I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I also have 4 kids so I know first-hand how lonely and isolating it can be to be a mama. That’s why I created Mamasoup.
Most days you can find me working away in my home office (without a bra on), bopping out to Hip Hop (which I’m WAY to old to listen to, btw- but I just can’t quit it!) and searching my teenagers’ rooms for all the plates and bowls.
Don't miss out on this incredible information on pelvic floor health from Jessica Dalliday of Pilates on Demand (POD), along with FREE video access, a printable to help fix the dysfunction and a fabulous deal to get you started on POD!Read More
If you’re pregnant with your first baby, this information is for you, Mama! This post is full of information and helpful (& FREE!) printables to help prepare you for the incredible birth of your baby!Read More
Breastfeeding is something every mom should have the best chance at - and the foundation of a great breastfeeding journey stars in the first 48 hours of baby's life. This post has incredibly detailed instructional printables that will help you succeed at breastfeeding!Read More
March 19, 2021: **NEW meta-analysis of 42 studies involving 438,548 pregnant people around the world.Read More
What you need to know before you hire a doula for your birth!
I'm a nurse. I'm also a doula. It’s a weird fence to straddle sometimes because both have their own culture. When wearing my nurse’s hat, I’ve heard the snide comments from other nurses about doulas. In my doula work, I’ve heard countless complaints about the “bitch nurses” at their local hospitals.
Whether you decide to have a natural birth or an epidural, there are things you can do to protect your hoo-hah, Mama!Read More
It's not a debate- it's just plain old science! Three ways your body handles birth when you don't have an epidural.Read More
I wish that there had been a meditation like this available to me when I was having a booked cesarean. Unfortunately, there was more information about how to avoid a c-section rather than how to empower yourself to have a great birth experience.Read More
Now that we've hit the six month mark, I felt like a little reflection would be cool. Kinda like looking in the rearview mirror. Except since this mother-effing virus isn't going anywhere anytime soon, it's kinda like looking at what's ahead for us as well.
Don’t let the fear of not knowing what to expect put a dark cloud over your pregnancy and birth. Let's figure out what you need to know to plan a birth that you’ll love and gently ease into motherhood while you recover and bond with your newborn.Read More
With our new virus-sticken world, a lot of women are planning to give birth outside of the hospital. Research shows us that a normal, low risk birth is safe outside of a medicalized environment. Women have been having normal births at home for years!
I've created this course from 20 years of experience as a Labour and Delivery/Postpartum nurse, a doula and a Lamaze childbirth educator just for you! I've guided many, many women down the path to motherhood, and I'm excited to do it with you online.Read More
March 26, 2020 PETERBOROUGH, ON - Joanne Ilaqua, the founder of Mamasoup, an app that is a support network for mothers, is working hard to provide online information and tools for women feeling the impact of social distancing.Read More
Due to the global pandemic COVID-19 many pregnant women are unable to properly prepare for their upcoming, booked c-section. Hospital lockdowns, social distancing and re-prioritization of healthcare appointments does NOT have to have a profound effect on your birth.
From now until April 2nd, 2020, pregnant women can access the Mamasoup online course, Your C-Section: Before, During and After for FREE. (value $129.97)Read More
You may have had an easy pregnancy or a hard one. Maybe you tried for years to have this baby and your pregnancy has been full of love, hope and gratitude. When you finally give birth, you’re among the 80 percent of new moms who will experience some type of postpartum mood disorder.Read More
As a nurse and birth worker, I know the benefits of breastfeeding for both a baby and a mom. However as a woman who's had 4 babies, I know that it comes with challenges. And when I say "challenges", I mean that you may choose to bottlefeed because you're on the 3rd month of no sleep. I totally get you and I certainly don't judge you.Read More
We’ve known for a long time that breastfeeding benefits babies. It's scientifically true that breastfeeding is the best nutrition you can provide for a baby, but did you know that breastfeeding is important for your health as well, Mama?
Read for more information!Read More
Did you have to hop online and look for pictures of faint line positive pregnancy tests so you can compare yours?
