May 242016

Pretty cool place to sleep!

Recently, I did something that I was absolutely dreading. I went on a five day yoga retreat in Sutton, Quebec. Sounds brutal, right?

In it of itself, I wasn’t dreading the retreat. 5 days of yoga and workshops with a solid group of people I love. No need to cook, I’d be served glorious vegetarian food every meal. Fresh air, a cozy cabin to myself…

But I was not looking forward to leaving Babe and Bug. Some of you, whether you are parents or not, will understand this and some of you won’t. I had never, ever, spent a single night away from my Bug. No longer does he need me to fall asleep. Sometimes he still nurses to sleep, but those times are rarer and rarer. He can fall asleep with Papa or a babysitter. Babe also does not “need” me to function day to day. We invested, bug time, with this Attachment Parenting thing, and see how it’s paid off. Again, some of you will understand this and some won’t, and that’s okay. I had left Babe a couple of times as a doula, two nights for our “honeymoon,” when I was 6-months pregnant with Bug, and another time when my friend Rebecca convinced me to go with her to the Eastern Townships when Babe was nearly 2!


free time

Just now, I went back and read that post about the Eastern Townships, and it was a very similar thing, the feelings I was having as I was about to embark on my Happy Tree Yoga Hatha Teacher Training retreat at Au Tournant Du Coeur. But this time for 4 nights. The what if’s? What if they got sick? What if there was an emergency?

Just like the time Rebecca and I went to the blueberry gite, no emergency. No nothing. If they needed me, they could call. This was not a Vipassana retreat (although Au Tournant Du Coeur is at the old Sutton Vipassana centre and we did have one day of silence). The whole family made it through quite happily. Including me! When I voiced my concerns to friends, they mostly tried to assure me I’d be “fine,” once I got there. I didn’t think I would be. Especially on that day of silence. I’d be lost in my own thoughts and start to panic. The last time someone suggested something so preposterous, was the same Rebecca who tried to entice me to Strom for a day at the spa. Instead I went to a private clinic and insisted on a prescription for anti-anxiety meds. Truth. The idea of being left alone with our thoughts can be frightening.

This was one of the biggest realizations I had on my retreat. Kicked off by this funny and true clip by Louis CK, which we watched at the retreat. Feel free to watch it. It’s funny and relate-able. I doubt I’m the only one who sends a text when I’m sitting in a split-second of terrifying silence. And yes, I do do the yoga and meditation thing. That’s how real this is!

Especially the day of silence and juicing, I realized that I talk too much and eat too much. That I’ve been foolishly (humanly) looking for distractions instead of dealing with the real life things that need to be dealt with.  It’s the thing about texting or going on Facebook instead of sitting quietly. The thing about bolting when a relationship gets hard. About taking up something new instead of challenging yourself to get to the next level of difficulty. So often we look outside of ourselves for answers. for love. for acceptance. compassion. But we don’t need to look any further than our own heart. Truly. I know this in theory, but it was interesting to finally see how it has been playing out in my own life.

I don’t plan on taking another retreat anytime soon. Although I have a newfound confidence in my the birth doula-ing that I have been (re)committing to. As I mentioned in our closing circle in Sutton, I am so glad that this retreat was obligatory. Just like I say to the moms who come to my Mom and Baby Yoga classes, “This might be the only time you relax this week, so please, emprofite!”

Here’s to relaxing and self-care when no one is forcing us to do so…

May 062016

luzI promised myself to never apologize for the infrequent posts on this blog. I’m busy. Like you all are. I did, however, find time to get out on a kid-free night, to the new Cirque du Soleil show, Luzia that I mentioned in my last post. It was as amazing as I assumed it would be.

I was there with a musician friend, and we sat beside contest winners Jason and Elise– Jason is also a musician and Elise is a dancer. I best-identify as a yogi/ yoga teacher. We were a group of very inspired artsy kind of people (some of us fartsier than others). The beautiful music is one of the first things I noticed. Much of the time, the live musicians were off stage, but there were quite a few moments when they came up to play. In a culture where I feel  like many of us are lip-synching most of the time, it was amazing and even surprising to see this music being played live.

dancerAnd the colours. As vibrant as the posters promised. True to typical Cirque style, the costumes were phenomenal, albeit in some cases scary and disturbing, especially for those who don’t love cockroaches.

