Blog > Jen’s Rants & Reflections posts

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

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?

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.

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

I Have a Friend

I have a friend and at the moment, I know she’s doing it tough.

She’s a mum, just like you and I. She cares deeply for her children and her family. She’s the glue that holds it all together. We don’t live close by so I don’t see it day to day, but I feel it. And I know her strength. Even if on some days she can’t see it for herself.

I know the strength she found within herself when her body didn’t co-operate after becoming a mother, the strength it took to re-build herself physically. I know the strength it took to begin to peel back the layers of motherhood to re-discover and search for the woman she still is, deep inside; the woman behind the façade of the mother pushing the pram, nursing the baby, drying the tears of the child.

The mother that we see every day, on the outside – holds the key to the woman on the inside.

I know the passion and the drive she has to bring her light to the world. I know the turmoil she feels when it’s just not quite working and she can’t bring herself to let it go, to quit. She can’t. She shouldn’t. It’s in her. I know that she’s here to share.

But right now it feels too hard. The responsibility of being a mother means that today, putting her dreams first feels like she’s letting down her team; her family. Today she doesn’t have the energy to keep going any more. And that’s okay…..But today she doesn’t see that by dampening her dreams she ultimately dampens her light…..and they need her light.

I know that deep inside, her light can’t go out, it won’t go out, and in some of our hardest moments we learn how tough we really are. When we feel like we’ve given everything we’ve got, we find that little bit more. Little by little, moment by moment, we rise again. We find our voice and our energy. We remember that those little people in our life are what drive us even harder.

We know that we can’t be held down, that we won’t be held down, that there’s a fire inside of us that cannot be put out. And it doesn’t matter the ups and the downs because we know we will never actually stay down. Every single time we get up, we are stronger and more determined to be everything that we came here to be.

Maybe my friend will read this and maybe she will know it’s about her. Maybe you are reading this and feel like I’m talking just to you. I hope that you know just how truly wonderful you are.

Because we are the Women, the Mothers, the Lovers, the Fighters, the Healers, the Dreamers, the Motivators, the Friends, the Doers, the World Changers xxx

Hey mum…..

Hey mum,

When you look in the mirror what do you see?  When they ask you to be in a photograph how do you feel?  What is the self talk and the words that go through your head?

Do you stand tall and smile and feel proud of the body that created life or do you curse it and criticize for the lumps, the bumps and the stretch marks?

I hate you, you’re disgusting, you wobble, you jiggle, you’re floppy and you’re fat…

Lets stop. Just for a moment. And remember…

The body you are in. That nurtured your baby and houses your soul.

That carries you through every day of your life.

That perhaps doesn’t always co-operate and that bares the scars of the child you carried and birthed.

But that also deserves your love.

When you’re down and out do you prefer love and affection or torture and abuse?

It’s a love/hate relationship, I know.

But let’s give ourselves a break, give our bodies a break, give our minds a break. So maybe, just maybe, for a few moments each day give your self a smile, say beautiful words to yourself, nurture yourself, embrace it all and remember just how amazing both you and your body are.

And when you choose to work hand in hand, in communion and in cooperation. When you choose to learn everything you can about each other and lovingly move together through the hard times then you can find a place of happiness and comfort that will feel just like home x

Where it all began (and where it’s headed)

From behind my computer I ‘m sitting here, glass of wine in hand, reflecting on what has led me to today. Over the next few days I will introduce you to some amazing women, who too, have their own story, lives, families and businesses. But who have made the extremely brave choice to make their own change, to take the leap to place their trust in themselves and in me. That’s a big fucking responsibility to me, one I take extremely seriously and find incredibly humbling. And so, as my business unfolds in a new way I’ve decided to share what led me to today (in the shortest version possible – maybe grab a wine too!).

***Disclaimer*** It’s holidays and my trusted proof readers are relaxing, so, in the spirit of embracing our fuck-ups, please excuse all spelling, grammar and ‘just could have sounded better’ in the name of creativity.

Ten years ago, in 2006 I left the film industry to become a Personal Trainer. I was taken under the wing of my personal trainer at the time, Simon Anderson (a legend), who was to become my mentor for the next nine months. Under his guidance and within the walls of Fitness First I found my feet. Never once being ‘given’ a client but always being offered solid business advice and protocols I went on to run a successful 30-40 session a week franchise of my own.

My son, Marley, was born in 2008 and I left the gym two weeks before his birth with the option to return, but with my head in a new space. New found motherhood and the desire to specialise – in something….

I took to writing a blog about my post-baby journey “Body Beyond Baby” I called it. (abandoned in July 2013 you can still find it here!).

I guess the rest is history….

