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Celebrating the Birth of my Babies and my Birth as a Mother

It was the birthdays of my two little people yesterday and I took some time to reflect….

Nine and seven years ago I was welcoming a teeny tiny baby into my life which would change it forever. Days like these offer an opportunity for reflection for me. Of where I was, what it was like, what it has been and what it is now.

It’s been a ride.

I think as mothers may of us struggle for a really long time. Yet no-one really talks about it openly, or only as needed.

It took me SIX years to settle into being a mum. I had a chat with a friend just the other day who said the same thing. SIX years!

Not a couple of years while they are babies – it’s much longer than that for many. And no-one is doing it alone no matter how much we convince ourselves we are.

Now, as a ‘still losing my shit but mostly content mother’ I experienced a moment of real connection while I was on holiday recently.

I wrote as they slept…..

“I love you beautiful boy, I love you more than you will ever know.”

“I love you beautiful girl, I love you more than you will ever know.”

And then it hit me.

These two beautiful humans hit me straight through the heart.

Of course they’d always been there, it was love at first sight but it’s like I’ve finally woken up. I’ve finally grown up. I’ve finally grown into the Mother I had become within the Woman that I am.

I battled that for a really long time.

There has been many battles fought within.  Wins, loses and many many learnings.

From the 27year old that I was, with a newborn son in my arms, still not sure who “I” was or where “I” stood in the world – now someone would call me ‘Mum’?!?

To the 36year old I am now, with all the experience and love and loss and fight and pain and wonder and self discovery and acceptance.

Now I know these two beautiful human are here for me to hold and guide for a while. They don’t belong to me but my purpose is to pass on everything I wish for them to learn and become by learning and becoming everything I would be proud for them to be.

Now I know this more deeply than ever before. And in turn they guide me.

We become parents yet we still have so much to learn for ourselves. We attempt to guide them yet we still need guidance.

It’s the deepest kind of love that knows that to ever evolve ourselves allows them the biggest possible opportunity in this world.

“I love you both with all my heart”

Frazzled

 

Last week I didn’t pick my kids up from school on time.

In fact, I had no intention of picking them up at all.

Then I got a phone call from a school mum asking if I was collecting my daughter.

And then from the school office asking if I was collecting my son.

Tools down, computer closed, in the car, racing to get them. And redeem myself.

 

Today I got to the gym.

And realized I forgot a clean bra.

And my make-up.

 

Last night the kids and I went to sushi.

We love going to sushi. I LOVE going to sushi with them.

We usually chat and eat and it’s just enough time for quality time but not too much time for things to go wrong and for everyone to get frazzled.

Last night I was frazzled. My brain felt mixed up and the usual child banter was just noise, loud noise.

I felt like wine.

And then chocolate.

Except I’m not drinking wine or eating chocolate this month….. Aaarrrgggghhhhh!

 

When we got home, I hid in the bathroom for about 20 minutes to take time for myself.

Maybe they’ll get tired and put themselves to bed? I hoped.

Not likely! More likely they’ll destroy partially tidy bedrooms and then kill each other first.

 

This scenario is not uncommon – we all have our version.

BUT

The important part comes next.

 

Do you recognize when you are frazzled? Is this your permanent state?

Do you feel like your head is going to explode and your thoughts are all mixed up and you’re on the brink of tears or yelling or complete exhaustion, All. Of. The. Time?

 

We are not aiming to never be like this.

This is LIFE.

This is MOTHERHOOD.

But….

 

KNOW that’s where you’re at.

TAKE moments for yourself.

ASK for help.

KNOW you can’t possibly do it all AND keep up appearances at all times.

DON’T beat yourself up and make it worse.

BE aware

REMEMBER, it is what you choose to do next.

 

For me it’s….

Early bedtimes

Healthy food

Meditation

Movement

Asking for help

Communication

Slowing down

Preparation

 

It is my Motherhood.

 

When we share our motherhood moments somehow it lessens the load without actually doing anything and when you speak your struggles power is magically taken away from them and given back to you.

 

By sharing you get to own your struggle.

What does your Motherhood look like?