The show was a great mix of acrobatics, juggling, balancing and bending. There were moments when the performers were doing things I felt, as a mom, to be too dangerous. And I couldn’t help but jump or hang on to my seat, or friend, for dear life. And I’m going to admit, the contortionist, while very good at doing his thing, made me feel a little squeamish! But I’ve been taking aerial yoga classes these days and found myself inspired, while watching Luzia, to run away with the circus. Think I’ve got a chance?

I’ve since run into a few friends umming and awing about whether to go or not. If you can make it happen, I suggest you do. Pure magic and delight. I feel like going back a second time!


Apr 052016

luzWhen I was in my 20s  (as if I can just casually write that!) I lived with a group of amazing girls who loved me so much, that for my birthday they took me to see Cirque du Soleil in Ottawa. Wikipedia leads me to believe it was Saltimbanco, but I don’t remember details (it was almost a decade ago and we were kind of in perpetual party mode…!) I do, however, remember the FEELING. It was pure magic. Ethereal. Imaginative…. I have absolutely nothing to compare it to. But maybe after April 22, I will.

I’m so looking forward to seeing the newest Cirque de Soleil Big Top, LUZIA, which opens in Montreal April 21. It’s about Mexico. I’ve never been. But I’d love to go. Luzia at the Old Port might be as close as I get for the next little while.

And you can get close to Mexico too, if you like. I have a pair of Category 1 tickets (worth $125 each) to give away to a lucky reader.

How to enter:

“Like” the Mama Naturale Facebook page and leave a comment on this post either on Facebook or this blog, telling me why you want a night out at the Cirque.

Contest closes April 15 and the winner will be randomly drawn and announced the week of April 16.

Buena suerte!


Mar 022016

mittens3When we think of Spring, don’t we think of birds chirping, buds blooming, and babies being born? I do. We may still have loads of snow, but I know so many of you have recently given birth! Congratulations to all the new parents who are (or might be) reading this!

I wanted to send you information on a few things that are coming up in the next couple of months, whether you’re still pregnant or your baby has made it Earthside already.

I’m so happy to be able to extend the invitation to the Baby Massage class I’ll be running at Happy Tree in April. You can come as of four weeks postpartum, and babies are even welcome if they’re crawling (keeping in mind they are less likely to lay still). More info here.

I also have two more dates for Couples Yoga Birth Workshops: Sunday, March 13 and Sunday, May 22
You can sign up to Happy Tree events here.

In May, Melanie Faucher and I will be hosting a workshop on Yoga for Diastasis Recti at Espace Shanti. More details to follow.

I have recently opened up two morning where I am available for Postpartum Doula Services/Yoga Therapy. If you’re coming into Espace Shanti for consultation, you can book online here. If it’s for a home visit, please email me to discus exact times: jennyberthiaume @ or call me 514.318.4566

Finally, here is my ongoing schedule for the next few months. You’ll find Yin Yoga, Babywearing Yoga, Mom&Baby and Kids Yoga here.

April MARCH-page-0
Om Shanti, light and love,

For more information on the packages I’m offering, you can visit or call 514.318.4566

Feb 242016

Blue Morpho is everyone’s fave, non?

Well, that’s that. I feel like an old mama. Yesterday, Babe turned five!

I won’t write in great detail how awesome she is, but she is. I brought Bug to daycare and she and I spent the whole day alone–so rare, these mommy-daughter dates, but so important.
She’s one of those kids, pretty deprived of refined sugar. Of aspartame too, for that matter. But she’s been asking for bubble gum for two years, and her birthday was the big day. She wanted it so bad that she bought it with her own money. She shared exactly half the pack with her mom, happily.

Butterfly pose, no big deal

So we blew bubbles the whole metro ride to our first stop– Les Papillons en Liberté at Espace Pour la Vie. We’ve gone as a family for the past few years and love noticing the similarities and differences. (2013) (2014) This year, they focused on caterpillars–baby butterflies! And we’re invited to see the world through the eyes of a child.

This year, there was a new caterpillar tent. A big, yellow caterpillar in the middle of the main space at the Botanical Gardens. Inside, multiple plants and caterpillars playing hide and seek!

The exhibit features about a dozen species of caterpillars and 75 species of butterflies and moths. Up to 20,000 butterflies and moths are released throughout the event and there are 1500 – 2000 flying around at any given time. We loved the presentation put on, explaining the life cycle of a monarch.


Hanging mittens on the Glove Tree outside the Botanical gardens.

