The Hunt For Motherhood

I’ve been learning from her since day one. Literally.

She’s taught me everything I know about motherhood. She’s taught me more about life than I know yet, but I continue to uncover her wisdom day after day, as I grow into motherhood myself.

I have lived by her words and her guidance for my entire life. And I’ve always admired her outlook, her mindset, her ability to persevere and above all, her patience. Because while it impresses me, it was not impressed upon me. I did not inherit patience. But I admire it.

mom and my oldest sister, Bizz
My daughter, Sandra Charlotte, named for my mother and my mother’s mother

In my lifelong hero, the woman who made me who I am and most of all, never tried to stop me from becoming it. She even let me hurt when it would have been so easy for her to take it away. When it was harder to watch me to go through it, she knew it was better for me to grow through it. She has never failed me, because her faith in me has never faultered, even when I was wrong.

And without further ado, I bring you your first slice of the wisdom beheld by her, my mother: Sandra June Hunt.

Over the next few weeks, I will ask her a series of questions, posed me and my siblings, with the intention of bringing forth the knowledge, wisdom and truth that lie in between the women in a family. As they move into, through and beyond motherhood. What each part of motherhood means to them. To us.

I invite you along to get to know each of us. To hear our stories, to learn our truths as we recount them, and as we hear each other’s for the first time. As we get to know each other and ourselves in a whole new light.

You will learn more than our names, but who we are. Within motherhood and without it. But to begin, I ask my own mom 2 questions. Two simple questions, but they are the beginning of this story. I mean, we can’t go back all the way. But to the beginning of my own mother’s motherhood. Here it is, the first answers, the beginning of the journey,

on                                The Hunt for Motherhood

I asked:

When did you know you wanted to be a mom?

I’m not sure what answer I was looking for, but I like the one I got. There are some things you sort of assume about your parents, mothers in particular. But do you ever really ask? Do you know the answer, or just have your own version of the story. That’s why I asked. I want to know her story like I would that of a new friend, of a peer. But obviously, with all the wisdom and experience of one who has already raised 4 children and moved onto grandparenthood.

She answered:

“I always assumed I would be a mom some day. When I was 28, I was losing interest in my job, ready to take on something new. The time felt right to start a family. At the time it was not a financially practical decision, but I have no regrets. It continues to be my most satisfying and rewarding experience.”

I asked:
What is the most important thing you learned from your mom? 
I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to ask this. Only because, if you asked me the same one, I wouldn’t know the answer. Or at least, not just one answer. She has taught me everything, how could I make it just one thing? And how, in my early years of motherhood, could I know what was the most important? But I still had to ask. I wanted to know what lessons carried through from her childhood to adulthood and motherhood. And when she answered, it was perfect.
She answered:
“The most important thing I learned from my mom is, that even though you will not always like the things your children are doing, your job is to listen to them, love them and honor who they are. She was right!”
This is it. This is the reason I wanted to ask these questions. Because this answer is everything. This answer says so much about my own upbringing. It also gives me guidance into the the kind of parent I intend to be. And when the day to day of raising young kids starts to drown me, I can remember these words.
So whether you learn from my mom,  take these questions and ask them of your own mom, or ask them of yourself, I hope you learn something. I hope you grow. I hope this takes you to a new level of motherhood. We are all in this together, because although motherhood is ever changing, it is also constant. Once a mother, in whatever capacity, you can be become un-mothered. It’s in us. Motherhood is in us.
As we embark on this journey, on this Hunt for Motherhood, I ask you to read, walk and love with an open heart and open mind. Just like my own mother taught me to do.

It’s Up to Us

We have an opportunity right now. You and I. As pregnant women.

 

You, me, your cousin, and everyone else who is currently growing life inside them.

 

It’s up to us to change postpartum.

 

The year after the birth of your child should NOT be focused on losing weight. It can’t. We can’t survive like this. We can’t keep losing our grip on our self respect because of the way we look after we used our bodies to build another body.

 

We have to stop commending our friends who lose weight quickly. They are not winning anything. That is their body composition, nothing more. It’s not related to their love for their child or their ability to parent.

 

We can no longer talk about our “pre-baby” bodies as if they are something we have lost and must find again. We are in the same body. It’s stronger and wiser now. And I’m guessing you wouldn’t give back your child for your flat stomach, so let’s just move on, yes?

 

When we get together for playdates, or walks, or afternoon coffee, we can’t talk about our bodies like they are moving too slow. Like they have a job to do and are either succeeding or failing at it. The only job our bodies have after having a baby is healing itself and feeding a baby. Not to fit back into jeans that we don’t want to wear any way.

 

We have to care for and love our bodies now. This time. Not later, not next time. NOW. At every stage. At 9 months pregnant full and glowing and at 9 days post partum leaking and aching. It’s all amazing. And it’s up to us to be the ones to change it.

 

We can’t just sit here and wish that our mothers had taught us what was normal, or that there more advocates for safe postpartum recovery.

 

We can’t just sit here and wish away the instamodels with 2 week PP 6packs and zero stretch marks.