 

PS – A MASSIVE thank you to my beautiful children who see me through every struggle. Who always have love and hugs to give. Who always allow me to start again. We could all learn a lot through approaching life as our little people do x

The Postnatal New ‘Normal Debate’ – Part 2 – Cath

I want to thank Cath for sharing her story – it is when women like Cath step up and share, that we all come together, raise awareness, and help to change the way that women experience motherhood on both a physical and emotional level.

Cath’s Story

I turned up to Jen’s session thinking I knew my fitness goals and had my postnatal body back on track. Basically all I needed was the nanny service so I could exercise more often. In hindsight I now know the nanny service was far from the most important thing; I needed help to repair my poor body which was teetering on the edge of having a full blown hernia and potentially in need of extensive surgery.

Before kids I exercised four or five times a week: running, spinning, hot yoga/yin yoga, boxercise, weights. I stayed active throughout my pregnancies, albeit at a lower intensity, and my weight gain was average. I have two beautiful girls (now 4 and 2), both delivered vaginally and with epidurals; my first was assisted.

After my first born, my body pinged back in to shape with no issues, so it was definitely my mind that needed the exercise more at that point. When I was pregnant with baby number two, I was confident my body was going to ping back in to shape again, just as it had done with my first.

So my second baby came, easier birth, smaller baby, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation – all normal. I was sure I had everything covered! My Obgyn did the usual postnatal checkups and everything was ticking along, though he did say that I had abdominal separation this time around and recommended I wear a belly wrap. I did this religiously for about two months and checked my width of separation every few days. By three months postpartum, it was reducing significantly. I knew I wasn’t physically as strong as after the first birth but I was heading in the right direction.

By four ½ months postpartum, I WANTED to exercise. I craved getting into my exercise gear and escaping my crazy, toddler-tantrum, nappy-filled life for an hour each day. It was my sanity; it was MY time. So I went back to training four times a week with some friends who were also mums. It was great. I loved that hour of exercise, chatting with other adults, the endorphin hit afterwards. It made me a better, calmer mum, although in hindsight I may have pushed myself too hard, too early and not paid the attention to my pelvic floor that I needed to.

At seven months after baby number two, I had never felt better fitness and body wise. I was at my all-important body barometer: ‘wedding dress size’. The separation was still there: the lower half had joined but from my belly button up, there was still a gap of about two fingers width and my tummy was still a bit rounded.

Meeting Jen

When my second child was 11 months old, I moved back to Sydney, and by her first birthday I had started training with Jen in group exercise sessions. I signed up for Tough Mums. I was firmly into my exercise routine and ready to keep pushing myself so felt confident in this higher intensity group. I was feeling great!

Jen did her usual abdominal separation checks as for all her new mums. I still had my separation but I explained it had reduced significantly and this was probably just the way I was going to be. Jen checked my separation at EVERY session and adapted my level of intensity accordingly. I often felt like things were too easy and in all honesty, I didn’t feel like I was progressing or getting that much physically out of the sessions.

Every session Jen would also ask me if I’d been to see the Women’s Health Physiotherapist, which of course I hadn’t gotten around to yet. We all have our excuses and I had every excuse in the book, but she kept asking, telling me to go. Thank goodness she did.

The Reality of My Body

With my separation, and a ‘heavy’ feeling in my pelvic floor, I was finally motivated to see a women’s health physio. I went expecting to get sent on my way with a few do’s and dont’s and a list of uninspiring exercises that I’d most likely never do.

I was quite shocked to be told I had to stop running completely and basically go back to the lowest level of exercise. My pelvic floor stability and inner core muscles just weren’t there. This house of fitness I had built was on sandy foundations and if I kept going, I was going to do damage. Unless I went back to basics and rebuilt the foundations of my core, my body was going to get worse.

I accepted the need to take action and followed instructions. I started putting on weight and my fitness level dropped significantly within three weeks. Emotionally I was hating it, even though the physio appointments were confirming progress in the right direction for my inner core and pelvic floor. Three months later my progress plateaued.

I was doing a postnatal specialist Pilates class, one of Jen’s group sessions each week, as well as walking. I felt disenchanted; there was no post exercise endorphin rush, just the feeling of a wasted opportunity and hating this body that was falling apart.

