What’s your parenting spirit animal?

I’ve never related to bears before. Squirrel, sure. Industrious beaver maybe. Fast wild cat, definitely at times.

But recently it’s the polar bear that keeps creeping up in my mind; that playful tumbler, with her solemn expression of dutiful living, and that commitment to motherhood through anything – just 100% pure protection, nurturing, teaching, and cozy cuddling…. love ’em!

Pregnancy weight gain
Lean, mean, mamma machine

I even love what I’ve been affectionately referring to as my polar bear layer.

Before getting pregnant I weighed about 107 pounds. Now, I weigh 150! Ok, it’s true – I’m giving birth in less than 3 weeks (hear that baby? Not a day later! ok?!) so I’m about at my maximum weight gain but the crazy thing is – I don’t feel fat. I don’t feel like I’ve gained a huge amount of weight other than “the bump” which is taking up a large portion of my smallish body right now, and the layer on my legs and arms that makes them just a bit more thick and taut then they were before. Could be water, could be fat stores – but it’s not wiggly jiggly. And speaking of which. Guess how much weight polar bears gain in pregnancy? Wait for it…… yeah….. around 400 pounds.

I’ve just hit term today (37 weeks) and for the last few days I’ve had this tremendous urge to eat, like biologically my body knows that this is a crucial time for foraging because my baby bear’s coming soon and I will need the stored resources to feed her.

It’s so cool.

I think it’s made me a bit more relaxed about the weight gain, and even the pressure to be a perfect mom. Polar bears are instinctual providers, fierce protectors, and also maintain that good-natured ability to roll around in the snow with their little one. Why overthink parenting when the most important things are really quite simple. Eat, sleep, play.

Anyway, here’s a list of some other pregnancy spirit animals (or totem animals) and their qualities. Which one are you?


  • Bravery
  • Peace
  • Resurrection
  • Powerful
  • Benevolence
  • Sovereignty
  • Motherhood
  • Duality
Mother Bird 
  • Love
  • Safety
  • Growth
  • Healing
  • Security
  • Provision
  • Nurturing
  • Protection
  • Satisfaction
  • Compassion
  • Self-sacrifice
  • Order
  • Creation
  • Patience
  • Strength
  • Stability
  • Longevity
  • Innocence
  • Endurance
  • Protection


  • Grace
  • Playfulness
  • Transcendence
  • Gentleness
  • Harmony
  • Intelligence
  • Contentment
  • Friendship
  • Community
  • Resurrection
  • Generosity
  • Power


  • Energy
  • Play
  • Prudence
  • Balance
  • Socializing
  • Preparation
  • Resourcefulness
More here. 

Memories of First Trimester a.k.a. worrying and googling

The first 3 months of pregnancy are terrifying. They just are. There’s something about carrying such a precious pearl around in a vessel that a) doesn’t close, and b) is subject to some degree of rough and tumble, that makes it all quite anxiety-ridden.

I was scared the tiny little thing wouldn’t be able to hang on. And I was scared that my period, which had always been a tsunami of cramps and bleeding anyway, would be stronger than this new little poppyseed-sized life growing inside me.

On top of all that, I worried about the things that can go wrong.

The things that (thanks to the Internet!!) mostly you never heard of until you became pregnant.

Ectopic pregnancy (My earliest Google obsession. I had a pain in my side!). Miscarriage (so common!). Placenta problems (previa? placement?).  Miscarriage. Implantation problems. Miscarriage. Spotting. Miscarriage, cramps, and miscarriage.

Thankfully I was one of the lucky people who had lots of spotting that turned out to be nothing wrong. But at the time, believe me, I thought the worst. And I Googled every goddamn thing I could think of. The color of the spotting, the frequency, the timing, the meaning of ev.er.y.thin.g. Safe to say I wanted this baby, and I somehow felt safer if I was googling 24 hours a day. Arming myself with information.

Now that I’m in my 8th month, I don’t have as much fever about everything. I feel her, my little one, moving and grooving along with me in the various stages of my day, and I know she’s going to be fine. What a miracle.

In the past I may have been a careless person in some ways, drinking too much at times, certainly not airing on the side of caution. But as my pregnancy progressed, it’s like I became better and better at being gentle and careful and not overdoing it. My body became her vessel. If I had my time back I don’t think I’d change a thing.

More memories of First Trimester

It was a hard secret to keep, sort of. Ok it wasn’t really. I’m a Scorpio woman… I LOVE secrets.

It was a Friday in late June (the 19the actually) that I got a positive pregnancy test – a full week before my period was due. I just knew.

The line was so faint that I kept looking at it every ten minutes, trying to discretely look at it in different lights (natural light is the worst, fluorescent is the best) to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating those faint pink lines. I took another test the next day to be sure and it was even PINKER!

My husband I went for sushi that day and I leaned over the table and whispered it into his ear….. “I’m pregnant…” but I don’t know who was more in shock, me or him. The rest is history (and here’s some of the highlights)

…3 weeks pregnant 

Friday June 22, 2011

Out for hot wings and perusing the “what to expect” app. Today, baby is the size of a …. Poppyseed!

Reading about how the little ball of cells burrows, and wondering how something without flippers or goggles or any other sort of swimming device can figure out how to travel just the right distance and then make its home in just the right place. We’ve both always been biology buffs, and this is like the ULTIMATE in fascinating biology.

When the waitress brought the bill she asked “are you pregnant?” Ha! Can you believe it? This was certainly the first person to have guessed it and I’m definitely not showing yet! She said she had seen us looking at baby-stuff on our phones (pretty astute, and very sweet). Then she pointed out that she had brought us 3 lollipops with our bill.

So adorable… Baby’s first present.

4th week 

Saturday June 22, 2011

Ok so the eating thing has started. It’s weird.

