The real real on why The Core Santa photos are so memorable #yyc

So if your like me you left quite a few things to the last minute this year #yep But that all changed when I took the kids down to The Core Shopping Centre for free Santa photos!

As I mentioned last week, how many of us need to get out of our comfort zone? try something new! Go downtown. Trust me you'll be so glad you did. Theres so many decorations, music, hot coffee and a change of scenery is good for mamas and the kids!


The BEST part about seeing Santa at The Core Shopping Centre is below:

1. The whole experience is free and it's for real free (not fake free!), you can take as many pictures on your phone as you want!

2. Santa spent quality time with us. I can't stress this enough, he talked to us for over 5 minutes and even put me on the spot as to what I wanted. I should of asked for a week of sleep but instead I said shoes.  On second thought, I'll take both #yas

3. You can get your photo printed for FREE by sharing it with their hashtag #findchristmasdowntown (yes free again!)

4. There are free sticker activity pages available for the kiddos

5. Theres a great tree scavenger hunt (touring the 150 Christmas trees) plus the huge 2 story tree that my son was in awe of!


Oh and other reasons you NEED to get down there!

·        Gift wrapping (yes please! Cash donation to Making Changes Association)

·         Extended hours 

·         Playground in Devonian Gardens (grab a coffee and let the kids play!)

·         Parking – They have a FREE valet service #youhadmeatvalet Thats amazing! Parking is the normal rate ($6) per hour before 3pm BUT after 3pm it's free! Plus on weekends parking is free DURING MALL HOURS. For more parking information visit


So plan this adventure for your tribe this week! Santa wil be there Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week 11-7pm! For more information visit

Have the happiest of holidays and enjoy SO many free festive opportunities to enjoy with your littles!

All the best,

Top Knot Mommy

(I was so fortunate to be able to partner with The Core for this incredible opportunity)

The low down on FREE Santa Photos in #YYC

That's right I said it. FREE!

The tree is up, music is on, we're busy giving gifts and it's time to ensure the littles see the big jolly man himself. Which... I have yet to do! #truth

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 1.24.25 pm.png

So..Santa's coming to town.. (technically he's already here!!)

He's down at The Core Shopping Centre Downtown #yyc and you still have time to get your free Santa photos, take advantage of the GORGEOUS shopping centre and have a change up to your usual mama routine or festive celebrations!

I find I always stay in my bubble for Christmas shopping. I try to shop local as much as I can but when I can't I end up at the same mall and to be honest its boring! haha

SO this holidays lets be crazy and try new things. The first is to realize that shopping downtown is so do-able and something we should be doing more often! The reno a few years ago means its absolutely gorgeous, over 120 stores and did I mention free santa photos? #winning

I am headed to take my 2 littles down tomorrow at 10 but before that here's more details to everyone that wants to plan this into their weekend! #causeyoudo

The Core Free Santa and Event Details:

1. There are free santa photos Thursday-Sunday until Christmas eve! (23rd is the last day!) You get to use your phone to be able to text them and also can print if you use their hashtag!

2. They have FLAMES Saturday. Which this Saturday Dec 16, Alumni Curtis Glencross and Jamie Macoun will be there to help out and giving free autographs #yassssss

3. Shop without the massive MASSIVE suburb crowds. Legit this is an amazing reason to make a morning or early evening of it. Try a coffee or dinner at a new place and get some shopping done!

4. It's kid friendly, with decorations to show them, the park open at the botanical gardens, and daily converts from 12-1 the kids will be super happy getting out and about!

5. Cause parking is $2 on weekends or after 6pm

6. Because who doesn't love FREE!!

For lots more details visit their website:

Santa Photos:

Free Performances:

See you there because I know us mama's are itching to get out and about! Let me know how you love it!

All the best,

Top Knot Mommy

The Real Reasons It Matters To Me

The truth is I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up.

Then I thought I figured that out AND then I had my beautiful kids #truth

As a very tired mom I started to realize that I needed community more than ever. I had times where I was lonely and really didn't know what my next step would be. I spent a lot of time pondering do I work? Do I not? Do I go crazy? #maybe

I slowly realized that I needed to surround myself with inspiring goal getter women and keep pursuing my own goals (of which I didn't really know what they were yet!)


