Dear Diary

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it 100 times over – Toronto is simply not a happy place. There’s very little colour in our city, with the scales tipping toward grey and black especially in the winter. We’re a town of neutrals, of busy streets and even busier people who all seem to have their own very set agendas. We get a lot done, but I definitely wouldn’t describe Toronto as exceptionally HAPPY.

Luckily, Happy Place is here to save the day.

Much like The Museum Of Ice Cream, Happy Place is a touring installation of fun, photo-friendly experiences, and just in time for the winter blues it has popped-up in Toronto for the first time ever! There’s lemonade, there’s a pot of gold to jump into, there’s a confetti cannon globe you can stand inside, and there’s even a snack bar at the end with all rainbow food! I don’t want to give too much away in case you decide to go yourself! The surprises are all part of the fun…

Here’s the info if you want to go //

Where // 245 Queens Quay W (Harbourfront Centre)
When // November 1st – January 1st
Get tickets here

And some photos from our visit of course – how could we not?

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Dear Diary

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We hear it all the time in hashtags and Instagram captions, but my goodness, being pregnant really does show you how crazy mysterious and magical women’s bodies can be. Watching my body shift, stretch and grow in ways I never thought possible over the past 6 months has been a total trip, and understanding how to slow down and listen to its new demands hasn’t been easy for someone as go-go-go as I am.

I also haven’t been the best about following all of the pregnancy “rules”. Turns out the internet will tell you almost anything you can think of is risky when carrying a child – food, spices, herbs, scents, essential oils, if you can name it and there’s a warning about it. My first trimester I was terrified, constantly searching every single ingredient and giving up some of my favourite teas and tinctures. The more I monitored and read, the more nervous I became… it felt like unless I was eating exclusively processed, packaged junk food I was totally doomed.

The thing is, I started to realize the most unhealthy thing I could possibly be full of was fear. I started doing more research, and it turns out the internet warns against a lot of ingredients simply because their effect hasn’t been studied on pregnancy. Kombucha, for example, is often not recommended because it contains a tiny amount of alcohol, but a lot of women believe the healthy bacteria outweighs any potential negative concerns. Still, I wasn’t truly confident in my decisions until I read Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen.

I haven’t been big on pregnancy reading, but if you’re going to buy one book, this is the one to invest in. Erica is all about trusting your body and using common sense to make decisions instead of being lead by anxiety, and it helped me get comfortable with the idea that I know best for my body and my baby. Sushi for example, is almost always flash frozen now, killing the bacteria pregnant women are warned of, so as long as you pick a busy, popular restaurant that doesn’t leave fish sitting out, you’re probably totally fine. Same with cold pressed juice – buy fresh from a reliable source and there’s very little chance bacteria has had enough time to grow!

With newfound confidence, I started experimenting with different ways to keep calm and carry (baby) on, like adaptogenic smoothie recipes and essential-oil boosted epsom salt baths. Stress has been my number one enemy this pregnancy – I’m so happy to be where I am, but I’m constantly on edge, all too often frustrated with work issues, friend conflicts and disappointment in myself. Hormones can be hard to handle, and I also stopped taking anti-depressants when I conceived which has been more of an adjustment than I expected. All that in mind, being a mother is about adapting, and I’ve worked hard to take care of myself with these potions and rituals that create time and space for my changing body and mind.

*I am not a doctor, and though these products and potions worked great for me, make sure you check in with your midwife/doula/care provider before trying anything new!

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Moodbeli Powders //

Hot chocolate has been my biggest craving by far this pregnancy, and I wanted to find something healthier than Carnation brand powder with mini marshmallows. I came across Moodbeli and instantly fell in love – their tonics are all SO delicious and can be brewed hot or mixed into a smoothie. Like a milky taste? Try adding some of their “Cloud Powder” to your cup – it’s like a plant-based cream. The best part about this brand is every product is rich with vitamins and minerals, for example the Bliss Booster is high in iron + calcium, and tastes like spicy hot chocolate to boot.