Girl, I totally get it! I’ve been pregnant four times so I know how badly you need to know an answer right now.Read More
The problem with being constipated while you’re expecting is that it can cause you pain and discomfort. Straining while you try to poop can increase your risks of hemorrhoids, varicose veins in your labia and even weaken your pelvic floor. These are some gifts that can keep on giving even after your baby is born, so if you're having any resistance at all, you should address them immediately.Read More
Show me a pregnant woman and I’ll show you someone who researches miscarriage causes and fears losing her baby.
The good news is that there are things you can do to calm your thoughts and enjoy your pregnancy.
A nurse's guide to your prenatal visits and common prenatal tests with your care provider. If you don't have time to read the entire post, download your free copy of this guide inside!Read More
The BEST medication is NO medication during pregnancy because all drugs carry some risk during pregnancy.
That's why I've included non-drug therapies wherever possible in this guide.
Giving birth by cesarean isn't an easy way to have a baby. It comes with more potential problems: in fact, a c-section recovery takes longer and has an emotional toll that can last a lifetime. Between the delayed healing of the incision and that little pooch on your belly that never goes away, having a caesarean is tough.
Read on for 10 ways to avoid a c-section!Read More
Check out these healthy pregnancy and birth recommendations from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists (ACOG) to help guide your baby bump safely to the delivery room.Read More
I don’t think it really matters what stage of mothering you’re in: If you’re a mom, you are taking on most of the physical, mental and emotional load. No matter how amazingly supportive your partner is it’s a thing that moms naturally acquire. Like menstruation and stretch marks. But can blame ourselves for some of it?Read More
Hey, Girl? I know you’re a little surprised at how big your body has grown during this pregnancy. Did you ever think your stomach and boobs could s t r e t c h like that? And how about those cankles? I’m sure you’re wondering if all of this will ever go back to it’s original place.Read More
Many moms go through a baby biting at the breast. While it is normal, it’s really important to teach baby that it it hurts. Just remember that this is NOT a sign that your baby wants to end your breastfeeding journey.Read More
I wish someone had told me all those years ago that I didn’t have to prove anything then, either. But that mom-guilt runs deep, and there ain’t no mama feeling guiltier than the one who can’t afford the latest toys and Elf on the Shelf. Just know that you can provide magic and love by giving your time and attention to your kids, and they need that more than a LOL doll.Read More
It’s hard to explain to you exactly how important it is to have a mom-friend because until you become a mama, you don’t realize how lonely it can actually be. A friend can listen when you’re having a tough day, sympathize when you tell her how tired you are and even encourage you to get out of the house when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.Read More
When was the last time you felt confident in yourself? I’m talking ass-kicking, not gonna stop confident? You wouldn’t be alone if you can’t really remember. It’s a lot of work for some women to feel confidence after lending out their bodies for babies and giving up the majority of their time (and sleep) for kids.Read More
What I’ve learned over 20 years of working with new mamas and having four of my own babies, is that every situation is different. Every. Single. One. And I’m kinda tired of all the breast-shaming women get in general: If you don’t breastfeed you don’t love your baby enough and if you do breastfeed you need to keep covered up and don’t do it too long!Read More
Look, Sister- we can be frank, here. We’re not new moms anymore. Deep down, don’t you feel like you should have this “motherhood thing” figured out by now? New moms everywhere are watching us and they think we’ve got all the answers. And we probably had a lot of them until our kids hit about 11, don’t you agree?Read More
In this 4-minute tutorial, L&D/postpartum nurse, doula and Lamaze educator Joanne Ilaqua teaches you about the 3 phases of pushing a baby out vaginally and how you can work with them to avoid tearing and episiotomy.Read More
If you’re separated or divorced and you’re doing that mom-life all by your lonesome, you’re truly doing the hardest job. Like, it’s the Iron Man of the mom-world. It’s like running the Boston Marathon but you never reach the finish line.Read More
Pusing a baby out is one of the biggest fears that women have about childbirth. Well, that and pooping during the pushing stage but we’ll tackle that one another day, Mama. It’s no surprise either- it’s almost impossible to imagine your lady-bits stretching big enough to fit another human being through it, amiright?Read More
It seems as though moms are expected to be super-human and do this almost impossible job of raising kids perfectly and when we’re not, we’re penalized. It’s no wonder so many women aren’t seeking help for depression and anxiety after they have babies: if we admit that we’re not handling motherhood well at this moment, we’re terrified that our children will be taken away.Read More
Once again the media is calling out parents for another thing we're doing wrong out here. As if the pressure to raise human beings in a scary world where men like Trump are running the free-world isn't enough, now we can't check our phones while we do it?Read More
I always feel that the best way to shine light on a dark subject is to talk about it. Let's stop being ashamed that we may not be handling motherhood as well as society says we should. Let's talk about how tough it is to adjust to this new life and help other moms understand that they're not alone.Read More
The problem with the perfect feed of the "InstaMommy" is that women are feeling crappy after looking at it. Because at the end of the day, if you’re a mom you’re a woman with problems. Let’s stop pretending this is the easiest and most rewarding job in the world all the time and start talking about how tough it can be.Read More
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to rent out your boobs to a very cute but very, very demanding little tenant, I certainly don’t judge you. Like most things in life, you don’t know what you like until you try it so here’s some tips to making your first tries at breastfeeding better.Read More
If you’re looking for a little big baby birth inspo, I’ve got you covered! There are a few things you should know before you go into labour with your little line-backer.Read More
In 1995, the Canadian rate for caesareans was about 17%. In 2018, it was 28%. In the United States in 2018, the average rate for caesareans was almost 33%.