I think that taking risks and doing something we aren't familiar with is how we grow. I have never done direct sales, I didn't know what Beautycounter was before it launched in Canada BUT I knew I HAD to be a part of it. And thats the simplest reason right there. This is more than a beauty company and we are movement. A movement for better beauty and a movement to unite and inspire women to grow a sustainable business with the foundation of education and healthy choices.

I believe that we naturally are educators and that we truly want the best for other people. The opportunity to promote, build and grow a safer beauty business with Beautycounter offers a platform to thrive. 

We lead with education to reduce toxins in our beauty products. The truth is our industry is highly unregulated with only 560 toxins banned in Canada and over 1400 banned in the EU. We are drastically behind the standard and many common mainstream toxins like parabens, sulfates, formalehyde releasers, lead, synthetic fragrance, asbestos are still widely used and are linked to health issues.

Our skin is our largest organ. When's the last time (if ever!) you've questioned what you are putting on it?


Fast forward to taking a leap of faith. It wasn't a hard choice for me. Even as a personal trainer I knew that I wanted safer products for my family and myself. I knew that if I could create a side hustle income stream that I would get some new shoes (#truth) or better yet be able to contribute financially to my family I would be so happy. I did it. I jumped in and fell in love with our amazing mission of safer products, high safety standards and direct retail flexibility (I work from home, with my kids and it fits into my life!)

From the depths of 2 kids under 2 (yep thats when I started!) I have partnered with some of the most AMAZING women who are now running their own business' and fully embracing the life of a safer beauty boss. The flexibility, income and confidence it has given me is something I am truly grateful for.

Looking back to last April when I said yes (again think over tired mom of 2 littles and a brand new dog) to the opportunity to go for it, I didn't realise that:

1. Some amazing new best friends and a whole new world of inspiring talented women we're just around the corner.

2. I was on the verge of a whole new level of goals and achievements as a Senior Director and Founding Member.

3. It was a creative and mind escape that I would grow to LOVE daily. Something for me to offset my sweatpant and exhausted mommy moments with. Think team calls, makeup launches, incentive trips and much more!

4. Connecting and collaborating with SO many local boss babes would inspire me to grow and share.

5. By simply using our natural ability to educate  I could help others and continue to push for more health protective legislative laws in Canada.


Through all of this I have realized that we are educators, advocates AND I couldn't be more blessed to work with the most amazing women.

It's something I couldn't be more proud of and I couldn't be more excited to where the mission of safer beauty is going. It's not a trend. We all deserve safer products.

You might question why join, why purchase, why switch? ....BUT I ask you why not? Why NOT take a chance on yourself, We all deserve safer beauty and I would love to have you join our inspiring community.

Truly, If I can do this anyone can! Ask yourself. Are you ready to go for your dreams while making a positive healthy impact? Together we truly can create positive change.



Photography by Amy Bell, Modern Nest Photography

My top 5 workout must haves

Trying to move and be active with kids isn't always easy, but I do think it helps shake off any stress, cabin fever and allows you to feel refreshed and like your self!

Getting sweaty, walking, or any way you move your body can allow you to feel like a million bucks and THAT is why you do it over and over again. 

Over the last while I've developed some amazing must haves that have totally helped me with my workout and post workout routine (which is usually with 2 kids in tow and absolutely crazy!)

Credits: Workout images by Simply Modern Marketing wearing Sweat Society Clothing. Location Barre Belle Studio Calgary.


number one

Sweat Society workout gear! These Sports bras are so comfortable and totally supportive. If the girls are aren't contained you'll just spend more time thinking about needing a better bra instead of getting down to business #truth  ALSO the more they are shaking around the more you could be helping the girls move south #strapthemup

View the whole collection at

number two

Charcoal Cleansing Bar. This bar is SUCH a game changer. It's basically a face detox. The charcoal draws out impurities and oil, brightens skin and helps reduce acne. ALL of which are problems of mine haha. For $30 its a steal of a deal for it lasts 6-8 months (when kept dry in-between washes) with 2 washes a day! It also is free of harmful chemicals like paragons, sulphites, formaldehyde etc.

