for a living, why is this so hard?” Or, “You aren’t pretty/funny/cool enough.” But, the thought that was the most self-destructive was: “No matter what you do, nobody will follow you. You aren’t that interesting.” Super mean, right? We are our own worst critics!

Here’s the thing that no one tells you about blogging…creating content and coming up with new ideas is hard! Starting up your own site and creating a “pretty” Insta with beautifully curated pics is cute, but actually producing content is a full-time job! The pressure of having “perfect” pictures, constantly coming up with new initiatives and new sponsorships was more than I could bear. At work, I have a giant team and huge budget to create content. Little ol’me with my Iphone and a laptop just isn’t the same thing. If I couldn’t even answer a text back, you can imagine how daunting the thought of dressing up, putting on makeup and organizing a baby-and-me photoshoot was!

So what changed you ask? Well, we found a house which we love, I went on a digital hiatus and we took a month-long vacation in Florida. It was revitalizing. To get out of your negative headspace, sometimes a change of environment is the best. Plus, built-in babysitters (thanks Mom & Dad) allowed me some headspace and free-time to have much needed conversations with myself. With a lot of the life stress out of the way, I found myself fantasizing about the blog again. I wrote down blog ideas and started to want to create and connect. It wasn’t overnight (hell, it’s friggin March as I write this and I got back from vacation Jan 31!) but that desire to reach out to others and share my journey is back.

There will be one noticeable difference from pre-burnout to now. Here’s what I promise:

I promise to not be perfect. I promise to be messy, unfiltered and random. I won’t hold back on posting a pic because it doesn’t fit an Instagram aesthetic. I won’t gloss over the yucky stuff. I will be vulnerable. I will be long-winded if I feel like it. I will be gentle with myself and let my flaws shine through. I will focus on telling my story, not accumulating followers. I will be real, grounded and 100% authentically me. I’ll focus on what I’m doing & not look over my shoulder at others. 

And to everyone who has stuck around, thank you. The internet can be an asshole, but you’ve been supportive as hell and I appreciate it so much. Thank you for being my cheerleaders!

Real talk: What’s holding you back? Share below & let’s start a convo!

(P.S. Thank you Jamie for the pep talk. It sparked a conversation with myself that needed to be had)

Social Media Guru

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Being a Pisces, I have a tendency to dream big and get lost in fantasy. Over the years, my career goals have oscillated between actress, lawyer, psychologist, journalist, professional shopper, curator, party planner, and my personal favourite, matchmaker. Little did I know that I would end up working in a field that combined all the things I loved! Read on to learn about how I ended up working in social media!

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Starring in my Youtube segment “In Jen’s Closet”

The essence of social media is storytelling. It’s about finding out the story behind the person, place or thing. We are all curious creatures by nature; we love hearing stories from our friends when we catch up, we spend hours absorbed in TV and movies, and, we lose ourselves in stories from our favourite books. Why? Because stories gives us meaning and allow us to make sense of our own experiences. That being said, social media helps brands build a personality – through this “profile”, fans can identify what the brand stands for and what makes them tick, and this allows them to make sense of their own lives.

Phew – that was philosophical…back to me…

I’m a storyteller by nature. My flair for the dramatic and my incredibly extroverted personality have always served me well in this regard. I love to talk! Talk about my experiences, my feelings, my opinions…I could talk to a wall and have a perfectly lovely conversation. I also love to write. I’ve always put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) in one way or another. I’ve kept diaries, written short stories, blogged, wrote a thesis, written research papers, and short articles. And I’m a real “people” person. I love meeting new people, making new friends and I love nothing more than connecting people together. All of these skills have been useful once I started working in social media!

Back in 2011, I was working at Zara at a General Manager and hated my existence. The hours were long and I had a difficult time connecting with the corporate mandate. Coming from a small high-end boutique where I was the buyer/mananger/jack-of-all-trades, the hands-off approach of Zara really wasn’t for me. I missed people!

As I was searching for jobs in the fashion industry, I came across “online copywriter at fashion company” and immediatly applied. My BA in Art History and my freelance writing experience was exactly what they were looking for. Plus, the brand that I would work for, Addition Elle, specialized in 14+ fashion. Being the voluptuous fashionista that I am, I knew I would intrinsically understanding the needs and wants of the customer because I AM HER!