My favourites //

Cloud Powder
Bliss Booster
Ceremony Tonic

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Moonbath //

I have yet to find a pregnant lady who didn’t swear by taking baths – it’s a great way to take the weight off of those tired bones and let all that stress go. I’m all about soaking up fancy, indulgent baths, but I love the idea of adding a bit more meaning and healing in the mix. Moonbath checks out on both fronts, with super pretty packaging and aromatherapy-focused ingredients that aim to evoke specific strengths. All natural and thoughtfully crafted, I especially love brewing the Nasty Woman bath tea when I’m feeling a bit too hormone-heavy.

My favourites //

Nasty Woman Bath Tea
New Moon Bath Tea
Milk and Honey Bath Salt
Sacred Smoke Smudge Blend

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Fleurs //

I first found this brand through Hello Mellow, an awesome local wellness shop that sells all sorts of healing products. Yes, the Fleurs brand contains CBD, which has not yet been comprehensively studied on pregnant women, and though the amount absorbed from these creams and teas that actually makes it to baby is minute, I have personally only used them very sparingly since becoming pregnant. A lot of women are medicating with full-on CBD oil for pregnancy nausea and aches nowadays, but to be on the safe side I plan on using these products more regularly after birth. This is a personal choice, and I definitely look forward to more well-researched data about CBD and pregnancy in the future, because it really can be so helpful!

Pregnant aside, this local brand is seriously amazing. Each tea bag is carefully dosed to provide non-psychoactive relief, and their pain potion has been a lifesaver in the past when I got stress headaches that nothing else seemed to touch.

My favourites //

CBD pain potion
Stress roll-on
Organic CBD teas

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Herb and Nectar Tea //

If the unknowns of CBD aren’t your thing, I’m also a huge fan of Herb and Nectar Tea. They use a lot of herbs that are on the “risky” list, but their Divine Feminine Blend has been one of my absolute favourites to sip this past 6 months – it’s not only safe for pregnant women but encourages uterine strength and is high in iron and magnesium. I also recommend their high quality, pure Cacao Tea, which basically makes a cup of the most decadent rose cinnamon hot chocolate you can possibly imagine. Make sure you order ahead of time, as each jar is hand blended fresh!

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Some other spirit-boosting favourites //

Tarot cards by Labyrinthos
Lohn Candles
Palo Santo from Cardea Auset
The Strength in our Scars poetry book by Bianca Sparacino

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Dear DiaryDress Up

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Clothing waste has always been a big concern for me with a career in blogging. It can be hard not to get caught up in always wearing brand new items all the time, and I often struggle with looking fresh without over-consuming. Then I got pregnant, and things took on a whole new level of wasteful.

Instead of staying the same size and wearing my clothing until it was too worn out to wear anymore, suddenly nothing in my closet would even fit over my hips, and when I tried to buy some cheap, fast fashion items in bigger sizes, I grew out of them within a couple weeks. At a time when your body is constantly changing, how can you possibly keep up without needing a whole new wardrobe every week? And don’t even get me started on kid’s clothing with how quick they grow and change!

The new UN Climate Change Report that was released this past month was a huge wakeup call to me – without taking immediate action to treat the environment with more respect, our future is in danger, and as far as I can see every little bit in every area of our lives helps. I’ve been cutting back on using plastic straws and consuming cow-based animal products, but what about the very clothes I put on my back? Becoming pregnant and realizing a lot of the items I’ve barely worn in my closet may never fit me again made me realize I can do better.

Did you know North Americans send more than 12 million tons of textiles into the waste stream every year? Canadians on average buy 70 new articles of clothing annually (I think personally I might be closer to 80+), and I don’t even want to think about the hike in that number when pregnancy and growing kids are involved. So what’s the answer? As Autumn rolled around and I started to need more cozy pregnancy items in larger sizes, I decided to take stock of alternatives to buying new. Here’s what I came up with:

1 // Thrift it! I knew I wanted some looser dresses for blogger events this Fall, so instead of shopping online like I usually might I walked to my local Value Village and I was honestly shocked at how much I found. I ended up with three different options for under $50, and dropped off a bag of pieces that no longer fit me too. You can see my three finds in these photos!