 

We can’t just sit here and hope that in the future women will take better care of themselves post partum.

 

We have to be those advocates. We have to be those powerful examples. We have to take on the responsibility of loving ourselves and accepting our bodies.

 

We can’t just sit here and wait for some outside source to tell us that it’s okay.

 

We have to tell it.

We have to teach it.

 

We can’t wait for postspartum to come back into style. It won’t happen. Soft bellies and sore boobs will never be a fashion statement. But we can make it normal. We can decide that we are going to be our unapologetically powerful selves. We just had a BABY. Made it inside our body. We are the heroes. We know that, and we don’t need a flat stomach or perky butt to prove it.

 

We need sleep. And good food. And we need as much love as we are giving. You hear me? We need to give ourselves as much love as we are giving away. 

 

Next time you’re with your mom friends, can you brag about how many vegetables you ate? Can you talk about how successful you’ve been at turning off Scandal and getting in bed in time to sleep a couple of hours before one of your kids gets up? Can we commend our fellow mamas on their ability to eat 3 entire meals in a day, and not in their ability to resist carbs or stay out of the pantry after dinner?

 

I’m not saying we need to applaud each other’s bad habits. Pregnancy tends to take a toll on our healthy habits, between cravings, food aversions and exhaustion we find a new normal and it’s also normal to want to get back to the good habits we know are better for us. But let’s do that. Let’s talk about good habits and good health. Not about fat and flab and who has more or less where.

 

We can discuss our bodies when, and only when, we learn to speak of our flabby bellies with as much love and enthusiasm as we do our babies chubby thighs and neck rolls.

Until then, we are all on probation. Self love probation.

 

I’m about to have my third child.

 

And this time, I don’t want to feel bad about how quickly or slowly I lose the pounds I put on during this time of growing a child. I want to focus on properly healing my body after the 9 month long workout I’ve put it through.

 

I don’t want you to tell me how thin I look after the baby. I’ve heard it before and I don’t want to hear it anymore. It makes it feel like if I weren’t thin, you wouldn’t have something nice to say to me. 

 

I don’t want you to ask me when I will start exercising again. Because being postpartum is a workout. I’m carrying a baby, making milk, and taking care of my other children and at the end of the day I have to get up the stairs to put myself to bed. So I haven’t stopped exercising, I’m working harder than the strongest strong man could ever imagine. I’m just doing it in my pyjammas. They invented stretchy clothes for a reason.

 

I want to take it easy. Enjoy the newborn phase. Eat heartily and drink tons of water. Have a glass of wine. Sleep through the afternoon – at least once. Play peek-a-boo and share a bowl of cheerios with a sticky fingered toddler.

 

When I think of my life 1 year from today, at which point I will be 8 months post partum, I don’t think to myself “man I hope I have my abs back”. It’s just not a goal. I have business goals, financial goals, family goals. I don’t have a weight loss goal.

 

When I think of next October, I hope I have more. I hope my business is thriving, my kids are healthy, that I’m recovering well and that I’m able to make it all work with 3 kids, work, and a marriage.

 

I’m not thinking about my weight.

 

And I truly believe, that if all the other women who have babies from today forward, all of us, if we come together, that we can have a carefree recovery. If we just don’t comment and commend on eachother weight and body shape. If we find other things to be proud of eachother for, to be happy for eachother for other accomplishments, that we can change postpartum. But it’s up to us.

 

We don’t have an example right now. We have the internet ploughing us with pictures of 20-something women posing with their postpartum abs and while, YES, good for them, there are SO many other shades of postpartum that it is incredibly important for US – you and I – to shed light on.

 

We need to love and care for our bodies. Not try to change them or whip them “back into shape” after we deliver our babies.

Let’s love our bodies, and care and nurture and respect the need to rest of our bodies as much as we do the tiny little human who was only a few days/weeks/months one and the same. What if we rested, fed, and nourished our postpartum bodies as if they too were a newborn?

We have to give ourselves a chance to heal and grow, to recover and return to healthy function. We have to let our newborn babies adjust to the world outside the womb. Slowly, with lots of rest and food. And not too much stimulation, not at first. That will come, there’s lots of time for running and jumping and expending large amoutns of energy, but not right away.

 

Let’s change it. You and me, oh pregnant ladies of the present and future.

 

It is up to us.

 

 

 

 

I will not apologize for my kids

At the grocery store.

In the changeroom at the pool.

When they walk right into your legs. 

In my own home.

Late at night.

 

Why won’t I apologize any more?

Because I’m NOT sorry. I’m just not. My kids are tiny little humans learning how to function in a society where the rules are constantly changing along with customs and trends on what is OK and not OK for my kid to do, be, say, wear etc. And I’m over it.

My kids don’t like grocery shopping. Or being strapped into a shopping cart by their waists. They don’t like waiting in line and they REALLY don’t like it when I tell them “no” every time they ask for something off the shelves. They might scream. They might cry. They might throw a fit right here, right now in the middle of the aisle with egg carton casualties. Will any of that negate my family’s need for food? Will I up and walk out to teach them a lesson? No, I will not. Because all that would teach them is that fits get them what they want. And that’s not my style.