The worst part about these stats is that the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that 10-15% of all caesareans are necessary.Read More
I’m just a mom like you. I don’t have millions of dollars and an army of app developers at my disposal like Facebook and Instagram. I’m just one woman with a burning desire to help us all connect and lift each other up while we’re doing the hardest job on the planet.Read More
Maternal mental health isn’t exactly a sexy subject. Let’s be honest: society seems more interested in talking about the Kardashians and that hot mess of a turnip that runs the United States. But the truth is that the statistics for mental health disorders in pregnant and postpartum women are startling.Read More
I've wondered if I'm the shittiest mom around because I don’t look at my life with the heart-eyes emoji. I’d look around at other moms at the grocery store, the park and even in the waiting room at the doctor’s office and they just seemed to have never-ending patience and admiration for their kids, even when they were clearly being little assholes.Read More
Although there so are many reasons to call the doctor, these are the most common. Nobody expects you to know everything that’s going on with your postpartum body or your brand new baby, so don’t hesitate to call the doctor if you’re not sure.Read More
“I can’t believe I’m pregnant!” “Wow. I’m pregnant.” “I can’t believe I’m pregnant.” And then finally, “Oh crap.”Read More
If you’re pregnant right now, there’s something you need to know about. I don’t care if this is your first baby or your fifth, there’s a syndrome that we don’t talk about enough and it’s called “Postpartum Fatigue (PPF)”.Read More
I have to give full disclosure here: I’m a doula. I’m also a nurse. I have supported birthing women on both sides of the stirrups, so I have some real insight here. Believe me when I say, a doula can make the difference between a good birth experience and a great one.Read More
If you’ve been longing to have a drug-free birth, this information is for you, Mama. But fair warning: this isn’t about natural childbirth the Bradley way because I’m all about that Lamaze life. And contrary to what a lot of people think, Lamaze is about a lot more than just breathing!Read More
If you’re pregnant and looking for some real breastfeeding tips, I’ve got you covered today, Mama! I polled my followers over on Instagram to find out what they wish they’d known before they started nursing their babies and it’s not all about breastfeeding pillows and covers!Read More
If the first 6 weeks postpartum are like a short sprint in the race of raising a family, then the first few years are a marathon. And while it’s true that you've probably recovered from childbirth by the time your baby is a toddler, there’s a good chance that you’re still going to need emotional and physical support while you’re doing the hardest job on the planet: raising little humans.Read More
In this post, I share all of the most common questions I get about epidurals in labour and birth! Check out typical side-effects, the difference between a spinal and an epidural and what it means when you're too frozen to push.Read More
If you're suffering from hot flashes, infertility, next-level periods or if you just can't seem to move the needle on your bathroom scale, consider making some of these changes. It may seem a little inconvenient at first but it just may transform how you feel physically and emotionally!Read More
Did you know there’s a group for moms of teenagers on the Mamasoup app? Join the conversation now and start finding the support that we all need doing this most difficult stage of parenting- the stage where we have to let go and trust that we’ve done our job well.Read More
Pregnancy is a really special time for you, Mama. But after you give birth please, please take it easy on yourself and your body as you adjust to motherhood. You don’t need to “bounce back”.Read More
The faster we accept that motherhood doesn’t have to feel like one big dance through the daisy-field, the better. Let’s all acknowledge that even if you’re a mom who did fertility treatments, even if you navigated the adoption process for years, even if you didn’t think you’d ever become pregnant- you don’t have to feel a constant flow of positivity about motherhood.Read More
I’m not living that woo-woo life over here, believe me. I’m just a regular woman who's had a couple of drug-free, normal births and I’m here to tell ya that working the stages of birth is a mindset that starts while you’re pregnant. Most women can achieve the brass ring of birth stories by doing it naturally. So, if you’re not sure if you’ve got it in you, let me reassure you right here, right now- there’s a really, really good chance that you can.Read More
If you’re wondering how to best support the postpartum mom in your life, you’re not alone. This is a time especially difficult for grandmas: the urge to double-bond is real! First, they want to bond over the baby and second, they want to bond over the holidays because nostalgia is real!Read More
As a nurse, I know how hard it is to have a baby who doesn't get to go home with you. But as a mama, I can't fathom the challenges these new moms are facing.