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Did you know that one thrifted t-shirt can save up to 2,650 litres of water, and a secondhand pair of jeans saves up to 6,800 litres of water? Plus, bringing in donations is an amazing way to give back to the system without creating more trash.

Fun Fact: On October 16th, aka Waste Reduction Week’s Textiles Tuesday, Value Village set up an installation made of reused textiles in Toronto’s famous Graffiti Alley to bring awareness to just how much clothing waste humans produce. Needless to say, it was a LOT!

2 // Take good care of the items you love by washing them carefully. I use the cold cycle, hang to dry, and only buy all-natural detergent to help out with my environmental impact too!

3 // If you have to buy new, don’t spend on novelty pieces you’ll only wear once, instead save your pennies and invest in beautiful pieces made locally that are built to last a lifetime. Bonus points for organic/natural fabrics.

4 // Organize a clothing swap with your friends! Make a night of it with tea and cookies for good measure. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe without spending any cash, and any leftovers can be taken to your local thrift shop to be loved by others.

5 // Take damaged or too-loose items to be repaired or altered at your local tailor. I’ve struck up quite the friendship with mine and he always does a seriously amazing job making my older pieces look like new.

Which of my Value Village finds do you like best?

Dear DiaryDress Up

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As if by magic, I’m somehow already over halfway to meeting this baby! I remember when I first got my positive test result and mapped out the trimesters, 20 weeks seemed like a lifetime away, and every moment was spent just wishing my belly would grow enough to show. I remember standing in the mirror trying to puff myself up and constantly worrying I somehow wasn’t actually pregnant.

Yet here I am, heading into week 22 (!) and In a lot of ways it still doesn’t feel any more real – even after that 20 week anatomy scan showing each tiny arm, and even as my belly grows far too big to fit into any of my old outfits. I expected to feel so sick and in a constant state of discomfort during my pregnancy, just like in the movies, but I’ve been so incredibly lucky this past 5 months with how healthy, energetic and happy I’ve felt that I seriously have consistently worried I’m not actually pregnant almost the whole time. I guess pregnancy anxiety in my case is very very real, even if the more typical symptoms haven’t been! Oh and the boobs, I definitely have the boobs as evidence.

SO what happens now? Waiting on that first “for sure” kick has seriously been agony for me. It finally happened late last week (I think? How do you know for sure!?) and I’m still impatient for a more serious kick so I can REALLY FOR SURE know this is all really happening. What can I say, this motherhood thing has been so surreal! I’m genuinely starting to worry I won’t fully believe there’s an actual baby in there until I’m actually in labour/giving birth. Some of my mom friends have even said years down the line, looking at their toddlers, they still don’t believe it!

And of course this process hasn’t been entirely without any lows. Some of my friends who started out supportive when all this was just an idea have since faded or even disappeared completely. I fell down the stairs early on and probably cried harder about the fact that no one was there to pick me up than I did about the actual fall. I’ve had 3 UTI’S (I get them chronically) and this last one has gone on for a month, totally resistant to the few antibiotics I can take. Some nights I fall asleep happily cuddling my pregnancy pillow, and some nights I fall asleep worried sick about my finances and wishing I had a partner to rant to. I may have had an “easy” pregnancy so far, but nothing worth doing is ever just easy, and of course there are times when I’m scared and worried and just want a hug. So I’ve made the choice to stay as positive as I possibly can and focus on all the good in my story, because at the end of the day this is everything I’ve ever wanted, and though nothing is ever perfect, this magical time is pretty darn close in my books!