A child that slept allowed me to easily transition blog to business and I ran my first Body Beyond Baby group exercise session when Marley was just three months old. From teeny tiny beginnings at the Oxford Street end of Centennial Park, myself and 3-4 other mums running sessions with babies in prams. My original goal; to pay for the two days I eventually put Marley into childcare.

In 2010 we welcomed India, I put a PT into my business to run sessions for six months while I managed the backend, a new baby and PND.

We steadily grew and by 2012 I was running a solid business. Sessions were busy and it was FUN!

But I had bigger dreams…..

In late 2012 I wanted to learn more. I stepped out of the fitness industry learning space and embarked upon my Key Person of Influence journey. A program and structure that suited me to the T! I had my speciality – Mums. I just needed a to-do list and to get shit done. That is exactly what I did, in most parts; I nailed my pitch, went nuts on my profile, published my book – ‘How to Love your Body as much as your Baby’ (which I wrote in 30days), was fully engaged with products and partnerships but for me, these were to unfold later. The journey was amazing. The network I was exposed to supported me and I was on fire.

I wanted out of the face to face side of my business to work ON the business – I thought franchise or license – take over the world! Except I wasn’t ready. From the outside everything was shiny and pretty, but the inside was messy. I didn’t know my numbers, I had no idea of my capacity and I was marketing all year round with no clear call to action.

I did it anyway. I took on contractors and I stepped out. And I ran my business to pay them. The financial years 2013-14 & 2014-15 saw my personal taxable income sit at $16k. I share this because it’s SO easily done. Especially within the Fitness Industry. We LOVE our jobs, our work is our passion, we love our training and can’t wait to share that with our clients. We don’t know our numbers.

I messed up.

At the end of 2015 I was back on deck. I missed knowing all of my clients by name and face. I missed helping and guiding them. I missed the heart of what I was doing and I HAD to make big changes to survive. It really was make or break for Body Beyond Baby.

In January 2016 I implemented Oversubscribed and it changed my world. With the ground work of the past 6.5yrs spent refining what I do and why, associating myself with the best Women’s Health Physiotherapists in Sydney, filtering my brand throughout the East and Inner West, writing my book, speaking at events, working on becoming known for what I do both personally and professionally I was ready for the change. I can now proudly say that our Body Beyond Baby group training sessions sell out. We have waitlists and advance bookings and we turn women away when we are full. A great problem to have and an amazing opportunity to reach further afield.

I wanted to work with others.

But through many trials and errors I knew that contractors, licensing and franchising weren’t for me. I wanted to educate our industry so we could help more and more women and collaborate with the best of the best to combine forces, support each other and together raise the standard of the way that women are looked after as they become mothers and return to exercise after having their babies.

Education – ‘Safe Return to Exercise‘ was born

My Fitness Australia accredited (12CEC’s) 2-day course to up-skill Fitness Professionals in working with mums – any mums – pregnant, early post-natal, five-years post-natal rolled out for the first time in Melbourne in 2016.

All women face a variation on a specific set of contraindications as they return to exercise and travel through life exercising as a mum. These things are need-to-know. And as fitness professionals, knowing them changes lives.

Collaboration – how do I help my baby support your baby?

In mid 2016 our affiliate and mentor program came to life. I partnered with Magdalena Hawley of Mums Going Strong Fitness on Sydney’s North Shore. She’s our trusted North Shore partner – delivering Safe Return to Exercise methods, partnering with local Women’s Health Physiotherapists, an all round top chick (and mum) and is ensuring every single woman that comes to her is looked after in the very best way.

By mentoring Mags in all of the shit I have managed to screw up and all of the stuff that I have managed to get right it makes me so very proud to say she is rocking it over there and has been a pleasure to work with. A super star to keep accountable, fun to collaborate with and knowing I can confidently send mums her way is invaluable.

Whats next?

As we move into 2017 I am so very excited to be welcoming some new mum-focused fitness professionals and businesses into our fold that I will introduce you to over the next couple of days.

I’m excited that I now have the experience and the tools (i.e. I’ve screwed up enough times) to help you to miss out all the crappy bits of my 8+ years of Body Beyond Baby and 10+ years of my fitness industry journey and to fast track your mum focused fitness business.

It still takes effort and there’s no magic wand. There’s still trial and error and there will still be mistakes. Ups and downs of business are inevitable but there are no excuses when it comes to knowing your numbers and tracking your progress – I’m very proud of my spreadsheets and they have pretty colours which I know you will love too 😉

Business isn’t rocket science – I have no degree, I left school officially at 18 (and skipped much of the two years before that). I don’t spell well and math is not a strong point, my geography sucks and my eight year old pronounces words I can’t read properly but you need good people with great experience and the willingness to share around you. And I am fucking passionate about sharing all of this with the right people. There’s shit to be done and I am blessed to already have some amazing women standing by my side – placing their trust in me, in us, creating a community and a network after the same mission.