I couldn’t see an end to my body failing me and I had become scared of damaging my body further, so doubted how, when or if I could push my body. I felt I had lost that control to push through any barrier. My newfound limitations in exercise would never get me to the fitness level I wanted.

Two Paths

This was mentally a very low point for me. I thought I had two choices: forget exercise and embrace having more time to go out, eat cakes and drink coffee, or investigate surgery, have this stomach sewn back together and then resume my limitless exercise regime.

I told Jen I was interested in looking into the surgery. With the possibility of a hernia looming, I was referred to a leading plastic surgeon. Jen was keen to come along to my appointment both to learn more and to support me with any additional questions, from her experience working with other mums, that I might not have considered. Jen wanted to know exactly what was going on for me for her own education and so she could help me make the right decision moving forward.

After seeing some very real surgery photos, and speaking to a very honest plastic surgeon about what would be involved, I was no longer so sure about surgery. Chatting to Jen about my feelings in the waiting room, a third path emerged..

The Third Path

What if I could work with a different specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist, using hard data from ultra sound scans, to work on a physiotherapy rehabilitation program, concurrently with a specifically tailored exercise program? Jen would focus on loading my muscles in the right way, without creating further damage to my pelvic floor and abdominal separation, so that I could strengthen my core from the inside out and finally start progressing my fitness level again. I would attend regular physio sessions to make sure I wasn’t creating any further damage and also to measure any reductions in my ab separation.

There was no evidence that this would work. It was going to be trial and error and a long road to travel, unlike the quick fix of surgery…. but I like a challenge…and so does Jen!

The results so far

So here we are 12 months since that first physio check where I was told to stop running, and six months since I started my individual PT sessions with Jen, alongside the physio rehab program. I can most definitely say that I am on the road to recovery, enjoying my exercise again and getting the endorphin kicks I was after. I have changed my style of exercise (very little running but more spin classes) and I still can’t do a full plank or a sit up, but I can do A LOT of other exercises that challenge me just the same, if not more.

My separation in the last six months has gone from a width of 3.3cm to 0.5cm and the depth has reduced from being moderate to shallow. These changes may seem small to some but for me, especially given I was two years postpartum and getting progressively worse, they mean everything. I am motivated to continue down this path and can’t thank enough all those who have helped me.

But the biggest thank you has to go to Jen for keeping me motivated and safe whilst getting my body back on track. And to Jo at The Physiotherapy Clinic for working with me to build this new foundation. Hopefully I can inspire other mums to keep working at their fitness goals and not give up or fear the different body they have after having babies. Sometimes what can seem like the impossible is made relatively easy with the right, qualified, experienced trainer and support by your side – as I said, can’t thank you enough Jen Dugard!

If you are ‘stuck’ with your ‘new normal’ and would like help or have a story you would like to share – please don’t hesitate to be in touch – you can email me here  – Jen x

The Postnatal ‘New Normal’ Debate – Part one

With over a decade in the fitness industry and close to nine years now working with mums alone, I have had the pleasure of working with many women who have put their trust in me to help them finally get to the bottom of where their bodies are right now and what their options for the future may be. Many of these women have spent months, sometimes years, not really knowing what is happening with their bodies, running from person to person trying to work it out or simply accepting that their ‘new post baby normal’ was what they had to live with for the rest of their lives

A lot of the time women are not fully informed about their post-natal body and don’t really know where to go for help, or they have been told so many conflicting things that they are confused and often emotionally upset by their bodies not being able to do what they once did. They feel let down, out of control, disheartened, or have just resigned themselves to the fact that they are not the same. Often they feel unattractive and lack the confidence they once had to interact in the world.

I absolutely love working with women who think that this is the way it is for them from now on, then challenging their beliefs and helping them to uncover new possibilities, or at least a new understanding of what’s going on inside and leaving them feeling more empowered and in control of their bodies. I know that when a woman regains this control it impacts on every area of her life and she will often begin to re-discover her inner spark.