Some fun new features that have come out since my initial announcement:

My interview with the Unapparenthood podcast here
This interview on the FASHION magazine site here

And now over to you guys! Here are my answers to all the things you wanted to know.

Q+A //

Did you consider other paths to parenthood when making your decision? Such as adopting or fostering? If you did… did you find any barriers in those processes being single? // It was definitely something I thought about, but yes, there are a lot of things about my lifestyle that would make that route pretty difficult. It’s absolutely a lot harder to qualify as a young, single woman who rents her apartment and has two dogs and a cat, with a fairly nondescript job title/business to boot. In all honesty I also really deeply have always wanted to be pregnant myself if it was a possibility, though adopting in the future when I have a partner and the process isn’t so daunting is absolutely still on the table.

I’m dying for nursery sneak peeks! // They’re coming! All setup is on hold until the ceiling mural I have commissioned Johanna for is finished. Once that’s complete and the light fixture goes up, everything else will start to take shape.

Are you finding out the gender? + Have you found out gender yet? // This is by far my most asked question I get, pretty much on the daily, and it’s a bit of a point of contention for me if I’m being real. I have always felt there was way too much focus on gender for expecting parents, and knew I personally wouldn’t want to find out long before I started trying. It’s not just about being excited for the surprise, which I totally absolutely am, but also my understanding of how fluid gender can be and how detrimental gendered parental expectations can be in turn. Let me explain:

I have dated all over the gender spectrum, and I’ve seen so many wonderful people that I care about deeply suffer from the impacts of not turning out the way their parents anticipated based on determination of sex at birth. I understand knowing what you’re having can make the whole baby thing feel more real in so many ways, and a big part of me craves that, but I think in a lot of cases it also kickstarts how you think your child will be and how society starts to perceive your child will be, before they even take their first outside breath, all based on a body part. I dated someone for years whose mother was absolutely heartbroken her child hadn’t turned out to be the straight, feminine woman she had expected to raise, so wrapped up in the fact that her kid wasn’t settling down with a nice man in a white wedding dress that she couldn’t celebrate all the incredible things this person was doing in the world. I remember hearing this story – whenever she did laundry she’d throw out her child’s American Apparel unisex underwear and replace them with frilly bikini cuts. I also had a trans* partner whose parents felt such a massive sense of loss when their child came out to them, constantly struggling with the idea of losing their daughter instead of grasping how truly remarkable, happy, and brave their son was.

These relationships were painful to watch as an outsider, and I swore I’d never make my kid feel like they had to dress, look or behave a certain way to be worthy of my love and support, especially when it comes to gender expectations. Of course I will find out the gender of my baby when they’re born, and I will be using gendered pronouns like he/she until my child is old enough to tell me to do otherwise, but I don’t want to get overly attached to my kid being a certain way because of something that in the end isn’t necessarily solidified or all that important. At the end of the day, I just want a baby to love, and I hope more than anything they’re happy and healthy.

As for decor and wardrobe choices well… let’s just say my love of pink does not subscribe to “boy or girl” norms! #allpinkeverything

What has surprised you the most about pregnancy? // Probably how surreal the whole thing has felt. As I mentioned I haven’t really been that sick, sore, or exhausted, which means some days I wake up and before I reach down and feel my belly I have a wave of fear it was all just a dream. I also like being pregnant so much that it’s almost like I can’t image the baby really arriving, like I might just stay pregnant forever? I think I expected to be one of those talking to my belly women but I’m still not fully grasping there’s someone in there to listen.

Are you dating while pregnant? I worry that after I conceive I’ll be alone forever! // Absolutely! I have a whole article on this coming out on the FLARE site very soon so I won’t go into too much detail… but don’t be afraid! NO ONE stays alone forever, and people with kids get together and join their families all the time. Yes, being pregnant and having a baby cuts out a lot of potential partners who aren’t ready for that yet, but if this is something you want, you didn’t want someone who isn’t ready anyway! I think of it as a really great auto-filtration system for my dating life.