 

Yes, my 4 year old boy shakes his penis around in between taking off his swimsuit and putting on his clothes. So what? Why are you watching us? He is a little kid, exploring and enjoying his body in a harmless way. Of course I teach him what’s appropriate and what isn’t, but is that going to make a floppy appendage any less interesting any time soon? No, I don’t think it is.

 

My kids are approximately 2 & 3 feet tall, respectively. If one of them walks into your legs it’s not because they are rude, poorly parented or ignorant children, it’s because they ARE children. They see a whole other world than you and I do and they might just accidentally miss something like your boring khaki pants and accidentally walk into them. Were you looking at the ground while you walked? Well they weren’t looking at the sky. It was accident, but no one needs to be sorry, especially not my kid, not far walking.

 

It might be chaotic, and it might not look like your home, but at our house, there is a sense of order. My kids know the rules. We have the same rules every day. It’s how we develop trust. It’s how I keep from going crazy. But I’m not going to apologize for the things my kids do in their own space, in their comfort zone. Whether they choose to be naked, wear every piece of clothing they own at once, or just wear an Easter basket on their head, it’s OK by me. Because in my own home, they are safe. And they know what that means. So nudity and weirdness, dance parties and sing-alongs, are A-OK.

 

If you are around my children and it’s late at night, chances are you are or are part of the disturbance that is keeping them from being in bed. We have strict bedtime rules and guidelines in my house, because it makes for a predictable environment. If you are here, and they are wild, and it’s past their bedtime but they just won’t go to sleep, it’s probably because you’re here. That doesn’t mean I want you to leave, but I’m not going to be sorry for their behaviour when they are being ripped out of their routine to the point of being too uncomfortable to sleep. I might apologize to them, but not to you.

 

Kids are learning. In everything they do. And constantly apologizing for them and in front of them is only going to teach them that every they do and say needs to be either justified or apologized for. I do not want my kids to be sorry for the space they take up, the sounds they make, for their bodies or their fascination with their bodies. I don’t want my kids to be ashamed of who they are, but apoloizing for everything they do all the time, will make them feel like those things are somehow wrong, or bad, or shameful. And they just are not.

 

They are just tiny little people, who don’t know the rules yet. So I will teach them the rules.

Nowhere in my rulebook does it say  to apologize for having energy, enthusiasim, a body, a voice or an opinion. 

 

There are things I will apologize for, even on my children’s behalf, but to list them now would utterly defeat the purpose of writing this, so instead, I have compiled a list of more things I will NOT apologize for:

1. How slow they walk.

2. How fast they run.

3. Their honesty.

4. Their timidness.

5. Their volume.

6. Their curiosity.

7. The toys they left on the floor when they were having fun. 

8. Their interest in you.

9. Their disinterest in you.

10. How dirty they are.

11. For wearing the same shirt all week.

12. For eating a lot.

13. For not eating a lot.

14. For asking you for something.

15. For hugging you because she thought your legs were mine.

16. For crying because she realized those were not my legs.

I could go on. I do go on. I will continue to come up with things to NOT be sorry for as my children continue to live their lives and learn and grow and that knee jerk reaction to say “sorry” for something they nor I should be sorry for.

 

Because I don’t want them to be sorry, not to you, not to me, for becoming their own people while exploring and discovering this amazing world in which they are lucky enough to live in.

 

I hope you’ll do the same.

I will NOT apologize for my body.

I’m just not interested in having guilty conscience. I work too danm hard, love too damn deep and give too much of my attention to the good parts of my life to live with a sense of guilt about the way I look, or the way that I don’t.

And yet here we all are, or at least a good large number of us, apologizing for the way we look. Making excuses for why we haven’t lost the last ten lbs or worse yet, why we gained weight during and/or after a pregnancy.

Girl you were hungry. You were working really hard and you were exhausted and your body asked for food and rest so you obliged. There is not a thing in this world that is more important that knowing your body and listening to its needs.

#noexcuses can go fuck itself. 

I have two kids, I have a house to take care of, I have food to cook dishes to do, floors to clean, kids to snuggle, a husband to love on, a business to run.. oh yeah and I’m 5 months pregnant.

I have #alltheexcuses. And I do not have an ounce of guilt about pulling one or two out, when it suits me.

But here’s the thing, I shouldn’t need excuses. I should not need to excuse myself from a societal prejudice about women and their bodies and how they should or not should not look at any point in their lives.

I don’t need excuses because my body is none of your damn business. Not the way it looks, not the way it feels, not the way it smells or tastes or how much or little it jiggles.

my body, looking one way at one point and sometimes another. bored yet? me too. let's move on.
my body, looking one way at one point and sometimes another. ….bored yet? me too. let’s move on.

I am not my body.

My body can not and will not define me as a person.

At this stage in my life, I am a mother first and foremost. By which I mean it is my most important role.

So in this, I think of my own mother, and my own childhood.