I see my role as an interpreter, a communicator and an adviser of new ways. I am a connector to the right person who might be able to help and a resource to fill in the gaps of ‘not knowing’ – because you don’t know what you don’t know.

In my next few blogs, I’ll be introducing you to some brave women who I have worked with who are currently on their own journeys to rebuilding their bodies, broadening their understanding, re-finding their strength and rediscovering their futures.

It’s not always easy explaining to someone who has been pushing themselves (and loves it!) that they might need to step back and re-evaluate their exercise routine, and introduce an assessment and rehab element. I’m also very aware that mum’s exercise for head space and emotional wellbeing, so asking someone to reduce the intensity of their exercise can be met, understandably, with some resistance.

Despite this initial resistance I stand strong in what I am here to do. It is my priority that women who have chosen the path of motherhood have the ability to exercise and push themselves in many aspects of their lives, for years to come. That they feel strong, confident and are equipped with the tools they need to properly re-build from the inside out to become stronger and fitter than they have ever been is my mission. While it can seem like you are back on track and a ‘super-fit-mum’, when you skip the re-building phase this can, in some cases, be short lived when injuries and contraindications, specifically related to the inner unit, arise.

I encourage you to read these posts, especially if you are a woman who is pushing through any postnatal ‘stuff’ that deep down you know ‘isn’t quite right’. Read and understand these journeys and think about how they might relate to your own journey or that of another mother close to you.

We’ll start with Cath. I began working with Cath some time ago now and immediately picked up on her abdominal separation. It was quite deep and although she had already been exercising to quite a high level in a ‘boot camp style’ situation, she lacked a lot of control and I wanted to help.

Stay tuned for Cath’s story in my next blog and have a think about your postnatal journey so far.

Marley’s Mum

Almost nine years ago I gave birth to my first child. I became a mum. I became known as ‘Marley’s mum’. Two years later I also became ‘India’s mum’. I received two of the greatest gifts and I am forever grateful that I get to travel with these two beautiful beings through the start of their own journeys.

Another journey also began for me. As a mother. A mother and a woman with hopes, dreams and ambitions; the same woman who had traveled 27 years of life before them. The same woman who always wanted to change the world in her own little way.

My children helped to guide me onto the path I am on today – call them a double blessing if you will. They drive me day after day to live my very best life. When I gave birth to them, my force grew stronger. They helped me see how much strength I have, to face each and every day. They offered challenges, ups and downs, and really tough times but I got through them. I always came out stronger, with more understanding and more faith in me and my ability to not only survive, but to thrive.

My point.

I see you and I see you struggling. I see you feeling lost and afraid and beaten. I see your hopes and dreams fading. I see you gain more and more comfort from being ‘just a mum’. I see you losing the woman you once were with the change in your body, relationship, confidence.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Because I also see the sparkle in your eye. I hear the excitement in your voice when you talk of what you ‘used’ to do or when you allow yourself to think, just for a moment, about all the things you want to get done in the world. I see your energy growing the more you move. I see the connections you make with other women and I feel the driving force that you really are, that you truly are. The driving force that is just waiting to resurface.

Maybe it won’t be today. Maybe not tomorrow, but it’s not gone. You are not gone. Your dreams and desires have not left you. You are not ‘just a mum’ and you never will be.

Maybe you are ‘just’ being super mum today – we all know it’s no easy job – being exactly who you are supposed to be right now. And it’s perfect. But don’t for a second allow who you really want to be, to get lost.

You can be ‘mum’ AND super awesome at everything that you want to be. And when you are happy, your little ones are happy. YOU are the very best example you could ever give them to become everything that THEY want to be.

You get just ONE shot in this journey called life. Why wouldn’t you choose to experience it all and realise your full potential?

Education is Power

I believe that education is gold. I believe that no one should ever make your mind up for you, or force you to do something. But I do believe that when someone has education and experience in a particular area, they have a responsibility to share their knowledge with others, so that they may choose what is right for them.

I have long stood by the belief that every woman that ever has a baby has the right to all of the information and education she needs to make the best decisions for herself and her baby. It is with this conviction that I share these words with you today, that I know could make a difference in your life, and prevent pain down the track.