Will you be getting a nanny? (no judgement!) // I’m not totally sure yet, but it’s likely I’ll need some help when it comes to running my own business and being a mom. Of course we all hope to have that sleepy newborn who can sit lazily in a bouncy chair for hours while mom gets work done, but I’m going with the “expect the worst and hope for the best” strategy. My family will be staying with me to help for as long as possible and when they head back to Vancouver I’ll have to evaluate what kind of childcare setup I need, if any! Certainly not against the idea, especially if it’s someone who comes to help out while I’m home working so I’m still around for all the milestones.

How long was the process before getting pregnant? // It was pretty quick for me, definitely quicker than I originally expected! I had this totally unfounded fear that I might be infertile because I’d never had any sort of a pregnancy scare, plus my family doesn’t have the best track record with female health issues (hello endometriosis). In the end I tried for three months at home without any clinical intervention or tracking, just over the counter ovulation strips and cycle tracking, and it worked. I guess it was about 10 months from the time I first decided to stop taking birth control until I actually got that plus sign on a test.

How do you maintain a positive body image while pregnant? // This one is tough to answer because in my case it feels really natural to celebrate this new body. It may not be what I’m used to, but I like to think of it as a super body, like my old one but with way more crazy impressive powers. I mean, on top of my daily life this bod is now growing a whole new human! I think staying as active as possible, having fun with how I dress (it’s not everyday you get to layer over a big old bump and huge boobs) and eating healthy have all kept my confidence up, because I haven’t completely lost my old self in this new skin. Doing the things that always made you feel like a confident babe are just as, if not more, important with a baby on board!

I want to know more about your decision to do this alone, I’ve been considering it for a long time // I’m not sure what more there is to say! It didn’t really even feel like a choice to me – I knew for so long this is what I really wanted out of life, and I ran out of reasons not to go for it! Having a baby is always scary, but for me the idea of waiting for the right person and potentially missing my chance was way scarier than going for it on my own.

I was wondering how you selected a donor and what was important to you? // I struggled super long and hard with this one because it’s a huge responsibility, and I genuinely date all sorts of people (I can legitimately fall in love with anyone), which means gravitating toward my “type” wasn’t an option. In the end I tried to choose someone a lot like me, so hopefully I will have as much in common with my kid as possible. Yes I could have gone for an academic or sports star, but without that second person around to identify with and nurture those traits I was worried I would fall short, so I went the more creative route to be safe. Who knows what I’ll actually get, but it was my attempt to be responsible!

What are you most nervous about as you become a mom? // Probably the concern of developing really bad PPD. I’ve struggled with mental health issues my whole life and the idea of feeling detached or down when I meet this baby sort of terrifies me. My mom also had a particularly bad case, which ups my risk of having it too. Luckily I live in a city with a ton of really great resources and lots of help for new moms so even if it does come up, I’m confident I’ll be able to get it under control!

What song puts you in a good mood no matter what? // Not pregnancy related haha, but I can always count on Kokomo by The Beach Boys!

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Outfit credits:
Shein Overalls (search ID 393457, get EXTRA 15% off with code “randomac15”
Mother’s are Magic t-shirt – Bee and Mae
Earrings – Shop Machete
Checkered high tops – Vans
The Motherhood Club pin – Bee and Mae
Don’t Make me Blush pin – Shop Ban.do
Empowered Women Empower Women Button – Paper Heart Calligraphy

Dear Diary

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WHAT. A. WHIRLWIND.

In all honesty I had a whole other blog post written to share today, but as the week unfolded since my announcement Monday I decided something more raw and less bubbly-blogger was needed. Yes, of COURSE I’m so excited, and this is everything I’ve ever dreamed of coming to fruition, but there’s a LOT more than that to say!