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On the set of “Jen’s Closet” doing my thing!

As companies began to acknowledge the power of social media, my role at Addition Elle grew. I was no longer simply writing product descriptions, I was focused on building the Addition Elle “tribe.” I looked for ways to connect with our audience, to surprise and delight them and to let them know that they weren’t alone in their plight for fashionable clothing in their size. I developed a segment called “In Jen’s Closet” where I offered fashion advice and outfit building suggestions. I launched the Addition Elle blog, curated the Instagram account and conceptualize viral campaigns with slogans like “Sorry, Not Sorry” and “No More Rules.”

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At Etail Canada, speaking on a panel about social selling

One of my proudest accomplishments was the work I did for the Addition Elle runway show at New York Fashion Week, especially directing the Facebook Live Stream event. (Sidenote – I was 4 weeks pregnant and had no idea!) I hosted the pre-show, interviewing models, hair & makeup and stylist, while coordinating the live coverage. The footage was actually used by Facebook as a case study for their live stream abilities. Very cool!

Over the last 6 years, Addition Elle’s social media presence has grown and become admired in the industry. We aren’t afraid to push the boundaries of what’s considered acceptable for plus size. I am so thankful to be part of a team that directly impacts people’s lives. Who knew that the little girl who used to pour over Vogue and wonder why nobody looked like her, would become the voice of a brand that seeks to empower the plus size community. As the “voice” of Addition Elle’s online presence, my own self-love has grown. To hear other plus size women share their stories and struggles and to see them unabashedly share their bodies on social media makes me feel proud to be part of this community.

Have a social media question? Want to know more about my career path? Ask away in the comments below!

 

Motherhood is Hard

It’s been a minute…sorry, I’ve been busy tending to my little nugget. Every day is a new challenge, a new lesson to learn and a new reason to fall deeper in love. I spent so much time leading up to Charlotte’s birth worrying about the actual birth process, that I think I neglected to realize the life changing reality of actually having a baby. Read on to see what I’ve learned during the first month of motherhood.

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Trying to stage a photo – Charlotte had other plans…
  1. Being a mom is physically demanding! Between the 24/7 breastfeeding and the hours of rocking my little Charlotte in my arms, being a new mom is hard on the body. My back aches, my boobs are swollen to the size of watermelons, my nipples look like old chewing gum and I wonder if I will ever sit comfortably again. My biggest mistake was not taking care of myself from the start. I thought I was doing the right thing to neglect my body in order to take care of my baby. Big mistake, HUGE! At week 5 I’ve finally clued in…back rubs from the hubby, therapeutic baths and face masks…here I come!
  2. No routine is the new routine. As someone who thrives on routine and organization, being flexible in my expectations and schedule is a huge adjustment. I’m so used to having places to go, and people to see, that to go with the flow is like taking a full-loaded freight train to a complete stop. Some days Charlotte wants to sleep all morning and others, she’s wide awake and crying. Learning to just let go and accept the day as it unfolds has been a mind-altering experience.

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    Tired AF, nursing non-stop, blotchy skin…but loving ever minute!
  3. Pinterest perfection is bullshit. Any mom-to-be will tell you that she has a baby board on Pinterest where she keeps all her inspiration – nursery, newborn photoshoot, baby “hacks.” I meticulously curated my gallery, clinging to picture-perfect ideals of what motherhood should be like. And it’s a lie, a big, giant lie! Motherhood is messy, chaotic, scary and confusing. Hundreds of so-called “experts” will advise you on how to get the perfect baby photos, what your baby sleep-schedule should be and how to get a rocking post-baby body. And it’s all garbage! Listen to you instinct, embrace the mess and let go of expectations – that’s when the little moments you treasure will happen.
  4. You will hate everyone but desperately need them at the same time. Surviving on 3 hours of sleep a night (if that) and listening to the ear-piercing screeches of a newborn has made me highly irritable. My tolerance for people is at an all time low. I want nothing more than to totally disconnect from the world…but at the same time, I can’t bear the thought of being alone. Motherhood is isolating and having people around (whether you can stand them or not) makes the day more enjoyable and less scary. Sometimes you just need to bounce your crazy thoughts off someone: “Is Charlotte’s breathing normal? Should I be worried she never burps? Are belly buttons supposed to look like that?”
  5. And most importantly, what I’ve learnt as a new mom is: motherhood is a secret club, where love and selflessness grants you access. My mom always warned me that when I had children, I would understand her devotion to us. Our joys were her joys and our sadness, her pain. She said that I would spend sleepless nights worrying about everything under the sun. And she promised that things that were once so important, would all seemed trivial compared to the bond between mother and child.  I didn’t know love like this until Charlotte’s little finger wrapped arond mine. I didn’t know I could survive without sleep, a hot shower, food and water until I rocked and rocked a sleepy (and very stubborn) baby to sleep for hours. Mom, you were right!

