Eden Grinshpan’s C.V. reads “Top Chef Canada” host, cookbook author of “Eating Out Loud”, and food influencer. But beyond the bold type, she’s also a proponent of eating fresh, whole foods, a beacon of body positivity, a mom of two, and very funny. Her nearly 150K highly engaged Insta followers may have clicked follow for the recipes, but stay for the daily doses of real life unfiltered—especially as Grinshpan’s clan has grown. Below, we chat with this multi-hyphenate mama about self care, going from 1 to 2, and why toddlers can rarely be trusted with a secret.
How are you feeling?
This is obviously my second. I definitely, knowing what to expect this time around, had planned things a little bit differently. When I say planned, I mean I actually planned something. With my firstborn, I had no idea what to expect, so I didn’t set anything up for my fourth trimester. I found it to be a little bit challenging. I didn’t have anyone coming and relieving me for an hour or two during the day. So I was incredibly hands on, especially nursing; it was 24/7. It took me a little bit of time to mentally convince myself that I was ready to go again.
How is this pregnancy different from your first one?
It’s like night and day. I keep saying this to everyone. First of all, two different babies, completely different children already, which is incredible that you can already tell this at two months. I’m amazed that these little babies are born with these little personalities. It still blows my mind.
When we had my first, that was four years ago, I had a doula. All my friends were like, “Have a doula, and try and labor at home as long as you possibly can.” My biggest fear was to go to the hospital and they would turn me away, with my firstborn, my first child. So I was like, “I’m going to do this at home.” I also didn’t know if I wanted an epidural. I thought maybe I could handle the pain. I obviously did not know what to expect. So with Ayv, I labored at home from midnight till 6:00 in the morning. By the time I got to the hospital, I was wheeled in, because I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t see. I was six centimeters dilated. It was just the ultimate insane experience. It was intense labor.
How was this birth?
It was so funny, because with Romi, everyone warned me the second one comes a lot faster, so I made this mental note. I was like, “Don’t try and labor at home forever, because I don’t want to give birth at home.” The last thing I need is for my husband to be delivering my child in the main floor of my house. I don’t need him to live through that. I don’t think I could live through that. So I tried to keep that in mind. We went away in my seventh month, which was really pushing it. We came back, quarantined, and on the last day of my quarantine … I was only 37 and a half weeks pregnant, so I’m like, “I’m good. I can still pack my bag and relax.” Nothing was prepared. The last day of quarantine, my water broke. I kid you not. I said to my husband, “I think my water broke,” but obviously, no contractions. After all that time of saying, “I can’t push this one, because I don’t want to give birth at home,” my husband looks at me and he’s like, “Since you’re not having contractions, why don’t we just go to bed? Just go to bed, and wake up in the morning, and we’ll go to the hospital.” I’m like, “That’s a great idea.” What was I thinking? But luck was on my side. We called my mom. We slept, which was like a gift. My mom came at 5:00 in the morning, and we drove to the hospital. I was three centimeters dilated. With my doula, I was like, “No Pitocin. I’m going to do this. Maybe no epidural.” For this one, I was like, “Yeah, sure. Give me Pitocin.”
Not even exaggerating, I had Pitocin at noon and immediately went into labor. At 1:00, they gave me the epidural. After it kicked in, my husband ordered Chipotle and he’s eating his burrito while watching Love it or List it from the early 2000s. We were having a swell old time. By 4:00 the epidural gets super strong and my doctor comes in. At this point I was ten centimeters dilated. It was fast with Romi. I got her out and it only took 30 minutes.
No. I didn’t have one. My birth plan was not giving birth at home. That was my birth plan. My birth plan was not going into labor in my house or in my car. That was the plan.
Sharing the good news with baby #1?
My daughter knew before my husband. We did it so backwards. I didn’t even think about what the process should have been like. It was just one of those things that happened. I woke up with Ayv. I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to do a pregnancy test. Why not?” So I went with her to her room, and she was laying out her clothes, and I took a pregnancy test, and she kind of saw. She’s like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “Mommy’s just testing her pee.” She’s like, “What?” Then I was like, “Oh my God! Mommy’s having a baby.” We ran into my bedroom.My husband was sleeping, and I woke him up. I’m like, “Babe, I’m pregnant.” Ayv was with me, and we were all hugging. Then that day, I dropped her off at school. I was driving away. My daughter’s very loud, and I could hear her saying, “My mom’s having a baby.” She told everyone at her school. When I picked her up from school, the teachers were so awkward, and they were like, “Mazel tov?” I’m like, “Thanks.” They’re like, “How far along are you?” I’m like, “Two weeks.” They were like, “This is awkward.”
Transitioning from 1 to 2?
