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Normalizing Diversity and Difference

When I decided to create Mini Totem, I knew that I wanted this company to be different from others by embedding within it values that are very important to me, values that I instill in my children and values that I wish we saw more of in this big world that we live in.

At Mini Totem, community and outreach are at the centre of everything that we do, and that is why we give 2% of profits annually to the Canadian Women’s Foundation. We also support other local causes through the sale of our t-shirts. The current organization that we are supporting is The Mitan which is a women’s shelter located in Sainte-Thérèse, Qc. This pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on women, which is why their mission is so near and dear to my heart. Another value that is very important to us is diversity. Nowadays, we are constantly bombarded with images that portray a distorted version of reality. We are told that we must aim for perfection, that perfection is the standard that we must abide by. However, the truth is that we are all perfect in our own way. We are all different and unique from one another, and that’s what makes this world such a beautiful place. These differences are what creates a life full of beauty, colors, shapes and sizes.

Myself and my daughter Ellarose

When it came time to plan out our photoshoot back in May, it was clear to me that diversity would be at the forefront of it. I wanted people from all walks of life to be able to see themselves within our brand and to feel represented. I reached out to many different mamas and they immediately agreed to join me at the shoot, and for that I am eternally grateful. I also had the immense pleasure of working with Audrée from Robbie Photographe. She is insanely talented and above all, she is a mom with a big heart who believed in what I was trying to achieve. She was able to bring my vision to life, and for that I am truly thankful.

One of the families who agreed to participate in our shoot was Eleanor’s family.

Her son Joah was born with a limb difference and it is now her mission to normalize difference and diversity for her son.

«To me, Mini Totem represents opened mindedness. It embodies a sentiment of comfort, like when a mother holds her baby. It accepts everyone and puts diversity at the forefront of what it does. Mini Totem is a community with beautiful values.

This company conquered my heart when they asked me if my son Joah, who is unique in his own way, could be part of their photoshoot. Sophie contacted me before our story started getting so much attention. She already had this mission living well within her heart, the mission of shining light on difference. For me, this is the quality of a beautiful soul.

Before having a child that was ‘different”, I always sort of felt uncomfortable when I met another person who didn’t fit into the mold that society expects us to. Today I understand that this feeling of discomfort stemmed from the fact that I had never had the opportunity to interact with people who were considered to be ‘different’, and let me tell you, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Now that Joah is here, he has shown me that he is exactly like you and me: unique. I want to normalize difference so that he can grow up in a world where he won’t get stared at and where he won’t be met with uncomfortable gazes, like ones that I used to unintentionally give. How can I, as his mother, help him overcome comments such as : «oh, poor him» or « What, he is missing a hand?». I honestly think it’s by showing his limb difference as much as possible because the more we see and interact with difference, the more we realize that it is normal. »

As his parents, we want to see more of Joah everywhere!

#normalizedifference

-Eleonar, Joah’s mama

Éléonar and her son Joah

I equally turned to another mama who inspires me on a regular basis, Claudiane. She shares about her daily life with her son Logan who has a genetic mutation of the MED17 gene with postnatal microcephaly and possibly epilepsy (still under investigation). Claudiane is a mother who aims to celebrate difference, and obviously, this resonated with me a lot.

« For me, it’s not about normalizing difference, but rather celebrating it. Thanks to Logan, my heart loves in a whole new way. Having a child with differences in your life is accepting that life, as you know, it will never be the same, but it’s also realizing how lucky you are because of it. Logan’s uniqueness as made me see that there is so much more to this world than what meets the eye. Everyone in this world should have the chance to have someone like Logan in their lives to help them stop judging others. When we grow up surrounded by difference, at one point we stop noticing it’s even there. »

-Claudiane, Logan’s mama

Claudiane et her son Logan

How do you feel when you are met with difference? Would like uniqueness to be more present in the world that we live in? Is it a value that is important to you?

Sophie -xxx-

Are you a parent who would like to share your thoughts on a subject that is important to you? Write to us at info@minitotem.com to be published on our blog!