When I think of my mother, and my childhood, and being a child and the good and the bad and all that came with growing up I NEVER EVER assoicate any of it with my mother’s body. Or my father’s for that matter. My mother’s physical appearance had absolutely zero to do with the kind of parent she was, and more importantly with the kind of mother I percieved her to be.

My love and admiration for my mother came from the time she spent with me, the trust she built with me, the ways she taught me to be a woman and the way she let me become that woman on my own.

It terrifies me to think that my daughter will go through life thinking that her appearance – specifically the size and shape of her body – are the most important part of her. It has become increasingly apparent to me that we live in a society where young girls are spending more time working on their appearance than their education, career, and the mark they will leave on the world.

I know this because I lived this.

I spent way too much of my young life thinking more about my waistline than my bank account. More hours a day thinking about what foods would make me lose weight than about where I’d like to travel next. I spent way more money on clothes and diet fads than I did on my education.

Because if I wasn’t keeping up with the trend, if I wasn’t up to the current standard of society, I wasn’t good enough.

I created and lived in a reality that dictated what size I should be, and if I wasn’t that size, I felt the need to apologize and make excuses for why I wasn’t.

I had a #noexcuses mindset about my body but I was not too concerned if I couldn’t afford rent or food that month. 

 

I am going to change the conversation in my home, and hopefully in others’ homes too. My daughter will never apoligize for the way she looks. And her appearance will never matter more than her brain, her strengths or the kindness in her heart.

It has taken me until nearly the age of 30 to realize I am more than my looks, more than my body. I missed out on way too many experiences, even ones I was present in, because I was thinking more about how I looked than how much fun I could be having.

I want to be remembered for my skills, my mind, my family, my contributions and my accomplishments. Not the size of my jeans, or my ability to pose for a selfie.

But I truly didn’t always feel that way.

There were way to many days when I thought whether or not I had visible love handles would decide whether I was deserving of love or not. 

 

And I don’t want my kids to miss out on their youth because they’re worried that fries might affect their figure.

I do feel the need to make one apology, to myself. For letting my insecurities ruin perfectly perfect beach days, camping trips, and girls nights worrying about my belly fat. I will make sure the next 30 years have no such concerns.

But through those experiences, I learned a lot. Most importantly,  not to waste another minute caring what someone else thinks of my body.

THAT – I will not apologize for.

Sex, Lies and Peanut Butter: The First Trimester

 

Hiding a third pregnancy is kind of hilarious, at least it was for me. First of all, my body was really excited to round out, and I had a bump in the first couple months. Second, I already have 2 kids, ergo I drink. I don’t drink large amounts of alcohol, but I drink a small amount of wine often.

 

These were pretty easy tells for anyone who knows me, or has ever met me, or has ever run into me at the liquor store. But alas, I still feel safest in knowing I am out of the first trimester to share our exciting news with our friends and families.

 

It was even harder to hide this time, especially since I share so much of my personal and family life online, not to let it show how much my life had changed. I was a dead giveaway to a mom-friend of mine who noticed I had been sending a lot of NapChats rather than SnapChats(@jillybrittany) and knew how out of character resting was for me. But I made it through, all the way documenting the oddities and cravings that came with the first trimester of my third pregnancy, so that now I can share it all with you. Do you care? Maybe not. But I’m going to tell you anyway. Cause that’s just the kind of girl that I am.

 

What I ate:

I managed for the first 8 weeks or so eating pretty normally. It took me about that long to realize I was even pregnant and I think the lack of change in my diet had a lot to do with it. I was still eating salads for lunch, eggs and bacon for breakfast, lots of protein. I had no problem drinking coffee, which is usually my first sign. Once coffee starts to feel more like crack then I know something is off.

But then somewhere around 8 weeks, everything got blurry. As in I slept as often as a girl with 2 toddlers. I ate exclusively peanut butter and toast until about 4 pm every day because nasuea had become my whole life, and I had developed an unquenchable thirst that left me dizzy if I even went 30 minutes without a glass of water. Ugh. It was bad. This lasted more than 6weeks, right into my precious 2nd trimester(which I will tell you ALL about too of course, at a later date).

 

I supplemented my sad diet with smoothies packed with greens and just kept on keeping on. Even my beloved bowl of oatmeal made my stomach churn. So toast and PB it was, at least until I could stomach a few bites of dinner around 6 or 7 pm.

Who I told

 

The only people we actually told in the first trimester were our parents and siblings. No one else seems need to know. Oh and the couple we did the Tough Mudder race. Since I skipped a couple of events and I was feeling very competitive, I wanted them to know I had a legit reason for not wanting to get electric shocked in a pool of mud – and not just the obvious.

I could tell that some of my friends had figured me out, but I appreciated their discretion in keeping it to a knowing nod rather than an all out I KNEW IT!! Or worse. Thank you friends, you know who you are ;).

 

What I did for workouts

 

It was funny this time, it took me so long to figure it out this time that my workouts remained pretty difficult. I was training for a Tough Mudder so I kept up a routine of 3 strength workouts/week, plus 2 short runs, a mile or less per week right up until the 8 week mark.