I feel like one of the silver linings of what’s been happening with COVID is that my husband has been working from home and he still is. I feel like that has really been a big game changer for me. My husband went back to work when Ayv was five days old. So the fact that I get to see him with Romi every day, and I know he’s there, that part’s really amazing. It’s like getting to experience newborn phase in such a different way and with such a different perspective. So it’s been nice. And especially with two kids I knew I needed outside help this time around, so I feel very lucky that we get to have help.
Path to pregnancies?
I feel very, very fortunate that we were able to get pregnant naturally. We didn’t really go through a crazy long process. Obviously, it took a bunch of months, but it wasn’t something that was a big ordeal.
Your diet while pregnant and nursing?
It’s actually hilarious, because I felt like I was way more nauseous with my second pregnancy. The first trimester with Romi was challenging. I was scared. I was like, “Why does it all smell like crap? Why?” I lived off of Cream of Wheat. I was basically living like a baby eating food.
I was living with my parents at the time, because it was COVID, and we moved in with them for the help. My mom’s like, “Just eat all of that Cream of Wheat. Full of iron.” I’m like, “God. What’s happening? My life’s sitting here with my mom eating Cream of Wheat.” No. It was great. So the first trimester was really challenging, but the way I cook, which is very Middle Eastern, Mediterranean food, is very veg heavy, colorful and fresh. I really stuck to that. I definitely increased my carb intake. My addiction to bagels skyrocketed. I don’t really deprive myself for cravings ever, so I just went for it. But because I think I eat really light food too, it was a nice balance.
It’s been good. With Ayv, I struggled with the latch. I always complained. I complained on social media about how painful and unnatural the process felt for a really long time. But I was so stubborn and really, really wanted to breastfeed. This time, I feel like, because I guess I’ve done it for so long, the latch happened a lot easier. Plus I had a lactation consultant at the hospital come in and just make sure that I was doing it right. I really didn’t want to have bloody nipples. It was just so painful with Ayv. It was like nursing on top of wounds for months. It was awful.
We got the groove a lot earlier on with Romi. It was a lot easier. But it’s something I think most nursing moms sometimes feel like, “I hope I’m making enough,” or, “I hope she’s getting enough.”
I actually am in the process of renovating my home. My kitchen is almost complete. Once it’s complete, I’m going to start doing a lot more content in my kitchen. The plan is just to continue building and doing fun stuff online. More food content, but also mom content, lifestyle. I have so much fun with my husband, so I always try and include him, because he’s a huge goofball. He’s such a great dad also. He’s just awesome. So it’s just about creating more fun stuff with him, and recipes and cooking videos. There’s always something in the works.
Well, I’m making a conscious effort to try and not just put my phone down but put my phone away. I don’t think sometimes I even realize how connected I am to it. It takes away from a lot of moments in your life with your friends and your family. So I’m trying to put my phone down, just making sure that we’re all really connected. I also love a long shower, close the door, me time, just stand in a piping hot shower, and just do a face mask. Maybe go for a nice walk. I’m starting to pick up working out and Pilates. I took my first Melissa Wood Health class two days ago, and I actually can’t walk up the stairs. My butt is killing, but it’s amazing, because I swear my body forgot about those muscles. So just getting back into the groove of it.
Why is body positivity important to you?
I do think there’s a lot of pressure socially for people to bounce back, and to look amazing and to feel amazing right from the get go. I just don’t think it’s realistic.
I feel really good in my body, even during and after pregnancy. I think that’s something that we should all be feeling, even though it’s different from what we’re used to. I think different isn’t a bad thing. I think change isn’t a bad thing either. I view my platform as a place for me to show people that it’s okay. I don’t want it to be perfect or even necessarily too precious. For me, it’s okay to have fuck ups.
This isn’t forever. You’re not going to be dealing with newborn phases or a fresh postpartum body forever. Everything changes.
What does the 4th trimester mean to you?
Your baby comes out and is 100% dependent on you and your partner. She’s growing like she would be, basically, in your womb. She’s just out of your womb. I just think that it’s my way of making sure that I know, and whoever’s going through it realizes, we have to be gentle with ourselves, and forgiving, and understanding that this is still such a monumental three months in this process for us. I think it’s okay to just live in a filthy house, and not have to wash your hair, and not be making meals for yourself and your family, and embracing ways to make life easier for yourself. Just cut some slack. We put too much pressure on ourselves. I think it’s about just letting go and just embracing this time. We’re in the trenches. This is hardcore stuff right now.
Advice for moms?
I think my favorite part of social media is finding a community of people that are experiencing something at the same time. I’ve had this happen to me, where I’ll follow someone who says something, and I’m like, “Well, that makes me feel better about that.” I think it’s just about using that in a positive way—where you find people that make you feel good and understanding of what you’re going through. Social media can also be a really negative experience for so many people, because it’s too much of that comparing stuff. Find people who make you feel good. Find your community wherever that is.