We headed out about after about an hour and a half, headed to Part II of our mommy-daughter adventure. The Barbie Exhibit at Les Cours Mont-Royal, was unfortunately less of a hit. It was really amazing. I loved it. Babe was tired, had watery eyes and nose, and somehow thought there should be more than 1000 Barbies. Also, she couldn’t play with them.

We had a late lunch at the food court and dragged ourselves home and to daycare to be reunited with Bug. I’ll take her back in a few years when she can appreciate it. But honestly, I’m alright with my girl liking butterflies better than Barbie anyhow.
Feb 152016

Postpartum ElationYou do not need to have a birth plan, but it can be a good idea, so your voice will be heard when you might not feel like speaking. Some doctors/hospitals will give you a template to fill out. You can review this guide and then talk to your doctor about the options that speak to you. If you’re ambivalent about any of these points, ask questions and do some research. Creating a birth plan isn’t an attempt to control the situation, just to get your ideas and wishes together for consistency among nurses and doctors at the hospital.

Before Labor Begins
In your plan, you might specify that as long as mother and child are healthy, you’d like to go into labour without induction. (Or add that you’d like to continue past your EDD as long as you’re both healthy. You can also state that you agree to do the Non stress tests (NST) as necessary.)

You can request no, or limited vaginal exams while in labour.

Induction methods:

Research: Membrane sweep
Breaking water
Prostaglandin gels

(There are many natural ways to get labour going that don’t include the hospital like sexual intercourse, walking the stairs, nipple stimulation and more!)

You can request they limit or avoid residents or students attending your birth.

 Birthing room
You might want to request:
Dimmed lights (can remain dimmed even at the end, doctor needs only a small spotlight to see)
For people entering the room to speak softly
For people not to speak during delivery
For the door to remain closed

Pain Relief
What do you/ do you not want or wish to be offered? If you’re planning a medication-free birth, specify that you are aware of your options and will request if they’re needed. Ie: “I am aware of pain medication options, please do not offer me an epidural, I will ask for it if I want it.” You can also ask for privacy with your partner to discuss pain management before committing.

During labour:
Do you wish to be able to move freely? Do you wish to have fetal monitoring kept to a minimum (which will allow you to move around–they normally do not need to do continuous monitoring.)

Do you prefer to have no time limits on pushing (unless baby is in distress)?

Do you prefer to avoid an episiotomy (unless there’s an emergency) ?

Would you like to avoid stirrups (unless it’s a medical emergency)?

Would you like to be guided in pushing or prefer to follow your body’s rhythm (hard to feel if you’ve had an epidural)

Would you like to view the birth using a mirror?

Would you like to touch baby’s head as it crowns?

Who would you like to catch baby? You? Your partner? Doctor?

Would you like the baby to hear your voice before others? Silence in the room?

Would you like for baby placed immediately skin-to-skin on your belly? (Common practice these days but might not hurt to include) would you like to delay all procedures until bonding and breastfeeding have occurred? Assure that anything that can be done while baby is on you, is done this way? Do you want all possible procedures done in your sight?

Do you want to delay bath (you can do this for the first time at home. Baby does not need soap on him in the days after birth it can be harmful (leave the good stuff on! Plus, the products they use at hospital tend to be unnatural/toxic. They will say they want to show you “how” to give baby a bath, but it’s really quite simple to do– get in the tub with your baby.

Would you like to wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before it is clamped?

Would you like your partner to cut the umbilical cord?

Would you prefer for the placenta to be born spontaneously without the use of pitocin, and/or controlled traction on the umbilical cord?

Would you like to have routine pitocin given to me after the placenta is born or delay it unless there are signs of hemorrhaging.

Would like to take home your placenta? (note that this is typically quite difficult to do if you’re giving birth in a hospital, so be sure you really want it!)

Newborn Procedures
Would you like to delay the administration of eye drops until after breastfeeding and bonding has occurred or avoid entirely?

Also look into:

– vitamin K injection/oral administration/refusing

– routine PKU testing

In case of emergency c-section, do you demand your partner is to be present at all times?

Ideally, would you like to remain conscious during the procedure? Would you like the baby to be shown to you immediately after he’s born?

Would you like contact with the baby as soon as possible?


I hope this is not overwhelming, and can serve as a guideline for the creation of your birth plan. Some hospitals and doctors have templates, and of course, if you have a doula, this is something she will help you with!