Once we got back from the race and I knew for sure I was expecting, I stopped working out for a few weeks. I had already intended on taking a break and focussing on healing and restorative yoga, but even that didn’t happen. After the race and two weeks of travel with the kids I was ready for a big break. I did very little other than walking for a couple of weeks, then started adding in one or two workouts a week in the last couple weeks of the first trimester.

I didn’t always feel good enough to exercise but I get really cranky when I haven’t moved my body so I knew I needed to do it for my own sake but also for my poor kiddos. I wanted to and would have loved to just stay on the couch, but I knew the bigger picture needed me to be a not-s0-scary mommy so I did the absolute minimum to keep me and the kiddos alive happy.

 

What I Wore

 

This part was actually pretty easy for me. Since my regular wardrobe is already baggy T’s and yoga leggings. Not much had to change, until the summer began and I didn’t fit into my shorts, and oh boy was it hot. I love to wear as little clothing as possible, I just like to let my skin and body be free, so when the gals that know me saw me in black leggings in 20+ degrees I could tell they were a little skeptical.

And of course, at home. I never got out of my favourite PJs. I lounged in the softest cotton T that I own paired with my favourite joggers and was so grateful for their comfort.

 

Now the part you really care about, and the question we ask all pregnant ladies, as though we could actually do something about it.

How did I feel?

 

Honestly, I felt like shit. Once the nausea kicked in, I wondered if I would survive. I was so exhausted I was asleep at 8 pm every night the second my head hit the pillow and sometimes before. There were days I thought I would not make it to my kids bedtime. When one or both of my children wouldn’t sleep at night, I would wonder if I was somehow being punished by the universe for my greed. If my desire for another child had left me out of balance with the Gods and I was being sacrificed as an example of extreme selfishness.

There were days I wondered if I had made a mistake, if having another child really wasn’t such a good idea and could I handle it? I’m just one woman, am I really capable for caring for  children all on my own? ( For reference my husband works out of town most of the year so no, this child is not the product of immaculate conception, but I do most of the heavy lifting myself when it comes to the kids. )

For about 6 weeks, in the haze of exhaustion, nausea and peanut butter, I went back and forth between whether I was the happiest girl in the world about to have my third baby or if I had made the mistake of a lifetime and was ruining my perfect little family of 4. It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth. There were some shitty days in there. And I share this truth with you in hopes that I am not alone in this.

I am at peace now. This is what I want, it’s what I have always wanted. Anyone who has met me knows I would have ALL the babies. I love being pregnant, and I love raising babies. I even love staying up all night with them. I love everything about being a mom and even thinking this might be my last pregnancy terrifies me (and i’m only about 6 weeks out of morning sickness) so I know this is my path.

 

But the first trimester sucks, it bites the big one. I am so glad to be out of it, but I’d do it all over again (and I have) to get the gift of a beautiful baby and the addition of another child to our family. I am so grateful for my life, and getting over the first trimeser makes me even more grateful, specifically for the things that got me through it: Sex, Lies,  and Peanut butter.

 

Being a mom is hardcore. Your workout shouldn’t be.

Here’s the thing people, being a mom is effing hard.

It doesn’t matter how badly you wanted your babies. It doesn’t matter how much you love your children. It doesn’t matter if motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to you or the worst.

At the end of the day, being a mother is a hard job.

It never ends, there are no real breaks.

The “breaks” you do get are just illusions. You either spend your “break” catching up on a million different things you haven’t gotten around to OR you relax and then the very second it’s over you remember the long list of things you were supposed to be doing and then spend the next interval of parenting feeling guilty, stressed and distracted by the growing list of responsibilities you now have in the back of your mind but can’t get to until your children are in bed.

Now let me interrupt myself. I have to point out here. I have to be very clear. I complain about my kids. I’m not perfect. I refer to them as little jerks and call them wild animals and I whine about having to do 10 loads of laundry a week.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t LOVE being a mom. That doesn’t mean I want my life to be any other way. It doesn’t mean my kids are actual jerks and I don’t actually keep them in cages. I love being smothered with their attention. I’m honoured to be their number one.

Is it exhausting? Is it the hardest damn job in the world? YES.

Are my complaints a secret coded message saying I want the circus to stop by and pick up my kids? NO.

I just want to workout in the morning, drink my coffee while it’s still hot and have enough energy at the end of the day to do more than pass out in a pile of drool and laundry on the living room floor.

BUT

I’m pregnant with my 3rd child. That’s not going to happen for a long time.

But don’t take me too seriously. I also want to live in a climate where I don’t need snow tires or even a car with a roof for that matter.

I want to eat macaroni and cheese with all the butter and none of the calories.

I want to drink a couple bottles of wine with my girlfriends ( preferably on the beach ) and wake up without a hangover.

I want a private jet.

I want a teleportation device between mine and my family member’s house.

See my point here?

Wanting my kids to sleep in so I can have a cup of coffee is actually the most reasonable hope I have to hold onto.

I think I need to to get back to my point here.

