Diane is a breath of fresh air of a person to me. Sheès so open-minded and accepting of others that her mere presence is as comforting as a warm blanket on a cold day. I thoroughly enjoyed her interview and hope that you will as well. Thank you Diane, for all that you do for women, and for continuing to inspire me daily with your authenticity and gentleness.
Tell me about yourself.
I am lots of things, so it’s always hard to describe myself in a few short sentences. You could apply all of the following to me: Passionate Pilates Teacher, Former Artist, Body Positive Advocate, Feminist 👊, Mom of Boys, Wife of an all round top human being, Photographer of human moments, Creator of cardboard and duct tape costumes, Meditation Practice-r, Cocktail Aficianado, and a general Life Consider-er. I had my first son in 2013 when I lived in England. I just had another baby boy in June. A fun fact about me is that I’ve lived in 27 different houses/apartments/basements in my 40 years of life in 6 different locations throughout the world. When we bought our house in St Catharines 3 years ago, I told my husband that I want to die in our house (LOL)… no more moving for me!!! I love being settled finally and am really happy to be in Niagara. Wait, was that short and snappy enough?!?
What do you do for work?
I’m a Pilates Instructor, specializing in post-rehab Pilates. I called my business Compassionate Body Pilates because I believe in learning to work with your body to develop strength safely and effectively.
When did you start your own business?
I first started my business in 2012, while I lived in the UK. I started up again from scratch in Canada when I moved to St Catharines in 2016.
Did you always want kids? If not, when did that change?
I always thought I would have kids, eventually, but was honestly pretty ambivalent about it right up until my son was born. Then reality set in! It took me 6 years to feel up to the task a second time.
Now I’m happy and my family feels complete. This womb is now officially closed for business!
Tell me about the birth or infancy stage of your child?
My first son’s birth was tough because I got very sick right after he was born.
I developed sepsis and almost died, and we had to stay in hospital together for 2 weeks while I was sick. So our beginning together wasn’t great. In retrospect this was a part of why it took me a long, long time to bond with him and to feel good about being a mother. I can see this more now that I’ve had the opposite experience with my second son- an easy birth, a quick recovery, and lots of time cuddling and spending time bonding right away.
My funniest memory is probably of my husband on our first Christmas together in England. We didn’t have a car and no extra money for a taxi, but I wanted a Christmas tree, so we used our bicycles. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he had a tree strapped on his back while he was cycling behind me.
Let’s just say it caused a LOT of drag for him. I still laugh out loud when I think about it!
What’s something you wish people knew about your son/daughter?
I wish that people would understand that my son does the best he can.
In fact, this is a mantra I wish everyone could apply to all children everywhere: They do the best that they can. They truly do. I believe children who act out simply lack the skills to deal with the situation- we are probably asking too much of them and they are simply coping as best they can. If we can all understand this and apply it when we see kids “acting out”, I believe it would be a much better world for us all.
What’s something you wish people knew about you?
Hmmm… probably that I truly don’t judge other people at all for their choices.
For example, if I’m talking about how I’m raising my son it really isn’t because I think you need to do the same or what you are doing with your kids is wrong. Some people jump right into defensive mode when this happens, and assume I’m judging them. We all have to do our best and what’s right for our own families. I’ve done plenty of things I am not proud of, and I get that people have to do their own thing. In my opinion there’s no one answer for anything in this world. That’s what’s so cool and interesting about it.
What was the biggest sacrifice of motherhood to you? And how are you coping?
Giving up my art career was tough.
There are lots of reasons why this happened but I struggle with it still. I cope by telling myself that one day, I will go through all my photos from motherhood and create a series that’s impactful and showing all the good, the bad and the ugly from life as a parent. I’m always looking around me and taking photos no matter what happens.
What do you love most about being a mom? Name 3 things.
Top one is getting outside more!
I love being outside and really feel good when I do, but before kids I was often was too “busy” (lol) or couldn’t be bothered. Now I have an excuse to be outside every day. After that I’d have to say the snuggles are pretty rockin. And then my son makes me laugh a lot. He’s a really funny kid!
They say it takes a village to raise one. Who does your tribe consist of? 9 (b) What’s something you wish they (your tribe) knew?
I’m so fortunate to have all the grandparents in our lives now.
It’s something I really missed when I lived in England, not having any extended family around. My in laws just moved to St. Catharines and I’m absolutely thrilled. I’m pretty honest with my tribe, so I’m not sure there’s anything special to add here. They know!
What lessons and values do you hope to instill in your child?
We want him to be kind.
My husband and I agree that this is 100% the most important value for us. When he was younger we used terminology like being strong in heart, strong in mind and strong in muscle. He was always proud of his muscles so we had to set him other challenges! We also began meditating together when he was 4 using the headspace app and it has some fantastic meditations for kids about being kind and appreciative. It helped a lot!
What is the biggest perk of being an entrepreneur?
The biggest perk is definitely setting my own hours. I love being able to pick and choose what days and times I teach.
For example I can spend time with my son after school every day which is wonderful. The hardest part is being on my own with all the decisions. I use my husband as a sounding board a lot, and that helps, but it’s not the same as having a business partner or working with colleagues. My advice for moms on the fence is- be realistic with your time commitments, and do your research. It’s a major undertaking to start a business and it will take a ton of your time, especially in the beginning. It took me a year to start making money, but every year I am doubling my income (so far!) so it can gain momentum rather quickly.
Whats the hardest part?
The hardest part is getting that first push in the beginning.
If you have some money to invest in the business right away, you can get that momentum going faster, but it’s often not an easy decision to make to invest in a new venture. And definitely do your research! Look into your competition and put together a business plan. You can get help for free from places like the St. Catharines downtown association or the St. Catharines business enterprise centre. There are a ton of supports out there for start ups as well as entrepreneur groups that you can join even before you really get started. They can help guide you when getting started. It’s a lot of work but is also very rewarding!
Can we follow you on social media?
Yes please! I am writing a series of new blog posts now about my 2nd journey into motherhood, and I’m also taking an instructor course right now in post partum corrective exercise. If you follow my website www.compassionatebodypilates.com/blog.html and my fb page www.facebook.com/compassionatebodypilates you will hear all about any new developments in my business as they happen and see my blog posts as they are published. In the near future I am planning to offer a small group post partum class to help new moms recover from pregnancy and learn how to safely begin to exercise in the way they did before kids. If this interests anyone reading this please get in touch!
Advice for new moms?
And my best advice for moms to be? Relax- trust yourself, get other people to help you as much as you can, and focus on enjoying each small moment as it comes rather than worrying about the big stuff all the time. It’s tough but rewarding and there’s else nothing like it in the world! You will be forever changed, but that change is a good thing. You got this! <3