I interviewed a former NICU mama about her experience and insights, and here's what she had to say...Read More
In my career as a labour and delivery/postpartum nurse, I’ve seen a lot of babies born and they aren’t quite what their parents were expecting. With all of the testing available during pregnancy, you may wonder how an unknown birth defect or disability can even happen. But that is one of the mysteries of creating life.Read More
First-time mamas experience more fear of childbirth than moms who’ve already given birth a couple of times. Is this really that surprising? If you don’t know what to expect, the anticipation and uncertainty can be terrifying!Read More
Before I retired from nursing to start Mamasoup, I worked in Labour and Delivery/Postpartum. People would always smile when I told them what I did for a living, and usually someone would say You’re so lucky to work in such a happy place! And I did feel lucky, because when it was happy it was so happy. But when it was sad, it was almost unbearable.Read More
It may seem like an insignificant thing to some people- supporting a mom and her kids during a highly marketed season. You may think, Why on earth would she put her efforts into Christmas when there are so many other times a mom needs help?Read More
Maybe you’ve been around lots of babies and you’re completely comfortable with your own, but maybe you’re not. Many women have babies and have no idea what to do with them when they cry, and that’s ok! You don’t have to know everything to be the best mom for your baby, Mama!Read More
Breastfeeding in the first days is a unique experience and doesn't necessarily decide how your entire nursing journey is going to go.
Download a free guide to latching your newborn at the breast!Read More
Raising well-adjusted kids means keeping an open line of communication and unfortunately that’s our job as parents. Those times when you really don’t want to talk because it’s uncomfortable or just plain hard? Those are the times when it matters the most.Read More
Over the last 18 years we've blended a family, had 2 kids of our own, stumbled through a child with drug addiction and we're currently raising our second set of teenagers. I'm not saying we have all the answers at all, but we've managed to get ourselves here.Read More
As a childbirth educator, I want to serve you up some of the realest information that you haven't even considered because let's face it- if this is your first baby, how would you know what you really need to know?Read More
The silence in the room felt like an eternity. I saw the screen, I knew what 8 week, 6 day ultrasounds looked like—my screen did not look like that. After what felt like half an hour (likely one minute), my doctor said “Nicole, I’m so sorry”.Read More
Recently, I asked my Instagram followers to tell me what they were struggling with at their stage in motherhood. Let me tell ya, Mom-Guilt was the NUMBER ONE. In fact, it was so resounding, that I created a conversation on Mamasoup about it, using one mama's own words. (Hop over to check it out and join the chat!)Read More
Taking medications while you’re pregnant is not ideal. But let’s face it- 40 weeks is a loooong time to stay away from that medicine cabinet. I know you’re trying to stay away from over-the-counter medications, Mama, but if you break down and need something, I’ve got you covered.Read More
If you’ve never experienced a mom-troll, hop onto any Facebook mom-group and post something about vaccines, breastfeeding or sleep training. Or post a picture of your baby in a carseat. The trolls just can’t help themselves: they’ll tear you down and eat you up. Apparently, they are the "Moms of Perfect Choices". They do everything right, even the carseat straps.Read More
A lot of women hesitate to reach out before the baby is even born because they think they'll be able to "handle things" and there's a good chance that they will! But why? Why try to be a hero and become a sleepless zombie when you can rely on the kindness of friends, family and even paid support people?Read More
When you’re pregnant, you kinda have a vision of what kind of parent you think you'll be. I remember thinking that I would be a very cool, open mom who wouldn’t let too much get to me. I’d be the mom that other mom’s kids could talk to. I have to say, that for the most part I’ve been pretty damn relaxed in this mom-gig.