First – thank you, thank you, thank you. I had been counting down to when I got to share the news with my followers since pretty much day one, and I spent countless hours trying to mentally prepare myself for all of the judgemental, scary and maybe even cruel responses that were sure to come. I know my story is controversial in a lot of ways, that it doesn’t fit what society expects, especially from a blogger, and when I put my post up Monday I was ready to go to war for my right to be a mother on my own terms.

And then something strange happened. Love.

You guys showed me so much love it almost made my heart explode. Yes I was absolutely sure this was right for me, but I absolutely expected the general population to find it, well, a bit crazy. Instead my comment sections were filled with words like “so proud of you”, “empowering stuff” and “love this story”. I had a massive flood of messages from other women who have similar plans or are already on their way to being single parents too. A few even mentioned how isolated they’ve felt for wanting to be moms from a young age. So many happy tears were shed, stories shared and questions politely and respectfully posed. So above all, thank you – I really expected the worst earlier this week, and I ended up feeling like reality was even better than my best case scenario.

Of course nothing is ever ALL positive, especially when challenging the norm is at play and this conversation ended up spreading far past my amazing, supportive, sparkly feminist community, all the way onto Wednesday’s episode of The Social (a popular Toronto talk show, for the non-Torontonians here). It was super interesting to see the dialogue that came up when my story was shared with a totally different audience, and though the commentary from the hosts wasn’t all positive (you can watch the clip here) I think they all raised really good points… a few of which I’d love to speak to, because I’m sure other people have the same criticisms in mind! Here’s what stood out to me as comments to address:

If you’re going to do this, you have a responsibility to ask your parents and friends first, because they’re all going to have to chip in //
Yes, community is absolutely crucial in this choice, whether it involves your blood related family or not. I am extremely lucky to have a massive, strong support system comprised almost entirely of people who jumped at the chance to be a part of this baby’s life. Their faith in me and my ability to be a good mother played a big part in my decision making process. It was not something I “just decided”, it was something I hashed out and contemplated with my people for years before taking any steps toward making it a reality.

It’s a selfish decision //
This was the criticism I was most afraid of when I went public with my story, and though I can understand where Sonia is coming from as a single mother herself, I think she made her comments with the assumption I had made this choice on a gust of whimsy, without a real consideration of the sacrifice and hardship involved. Now I am the queen of whimsy, you guys know that, but when it comes to children I do NOT mess around. I thought about this every hour of every day for literal years – it consumed me in ways I didn’t know that something could. I weighed out my options and I know that for me, personally, dealing with the heartbreak of a divorce would be much more detrimental to me and my child than me building up my life, doing this thing on my own and worrying about finding that big love later on. Of course it would be nice to have met the love of my life, had babies and stayed together forever, but I wasn’t going to try and force that only to watch it go up in flames, potentially impacting my child’s ideas about love in the process. I say if the shoe doesn’t fit… make your own more realistic, better-fitting shoe!

Are you romanticizing the notion of motherhood a little too much? At 27 it’s going to impact every single aspect of you’re life. She doesn’t know what yet because she’s not there //
Of course NO person can prepare for the insanely difficult, messy, stressful, terrifying journey that is being a first time parent, in any situation, but I have done my absolute best to try. I work in childcare with my church, I spend a ton of time with my friends who are moms, I have a line of candid conversation open with my own mom about her struggles with postpartum depression and parenting, plus I have this amazing community of moms on the internet at my fingertips that have already been so helpful! I have heard the horror stories, I have wiped the tears, I have witnessed the sleepless nights – I get it, this shit isn’t “cute”, its the ride of a lifetime… but I’m as ready for that ride as I’ll ever be, and there isn’t anything more important to me than this adventure.

If she’s taken the time to build her village before, then I have more respect for her choice, but I don’t know that she’s done that //
As mentioned above, I wouldn’t dream of having a baby on my own without a kick ass community to help me do it, and I am thankful every moment of every day for the expansive village that has built itself up around me in this journey. I can’t wait for this baby to meet all of the inspiring, strong and talented role models who are so unwaveringly a part of our lives.

