Share the Warmth Coat Drive 2016

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As I write this, it definitely does not feel like fall. But, before you know it, the chilly weather will become a daily routine. And if the meteorologists are on track, the fall chill is going to quickly give way to a very cold winter. Many of us are lucky and have a choice of coats to wear through the varying levels of cold a Canadian winter brings.

Some young mothers are not fortunate enough to have one coat, much less a choice of which one to wear. It has become an October tradition for us here at Carry Maternity to collect coats for the Swap Shop at Jessie’s – The June Callwood Centre for Young Women. Jessie’s Centre provides much needed services to empower pregnant teenagers, young parents and their children. Attendance in their programs is high throughout most of the year, but it drops with cold temperatures. Young moms want to get to Jessie’s Centre but accessing services can be difficult without appropriate outerwear.

Our Share the Warmth coat drive will run through Sunday, November 14th. You can donate gently-used, clean women’s coats (both maternity and non-maternity) as well as coats for children under 5 years old. In addition to your coat donations, Carry Maternity will donate 5% of our fall coat sales to the Well Woman and Well Baby Clinic. We hope that our Share the Warmth campaign will support young women to access all the incredible programs that Jessie’s Centre offers.

As a thank you for your coat donation, we will give you $10 Baby Bonus credit, which you can use for anything you’ll need for delivery or after. And if you need to find a coat for yourself, our Fall Coat Sale is on until Sunday, October 30th. You’ll get 15% off beautiful and practical winter coats from MCoat, Modern Eternity, Seraphine and Noppies. We also carry coat panels from Make My Belly Fit and Bridge the Bump (coming soon).

With gratitude for your help,

Pat, Sarah, Kshama, Kavya and Kat
The Carry Maternity Team

Bump Goes to a Garden Party

Bump age: 34 weeks 3 days

It is our annual tradition to invite friends and neighbours to celebrate summer’s arrival and this was the fifth anniversary of our little garden party. Having a garden party is our motivation to spend springtime making sure the backyard is party ready. But this year, while the backyard was ready to shine, the weather was not; so we set up indoors instead.

IMG_2534When I first saw the Carry Watercolour Grecian Dress, it  immediately channeled my inner Renoir and I knew it was the perfect garden party dress. I felt that the soft, dreamy watercolour print would look nice with the greenery and blooming flowers outdoors, which proved true once the rain stopped and we could move the party outside. I must admit that at this point in my pregnancy, comfort trumps style. Luckily with this watercolour dress, I did not have to compromise on either. With a simple thin belt that ties behind the back, the slip-on design does not get easier to put on. The fabric is light and breezy, which, given Toronto’s humidity, is always a bonus. The just-above-the-knee hemline is the perfect length for any mama-to-be. As pretty and comfortable as I felt in this dress, I was not at all surprised when Bump and I received lots of compliments from our guests.

Despite the weather not co-operating, the party was a blast, fun was had by all, and Mr. Fantastic and I were not stressed in our hosting duties (hint – hiring a couple of helping hands = less stress!) Good fun, good food, good people in a good neighbourhood … that’s why we plan to continue our family tradition next year.

xoxo,

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Enjoying the afternoon with my good friend Sarah

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Clothes Worth Getting Pregnant For



Pat’s concept of Carry Maternity is to create a place where women can feel welcomed and at home. It’s her hope, she says, that the store will continue to be a social hub for women and mothers, whether they’re looking for jeans that work for their changing figures, or just a place to quickly pop in and breastfeed.

Guest Speakers for this event included, a pre and postnatal wellness introduction from Samantha at Core Expectations, Nadine from Mayana Genevière introduced her high luxe intimate maternity undergarments.
In addition to the craving stations Chocolate Brunette Pastry Company provided a fantastic array of cupcakes and truffles. The beautiful evening was captured in natural lighting by Adriana Villela of ÜmlaPhoto.

 

SUPPORT, IT MAKES A WORLD OF A DIFFERENCE.

When I was pregnant with my first child Graham, I was a busy entrepreneur.  My business partner and I were both pregnant at the same time and only five years into building an international design company specializing in maternity wear.   We were only able to take 8 weeks off each and then were back to work with babies in tow.

At the time, I was so busy and driven that I just accepted that I wasn’t part of any of the neighbourhood mummy groups.   Most of the time I was exhausted, but I was also thrilled will my new baby boy.

It was not until much later that I discovered what I had missed out on.  When I volunteered for school trips, I seemed to be out of the loop.  Most of the other mothers knew each other, but all my connections were work related, not within the neighbourhood.  The other mothers were not trying to exclude me, but they had become close through sharing their children’s milestones.

Finally, through a new friend in the neighbourhood, I joined a mothers’ group.  I felt out of place at first, but I soon forged the kind of friendships that come from within a small community and shared experiences.

It was like I’d discovered a whole new world where I didn’t have to figure out everything on my own.  It was a safe haven to open up and share stories and wisdom and resources.  Mothering became easier.  Now if I need a plumber, a dentist, a last-minute babysitter or someone to feed the cat, it is just a phone call or text away.