But NOTHING could have ever prepared me to raise a son addicted to drugs.Read More
When I first became pregnant I remember thinking, “Woohoo! Nine months of eating whatever I want and sitting around because I’m gonna get fat anyhow!” But as I started gaining the baby weight my body was really feeling it; I realized quickly how much exercise can keep the discomforts of pregnancy away.Read More
Doesn't it seem like a bad joke? At a time when moms need a jolt of caffeine the most, they have to be careful about just how much they consume in a day!Read More
With so many women planning to have epidurals now, getting into positions that encourage the baby to move down the birth canal and progress labour may not be on everyone’s mind. But here’s the thing about epidurals: you have to be in active labour to have one. In order to get into active labour, you may need to use gravity to get the baby’s head pressing against the cervix.Read More
You see not all teenage moms are strippers, drug addicts or unaware that they happen to be carrying an extra 30 pounds of baby. And contrary to popular belief, we’re not all girls with “Daddy issues” or a need to be loved.Read More
I had to let it sink in for a bit, and when it finally did all I felt was scared. And disappointed: in my body and in the birth that I wasn’t going to have. I felt sorry for myself for awhile, then angry. Sometimes it seemed like all I was focusing on for the last 2 months of my pregnancy was my upcoming surgery and the pain that I would experience after.Read More
As a strong woman who is raising strong, independent and well-adjusted kids I like to bring up the really tough stuff: consent, drugs, birth control, sex…you know, the kind of things that they’re going to be dealing with for the rest of their lives. I want to make these conversations easier on them because I want them to feel like they can talk to me about this stuff.Read More
The numbers and the deaths don’t lie. Black women are dying at alarming rates in the United States, a country that prides itself on being the epicentre of the world, with advanced medical care.Read More
I decided to have my tubes "tied" when I was pregnant with my fourth baby, who was a real surprise by the way! My doctor didn't tell me anything about the symptoms I would suffer with for the rest of my freaking reproductive life.Read More
Friends are important when you're transitioning to motherhood. It’s hard to explain to you exactly how important they are because until you become a mama, you don’t realize how lonely it can actually be. A mom-friend can listen when you’re having a tough day, sympathize when you tell her how tired you are and even encourage you to get out of the house when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.Read More
Perfect moms don't exist so stop beating yourself up. You don't need letterboards and the perfect nursery decor to prove yourself to anyone. As long as you let love guide you, you'll be everything your kids ever need.Read More
Ahhhhh girl….this is the least talked about part of pregnancy. It’s messy, it’s painful and it’s emotional. This isn’t the stuff that we’re talking to our girlfriends about, and many of us don’t even talk to our mothers about it. You're definitely not going to scroll through Instagram and find this. But as a L&D nurse, a doula, a Lamaze educator and a mom who's given birth 4 times, I'm gonna give it to you straight.Read More
If you’re struggling to move ahead in any part of your life, you’re not alone! Your inner mean girl is a bully and she can paralyze you from having everything you’ve ever wanted. Over the years, I’ve learned some tricks to quiet that voice of doubt and truly take control of my life.Read More
Basically, our bodies are full of microbes. These are micro-organisms that contain: bacteria, fungi and even viruses. You may think that these are bad, but a lot of them are actually VERY good for our health and well-being!Read More
Introducing- The Belly Birth Plan™, an online course for the 30% of moms who will give birth by caesarean in North America this year.