You bring a child into this world, you need money! You need stability! //
Of COURSE this is the ideal scenario, yes, and luckily I have the privilege of having a great financial situation and lots of stability without a man. I don’t think those things are mutually exclusive, stability and not having a relationship – it’s entirely possible to have one without the other, and had I had a child with one of the men I dated over the years, I always would have been the one with the financial stability in the relationship anyway. What can I say – I work hard, and I’ve been saving for this dream, for parenthood in general, for a long time! Not to say that’s mandatory though – so many people, single or coupled, have babies on a budget and make it work!

And now, onto YOUR questions! I’ve always been an open book when it comes to my writing, and I really want to create a lot of dialogue around this subject specifically, so feel free to DM or comment below if I left something out and I’ll make sure I address it in the coming months!

How did friends and family react to this decision? //
It was genuinely shocking to see how many people in my life were immediately on board, I think because the people closest to me know how badly I want to be a mother for such a long time now. Of course there were doubts and lots of really helpful critical conversations where friends and family brought up their concerns and we worked through them together. Being able to hold my own in these conversations only further solidified I was on the right track.

Did you have any fears? Such as will it be harder to meet someone? Sad? Lonely? //
I have this blessing/curse where I commit to an idea and don’t look back, which really came into play here. My biggest fear, above anything else, was to miss my chance to be a mother. Every other fear faded into the background when compared. So I made a mental switch to create my own happy ending, not something sad or lonely or disappointing, just a different romantic narrative. Here’s what it sounds like:

We live in a world where women are told we can be anything we chose, masters of our own destiny, so why should becoming a mother still be dependant on finding the right man first? I have no doubt at some point I’ll find a life partner, or at least have a handful more great loves down the line, and in my books having a baby doesn’t contradict that, it compliments it. Someone who doesn’t have the same goals, values and desires simply won’t date me, which automatically weeds out anyone I would have wasted my time on. I think a massive part of my problems when it comes to dating were rooted in pressure, because it was so undeniable that I knew what I wanted and generally it was terrifying to potential suitors. I constantly felt held back and slowed down, limited by love, and I’ve always known that if I waited for “the right person” and found them too late, I’d never forgive myself.

I have faith my great love will come along, they’ll just have to be ok with fitting into the family I’ve already built instead of building it from scratch with me. The right person will only love me more for being a proud mother.

How long did it take before you felt fully ready to make this decision? //
I seriously thought about it every day for years, but I only felt pushed to make some sort of official plan a couple years ago around age 25. Having a deadline and a strategy made me feel more in control of my own destiny, and when I hit 27 and the need for a baby was effecting everything in my life (relationships, career choices, holidays and special events), I knew it was time to actually take the leap.

What are you most looking forward to as a single parent? I find that most are asked “what’s the scariest thing about being a single parent?” but I’d love to see the narrative turned around to things to look forward too rather than things to fear. //
LOVE THIS! I think I’ll have to say living in our own magical little world of make believe without anything to get in our way. No drama or parental disagreements, no relationship stress, just fort building and snuggles. Pure, uninterrupted play time where it’s just us and our imaginations. Some people may think being alone with a child sounds sad or scary, but to me it sounds like freedom from all things adult, if only for those small special pixie dust moments.

Are you still with C3 church? Do you plan to raise your baby Christian? //
Really great question! I do still attend, though some of the policies on the C3 global site have raised a lot of concern for me and until I get more answers from my church leadership I’m not totally sure about what particular Toronto church I will continue to grow with. I love my C3 Toronto family so much, and it absolutely feels like home on a personal level, but I just can’t be a part of an organization that opposes gay marriage, even at a distant top level. That said I do plan to raise my baby with some aspects of modern, inclusive Christianity – I think believing in something bigger than yourself and having a strong moral compass, whatever that means for you, is really super important. I will never force my child to attend church or believe what I believe however, those choices will be up to them when they’re able to decide, the same way my parents left my own spirituality up to me.