Cravings so far? Avocado.

Avocado with a spoon for breakfast, Avocado sandwich at lunchtime, Avocado Milkshake with dinner (yes, it exists, at Pho!)

(Editor’s Note: 2 days later  avocado became gross and I haven’t had it since.)

5th week 

Thursday June 30, 2011

Beginning my 6th week.  Both of us want things to go faster because from poppyseed to orange seed just isn’t enough progress. C’mon mini! But as our “what to expect” app reminds us… it’s a lot of work becoming a baby.

At my grandparents the other day my cousin David and I discovered  their amazingly tasty kosher milk and set it down in the middle of the table with desert. Inadvertently, we had a sort of ‘milk toast’ to the news they didn’t know yet. I got a big kick out of it.

I can’t imagine that hiding it for very long though. Even now, before showing or barfing or much of anything… I feel like a roly-poly girl with a secret.

(And my god… these boobs!)

6th week 

July 5, 2011

Only 3 weeks until the first scan, and hopefully good news so that we can tell a few people. Jason is of course amazing and trying to figure out what the hell I want to eat. Lettuce? Gross. Rice? God no. Celery? Yes please! Chili? Oh god, don’t even talk about it.

My most recent favorite thing: summer sausage on onion bun bread. With mustard. (Editor’s Note: 2 days later this was no longer palatable and we had to toss a pile of summer sausage in the trash because the smell, even in the fridge, was making me queasy)

On the weekend I got my nails done, then we went for a 4 hour bike ride, and went swimming. Too much? Decided to take it easy yesterday and we got into bed at 4:30 and watched The Notebook and cried our faces off. It’s a movie about true love.

Guess I’m feeling pretty sucky-face right about now…. So lucky.

7th week 

July 17, 2011

Week 7 and a bit, and it’s still not easy to believe that this is real. On most days I can eat once or twice without wanting to toss my cookies but generally – the eating is not going so well. Sleeping on the other hand… is going spectacularly!

Despite eating less than a budgie, my pants don’t fit anymore. Not a single pair.

We’ve successfully dodged (straight up lied mostly!) friend’s inquiries. They still think we’re ‘trying.’ They should have figured out that a Scorpio and an Aries don’t try, they just DO IT! (Errr, figuratively.)

Next time around we probably won’t be as vocal about our impending quest for a mini-human. I didn’t realize how much pressure it would be and that when we did get pregnant, that we’d want to wait the 3 months to make sure everything was safe and sound. I’ve found myself not wanting to jinx it, for one thing, and also not wanting to tell anyone that would probably be more devastated than me to find out if for any reason something went amiss.

I can’t believe how many people go through the worst. I really can’t. I read about all of them on the baby forums and ugh… so heartbreaking. Also the people I know personally that have been through the most brutal things when it comes to pregnancy. But for all the horror stories I hear, thankfully most are told by moms. Even when it doesn’t work sometimes, it usually works eventually.

10th week 

August 16, 2011

For the last month our baby has gone from an orange seed to a lime to a large plum. We’re calling him/her ‘butter tub’ today… long story… involving lobster and a ramekin of melted butter!

I’ve been in a nauseous, hyper-vigilant, exhausted daze for the past weeks. Some spotting (sorry TMI) has had me completely and utterly nervous but it’s apparently very normal AND an 8 week ultrasound showed a baby with a heartbeat and a cute little shape and some sort of hands and feet  — you’re on your on way kiddo!

Jason’s been feeding me fruit and soup and whatever else I consider possibly palatable or can even entertain the idea of. He’s also been as tired as I am, which has been great for some lonnnnnng evenings in bed with True Blood, Game of Thrones, Masterchef, Chopped, and (shame!) America’s Got Talent. Whatever is on… we’ve mastered an Olympic level of cuddles, snacks, and naps. It’s kind of awesome.

My husband… my love… has been a heaven-sent prince. So wonderful (I love you!!!).

Grasping the fact that this is OUR baby… A mix of our DNA, genes, cells… and yet a being all-complete on her own….is dumbfounding.

I’ve definitely had some signs that this baby is going to take after dad…. namely… I swear that certain colors, fabrics, and patterns make me completely nauseous. That is SO Jason! What baby is grossed out by a weird shade of green? She also seems to not like super-hot showers. The only times I’ve felt certain that she moves were when I was in hot water. I swear I can feel her scramble when it’s too hot. (Sorry for trying to hard boil you, baby.)

I love being pregnant. I can’t wait for her to kick and hiccup and head-butt me in the bladder. I can’t wait to dance with her and sing to her and teach her words and see her face when she tries blueberries for the first time.

This Friday we get the 12 week ultrasound, which will be the green light to tell the world.

11th week 

August 19, 2011

The last two days have soothed my budding mommy-heart. On Wednesday we went to meet our Obstetric team at Sunnybrook, and oh boy… were they ever fantastic. From the doctors to the nurses to the support staff, everyone was such a high caliber of awesome.

When we were getting the examination the doctor brought out a Doppler, which looks a bit like a fisher price karaoke machine, and after a few seconds of searching around on my belly, we heard the most amazing heartbeat. We also heard the baby kick pretty fiercely! It was the best sound ever imaginable.

Then yesterday we went for an ultrasound and saw the real thing. Beautiful perfect head, arms, legs, heart, belly. It’s so… unreal. My womb looks like a really cozy place though… I don’t think I’d mind taking a little 9-month vacation there either. No wonder they come out full of energy and ready for life!

Only 6 more months left – is that even possible? It’s moving SO fast now.

My belly is a garden, and from what I’ve seen so far – it’s doing a really, really good job of growing stuff! Baby’s growing ahead of schedule by five days.

First Trimester COMPLETE! Grow baby grow!