I know those early years would have been much easier if I had found these connections earlier.  So I guess my one piece of advice for pregnant women is that, regardless of how long you are on maternity leave and what your plans are when it is over,  joining a mothers’ group is invaluable.  And if one doesn’t exist, start your own.  It doesn’t have to be large or sophisticated, just a place for support.

yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/tanya-enberg-unexpected-mother/20130131/8-reasons-why-joining-a-moms-group-is-a-must

And here are some places to find just the right mothers’ group for you:

mumnet.ca

moms.meetup.com

toronto.ca/health/parenting

Raising kids while fighting cancer? Check out gildasclubtoronto.org

OWNER OF CARRY MATERNITY SUPPORTS WOMEN BEYOND TORONTO’S CITY LIMITS

Work for Widows is a charity organization that is a product of a truly tragic disaster. In 2004, a Tsunami devastated numerous coastal communities of Sri Lanka. Many women were left to face an uncertain future as the tsunami left them widowed, homeless and without income as they struggled to care for their children. The heartbreaking story of one particular woman sparked Work for Widows founder, Pamela Porodo into action. While assisting to feed, clothe and offer medical assistance to the victims of the disaster, a Buddhist monk who managed a Moratuwa camp was concerned about one of the displaced survivors and introduced her to Pam. Pam met the young 23 year old woman who was 6 months pregnant and alone. She had lost her home, mother, father, husband and three year old child to the deadly wave. Without hope and what she deemed a bleak future ahead of her, she was stealing medication from other victims in the camp to end her life and that of her unborn child.

Many hours were spent with this young woman in order to convince her to hand over the medication in exchange for a promise that there was a way to support herself  and child.  With no plan set in place yet, Pam bought a bag of beads, some fishing line and showed the young woman how to make a simple necklace,  promising to return to the camp the next day to buy her jewellery. Upon return it was clear that word had spread as Pam was greeted by a small crowd of local women. It was upon this humble platform that the organization was established. Today, Work for Widows has supported over 180 widowed and abandoned women along with 362 children under the age of 18. The overarching aim is to empower impoverished and abandoned women in Sri Lanka by providing with them a means to earn a living while staying at home to care for and educate their children.

Owner of Carry Maternity, Pat Gillespie explains that their reason for stocking the jewellery stems from their personal mandate – Our family extends beyond our own walls. “We wanted to support an organization that is doing something positive for women. Work for Widows is a wonderful initiative and we are so proud to be an advocate”. Pat, who also knows somebody who has lost their life in a tsunami, says that it is very easy to feel for the women. “the destruction caused to people’s lives from disasters such as this is horrendous“. This organization is unique in that rather than just providing immediate relief and refuge, it lays the platform for women to be able to make a living and provides ongoing support in their endeavours.

By volunteering as an ambassador for the program, Pat Gillespie  shares the same proactive spirit with other entrepreneurial ambassadors like Amber MacJodi Faith, and One Tooth Activewear.

Each piece is very personalized and comes with a thank you message from its maker. Very reasonably priced, it is a great way to make a small contribution to the livelihood program supporting hundreds of women and children. To find out more about the efforts of Work for Widows, or browse their jewellery visit them online. Alternatively, you can find a range of handmade jewellery for sale at Carry Maternity in Toronto’s Yorkville.

Carry Maternity is Made in Canada

Stitched into each piece of Carry Maternity’s house line is small reminder of its origin, something that owner and designer Pat Gillespie views with quiet satisfaction. They may not stand out, but tiny ‘Made in Canada’ tags set the shop’s signature items in stark contrast to the myriad brands whose offshore practices are so controversial.

As fast fashion lines have become ever more ubiquitous on the streets, the quality of both their products and their ethics have come into question, so for Pat, keeping her line’s production local was an easy decision on several fronts.

“To start, we can be really responsive to what we see customers asking for, and the turnaround time is very quick,” she says. “I can produce something within two to three weeks.”

That means that when inspiration strikes, Pat is in a position to see her vision through from start to finish, on a shortened timeline. Once her designs are drawn up, she can have a hand in their execution at the Toronto factory where her garments are created.

“I can supervise the pattern making process, the fittings – everything is done with me involved,” Pat says. “I have a long history with the manufacturing house that I deal with. I’m confident of their quality, standards, and their work conditions.”

And her ‘Made in Canada’ policy ensures that the items her customers ultimately take home are exceptional, since each design is only produced as part of a small run.

“Because we produce locally, we can do small quantities,” Pat explains. “So when I choose a print, it’s not a mass production piece. It’s unique, but you’re not paying a premium for it.”

Her desire to keep her production in Canada has a moral undercurrent as well as those practical ones. Carry Maternity’s concern with community extends to Pat’s business practices, and she has no interest in outsourcing production to places where the industry has had a detrimental effect on other societies.

“I think people really do care about where their clothing comes from,” she adds. “We’re aboutcommunity, and about family health, so it really follows through that we also want to be sure that our clothing is made in an ethical way.”