Motherhood is hard. And time consuming. And exhausting. And sometimes, soul-sucking.

It’s HARD people.

So the other stuff we do in our lives, the other parts of us that we manage to fit in in between all the mommy stuff. That stuff needs to be easy.

Exercise, nutrition, meal planning, socializing, THAT stuff needs to be easy. Effortless even. It needs to slip seamlessly into our days because let’s be honest here ladies, it is already too hard for it to be hard to do a workout. Let alone to do a hard workout.

My friend, coach and all-out inspiration Jessie Mundell reminds all her mama clients ( she is the go-to for all things pre & postnatal ) that:

 

“When life stress is high, exercise stress should be low.”

-Jessie Mundell of Mundell Lifestyles

This is a simple and brilliant concept. It’s 100% true. And yet somehow the media, or the industry, or whoever else is making money off of our misery has convinced us that we are supposed to “rise & grind” in the first year as mothers and “bounce back” into optimum shape ASAP following childbirth.

And yet, if we are listening to Jessie’s advice – which we all should BTW seriously go check her out here – then we should spend at LEAST the first year (if not the first 4 ha!) of motherhood practicing low-stress, low-impact, gentle, loving, restorative, nurturing exercise.

We should not be doing 21-day fixes or Body Makeovers. We should not be running races.  Or running anywhere for that matter.

Yet year after year, month after month, and day after day, every time we turn on a television, open a magazine or browse social media we are bombarded with images of women who we are “soooo impressed by” and “sooooo proud of” because they bounced back from the horrible atrocity that is pregnancy and childbirth.

Why are we villainizing the bodies that gave us babies? Why are we hating on the vessel and home of our babies on their journey into this world?

I won’t do it anymore. I’m done. At 19 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child I am DONE hating on this super sweet baby making machine that is my ever-loving body. It took too long, I’ll admit. But I’m done. From here on out, I only love it with tender kindness, share it’s knowledge and experience with other mamas, and give it the support it needs in order for it to be the support I need.

Let’s remember what Jessie told a few hundred words ago(I may have gotten a little ranty and off track up there :D) ..

 

“When life stress is high, exercise stress should be low.”

So there you have it mamas. And daddies. And teenagers and seniors and who ever else is reading this.

When you aren’t getting enough sleep, when you are physically overwhelmed with healing, when you are emotionally overwhelmed ( hormonal or otherwise), when you are worrying 24/7 about the health and well-being of one or more tiny humans under your care then the exercise you choose to integrate into your hectic life (because let’s be honest, SOME exercise is good for us) MUST and I mean MUST be low-stress.

Now, when I say low stress, or easy, I want to be clear about what I mean:

  • It should NOT be painful for your body to perferm your exercise.
  • It should NOT be difficult to fit your workout into your day (20-30 minutes).
  • It should NOT be exhausting or make-you-wanna-puke exertion.
  • It should NOT strain or stress the parts of your body that you are currently healing.

And on the other hand:

  • It should be enjoyable.
  • It should promote healing.
  • It should fit (relatively) easily into your day.
  • It should be relaxing and/or energizing.

This is what we are missing here mamas. We are putting our bodies through hour-long(ew, or longer) strenuous, “hard-core” workouts in the pursuit of goals that are ultimately unnecessary to a new mom. What we need is energy, healing, love, and a little fun.

So, please, stop with the running, jumping and other intense exercise torture you are putting yourself through. Let your body get better. Find a program that’s made for moms. Find a program that has your and your body’s best health at it’s core. Find a program that’s enjoyable, and most of all sustainable.

 

I searched for the perfect program and when I didn’t find it, I decided to create it myself. The program for moms who want to exercise, eat well, reach their goals and have fun. All while respecting the boundaries of a pregnant/postpartum body.

Enter the Better Fit Sisterhood. I have created a program around safe and effective workouts that fit into your busy day. No more than 20 minutes and so easy to follow that they REALLY only take 20 minutes. I’ve included recipes for you and your family that are both good to eat and fun to make with your kiddos, too. Most importantly, I’ve added a mindset element that is exactly what we need when we are trying to reach a goal. It digs deep into our “why”, and helps us discover our path to “how” we will make it all happen. You will be stronger not only physically, but mentally where the changes really count. A strong, empowered mind is what will truly allow you to reach your goals, create sustainable habits and never lose sight of the reason you started in the first place.

Get all the info and grab your spot in the Better Fit Sisterhood by clicking over to jillianbrittany.com/bfsisterhood. But hurry! Registration closes Friday at Midnight.

See you there,

xo JB

 

It takes a village – or at least a sister

I didn’t know what to expect when I was expecting. I don’t know that any one does. And that book does nothing to guide you, except terrify you all the possible ways your pregnancy, birth and delivery can go wrong. But don’t worry, they wrote one to keep you panicking through the first year, too, if 9 months of torture wasn’t enough for you.

A couple of books, one conversation with a distant friend who had a one year old and a lot of cable television made up my knowledge of motherhood. I wasn’t exactly off to a great start.