Beauty counter bans over 1500 toxins so you know its good for you and safe #amazingvalue grab yours here

number three

3. An insulated water bottle #gamechanger This is like the Mercedes of water bottles. You water is LEGIT still cold hours later. I am obsessed with my Swell bottle and it is worth the investment. IT's the only water bottle you'll want to use. Also some #pennysaver news is that you can actually get similar insulated ones at places like Safeway or Walmart. The cream of the crop are the Swell brand ones AND they are gorgeous!

number four

4. A booty shaking playlist. That's right if you don't have music how are you going to stay focused? I LOVE my spotify account because I pay $9.99 a month but I can make unlimited playlists and save them offline. You can use them anywhere and really get into your workouts!

number five

5. Post workout Mists (Rose Water or Balancing Charcoal) I will be honest. Initially I was all a mist? what! BUT I am totally obsessed. It helps instantly tones your skin, refreshes you and I look forward to it daily! A few sprays and you feel amazing. Rose water is amazing for our skin and so is charcoal! Detoxifying post workout never looked so good. Check them out here

Top 5 ways to get started working out post baby


Lets get real. Saying no to workouts can be a REAL easy but it’s a slippery slope #truth

Before kids it was easy. Then you have a baby and your all #whatworkouts?

Next thing you realize your exercise regime is flipping through instagram and thinking of getting your sweat on, or liking fit peoples photos, case that counts right?

Over time it feels like it’s harder to start and life gets out of hand and it’s not a priority. We’ve all been there but there are some simple steps to turn those thoughts into a reality.

It's really easy to fall into a funk. But it can also be quite easy to get moving and get a new routine that you love!

Here are my top 5 tips of getting back into a routine that will save your sanity, blow off some steam and help you feel fit and fabulous!

  • Just start. Thats right, do it. Consider where your fitness is and start there. For some its at the basics of walking and for others maybe you have a moderate level of fitness already. Start slow (so you don’t over do it and can’t walk for a week!), go for a walk daily for 2 weeks, start adding in 10 minutes of strength here and there. Just move and keep doing it.
  • Make a plan. Know exactly what your going to do and when. Then you can stick to it and feel proud of yourself.
  • Plan your workout wardrobe. When I get up I put it on, cause then your half way there right? 
  • Put on some serious beats and get pumped up, it dramatically helps lift your mood and gets you into the workout a lot easier!
  • Be consistent. It’s not about the crazy exercises or any real top secrets. Healthy living and an exercise program is about consistency. Overtimeyou get the results you want. There is no quick fix. But when you do it properly the results are worth it!

Some of my favorites are getting the kids in the stroller with snacks, blaring beats in my ear phones and doing power walks, lunges, squats or whatever comes to me. I also love a good backyard workout while the kids play.

Consider getting a timer app on your phone and rotate through your fave exercises. You’ll be amazed how great you feel after, how your stress is gone, you suddenly will survive the day and over time all the wobbily bits just feel better!

So join me. Get moving, find exercise that you love and be fit and happy!

Stay fit and happy,

Top Knot Mommy





It's all fun and games until your crotch is broken...

Now now.. that's taking it to the extreme but seriously it can kinda happen and it can cause some serious issues post birth...

And oh hay... It kinda happened to me #anditsawesome #not

Yep, I'm being real honest I've been battling having an internal prolapse (thanks to growing and birthing 2 precious kids) and it hasn't been easy.

Most women post birth have pelvic floor issues, I mean hello a watermelon just came out of there! But what's not talked about is the strain from just being pregnant, having a c-section and the issues that can come postpartum from hormones and stress (whether activity based or emotional). Prolapse’s happen and it's time they are more widely discussed.

I am quite fit... let me rephrase that I was real fit before I got pregnant with my second, but then I was placed on moderate rest for 5 months and then I spent 6 weeks on strict bed rest... then I birthed a baby and then I rested for a what seems like an eternity.

Then I felt amazing. Like I was superwoman. Around 6 weeks I used pain as my guide and continued to power walk and started introducing some light turtle paced jogging intervals. I felt alive! More alive than I had felt in 9 months! It felt like life was finally falling back into place. To finally sweat again was my sanity and man did it feel good!

That was until this gnawing crotch heaviness started and I knew something wasn't right.

Now when I say "your crotch can fall out" ereeebody is gonna get all #nancyjudgepants but it's more like the side walls or top walls can cave in, and although they don't fall out (BUT they could!) issues can still be happening on the inside to cause you grief!

