Facing the Cliff


I find myself reaching for some tissue in a cosy, low-lit room on a sunny Tuesday afternoon at my local health centre. I'm nestled in a mountain of pillows on a comfy couch, rubbing my pregnant belly, while watching the lactation consultant as she demonstrates hand expression on a knitted breast model. 

"Sorry, " I say.  "I didn't expect to cry today."

"It's ok" she says. "This is the crying room."

I've just spent the last 45 minutes grilling her about breastfeeding after breast reduction. I'm 29 weeks - very early by all accounts to be talking to a lactation consultant - I've been reading like a mofo, but somehow I just can't make a picture in my mind yet of how it all comes together. It feels like there is so much to know, and pay attention to, and think about. I have a million questions. 

  • Aren't I supposed to be walking around in a half-awake haze for a week? 
  • How am I supposed to know if my kid is getting enough to eat?
  • What are the EXACT steps I need to take? In what order, for how long
  • What equipment should I have ready?
  • How do I track what's going on? 
  • What app should I use?
  • What will my baby and I be doing for the first day, the first 3 days, the first week?

I realize, as the tears start to come, that my logical, project management, figure everything out ahead of time brain, is having a total fucking meltdown. I am literally trying to create some kind of a flow-chart in my head.

Let's back up a bit for a second. 

My breasts grew fast and furious in high school. My grade 12 I was a DDD. Not the hugest by all accounts, but on a small frame, they were torture. They made my back sore, my breast straps dug into my shoulders, and gym class was just straight up embarrassing. I hid them, and myself, in huge XL boys hoodies. 

By first year University, I was getting tired of hiding myself, of using my discomfort with my breasts as an excuse to opt out of things. I researched liked crazy, met women who had gone through with it, looked at countless before and after images online and ultimately made the decision.

The boobs were coming off. 

I was informed at the time that breast reduction can impact breastfeeding - and that basically there is no way to know if you will be able to until you get there. As someone who has always wanted kids it was a big decision, but ultimately I decided to go for it. 

I went through with it in August before I started 2nd-year uni. I never looked back! I went from a DDD to a B cup. I could hold a whole boob in my hand! I could leave the house and not realize I was braless! I felt as thin and svelte as a supermodel! I was unleashed. 

Fast forward 13 years later and I'm pregnant with my first and facing the realities on the other side of this choice. 

I still don't regret my decision for one minute. I can't even think what the last 13 years of my life would have been like as a big-boobed lady. It wasn't for me. In truth,  I am actually grateful for my surgery. I read somewhere recently that challenges breastfeeding are the number 2 contributor of postpartum depression. Many women don't see the hard times coming and it hurts. I, on the other hand, am going in eyes wide open, and working towards being ready for all outcomes. 

Which brings me to the lactation consultant's couch three months before my baby is due. I am here to fact find, to get data, and tools and processes. As I sit there with her and talk about all the possibilities, and all the variables and all the tools and things you can do. Reality sets in. 

And that's when the tears come. 

Underneath my be-prepared-Betty persona is a terrified human who is doing her best to avoid the colossal cliff she is facing.  The real fear though doesn't come from worrying that I won't be able to make milk for my kid. I'm ok with formula if that's the way it goes. My real fear is much bigger. Behind my desires to put together a perfectly controlled road map of preparedness in my head - I'm actually just terrified of motherhood. And this surprises me. 

Because I know life with kids. I have four younger siblings. I have a step-son. I am surrounded by babies. I know how to rock them, and hold hem and feed them and play with them. Beyond that cliff and the waterfall that will carry me down it I can see the river on the horizon. I know what that part looks like. What's freaking me out is the descent, the landing, and the first little bit where you come out of the water, gasping for air, calm yourself, and continue to float down the river.

I've never cared for a newborn before. 

As we close up our meeting the consultant looks at me and she gives me her most important advice. She congratulates me on my preparedness and my attempts to be informed but reminds me that ultimately I must trust in myself as I jump off that cliff. I must trust that I will know. I must trust that I will make the best choices that I can in each moment as they come - with a little bit of help from the map and the tools, and a lot of help from my supports. 

And that is the most terrifying thing of all. 

Learning to live with uncertainty and change IS learning to live. 

Motherhood is a hell of a teacher. 


 - The Happy V 

A Coach in your Corner - for Your Sex Life?

A Coach in Your Corner - For Your Sex Life?

When we think of the word coach we often imagine sports. Coaches are people who teach us the skills needed to win the game. They don't just teach us technique, they help us to learn to handle pressure and failure, to set goals and crush them, to develop a winning mindset and to grow and develop in our sport. A great coach helps us to connect with our inner strength and cheerleads from the sidelines as we empower ourselves to put it all together to reach our goals. 

A sex coach is a sexuality expert, champion and cheerleader who can help you master new skills and tools and shift your perspective for better sex, stronger relationships and ultimately, a more vibrant and fulfilling life. 

"My sex life is pretty decent," you might be thinking - "why would need a sex life champion and isn't that kinda weird"? 

I hear ya - and when I first started exploring this world I might have thought the same. So - two big thoughts I want to offer you. 

1) Sex is a skill

If you are, like me, still working on your culinary skills, why in the world would you expect yourself to be a sexpert. 

Sex is a skill - like cooking. No one is born a red seal chef. We have to develop an interest and appetite for food, try new recipes, flail horribly and get better, learn to use different kinds of equipment and eventually develop a comfort level with our skills to bring flair, and fun, and play to our practice.

Our sex lives are exactly the same. And yet because of all the shame and taboo in our cultures about sex we let people fend for themselves and learn how to be rockstar lovers from porn, pop culture films and flailing around in the dark with each other. 

