One on One with Saphia Khambalia

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We can understand how tough it is to adapt to dressing and looking good with a growing baby bump. Now imagine doing that every day onair? We spoke to Toronto TV personality and Citytv News Reporter, Saphia Khambalia, about her experiences bringing-up-baby, as well as how she made the transition from busy career world to busy mom-land.

What was it like being pregnant while working as a news reporter? Any clothing tricks to pass along?
I loved being pregnant, it’s the most beautiful experience, and I got to share it with viewers who emailed me just as excited to see every
stage along the way. Blazers came in handy to keep things concealed before I was ready to reveal the news. After that, I tried to show-off the bump every chance I had. I had fun trying out different maternity styles. For the most part, tights and sweaters did the trick almost every day. I needed to be comfortable when trudging through the elements or going door-to-door doing interviews for a story. Oh – and you learn to make quick friends with small business and restaurant owners when you need to find a washroom on the road, constantly!

Your son Jacob was born right before Christmas. What a great gift!
You can most definitely say it was an unforgettable Christmas! Jacob came during the big Ontario ice storm. Our hospital lost power temporarily and was running on a backup generator. However, that didn’t stop the crush of visitors coming to see him (he’s the first grandchild on both sides). We ended up in the hospital right until late at night on Christmas Eve. Not to mention, he was “introduced” to our CityNews viewers on-air with pictures, the day after he was born. It was a wild, wonderful first few days!

What has your time with Jacob been like since?
Jacob is the most loving little boy, always full of giggles and cuddles for us. He just wants to be held and sung to and he loves dancing and bugging the family dog. We are lucky we get to watch him grow. We go through every emotion, constantly. It’s simply the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done. Most days see me trading in the hair and make-up rooms for pastel nurseries and playgroups. And, you know what? Every single skill set I used as a reporter: patience, clarity, balance, it all gets put to good use while bringing-up-baby.

You’re taking some time off from daily reporting but you haven’t really stopped, have you?
I’m on maternity leave but I’m still active in helping out as Spokesperson for the Parkinson Society. I bring Jacob with me to events, when I can. I think it’s important to show him that it’s good to give back and love what you do. My child, my husband and my job all make me happy and I’m going to fight to do it all. But it’s not possible to balance everything all the time. Some days we do better at achieving some parts than others. And, if the house gets messy or we rely on the espresso machine a bit here and there, so be it!

Any tips to share on juggling work and family?
I use whatever time I have to wear the ‘Momhat,’ even when we’re driving from one commitment to the next. I also put Jacob in his
carrier and have him with me if I need to do an interview or send some emails. Instead of taking separate time for going to the gym, we
do mommy-baby workout classes and have fun together. Lean on friends and family if you can, taking care of yourself will make you a better mom, wife, mother and worker.

Do you think we can really balance everything?
Nope! I’ve learned that balance doesn’t exist! And it’s not fair to try to achieve some perfect unattainable standard. Instead, I say work at balancing the mix of things that suit your family. For me, I’m lucky that we are able to spend a lot of time as a family along with continuing our careers. We don’t get to make every social event, or visit all of the relatives like we used to, but we have a happy medium.
Once you figure out what is important to you, you can work towards it. However, that means you have to stop worrying about what someone else’s ideals are.

You’re a young mom (27 now), when do you think is the right time to have kids?
I don’t think there is ever a perfect time. I know friends who waited until their 40s and have enjoyed different life experiences before diving into parenthood and it’s been amazing for them. However, I always knew I wanted to be a mom and have those other life experiences at the same time. After years of working towards my career, making sure I could take care of myself, things just fell into place early when I met my husband. Now, Jacob has been the best thing that’s ever happened to us.

Do you have any advice to share with how you decided to do things in the early days with baby?
We took the time to really research and figure out things we wanted to do with our son. It’s been an opportunity for us to be healthier as a family. We’ve started complementing with alternative medicine (like chiropractic), had help from a doula when Jacob was born and
hired a cloth diaper service. We’ve tried to go about things as naturally as possible, but there are so many different ways to raise kids now and every baby is so different. I think women shouldn’t be judging each other or the choices we all make. I love hearing about the different experiences of my girlfriends. Whether we had a natural delivery or an epidural, whether we breastfed or used formula, whether we co-slept or scheduled naps, it doesn’t matter. What matters is getting through each day and giving ourselves a pat on the back!

What would you say to other new moms?
Go with your gut. Trust that you DO know what to do. Breathe, and remember, it is ok to make mistakes!

Television Personality Saphia Khambalia has covered major breaking events and interviewed big names like Aretha Franklin, Drake and Bill Clinton. Saphia is also involved with the Parkinson Society, as a Regional Spokesperson. It’s a cause she joined after her grandfather was diagnosed with the disease in 2008. She spent time travelling through East Africa in the mid 2000s, following her roots and shooting her own mini-documentary. Saphia then worked as a reporter and videographer in cities around Ontario, before landing a national TV gig as host for CBC’s 2010 FIFA World Cup coverage. She reports on news and current affairs for the 6pm and 11pm news on Citytv Toronto.

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