I'm not gonna lie, nor will I hang my head in shame. At 2 months postpartum I was diagnosed with a stage 2 rectocele. #fuckingsweetright It can go to stage 4 and then surgery is needed...Basically I probably pushed so hard birthing my precious peanuts that the back wall buckled. #againsosweet 

So in a weird kinda momma bear way I feel "lucky" because I have 2 gorgeous babies andddddd its not "that" bad! Also my doctor says it's nothing she wouldn't expect from a woman who gave birth to 2 babies. So really I'm #normal but yet I feel like a freak and I don't want to 'just' live with a heavy vag.

The reality is... I didn't even know this could happen!!!! Women don't talk about it, because I mean it's a tad personal cause it's our bits and bobs but us ladies gotta band together. It's real #shit that this is our present for birthing babies BUT it will totally be okay (I promise!)

There's lots of safe forms of exercise, pelvic physio and ways to manage it to live life like your crotch ain't falling out! 

Most doctors at 6 weeks say "how's IT feeling?" And that's it. And most of us first time or second time mamas don't know what its supposed to feel like cause after birth we are just happy we can walk! haha BUT---> If you have heaviness, pressure, having bladder leakage.. ANYTHING! Consider seeing a pelvic physio, I did and honestly I'm down to a stage 1, my symptoms are gone and things are waaaay better! 

I'll be honest again. I cried for about a week on and off when I found out. Like almost a Brittney style meltdown. I cried like my 2 year old toddler saying things like "I'm ONLY 29 and my physio says I can't run until I'm done breastfeeding IF ever" and "I had such a hard pregnancy with so many scares and now I have to deal with this?" And "how will I ever chase my kids to play?" And even "your never getting any again cause I'm broken and I never want to birth a baby again" #sorryhusband

The truth is, I was fairly devastated. I felt as a personal trainer that being fit and exercising was part of my identity and that it was something in this world of "motherhood unknown" land that I could control and it was basically robbed from me during the joys and violent beating we call labour.

Motherhood can be lonely for we all have our specific trials and tribulations but your never alone, we're all in this together!! 

I've since learned that it's okay, and that I'll be fine and I'm committed to being as fit as I was before. It just might take a bit more time. I'm very positive, I will heal and life will go on. I have already healed SO much in 3 months. I am proud of myself.

Postpartum and the 4th trimester takes time, it takes time to heal mentally and physically and honestly 6 weeks is VERY early to be exercising or doing anything high impact. DONT fall into these 4 weeks to a six pack challenges.. It's just NOT worth it. Your pre-prego pants can wait. No matter how badly you want them on.

I'm a personal trainer and I train gorgeous mamas and I honestly believe let your body heal. Do daily 1 hour walks, just get moving. It's not about intensity or lifting heavy. We can't see our pelvic floors, or our internal organ walls BUT if we damage them, it's a long road back or even worse when we hit menopause and our hormones change it can all fall to shit #punintended

So my message to mamas and mamas to be is, take it easy, be nice to yourself and just get your walk on. Embrace the 4th trimester, once its gone you'll realize how special it truly was. Do pelvic floor exercises, check for a separation in your abs and get in touch with a pelvic physio or a personal trainer that specializes in postpartum. 

Will I be able to do more strength and more intense workouts soon... Oh heck yes and you will too. But for now get your walk on, enjoy the sunshine and do exercises that feel good (any pain STOP!!!).

It took 10 months to make your gorgeous baby.. Give yourself a year to feel back to "normal!"

You've got this, I've got this and together with lots of coffee we will make it through this wild ride of motherhood!


My second pregnancy only lasted 7 weeks

Today, I am going back several months to earlier this year (where has the time gone!) but I think its SO important for society to talk more freely about miscarriage. I am now luckily enough to be 8 months pregnant but many may not know that I had a miscarriage earlier this year. 

I think women and men should be able to talk freely about the concept of pregnancy loss. It can be a very isolating experience when really there are lots of others whom may be your friends, family or people you can lean on going through similar situations.

While I was in my doctor's office with symptoms of cramping and bleeding she mentioned to me that up to 20% of all pregnancies can end in miscarriage. I was instantly filled with feelings of shock, anger and confusion. I felt alone. I felt ashamed as if my body was failing me and I wasn't sure what was about to happen next.