Bottom line - many of us are out there struggling with mediocre sex lives (with a deep sense that there could be more) and flailing in our relationships without the skills to make them strong. Because nobody ever taught us. 

Do you know all the erogenous zones on bodies with penises and vulvas? Do you know all the fantastic ways you can touch a vagina? Do you know that sex can feel good? Do you know how to ask for what you want in bed without guilt or shame? Do you really know how to enjoy sex? Do you know how to play with toys? A sex coach can teach you the sex ed you should have learned in high-school. It's like personalized grown-up sex-class. WAY FUN. 

2) Sexuality is about so much more than penises and vaginas 

Yup - there's more to the birds and the bees than putting the P in the V.

Our sexuality is a core part of who we are. It's about identity, it's about claiming pleasure and desire, it's about setting boundaries, it's about vulnerability, and its about touch. Basically, our sexuality touches every aspect of who we are, how we show up in the world, how accepted we are by the world, how safe we feel in the world, and ultimately, how comfortable we feel authentically showing up as ourselves in the world.  When we show up authentically as ourselves in the world we live fully and vibrantly. 

Embracing and exploring our sexuality is a way to embrace and explore ourselves. Those demons that hold us back in the bedroom hold us back in life and when we face them head on and banish them from our sex lives not only do we have way better sex, we connect more with our partners and our whole life can begin to transform. 

All humans are taught sexual scripts (do this, don't do that rules) that harm. You know those rules like  - guys are supposed to know everything about sex (see #1) and women are supposed to be innocent virgins, guys are supposed to push the limits in sex and women are supposed to set them, sex can only be defined as a penis going into a vagina, sex is only complete when orgasms happen, sex is dangerous (you could get pregnant god forbid!). 

Sex coaches help us pull at the underbelly of what we think we know about sexuality. They help us explore and claim our sexual identity, they help us reconnect with joy and play and curiosity, they help us let go of harmful expectations, reframe and redefine key concepts and create new scripts that strengthen our pleasure and our relationships and help us to show up more authentically in the world. 

Sounds pretty awesome right....

So if you...

  • struggle with orgasm, or premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction
  • don't know where your libido wandered off to
  • are tired of pain during intercourse
  • are bored with the same old routine
  • are terrified to ask your partner to try that thing you've always wanted to try
  • are looking to feel more connected to your partner and have a more meaningful relationship
  • want to learn some new things about XZY
  • are exploring your sexual identity and don't know who to talk to 
  • just want a safe space to talk about sex, and relationships, and gender and politics. 

Then a sex coach could be a great option for you. 

A few things to keep in mind...

1) Sex coaches are distinctly different than sex therapists. Therapists, sex/relationship therapists or psychologists are an amazing resource if you are working through serious sexual trauma, sexual dysfunction or deep-rooted marital or relationship challenges. They have a different set of tools in their toolkit than coaches - often more theoretical and focused on exploring the psychological aspects. Depending on their approach and methodologies they may not be equipped with specific sex-ed tool to support you - which is why sex therapists and coaches will often work together. 

2) Get as clear as you can about what you are looking for. Sex coaches specialize in many different things. Some focus on teaching about kink, BDSM, polyamory, or other specific sexual techniques and tools, others focus on supporting parents to talk to their kids, some specialize in working with men, others with women or couples. Get clear on what you want to learn, or what your challenge is and look for sex coaches that specialize, or ask for a referral. 

3) Ask about credentials. When working with a therapist - make sure to ask about their sexuality education.  Many folks who work as sex therapists are therapists who have taken some training in sexuality - this could mean 1 course during their undergrad, or a specialized degree. When working with a coach - they may be super educated and highly trained in a specific area, or they may have a lot of personal experience with a specific topic (like Kink or BDSM). Ask them how long they have been coaching, who they typically work with, what they specialize in, and what kinds of results their clients are getting, and what training or certifications they have. 

4) Know what you are getting into - as best you can. As with all coaching, it is hard to predict the outcomes at the start - however - it's good to know a few things about your coach's approach. Some coaches will teach you theory and tools, let you practice at home, and support you through the emotional work of shedding the layers, others might work with you directly in an intimate setting or do live demonstrations, and still, others might do hands-on healing work. These all have their time and place depending on what you are looking for. Ask your coach about how they work with people, what a typical session looks like,  and if they do hands-on or theory-based work. 

5) Go with your gut! Talk to your prospective coach. If it feels good, if there's a connection there, if you feel you will be supported and held then go for it. If your spidey senses tingle then listen to them. If you are excited and nervous and fearful but that little voice inside your head whispers "this is right" - then go for it. 

As a sex coach and sex coachee myself, I can personally attest to the powerful impacts of this work. I have seen clients transformed by the understanding that they are not broken. I have seen couples find a renewed connection in small every-day gestures.  I have seen clients with long-lost libidos awaken the fire and desire within.  I have seen clients learn to ask for what they want and need with confidence. And I have witnessed within myself a softening and release that has helped me to experience deeper pleasure both in the bedroom and in life.  

Whether I've piqued your interest or not I think every human should know that there is a whole world of dedicated, passionate, caring people out there ready to help you conquer your orgasms, your relationships, and your life. Give them a call. 

If you are feeling called to receive a little coaching for your sex life, I invite you to fill out the intake form and book a free discovery session with me. We'll talk about what's niggling at you, I'll share my approach and give you a few strategies and insights to implement. This is a limited time offer for 2018. I have three more months to work with clients before I take my maternity leave. That's just enough time for us to dive in deep and help you unlock some sex magic in your life. 

With lots of love. 

-- The Happy V