I know there’s more wisdom to learn as I embark on this adventure in parenthood – so please feel free to share your best bits of advice in the comments below!

Our Pregnancy Story

My mom recently told me a story about myself that I think is really telling.

From birth, my parents were determined to keep my upbringing very gender-neutral. They didn’t know I was a girl until I was delivered (I could have been Alexander), my room was cream and yellow and toys were mostly blocks or cartoon-like creatures. One day, I was playing in my mom’s closet and I came across the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen, a brown-hair, blue-eyed Cabbage Patch kid doll, named Dolly. It had been purchased by a friend of my mom’s and she had kept it hidden because she truly believed that gender-neutral was best. But, for Dolly and I, it was love at first sight. I let out a blood-curdling scream “DOLLLLYYYYYY” and my mom promptly burst into tears. How could she have kept me from my one true happiness?!

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Baby Jen at 10 months – always on her cell phone LOL

It was clear from an early age that my maternal instincts were highly-developed. There was never a question in my mind of whether or not to have kids – it was only when will it happen?

After Pat and I got married in 2013, I was keen to start a family ASAP. Even though my husband wanted children, he wasn’t ready. He had just started his career as an electrician and work wasn’t steady. I was working hard at my own career and moving quickly ahead but hours were long. In our first year of marriage, Pat’s father was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer and he left us after a brave year long battle. It was devastating! For Pat and I, too much uncertainty and such sadness meant putting kids on hold.

In retrospect, I’m so glad we did. It allowed both of us to grow up and grow together. Going through such a profound loss bonded us closer than ever and our relationship flourished. Yes, there were some really shitty times that were extremely difficult, but those moments were always learning experiences that taught us how to communicate and how to appreciate each other’s flaws.

Then, one day, in January 2016, as we were driving home from our yearly Florida vacation, Pat turned to me and said “I have a vision for us. By  next year, we will have a baby.” I was shocked and elated. We quickly made plans to start trying after our 3 year wedding anniversary – May 18, 2016.

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Somewhere on I-95 – driving home from Florida

I was nervous though. I was overweight and had been on birth control for 11 years. Could I even get pregnant? I’d heard so many stories from so many women about how difficult it was to get pregnant (and stay pregnant). My heart went out to them…when you want something so bad, don’t you sometimes feel like you’ll never get it? I was almost afraid to say that I wanted kids outloud because I felt like the universe would curse me for being vocal.

Then, one day, about 3 months after stopping the pill and trying to get pregnant, I felt off. It felt like I was about to get my period (cramps, exhaustion, tender breasts) but it was nowhere in sight. I wrote it off to stress and being busy traveling (I was just coming back from my second New York Fashion Week, followed by a business trip to Chicago). On a whim, I bought a 2-pack of pregnancy-tests and while Pat and I awaited the results, we held our breaths…low and behold, it was positive. Pat ran over to the test first and I’ll never forget the look in his eyes when he turned to me to tell me it was positive – he looked so proud and happy. I was pregnant!

NYFWoutfit
At New York Fashion Week 2016. I was 3 weeks pregnant and didn’t know it!

Our pregnancy story is a relatively simple one. I have no words of wisdom for women that are struggling with infertility, except that my heart is with you and I’m rooting for you. I am always here to talk to if you ever need a listening ear. There’s not one thing I did that improved my chances over anyone else’s. Call it fate, say it’s the universe, or that the timing was right…whatever it was, things worked out for us. I feel very lucky and a little guilty.

Thoughts? Comments? Want to swap stories? Send me a note below!

XXX

Jen