I had a diaper bag, giant panties, soft pants, and enough maxi pads for an entire highschool of girls.

I had been a baby once, albeit a long time ago. I have had a mother since before I was born. So how hard could it be? In terms of parenting I do believe I had the best, so I would, of course, float through the first year with flying colours.

Plus, I’d never really been bad at anything. I excelled at every job I ever had. I was a great student. I was an even better teacher. I had been promoted to management in almost every job I’d ever held.

I mean, women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. If anyone can handle this, it was me.

I’ve got this. 

Except I didn’t got this. I didn’t got this at all. I was far from it.

And my expectations were probably a big part of that. I thought I would be a superhero and it turned out I was painfully human. 

But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was what I put myself through after my son was born.

The Dark.

I had a horrible time being a mom until I was about 6-8 months postpartum. I continued to struggle for another year or so, it wasn’t easy to change all the negativity I had created or the habits of self doubt, but I was learning. I consider the first 6 month a “dark” period. Partly, I lived way up north in Alberta and most days had less than 8 hours of sunlight. It was literally dark. But I was also dark. My thoughts, my feelings, my self was dark. There was no natural light shining from me. I was in a black hole. I had no family and no friends around. Like for at least an 8 hour drive I had no one. My husband worked 14 hours a day and was rarely home for the baby’s awake hours let alone my own. I was by my damn self all day. every day.

I was lonely. I was scared. I was miserable. I was a new mom with WAY too much time on my hands that I spent in totally uproductive ways. I would scour the internet for health conditions my son and I might have. I would browse YouTube during his waking hours for new workouts videos to try when he napped so that I wouldn’t waste one minute of a potential workout and opportunity to burn some of those evil calories from my toast that morning which I had just spent hours obsessing over the damage it may have caused along the way.

I was really unhappy. I was totally alone. I was not myself and I don’t need to say it but I was not any fun. And I love fun.

The Spring.

I often wonder and more often speculate on what exactly it was that changed that for me. And as I sit here writing it it comes to me. My sister’s son is six months younger than mine. So when I was 6 months into motherhood, I finally had a sister in motherhood. My own sister was my first “mom friend”. I wasn’t the youngest mom ever but I was 25 when I had G and I didn’t have any friends who were having kids at the same time as me. I was totally alone and knew nothing of what to expect. From my body, to the changes in my relationship, to the actual parenting part. I had no idea what I was up against.

Those first 6 months I took everything so seriously. I didn’t know you could laugh about your baby rolling over and hitting his head. I didn’t know you didn’t have to cry every time you changed a baby that had shit all up his back and down his legs. I didn’t know how to laugh at and enjoy the strange and squishy phases of my post partum body. I didn’t know anything. And I had no one to ask.

But once my sister had her son, I finally had someone to talk to.

Looking back now, she probably thought she was asking me for advice. For example ” did G ever do___” or “did your body ever —– after birth?” For her, I was being reassuring and commiserating. For me, I was understanding how NORMAL all the things that I had been experiencing were and that they were OKAY. They were kinda funny. They were definitely common. She was reaching out to me for help and I was finally getting the reassurance I had needed all that time. I didn’t know that I was doing okay.

They say it takes a village, and I do believe that. Because we all need someone to lean on. In good times and bad. But I think having a sister is just as good. She doesn’t have to be a biological sister. I was lucky as far as that goes. But a sister in motherhood. Someone who can commiserate and celebrate with you. Someone who has scrubbed as many shit stains as you have this week.  Someone who has just as much lower back pain as you. Someone who’s watching the same shows on Netflix while they’re newborn naps because “sleep when the baby sleeps” is a brilliant piece of advice until you actually have a baby.

The fact is, I was always cut out for motherhood. I am a superhero and I am in fact, capable of excelling at anything I can put my mind to. Whether that’s raising children, reaching my fitness goals or starting my own business. I can do it all.

What I learned that first 6 months and have tried to teach to everyone I meet since then, is that I can do it, and so can you, but you, or I, or anyone else, can NOT do it all alone. We need to help each other. We need to ask for help. And when help is offered, we need to accept it. Whether that is someone watching our kids, inviting us to share a meal, or just commiserating over a crappy day.

I needed my sister, and when it comes down to it, a sister is exactly what we all need.

———

That’s where the Better Fit Sisterhood comes in.

It’s a place where we can all find support, laughter and the tools we need to make our dreams a reality, no matter what they are.

Easy, at home workouts with minimal equipment. Simple nutrition and recipes you can enjoy with your whole family. Yoga flows + stretching routines to make your body work better and feel better. Plus a community of women cheering each other, celebrating each others wins and working towards our goals as a team.

Click over to the Better Fit Sisterhood to find out more about the Better Fit Sisterhood what it can do you for you, and why it’s just what you are looking for.

 

I Cared More About The “Baby Weight” Than The Baby

Three hours a day. At least. 10k a day. At least 50 km a week on a treadmill but likely more. Abs abs abs. Get the body back. Pre-pregnancy body. Pre-baby size. Bounce back. Three hours a day. At least. Every time my son shut his eyes I was finding some way to burn calories. Obsession. I was obsessed. With exercising.