We have had many conversations about postnatal mums visiting a Women’s Health Physio (and we’ll surely have those again) but for today I want to talk about the pregnant women amongst us. I believe that every woman, both pregnant and postnatal, should visit a Women’s Health Physiotherapist so that they are properly informed about what is happening on the inside – around the things that we cannot see.

Let’s explore a real life example.

Meet Anna –

“I’m pregnant with my second baby and started training with Jen before Christmas. Her first piece of advice (and something I’ve heard her repeat many times to all her new members) was to see a Women’s Health Physio for a pelvic floor check.

After having a caesarean with my first baby, having no real pelvic floor issues, and life being generally busy with a toddler and work, I added it to my never ending “to do” list. It took me until February to finally follow Jen’s advice. By then I was 25 weeks pregnant and generally feeling great but starting to get a bit of pain in my lower back and one of my glutes.

I was really surprised when the physio discovered that one side of my pelvic floor was overactive. I couldn’t effectively release it on the left hand side, and the constant tension in the muscle was what was causing my back and glute pain.

After three weeks of physio and a whole lot of pelvic floor exercises, all the pain has gone and I am feeling great again. We still aren’t quite sure why it started in the first place and whether the pain will come back but now I know what to do and where to go for help if it does.

More significantly, it’s also given me something else to think about in making the decision as to whether to have another caesarean, or to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian). I now know that an overactive pelvic floor can make a vaginal birth a whole lot harder. I’m still on the fence about what to do on that front but fortunately I have a bit more time to make that decision.”

So you see that through Anna visiting a Women’s Health Physiotherapist and having multiple conversations with myself, her physio and obstetric care giver, she now has more information – crucial knowledge – to make important decisions that could affect her birth and postnatal recovery outcomes. With this education, Anna knows this decision is so much more than just what she thinks she might like to do: try for a VBAC or opt for a second C-section.

Knowing she might run the risk of increased pelvic floor trauma in the process, and because she has already had a C –section, she might decide to go down that road again. With the great physio work Anna is now doing, the overactive side of her pelvic floor that needs to be able to release to help push her baby out may be released and then she can make an educated decision about the birth of her second baby.

Who knows?

There is no right or wrong in pregnancy, childbirth or life but I know that making sure you are well informed, educated, can make a really big difference in your experience.

As Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize laureate said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.”

You are Fucking Amazing

It struck me the other day that many of us seriously do not recognise how amazing we are. I work with women, more specifically mums, on a daily basis. I come into contact with around 100 mums every, single week and they all have one thing in common: they are nowhere near celebrating, or even acknowledging, how absolutely amazing they are.

They feel guilty, they feel tired, they feel sad, they feel fat. They feel broken, they feel lost, they feel frantic and busy and overwhelmed. And they forget.

They forget that they are often responsible for keeping it all together.

For making sure everyone is fed and watered and (clean) clothed and on time and happy and bathed and in bed and EVERYTHING.

And for the most part, especially in the early days, they are operating on Very. Little. Sleep. The motherhood journey starts with a marathon, and continues with no rest period, and goes on and on and on.

For the woman who has given birth and become a mother (any which way) she has moved into the most physically demanding job, in the most deconditioned state she has ever been in. Her body is different, her insides have been moved around physically, emotionally and spiritually, and there is no hiding away to recover from that.

For the woman who becomes a mother in any other way, we salute you. You may not have been through pregnancy and childbirth but you are the rock in that child’s world and we can only imagine the emotional journey you have been on to get there.

Together we have been thrown in the deep end and there we toil away, for as long as it takes, often appearing to keep it all together on the surface.

We love our children dearly and we are thankful for the blessing of motherhood but let’s be honest; it’s a pretty thankless job a lot of the time. There are very few people standing on the sidelines cheering us on and pointing out all the amazing things we are doing, to counterbalance all the things we think we are failing at, or feel guilty about, or got ‘wrong’ or at least didn’t get right! And all the moments we roll our eyes and wonder if we will ever get it right, where we are deep breathing to hold it together, or screaming when we are not.