Did you rely on any sort of support system in making the decision? //
Absolutely. As much as I’d love to say “whatever, just go for it”, I think it’s endlessly important to have a lot of really dedicated, loving people on board if you’re going to take this route, not only for the sake of your future sanity, but so your child grows up with lots of different role models from different walks of life too.

How are you functioning with morning sickness? //
I have been one of those rare lucky women who didn’t really get that sick – sure I’ve had food aversions, but I never actually threw up a single time, and now that I’m in trimester 2 I feel pretty close to 100%. I will say eating small amounts of plain foods ALL the time really helped the first couple months and hydrating heavily was another big one. Also, don’t deprive yourself of naps! If you can, nap, nap all the time. It helped me so much to snooze here and there, and it’s good new mom training too.

Will you be finding out the sex of the baby? Or let it be a surprise when you give birth? //
No gender reveal parties here folks – we’re all just going to have to wait and see until the moment baby is born (yes, even me.) I love a good surprise and this is the ULTIMATE one!

More Below…

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How did your parents first react to your decision? First shock and then excitement? Or only excitement to be grandparents, love and support since the beginning? //
It was definitely a process. My parents are super supportive of everything I do, but we also have a very open honest relationship, so if they’re skeptical of something they say it. When I first suggested the idea to my mom she raised all the usual points like “Alyssa, it’s going to be really hard, you have no idea”, and insisted I’d needed to move home to Vancouver for support if I was serious. As my mom warmed up to the idea with time, listening to all the reasons I was confident it WOULD work, my dad refrained from chiming in, though as one point when I pushed the issue he said something like “it just seems really forced”. They were unsure about my plans to say the least, but I think the more serious I was about it the more seriously they started to take it. In early Spring they came to visit me at my new apartment and it was clear by then that my mom was fully on board, but my dad still sort of kept quiet on the subject. Apparently on their car ride back to the airport my dad turned to my mom and said “You know, I was worried about this plan Alyssa has, but seeing her home and the life she’s built, I really do think she can do it. I think she’s ready.”

I got pregnant two weeks later, and my dad likes to think it was his blessing that sealed the deal. They were still definitely in shock when I called them crying my eyes out screaming “I’m pregnant” into the phone so soon after their visit, but within seconds shock turned to nothing but excitement. They’re probably reading this and crying happy tears / shopping for baby clothes right now (there have been a lot of those in my family lately).

How do you deal with negativity towards your decision to be a young single parent? //
I think I’ve accepted negativity as an important step toward widening the conversation. If someone is being negative, they likely feel their views are being challenged in some way and rather than get down about it I see it as an opportunity to stretch their perspective a little, if only an inch. Chances are if someone has a concern it’s something I’ve already thought of myself and then worked through while preparing for all this, so it doesn’t scare me.

What are you most excited for and least excited for as a mom? //
I’m definitely most excited for our future adventures, to show this baby the magical world around us with music, vacations, stories and snuggles. In my books, it’s never too early to start teaching them how to dream!

Least excited… definitely sleep deprivation. I really, REALLY love to sleep.

Have your pets noticed a change? //
I don’t think they have yet! I am working with K9X, an amazing dog trainer, to get Mylk ready for baby because he’s SO big and still very young. I want the whole fur family as prepared as possible!

Do you have a birth team? //
Yes! I’m with Kensington Midwives and LOVING it, plus I have the most awesome Doula, Birth Boss.

Would you share how potential sperm donors reacted when you approached? //
Oh gosh, was that ever a funny experience. I spoke to a lot of different men long before I had actually started trying, gauging interest. A couple guys said they were up for it but then backed out when it was actually go time, others had their own timeline in mind that didn’t work with mine. All of them took some time to think about it and speak with their partner (in the case they had one) and all were surprisingly logical and respectful. I’ve even had some men in my life come to me since the announcement and say “hey, why didn’t you ask me!”

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Photos by Ainsley Rose