Feb 142016

iceDisney on Ice is celebrating 100 Years of Magic. I’m taking my kids, and want to give another lucky family the chance to come too! In September, I took Babe and Bug to go see Treasure Trove at the Bell Centre. They loved it, but one little complaint: Where the heck was the cast of Frozen? Thankfully in the newest Disney on Ice production, which starts Wednesday, March 02, 2016, Anna, Elsa and Olaf will in fact be there.

We’d also seen Frozen on Ice which was quite amazing.

Tickets are for either the French show March 2 at 7pm or the English show Thursday, March 3rd, at 7pm.

To enter the contest, make sure you “Like” the mamanaturale facebook page and leave a comment here on this blog post about the role Princess Culture plays in your children’s lives, as well as your language of preference for tickets. Looking forward to reading what you have to say :)

Good luck!


 Posted by at 7:49 pm
Jan 312016

pestoWell, the friends of mine who are professional food bloggers will probably cringe at the recipe name. I think it’s perfect.

It seems this mama has “gone veg” again. I was a vegetarian for most of my life, and started eating it around the time Papa and I got together. Then pregnancy, kids, life, I kept it up because it was easy and convenient. Recently, probably not coincidentally coinciding with the new Hatha Yoga teacher training I’m taking, I decided now was the time. I’ve been practicing following my gut and my gut said, let’s go.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I am curious as to what effect, if any, this is going to have on my health. I don’t think vegetarianism is for everyone, and I also don’t think Paleo is, either. I’ve made this decision for reasons that are far from the possible health benefits of vegetarianism. As a meat eater, I actually felt quite healthy. What I do know about Ayurveda, is that with as much fire (Pitta) as I have, vegetarianism will probably be a good fit. So, here I am, a week back to it, feeling very good.

There is still meat in the house, but I don’t imagine myself cooking it every night anymore. This week, the rest of my family has eaten meat a few times, mostly on nights when Papa is in charge of supper. Tonight I made another quick vegetarian meal. It was so quick and so good that I wanted to share it here. Everyone had seconds!

1-2 cups soaked and cooked beans (any kind, including chickpea would be great) a can is fine too!
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/4 – 1/2 cup pine nuts (I’ve used walnuts before, they’re cheaper and very yummy)
A big bunch of parsley (you can sub with anything green, or even a mixture of different greens)
Good oil (I used avacado)Nutritional Yeast
Salt, pepper
Pasta of choice. We tend to use Quinoa a go-go’s gluten-free macaroni

How to:
Boil water for pasta
Meanwhile, wash greens, removing stems if applicable
Put peeled garlic cloves and nuts in food processor and whirl it around for a while
Add greens and continue to pulse until everything is chopped finely
Drizzle in your oil as the food processor is on. After a little while it will become creamy and look like store bought pesto!

When pasta is almost ready, add beans in the pot to quickly heat them.
Strain beans and pasta
Put oil in the pot and return pasta and beans to the pot, adding the pesto to coat the pasta and beans
Serve with Nutritional Yeast, Salt, pepper or chili flakes if that’s what you’re into.


Jan 182016

This really isn't so bad, is it?In my prenatal yoga classes this week, the requested theme has been breastfeeding. It’s a topic, that up until now, I’ve shied away from bringing into the studio. Why? I guess it’s that I don’t want to be known as or thought of as one of “those women who push breastfeeding.”

What a touchy subject, eh? Why is something so normal and natural such a hot button issue? Lots of answers. But that’s not what I want to talk about in this post. For anyone who knows me as a friend, blogger or yoga teacher, you probably know that I’ve been nursing for almost 5 years straight, nearly 3 of those years I’ve been nursing two kids. I hardly have any milk to speak of, because neither Babe nor Bug wake up at night to nurse anymore, and we spend hours apart every day. My attempts to wean Babe were a fail and I realized weaning her wasn’t a priority at all. Bug’s just going with it, nursing for like 30 seconds before he gets annoyed at the lack of milk and says “Goodnight, milky.” You might also know that my nursing journey was not an easy one. I look back and my mind is blown that Babe and I actually got it together. Here are a few archived posts about breastfeeding.

I didn’t expect to be nursing way beyond 2 years old. I didn’t expect to nurse through pregnancy or tandem nurse. Just a few examples of how we can’t really know what parenting will look like for us until we’re in the thick of it.