What was our story? To be honest, we weren't exactly trying at this point and one could call it the doing of several bottles of wine and not being all that "careful." Having another baby wasn't on my mind really I was busy with our first who was only 8 months, my Grandpa was really sick in the hospital and life just seemed hectic. My period was 11 days late and I still didn't get a positive pregnancy result, being a typical 'Regular Ronda' (even after I gave birth my period came back like 6 weeks later) I was really confused and started to realize that there as a good chance I was prego and it implanted late.

I kept taking tests and on day 13 and 14 I got bright positives. My initial reaction was "holy F" this is really happening mixed with a side of "OMG I may kill my husband kinda shock." I think when I actually told my husband my eyes popped out of my head! None the less, I felt instantly blessed (scared shitless but also blessed!!). The major irony was that the first positive came after we found my Grandpa had passed away. The timing of everything didn't make sense but I just had a bit of faith that clearly it was meant to be.

I quickly accepted that you can't always plan how life happens and although I didn't feel "ready" for another baby yet (general baby-ness, I was still breastfeeding, Ben was teething, we had only started sleep training, I wanted to live off coffee and a lot of my worries didn't even include the bigger element of if we had another preemie), But after about 24 hours of shock I started to get excited. I started to get really excited. Thoughts of life as a family of four raced through my mind. Another baby, would be a blessing and I am one tough chick and my husband is an awesome dad, so I knew we could get through anything. So I was all #letsdothis

I called my doctors office set up prenatal appointments, I got my pregnancy confirmed and we were off to the races.

4 days later I started to bleed.

My heart sank. I just knew.

My reaction was initially was similar to a statue. A statue that didn't even know what to think or do. I knew (from working in a maternity clinic as a receptionist/billing clerk when I was younger) that miscarriages happen, its a sign something wasn't developing right, and there isn't a lot you can do. I visited my doctor and she gave me some hope saying some people bleed in pregnancy and we would see how the weekend goes, and perhaps do an ultrasound the following week to see. 

I got home from that appointment and things got worse. For the first time I cried really hard. My heart was guarding my excitement and new expectations that I spent that last few days creating  in my head. The roller coaster came out over for the next 24 hours. I spent a lot of time in bed, resting, hoping and feeling helpless. I knew deep down it was meant to be if something was wrong but you can't help but have fallen in love with the idea of another beautiful baby.

2 days later life carried on. Mentally I had my head back on straight and was back to life. At the time we didn't tell many people, for I didn't know how to bring it up and I thought what are people supposed to say? For the record, this is basically called brushing it under the rug… and when you do that it ALWAYS comes back.

Fast forward 2 months when we started trying for real cause now we really wanted a baby and my emotions were crazier than ever. You start to remember what could of been and worry it could happen again and I felt alone. I started to feel sad again, emotions that I realised I hadn't dealt with because only a very small amount of people knew my husband and I went through it in the first place. Thats where I realised I wasn't being my normal self and talking about things with my loved ones. That needed to change.

I had friends and relatives that had miscarriages and I thought to myself, why can't we talk about them. Why is it okay to only talk about healthy chubby full term babies? and not the potentially sad or scary realities that a lot of couples face along the way? We should be able to talk about it all; happy or sad.

So we started telling our friends and family and it felt so good. It felt good for them to know what we had been through, but also opened the door for others to share their stories. It made us not feel alone. The reality is I know quite a few people that have had one or several miscarriages, its heart breaking to talk about but everyone had such strength, hope and compassion towards one another. It's also a bit of a reality that for parents that try to have multiple kids that at one point statistically speaking one may end in a miscarriage, so why do we have to pretend like they don't happen?

Fast forward 3 months after this we got pregnant and I am now in my 31st week. I feel very blessed and I know that the events in my life only make me stronger. I want for my experiences to inspire others just as I have been inspired by them.

I believe everyone has a story when it comes to procreating, keeping babies in, birth …AND It's not always the perfect image that society portrays (I'm talking picket fence, 6 kids, mom who bakes daily kinda stuff!). Thats what makes us human. We have struggles and we conquer them. The biggest take away is that your never alone. Talk to others, share your stories and you never know who you'll inspire with your own strength along the way.

Stay positive, inspire one another and be happy!

