Hi, I’m Renée…
I’m so glad you stopped by! I am a Maternal Support Practitioner who is passionate about working with mothers post-baby. I live in Oakville, Ontario with my husband, Francis, and our two boys, Reed and Lane. My boys call me mama and they make me thankful everyday for the life we have built!
This is my story…
It was somewhere between my first and my second that I started to feel the desire to work with other mothers. As a first time mom, I was facing doubt, uncertainty, and overwhelmed that no one else seemed to want to talk openly about the raw and the real side of motherhood. But I knew that I wasn’t the only one. The looks on mothers faces at the grocery store, the shuffle around the park, and the smiling silence at the mommy-and-me group told me everything I needed to know.
I wasn’t alone in this motherhood journey.
Motherhood changed me. Or maybe it didn’t change me, but it helped me see so many things about myself I did not see before. My strength, my will, my ability to make magic happen. There were so many good things that came out of this new role for me but it was so hard to focus on the good when I had so many questions.
Why did no one ever tell me that being a parent was going to be like this? Challenges, tears, incredible joy, happiness, frustration to no end, exhaustion, fits of giggles, and feeling like you love someone so much your heart could burst. So many feelings all happening pretty much at the same time.
Somewhere in all the mix of this we moved from our downtown Toronto home to Oakville, Ontario, where I was raised. I wanted to live in a community where I felt we had more space and life was a little slower. While I don’t ever regret our move, it meant that I lost connection with the community we were part of there and we had to start over. When my second came along I struggled to meet the demands of an infant and a busy toddler and postpartum depression set in. It was a rough time and I didn’t know how to balance my time and attention between two children and my husband. I felt pulled in so many directions; I was lost and disconnected. Without my support system – my village – I was floundering. I knew I needed connection and community but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. It was in that moment that I knew what I was meant to do.
Getting Ready for My Mama Village
I wanted to build up a village of mamas where we all supported each other and talked openly and learned from each other. People have always been drawn to me when they needed someone to talk to. Friends, colleagues, strangers at the coffee shop; pretty much anyone anywhere. I’ve always been so happy to be that person they could feel comfortable talking to. How could I take advantage of that natural ability to connect with others?
I spent my entire career working in radio. It was one of the most amazing careers I could have ever imagined and I had so many cool experiences. I started off running the Intern Army for 102.1 The Edge and moved around in roles over years in promotions, marketing, and sales. As much as I loved my job, I knew that I wanted to do something entirely different: to find a way to support women through their journey of motherhood.
I researched programs and organizations where I could access training that would help me do this. I found Bebo Mia, an incredible organization where I studied to be a Maternal Support Practitioner. During my time studying with them, what really stood out to me the most was my need and want to work with women who are in their postpartum period, where we are so often pushed aside and all the focus is put on baby. It was then that I knew exactly what it was I wanted to do.
They Call Me Mama didn’t happen overnight. It was years in the making that started as a flutter in my tummy and formed over time. Designing these programs took research, planning, and consultation. My goal was to develop programming that met the needs of the mother, not just the baby. Yes, baby is important, but so are you. I can’t say that enough times: You Are Important.
Being The Best Mama I Can Be
The day I realized that in my role as a mother I am still important, I feel like I became a better mother. I’m not a ‘better mother’ because I do all the things I am supposed to do. I am a better mother because I recognize my own value and needs and take the time to tend to them. I ask for help when I need it and have built up a village around me that I have confidence in. Both of which allow me to be more present and mentally healthy for my children. My personal experience was the catalyst that inspired me to build this. My children are what keep me going. Why? Because they call me mama and I love them to bits.
Renée Tanaka xo
Who calls you Mama?
Join me for one of my mama-centred programs that have been designed with your needs in mind.