We are laying the ground work of something the fitness industry has never seen before. In a world of scarcity and competition. We, as individual businesses are standing side by side and saying “I support you”, “I’ll stand by you”, “I’ll support your business as if it were my own” and “I’m not threatened by you because I know the stronger I build you, the stronger we build together and the stronger we build every woman that ever becomes a mother”

2017 – Deepening the Motherhood Conversation

I’m finding my voice, I’m finding my ‘self’. I’ve been through a journey, many journey’s and I know you have too. I used to think my voice was just about fitness and pelvic floor but its not….. Well it is, but it isn’t at the same time. It’s about conversations and connections and bringing to the surface all of the STUFF that we are going through behind closed doors.

It’s the STUFF that sits behind the smiling facebook posts and upside down instagram handstands. It’s the STUFF that we sift through, in our heads, thinking we are alone – but we are not.

It’s the pelvic floors and saggy tummies, the insides on the outsides and the sleepless nights that drive you INSANE. It’s break-ups and break downs, the married at 25, divorced at 35, the “I hate my children and I can’t do this anymore but really I love them so I must be the WORST mother to think that”. It’s the love and the lack of love, the sex and the lack of sex, the upset and the overwhelm. It’s the ‘why is my business not working the way I thought it would’, the wanting to go back to work and it being the worst possible idea in the world….

IT’S ALL THE STUFF! All the stuff women before us haven’t navigated before. We are the strong, independent women who refuse to just settle. Who want to nurture their children but want to be a role model for them too. Who want a fulfilled relationship not just to be looked after – we can look after our own shit. It’s the physical, emotional and spiritual journey of stepping into who we really are, what we really need, what we really want and how to even start to discover that.

We are the ones who want to get it all right and want everyone to think that we are getting it all right even though we just wish someone would say they aren’t getting it all right too – it’s exhausting!

And so we need to speak. And something in me tells me I need to share what’s in my head and in my heart. That something tells me some will like it and some won’t. But I’m starting to be okay with being me – much more than I ever have been before. I swear, I can be blunt and sarcastic, I will always stand up for what I believe in and sometimes I possibly go too far. But I have also developed a much bigger capacity for love, a deeper heart, a place of understanding that won’t judge you and a self awareness that means I don’t care if you judge me (well maybe just a little bit).

Who knows how often I will speak out – I’m not setting myself any schedule to write by (although I probably should), I don’t know how often my passion will be sparked, how often something will be stirred up inside me enough to share and to ignite a conversation but I’m pretty sure it won’t be to a set time or day. But I know there’s that STUFF bubbling inside of me and when it arises I have now given myself the permission to ignite a conversation and if it resonates with you I would love for you to join me and share your experiences too.

Woohoo – this could be fun! I feel it on my insides!

What’s your Motherhood Truth?

 

I’ve been sitting on this for a little while but have decided to dig deep and share what i’m labelling as #thetruth

The truth is I love my babies with all my heart.
 The truth is I’ve never really found motherhood “easy”.

Through one tough time I was told by a family member “Don’t let your kids hear you say it’s hard”

Why not?

It is, I love them dearly and they challenge me immensely.

I want them to understand life challenges.

But isn’t that what those close to you give to you?

A chance to grow and learn about yourself through the hard times and the good?

A chance to grow to become the person you would love them to become.

I suffered PND after India was born.

I’ve suffered ups and downs since high school.

I still do.

The truth is, when its tough I can keep 99% of every other part of my world together but my beautiful babies are one of my biggest triggers.

I also know they feed off and feel me and therefore we challenge each other.

The truth is behind the smiling photos on Facebook there are often lots of tears.

That this last school holidays is the VERY FIRST time I’ve felt like i’m nailing it as a mum.

And by nailing it I mean that we could really enjoy and relax with each other.

That I kinda don’t give a shit anymore if we are seemingly ‘stuffing it up’, we are muddling through the world together and laughing more.

They are 6 & 8 now.

The truth is there’s more to Motherhood than pelvic floors that need to be talked about, that I want to talk about and for you to talk about (though your pelvic floor is SUPER important and you should get to know it well).

There are tears and tantrums as well as the smiles and sunshine we put out into the world.

And as we mark the end of Mental Health awareness week for 2016 we all need to find our truth and SHARE our truth – it’s not complaining when we are sharing to support and learn and grow.

No matter what you are going through when every one else’s smiling photos are staring back at you – you are never alone, you just have to find the courage to scratch the surface a little.

 

Whats your #motherhoodtruth

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