With Love,

Top Knot Mommy


We Had a 32 Week Old Preemie and It's Time To Talk About It...

There is a lot to talk about... But where do I even start? A lot has happened in the last 1.5 years (to say the least!) I feel so extremely lucky to be prego with baby number two currently. Although, at times I feel like this is all very hard I know that it truly is a blessing and totally worth it all. I love being a Mama. Having this be a high risk pregnancy, since my first was born unexpectedly at 32 weeks, I have found my mind to be a lot busier this time around. For the first time in a long time I have anxiety and at times its all too consuming. My anxiety comes from having had a premature baby and the questions and doubts that I have in regards to my body and ability to carry a baby this time around...

This article is going to be real, raw and honest. I have had a lot on my mind and I personally have found strength and admiration in reading other peoples family planning stories, stories of premature births, pregnancy triumphs and losses, and everything in between. I guess you can say I am not a person that can just keep everything bottled up inside. I'd rather share my story, so if by the chance I can provide inspiration, hope or strength to even one other person I will feel like I have returned the favour. 

So what happened the first time around? I haven't formally written or talked about my  "birth" story with our little boy Ben, and I have recently realized since being pregnant again I hadn't really dealt with a lot (or any!) of my emotions that came with the experience we had. I guess I swept it under the rug because I felt I didn't have time to think about it all for I had a teeny tiny baby to tend to… unfortunately that has led to me having a lot more anxiety this go around. Thus, I have been journaling and processing my thoughts to keep my mind healthy and positive.

Here goes; our first baby came a week after we returned home from living in Australia (which we had been doing for the three years prior.) We got the go ahead to fly at 31 weeks (all appeared to be good via an ultrasound scan) so off we went home to Canada to start our family. My first pregnancy looking back was blissful. Exactly how it should be really! I had little to no morning sickness, I had lots of energy, I exercised lots and had really no food aversions. I loved having a growing human inside of me. I went to the hospital 7 days after returning to Canada thinking I was having consistent Braxton Hicks (I didn't have pain, blood, fluid...nothing.) or a bladder infection. The doctor said "chances are you'll need antibiotics and you'll be on your way to dinner." I was scheduled to go have a great night out with my girl friends, many of which hadn't seen me pregnant since I returned to Canada.

After some inspections down south the doctor said "I don't know how to say this but your 3cm dilated and I can see the babies head." I am pretty sure my eyes popped across the room and then I just went into shock. Within 5 minutes I had a high risk OB and her team poking and prodding me, giving me contraction stopping pills, steroid injections and it all seems like a blur.

That night I laid on a gurney in Triage just thinking about how this is nothing like I had planned. I mean this isn't part of my "birth" plan!?! (all the pregnancy books say, make a birth plan you'll need it… or maybe not!) We then spent the next 3 days going in and out of Antenatal Care (where moms are on bed rest trying to keep babies in) and Labor and Delivery cause contractions would pick up and then die off. One night after I had been awake for over 30 hours they finally gave me morphine to see if it would help stop the contractions and finally give me some rest. I remember telling my husband that I thought morphine was the most amazing thing I ever had… I guess at the time it gave me the relief I so desperately needed haha. It knocked me out for a good 4 hours.

The roller coaster of having hours where things were fine, to the contractions returning was a mental mind game. I remember thinking "maybe they can just hang me upside down" or "was it something that I did?" On the third day a Neonatologist came in to speak with us. This conversation was probably one of the hardest I've ever had. My fears sky rocketed. The realities of having a 32 week old baby (although now having spent hundreds of hours in a NICU I know we are fortunate for a 32 weeker, they don't typically face the same issues as a baby in the 27-31 range or the super preemie range of 25-28) were terrifying for a first time prego and soon to be mom. The thought of my baby not surviving the delivery, not breathing, having brain damage, a brain bleed, spinal cord issues, permanent vision problems honestly the list was as long as the 45 minute conversation. The reality is you just never know what could or couldn't happen and we had to just wait and see whilst being as positive as we could.

That night I was told we couldn't use the contraction stopping pills anymore for its not a long term solution. They said most likely I would be going home in the morning. I woke up, no issues over night so I was feeling really positive. Finally I was going home, even though it was on strict bed rest, I was hoping that this was just a scare and that baby would bake for much longer.