Nobody should feel scared or unprepared for one of the biggest, most exciting and memorable events they'll ever experience. I hope that many pregnant mama's will find this course and have a better birth.Read More
I remember the day I realized that I had a real, actual human being inside of me who was going to have to come out. I’m not gonna lie- I felt some panic. That’s when I knew that I would have to take some steps to prepare myself mentally for giving birth.Read More
If you're a mom who's a smoker, you should not stop breastfeeding your baby. There are ways to lower your baby's risks to nicotine. Instead of feeling guilty about not being a perfect mom you can protect your baby while having a breastfeeding relationship.Read More
Ask any woman about her birth(s) and she will be able to recall very specific details: the sounds, the smells and the way she was made to feel while she was bringing life into the world.
In this post: 3 women share 3 very different memories from their birth stories.Read More
There is nothing that you can’t accomplish if you set your mind straight to it. The big problem is drowning out all of your thoughts and fears. I can talk myself out of anything. Just last night I talked myself out of washing and moisturizing my face before bed.Read More
I am a RECE (Registered Early Childhood Educator) and have been working in childcare for about 4-5 years now. I did a co-op placement in high school in a daycare and even though I always knew I wanted to work with children, that was when I fell in love with the daycare environment!Read More
Another guest blog by pregnant Mamasouper Nicole Lemke!
I’ve been trying to have a really positive mindset throughout this pregnancy…we worked really hard to get here, but let’s be honest…pregnancy isn’t always the most fun thing in the world. Here is my list of products that have made this pregnancy a little easier and relatively complaint-free!Read More
So Mama, have you thought about hiring a doula? It can be overwhelming to find* and interview them, so I put together a list of questions that you can use to find the perfect doula for you and your partner!Read More
Deep down I know it’s wrong, to let extra pounds define myself as a person. I’m an adult now, so changing my “story” should be easy! All I have to do is write myself a new plot, right? But I’m only human and I hear the screams of society telling me how I should look to be worthy of happiness. So, like many, I've desperately tried to change myself.Read More
My miscarriage started as just some spotting and cramping. Three days later I went to that dreaded ultrasound. I made my husband leave work early to meet me there. The silence in the room felt like an eternity. I saw the screen, I knew what 8 week, 6 day ultrasounds looked like—my screen did not look like that. After what felt like half an hour (likely one minute), my doctor said “Nicole, I’m so sorry”.Read More
f you’re a mom, you have experienced the feeling of never being able to accomplish everything. And that goes for working moms and stay-at-home moms, too! I used to say to my husband, “I’m so frustrated because I can’t give 100% to anything in my life!”Read More
I was chatting with a man last week, and he was actually shocked at how many women have experienced sexual assault. I guess this is the upside to the #MeToo movement. To be clear, recent studies report that 1 out of every 4 women in North America will experience some sort of sexual assault.Read More
People often ask me why I would leave my career in nursing to start a company at this stage in my life. Let’s face it- I’m not young. I don’t have an MBA. Who do I think I am anyway, starting a business? Trust me, I don’t always feel confident and I often feel terrified. But I'm not offended when people ask me because even I think I’m a little bit crazy, to be honest. Maybe the best thing I’ve ever learned from so many years of nursing is a deep, deep compassion for women.Read More
I love watching my kids do their favourite things and I love seeing my different “team families”. But when two sports overlap, it’s hard not to notice how different the culture of those sports is. More importantly, the culture of different sports parents.Read More
Over the last 26 years of being a mom on Valentine’s Day, I’ve been single, dating and married. I totally understand why some women get really wrapped up in the importance of the day. Who doesn’t want to feel loved and appreciated? Especially a mom.Read More
I know it’s good for kids to have responsibilities from a young age. I’ve read the parenting books and they all cover just this topic, and I know it makes them more responsible later in life. I realize that 2-year olds can clean up a few toys, that 4 year olds can help with dishes and that 6 year olds can help pack lunches. I know they’re capable of doing all of these things, but do you know where I get stuck? It’s the fact that it all takes monitoring from me.Read More
January is Caesarean Awareness Month! Instead of telling you all the reasons you shouldn't have one, I've decided to talk about the reasons some women choose to have a caesarean birth. It's time to stop judging moms for their decisions and support one another! Your birth decisions were right for you, and hers were right for her.Read More
I propose that we stop trying to improve ourselves in the new year and start celebrating how awesome we are!Read More
Moms need each other more than ever for friendship, support and information. Did you know there's an app for that?Read More