So I hereby propose that collectively we pat each other on the back. That collectively we remind each other what an amazing job we are doing muddling our way through motherhood (and the rest of life). That collectively we stop giving so much of a shit when we feel like we dropped a ball, or two, or all of them. And that we are able to look ourselves, and each other, in the eye and remind ourselves that we are. Actually. Fucking Amazing.

The Moonwalk in Memory of Mum

One of the things I love the most about Body Beyond Baby is the community of amazing and supportive women it brings together.  Women who are all exploring their way through motherhood, have great big hearts and know they need to move!

I’d like to introduce you to one of these women. Jo shared her story with us around what she is embarking upon and why at the start of one of our training sessions a few weeks ago. It hit me in the heart immediately and I knew we had to do our bit in sharing her story and supporting what she is up to.

I’ll let Jo tell her story:

“I’m Jo, Mum of two boys and Midwife (the best job in the world). I live my life passionately and with my heart firmly embellished onto my sleeve, it’s a trait that has taken me on a rollercoaster journey experiencing gracious highs and gut wrenching want to stop and get off and leave it all behind lows.
I’m in a good place right now and I’m excited because I’m putting demons to bed.

Jo & her mum captured in the photograph on the wall on her wedding day

In 1996 on my 20th Birthday my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread to her bones and liver. I remember every single thing about that birthday like it is a movie in my head. We had spaghetti bolognaise for tea. I don’t remember blowing out the candles on my cake.

On September 6th 1997 (the day of Princess Diana’s funeral) my Mum lost her brave fight. I wasn’t there.

I struggled to come to terms with the fact that as the oldest sibling I wasn’t there to support my sisters. But now I’m taking that moment back.

To mark the anniversary of 20 years since Mum lost her fight, my sisters decided that they would join The Moonwalk London 2017 and walk 26miles around London in a decorated Bra with a group of supportive friends.

Yet again I felt this guilty feeling well up inside me, yet again I wasn’t going to be there.

So, with the support of my husband (who thinks I am crazy)I’m going, and my sisters have no idea. I’m secretly training my way around Sydney and am flying to London to surprise them to walk with them and to get rid of the guilt I still hold in my heart whilst raising funds for Breast Cancer Charity’s. And I’m so excited.

A huge thankyou to Jen, who has given me her support by allowing me to share my story via her page as I can’t share myself on social media as the surprise will be broken. It means a lot to me to be doing this. It’s not just about the walk, it’s about so much more.”

So, it would be absolutely amazing if we could all get behind Jo – maybe you know someone who has or had breast cancer and you would like to do your bit to support the wider community. Maybe you don’t but you appreciate being offered a way that you can easily make a difference in someone else’s life – I know that sometimes we want to give and we want to make a difference but we are not quite sure how.

Supporting Jo would mean a lot to her and given she can’t share her story on her own social media  and get too many friends and family involved because it might ruin her surprise then we can give her an extra push from our end and be her supportive friends and family instead.

Check out her fundraising page here  and please offer any support that you can.

Big thank you in advance x

When we Collaborate and Celebrate!

Often we focus so much attention on the stuff we need to do better, that we forget to celebrate the stuff that we do right. So today we celebrate. We celebrate those women who are under the pre and postnatal care of great Women’s Health Physiotherapists. We celebrate the obstetricians, midwives and GPs who ensure the women in their care are well informed about what may have happened to them during childbirth and help them to work out the most effective course of ongoing care and provide the best referrals.

And we celebrate the Fitness Professionals working in supporting roles to ensure women are well looked after and exercise is appropriately modified in their training environment, so that they have the opportunity to become stronger and fitter than they have ever been before.

What better way to celebrate than with the positive journey of a mum who currently exercises with us at Body Beyond Baby. I’m always excited when a woman comes to us well informed and has chosen to work with us because she knows that we can help to continue her care, working hand-in-hand with her other carers.

“I had a long, traumatic delivery with my son. After a very long labour, he became distressed so was delivered via forceps. Despite being given an episiotomy, I still suffered 3rd degree tearing and haemorrhaged, I felt pretty bloody awful after the whole thing. I had no idea whether my experience was normal or not, or that I was at risk of suffering so many injuries from childbirth!