We had everything in place at my brothers house (did I mention we were "house-less" cause we just moved home!) That morning I pushed the nurses to get someone to check how dilated I was prior to me leaving. The night before I was about 4-5cm and I couldn't feel any contractions over night so they said labour must have stopped and I can go home. I felt uneasy about this. I already, 4 days before, didn't think something was wrong when I initially came to the hospital and I didn't feel comfortable just leaving thinking it was okay without knowing for sure. I know they don't want to check your cervix too many times cause it could risk infection but I just needed to know.

I was finally checked and low and be hold I was 8cm….. I started to ball. I don't really remember the next 10 minutes for I was over taken with confusion, fear and sadness. Five minutes ago I was going home with the hope of keeping my baby in, and now I'm in a wheel chair heading to Labor and Delivery with more unknowns then I could count. I remember the look on my husbands face, it just dropped and we had nothing to say. We were both instantly terrified. With a team of what seemed like 10 people from the neonatal department and 4-5 from the OB team I delivered a baby boy (about 2 hours later), who to everyones relief cried when he came out. That noise I will never forget because it was something we were both so scared of not hearing. Within about 2 minutes the baby was fully checked out, and headed off to the NICU. I got to see him for about 10 seconds and then him and my husband were gone. Like poof the room went from 12-14 people to 3. Me, my OB and my amazing nurse. I remember my nurse asking me if I wanted some peanut butter toast, and I agreed. I lay there eating with a total look of bewilderment just thinking "What just happened?' "Do we have a baby?" " Am I a mom?" "Is he okay?" "Is there peanut butter on my face?" and then the biggest question popped into my head "What happens next?"

I had not even thought about after he was born. I was so concerned with if and how a baby would be born. I remember being terrified yet again. The amazing thing is the strength that just comes over you. I remember thinking that I needed to crumble, but I just couldn't. I had a baby I needed to be strong for. Mama strength is something I can't describe but it gives you the biggest will to just get things done.

I remember being rolled into the NICU about 4 hours after Ben was born. I finally got to formally meet him, all 3lbs and 14ounces of him. I cried. I cried happy tears and I cried sad tears.




He was so tiny and helpless. But instantly, I had to have hope and I had to focus on what I could do to help him. So I pumped every 3 hours religiously. Morning and night. I was set on becoming the best milker around. It was the only thing I could control in a world that seemed to be spinning out of control. I ended up getting discharged from the hospital that night and faced the reality that Ben wasn't coming home with us. I had to leave my baby; I had to leave a part of me that I barely got time get to know at the hospital to be in an incubator to be fed through a tube. I knew it was where he needed to be but it was a reality I wasn't prepared for. I cried. I cried the whole car ride home, I cried during dinner, I cried looking at pictures, I couldn't shake it, I cried the whole night. I was just still in shock. I was extremely overwhelmed but I was still feeling happy while receiving congrats messages from loved ones, I just needed a good cry and man did it come out.

The next day I got up, put my game face on and was ready to face reality. I still consider myself so lucky because he was alive, and he was our little miracle. My job was to pump as much milk as I could (every 3 hours), Kangaroo cuddle Ben (chest to chest) and be a strong mom and wife. I spent 12 hours a day for 4 weeks in the NICU. I would bring a cooler full of milk that we could feed him via a tube down his nose and throat, and then eventually bottles and 3 weeks after he was born he finally was able to feed off of me for short periods of time using a nipple shield. This was my reality. A reality that I just accepted and ran with.


It's only now when I look back that I realize how amazingly strong I was. I am so proud of myself and my husband for doing our absolute best when we really didn't and couldn't of had any expectations. 

Fast forward a few infections, feeding issues, jaundice, weight gains and losses, every scan and test under the sun and Ben was ready to come home at 4.5lbs. I'll never forget that day for it didn't seem real, someone was finally going to let us go home? WITHOUT a nurse!

My life was pumping and feeding every 3 hours for the next 3 months. I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch cuddling, feeding Ben via bottle and boob and watching Netflix. The best advice I got from my discharging Doctor was "don't bring the NICU with you home. Treat him like a normal baby, forget the temperature taking and daily weigh ins. It's time to enjoy a 'take home' baby."