The reason I decided to get this post together is to encourage students and mamanaturale readers to dive into some research. Hopefully in or before pregnancy, not when it’s 4am and you’re crying because your baby is hungry and you have no idea what’s going on.

Things to research:
Risks of not breastfeeding  <– you can Google that. Not going to go on a “breast is best” rant, but know there are true risks for mother and child.
What is an IBCLC and where can I find one? If you live in the province of Quebec, here is a great link to find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. The woman at the hospital who comes to “help” you with nursing may not be a IBCLC and many people feel the help and advice they receive in the hospital leaves something to be desired. My experience was a very stressful one. The CLSC nurse that came to our house for a follow-up luckily was very knowledgeable and set us on our way to healing. With Babe, a local IBCLC named Deborah Van Wyck (514-605-6813 was a huge help. When we dealt with lip and tongue tie for Bug, we sought out advice from Jennifer Welch (514-296-8073 Chantal Lavigne (514-947-1877) comes highly recommended too.

What is tongue tie? Super duper common, and one of the biggest reasons breastfeeding doesn’t go according to plan. Many if not most doctors do not know enough about this. If you think your child has tongue/lip tie, please find an IBCLC to help you. This can save breastfeeding.

Other resources:

La Leche League: Meet with other moms at local meetings run by La Leche Leaders.
Nourri-Source: I was a volunteer with this beautiful mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group for a few years. You get hooked up with another nursing mother who has been through a good amount of training. If issues come up, you can phone her, and this support is often enough to get us through some seemingly difficult situations. No question is silly. I highly recommend contacting Nourri-Source while you’re pregnant just in case.Me! If you’re a yoga student of mine, call me! Seriously, I’ll do what I can to help and refer if it’s out of my scope!

The Womanly art of Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin
Sweet Sleep by La Leche League
Anything by Jack Newman

Websites SUCH an amazing resource for all questions breastfeeding related.
The Leaky Boob (also a great Facebook community)

I hope some of this is helpful. I regularly receive emails from strangers and students on topics like this. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you need anything.

Jan 132016
Mindful Moments for Kids by Kira Willey, is music to this children’s yoga teacher (and mama’s) ears!
The 30-track spoken word CD is not meant to be listened to all in one shot. Adults don’t have the attention span for that! The nature of the mid is to continue to wander, which is why so many of us feel that meditation is “hard.” It IS hard. All the more reason to practice. And that’s what this CD helps us do. The earlier we start, the “better” we’ll be at meditating as adults, right?
Kira’s one-minute mindfulness exercises can be done seated or standing, any time of day. There are pretty guitar interludes between the tracks, as sweet and soothing as Kira’s voice. The meditations are perfect for the classroom or at home use. They can also be helpful on long car rides. We had this CD with us on our trek to Southern Ontario over the holidays. I was so impressed with how long the kids sat still and listened. They followed meditation after meditation, especially Babe, who at 5 years old is already a seasoned yogini. At one point though, she did yell, “Okay! Ca suffit!” Like I said–not meant to listen to all 30 tracks in one go.
The official release of this CD is  January 15, 2016, and leading up to the release, Kira has been offering a free download at 10am. Kindness, is being offered right here, through mamanaturale for 24 hours as of 10am January 14. Here’s taste if you’re not yet sold.
“Take a long breath in and let it all the way out. Think of something kind you’ve done for someone. Maybe you helped someone in your family with something at home, or you helped a friend at school. How about something kind that someone else did for you? Maybe someone did a really nice thing for you recently. Think about how it made you feel…”
Kira Willey is the creator of Fireflies Musical Yoga for Kids. Her albums (Dance for the Sun, Kings & Queens of the Forest, and How To Be a Cloud) have all won Parents’ Choice Awards and earned national acclaim.  In its 2015 Gold Award review of How To Be a Cloud, Parents’ Choice said Kira’s songs “nurture the ear, the mind and the heart.”
Kira’s hits include “Colors” (featured in a worldwide Dell advertising campaign in 2008) and “Roller Coaster,” which won the Independent Music Award for Best Children’s Song; both get regular national radio play. Willey is also the host of a yoga-for-kids series of interstitial programs airing on selected PBS TV affiliates nationwide. She has twice been a featured presenter at the National Kids Yoga Conference in Washington DC, leading sessions with hundreds of teachers.
Enjoy Kindness, and the whole CD!
 Posted by at 7:00 am