Blog > Uncategorized 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

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.

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

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 thought I was Okay

When a woman first comes to see me, we talk through her medical questionnaire to find out a little about where she is at right now. Questions like: What kind of pregnancy did you experience? What was your birth like? Did you deliver vaginally or via c-section? Were you pushing for a long time? Was it an emergency or planned c-section? are really important to get to know what her body has been through and how to best work with her, moving forward.

For many women, being pregnant and giving birth is the bit they learn the most about. Most women keep themselves safe during pregnancy because they want to keep their baby safe. Most women don’t push their training too hard. They slow down when they feel they need to. They read books and search the internet, seek advice and ask questions.

But often once their baby is born, much of the research stops. They may have been told somewhere about their pelvic floor and maybe they do their exercises – or what they think the right exercises are (more on that later). They feel okay. They feel kinda back to normal. So they figure it’s okay to go back to what they were doing before they fell pregnant in a bid to re-discover their pre-baby body.***

But the truth is they may not actually be okay. I am going to talk specifically about pelvic floor.

Your pelvic floor is an internal muscle. As a personal trainer I can’t feel it. I can’t see it. I’m not qualified to do so. And I can’t tell you if it is working or not. No PT or pilates instructor, or yoga teacher, or ANY Fitness Professional can tell you that you are properly and effectively activating your pelvic floor – and that’s before we get into strength and endurance.

Did you know that 50% of women, when taught from a brochure or verbal instruction, do not do a ‘correct’ pelvic floor activation?

If a correct activation is a lift, then an incorrect one is a bearing down. And for some women this is exactly what they do. They mix up the movement pattern and push out through their pelvic floor. Imagine doing this 20, 30, 50 times a day. Not good. It has the potential to make a weak pelvic floor even weaker.

So when a woman comes to me, I recommend she sees a Women’s Health Physiotherapist for a proper examination. I let her know that I need to work with the physio to ensure she is properly looked after; that I need an eye on the inside so that I know the exercises I am giving her are not doing further damage, inside or out.

And if that doesn’t work, I let her know that symptoms may not show up now and I’d rather she wasn’t suffering incontinence in her mid 50’s or struggling when her insides become her outsides. Not the most subtle approach, but sometimes you just have to tell it like it is.

I have worked with many women who ‘thought’ they were okay; who having not gone to see a women’s physio might have pushed through into harder, more strenuous exercise without properly re-building from the inside out. Not because they were careless, but just because they didn’t know. You don’t know, what you don’t know and given pelvic floor weakness isn’t generally indicated by pain, and can often be non-symptomatic, then why would they think otherwise? Education is key.

I had a quick chat with one of the women that trains us at Body Beyond Baby and she offered to share her post baby story with you:

“I’d always been confident that I had a strong pelvic floor and before I fell pregnant with my first child, a women’s physiotherapist, who I’d seen for an unrelated pelvic issue, happily confirmed my assumption.

I started training with Jen when I was pregnant with my second child. I’d gained a huge amount of weight so after my daughter was born, I couldn’t wait to get back into running and strength training and rediscover my old body. Even though I’d had two vaginal deliveries, both labours had been relatively short and my pelvic floor had been stronger than average before I started having kids, so I was confident that all was well ‘down there’. I continued to brush off Jen’s encouragement to see a women’s physio until her encouragement became less gentle and more pointed.

I was shocked and dismayed to discover that things downstairs were no longer so great. I was activating my pelvic floor properly but strength-wise, it was just ‘ok’. My fascia were stretched, I had movement in the front and back wall of my uterus and I was at risk of bladder prolapse.

I felt frustrated having to return to walking, dropping the weights and so on but two years later I’m so pleased I did. Working slowly from the inside out has made me stronger than I was before. There’s still some minor movement through the front wall of my uterus but my pelvic floor is now a 5/5 and more than strong enough to counteract any risk from the stretched fascia. I’m running and back in the gym again and completely confident that my insides are going to stay where they belong!”

Emma Anderson, mum of two

I’ve worked with thousands of women over the years and not one of them has seen a physio, come back and said, “I wish I didn’t go.” If my words have peaked your interest even just a little then do yourself a favour, no matter how ‘old’ your baby is, go and get a check up and put your mind at rest.

***You will never, ever, have your pre-baby body again but what you do have is the potential for an even better and more awesome POST-baby body. And that’s cool! My post-baby body is so much more awesome and I give it so much more respect than I did before children. And if you commit to learning exactly what is going on, form the inside out, you have even more potential and are even less likely to be slowed down by injury or weakness down the track.

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

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”

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

Comments Off on What’s your Motherhood Truth?