Fast forward 1.5 years and our little guy is a ball of energy, gibbering away and is totally the light of our lives. Was my experience different than I imagined… yes. But, I believe that it made me a stronger woman, mom and wife. My husband and I are stronger for going through it and with our second pregnancy there are risks and things we will worry about but we are really focusing on staying positive and together we know we can get through anything. You never know how strong you are until you just have to be.

I've come to realize that it's okay to have anxiety about things in life but its important to try to find outlets to express them and to find people to confide in to help you feel better. Life forces you out of your comfort zone and its how you respond and grow. Am I anxiety free now? Not a chance, but I am leaning on my friends, family and doctors to help ease my fears and to focus on hopefully having a full term chubby "take home baby!" A big step for be was accepting the past and now embracing the future.

To all the mama's out there your doing an amazing job. We all have our own struggles and our own successes. I can only encourage you to talk to one another to share your stories, your thoughts and to know that your never alone. Mamahood is a wild ride and its much better when you can lean on each other to get by.

Stay positive, stay happy and stay fit!


Top Knot Mommy



Mama Identity Crisis? It's Totally Normal!

Do you ever feel like your identity was lost somewhere between being blissfully pregnant and being up all night with a 3 month old? For some maybe this never happens but for myself and many of my friends the major life switch left us all like a deer in headlights.

Those first few months mamas are in the trenches, your just trying to get to tomorrow without eating a tub of ice cream, crying for no reason and screaming at your partner for doing up a diaper wrong (been there!). It’s hard being a new mama, don’t get me wrong its the most amazing journey and it is incredibly rewarding, BUT sometimes we need to fight within ourselves to find our selves post baby. I know I personally did.

Having a premature baby (and I would assume its no different than a take home full term baby), I was consumed with timed feedings, burping, reducing acid reflux, diaper changes…the list goes on. I remember thinking; I wonder who Tara will be after all this. And at times whether I was just so exhausted I felt like I couldn’t answer the question. So much of our identity can be wrapped up in our pre baby job, who we hang out with and things we do. It isn’t until you go through a time like having a baby where your lucky if you shower in 4 days, wear a bra or talk to another person besides your partner that you start to question such things. I only have one baby and yet sometimes it’s easy to get totally consumed by them.

I started to realize that my life can’t revolve around my baby, and that’s not building (for me anyways) a healthy relationship. Mama needed her own time, time to relax, to workout, time for friends and time with my husband. It’s once I started to piece back together elements of my interests, hobbies and social life that I truly felt that I had the right balance.

I remember in the early days needing to take 15 minute breaks once my husband would get home from work to sit by myself in a dark room. It helped my sanity just hearing silence with nothing hanging off my body. I then realized if I didn’t start making “me” time a priority nobody else would. My husband is incredibly supportive of my health and happiness but understandably so he’s not always thinking “maybe Tara needs a break!”  This realization eventually led to me planning more things for me like nightly bubble baths, quick trips to target without Ben (what a treat!), dates with friends and baby-less workouts. What I am trying to say is mama’s make some plans for your self and then do them.  You’ll be so happy you did!

I can’t stress enough to any mamas that it’s important for you to put yourself first. If mama is happy and balanced then so will her children. Thus, if someone offers to babysit--> TAKE THEM UP ON IT! Realize quickly there is more than one way to do anything, thus let your hubby put on a diaper the wrong way... he will learn when he gets a massive blow out on his shirt AND you can take some time to relax or get out of the house.

Make plans with your friends, although you may feel that none of them understand what your going through, lots probably do and the ones that don’t cause maybe they don’t have kids yet, know how to drink wine and all moms need that too! Haha Get out and exercise, move your body as much as you can, it relieves stress, you feel better after and have lots more energy!

Don’t let the fact that you birthed a tiny human let you lose yourself. Ensure you make yourself a priority because mama’s happiness matters!

Why the change?

First off I would like to thank all of my followers, clients and supporters that helped me gain the confidence to start my fitness business journey 3 years ago. Secondly, many of you have been asking me “why would you change?’ and the answer is because it just feels so natural. Organically this is where my business is growing the most. My life is all mama-hood and if I can share my stories, methods of staying fit and spread some inspiration to other mamas then I am all for that!

I truly appreciate all of your support through out this. There are BIG things on the horizon for Top Knot Mommy and I couldn’t be more excited. Stay tuned and stay fit mamas!