Yet despite this, and a very painful first few weeks at home where I could not stand or walk for more than a few minutes without feeling like my insides were falling out, I eagerly looked forward to my ‘six-week all clear’ from my GP to get back to the gym. Now I know how crazy that early enthusiasm might have been.

At my 6-week check-up I was told by my GP that he suspected I had a mild prolapse and should get a check-up from a Women’s Health Physiotherapist before returning to exercise.

I had never heard of a Women’s Health Physio, prolapse or anything about pelvic floor health, other than doing my kegels as instructed during pregnancy. I am very lucky that my GP referred me at such an early stage as with the benefit of the knowledge I now have, I am horrified at what further damage I would have done to myself by launching straight back into my pre-baby exercise regime unchecked. My physio journey has been long and emotionally difficult but it has benefited me a lot. I have improved my prolapse from a Stage 2 to a Stage 1. Over the two years since I was diagnosed, I have gradually increased my exercise from simply walking to being able to run again. I train weekly with Body Beyond Baby and also have a modified weight lifting regime. I have completely fixed my abdominal separation through rehab and clinical pilates which I continue to do as ongoing rehab.

Sometimes what my body has been through still frustrates me but I know I would be in a much worse place now, both mentally and physically, without the help of my physio and trainers. I know I hated getting unsolicited advice when I was pregnant, but here it is ladies – stay informed and get a great Women’s Health Physio on your team.”

Lynne, mum of 1

In a further update Lynne had a check up with her Physio yesterday and is happy to report that her prolapse has stayed where it is and her pelvic floor strength has improved even though she has been doing more running and training the last couple of months – Woohoo!

So if you are already a mum and you are reading this and feel like something just isn’t right for you and you are not being looked after, please get in touch and I will help to put you in contact with one of our network of amazing Women’s Health Physios who can support you on your journey. And if you are pregnant then all power to you! You are now armed with information that you can use both during pregnancy and postnatally to ensure you are on track to recover quickly and effectively and with as much education as possible.

I really do believe that collaboration is key and through working together to support and educate, we can improve the experience of every single woman returning to exercise after she becomes a mother.

Broken before 9am

As she walks toward me I see her brave face, hat pulled down, hiding her tears. I see it and I smile. At the right moment I ask if everything is okay. Everything is not okay. Not today. I can already see that, but it’s important she knows I see her and that she knows she is not alone.

I’ve been that woman, that mum, SO many times. The one who would rock up 20 minutes late to a 30 minute gymbaroo class with a 3 month old in tow, to make sure I was doing something for the 2 year old. Busting my gut to get there because I thought I had to. And then just crying.

The one who would try so hard to be on time and to hold it all together. But no matter how hard I ‘tried,’ it never got easier. And eventually I would just cry.

Being a mum is hard work. We are constantly torn between loving these beautiful, amazing creatures that we are blessed to have placed in our care, and losing ourselves. Losing our ability to think straight. Losing our ability to sleep. Losing our ability to get anywhere on time, to arrive wearing clean clothes or even to know where we were supposed to be going in the first place. And feeling like we have lost the ability to take on the day when it’s all falling apart before its even 9am.

But then 9am comes and goes and somehow we are okay. We have cried, we have taken moments to ‘just breathe’ and we are still alive. And our babies are still alive and they are even smiling at us now. And somehow the darkness we are facing eventually lifts.

For some it’s a morning we have to push through; for some it’s more like a day. For others it’s many days, or weeks, or even months. But wherever you are on whatever day of your motherhood journey, good or bad, know you are not alone. Know that when you look around we see you, we really see you. We see how hard it can be, we KNOW how hard it can be and we are right there with you.

So given we all know how hard it can be to just get through the day, from this moment onwards, if you’re reading this post and you are just like us, know that if you look in our direction we will offer you a smile, just like we know you would too. We will ask you if you are okay, just like we know you would too. We will give you a hug and help out in any way that we can, because we know you would too.

Because as more women around us commit to speaking this sometimes silent, yet universal language of support, often given in the tiniest of ways, we know we will be able to get through anything. And even come out shining, in the very best of ways.

Big thank you to Hanna for sharing this image of her beautiful daughter x