I was my own worst enemy.

No matter what progress I made, no matter what great accomplishments I had covered in early mother hood, in postpartum recovery or any other part of my life, I told myself I was a failure. Because I couldn’t “lose the baby weight”.

I cared more about exercise than literally anything else.

I was more focused on my body and changing the way it looked than I was on the amazing miracle of a child I had just given birth to. I was more concerned about the things my body couldn’t do, or hadn’t done well enough, than of the AMAZING things it had done for me in the last year.

I built shame and guilt inside of me when I was trying to build muscles and strength.

I claimed I was trying to “get in shape” and “get healthy” but the things I was doing were hurting me more than helping. I was less healthy in those first months postpartum than I was when I was eating oreos and cheeseburgers for dinner while I was pregnant.

I alienated myself from other people and I ruined relationships.

I told myself I was alone. But really I was pushing away everyone who was close to me. I pushed my husband away, my family, and the few friends I had. I didn’t want anyone to see what I was doing to myself. I was alone mentally.

I was obsessed.

 

My exercise obsession was all about control. I had a newborn, I had a relatively new relationship, I lived a new city, I was off work for the first time in my adult life, I wasn’t earning money and my body was changed in ways I never fathomed and I wanted control.

I didn’t feel like I had control of anything in my life and I wanted control of something, anything. So I tried to control my body. I tried to control its size, shape and ability. I tried to make it recover way faster from birth and pregnancy than it ever should have.

I was pissed off when I couldn’t have control. I made control my ultimate goal and when I couldn’t make it happen I decided I was a failure. I decided. It was an illness of the worst kind. The kind that lives in your mind and takes over your ability to function, your ability to see the real things that are going on around you.

Let it go.

I spent almost a year of my life in this haze of misery. I spent way too damn long being obsessed with exercise. I got sick and fucking tired of hating myself. There were other factors of course. I hired a coach, I made some friends, I saw a counselor. But mostly, I just got fed up.

I didn’t want to live another day being angry at myself. That wasn’t me. I didn’t feel like me, I didn’t act like me. Who cares what I looked like when my mind and personality were completely unrecognizable. I just wanted to be myself and I just wanted to feel better.

And here the story changes.

All that time I was trying to be in control and I was spiraling out of it. So I took control, of the things I really could change.

I changed my mind. I decided to be happy. It wasn’t always easy. Most days it was really fucking hard. But I did it. I remembered I had a child and I wanted him to have a happy mother, not a miserable one. I wanted to have a good relationship, so I behaved like I was in one and in no time things were back to normal.

I changed my behaviours. I no longer exercised to punish my body. I no longer spent hours a day exercising. I exercised to feel better. I used it to love my body and show it appreciation. I worked hard enough to feel better and no more.

I changed my habits. I ate food. Real food. Good food. I savoured and enjoyed every bite. No more diets, no more low-cal, low-carb bullshit. REAL FUCKING FOOD. And I stopped craving junk. I was satisfied by my food and didn’t need to indulge in nightly binges anymore. And if I did, no biggie. Like none at all. It’s all good.

I stopped hiding. When I let go of the shame, of the guilt of all the things I couldn’t do, I was ready to be myself again. I had forgotten how to be me. I got back to myself and I was proud of what I done and more importantly what I had been through. I was no longer ashamed. I was happy to have come out of the darkness and see the other side.

So what now?

This was a hard question for me to answer. If I wasn’t trying to be perfect, what was I trying for? What was I working towards if the object of my desires wasn’t perfection.

I have to go back to my “why” to answer this. Why do I want to exercise, eat right, and live a healthy lifestyle?

It’s for my family. I want to set the best possible example for my kids and my family. That means making smart, healthy decisions. That means teaching them healthy habits and showing them how to love and respect their bodies.

I want to live a long life. I want to try everything. I want to be young forever.

I obviously can’t do everything, or be young forever, but I can feel young. I can be in good enough shape to try anything I want to. I can be a confident and life loving parent who teaches her kids to take risks and reach for the stars.

So those are my goals. That’s what’s now.

  1. I want to be strong, so I can run races, face challenges, have babies and so much more.
  2. I want to be energetic, so I can keep up with my kids and stay awake through date night.
  3. I want to be a role model. For my kids, my family and friends and for other moms.

And that means I have to walk my talk. I have to live the life I preach. I have to stand in my truth and be myself. Mistakes and all. Dark past and bright future. You will always get all of me.

 

There’s more where this came from, in the #BetterAfterBaby community. More realness, more rawness, more pain, and more triumph. A judgement free zone for moms to be OK with where they are and to want better without feeling bad about it.

 

 

 

Why Am I So Tired?

When all I do is sleep?

I asked myself over and over again. And wondered how I might ever survive. And how the other moms did it. And if I would ever shave my legs again.
 –
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In the year after my my first child was born, I was going to bed shortly after him, around 8 pm, and sleeping until he woke up (don’t hate me he slept through) around 6 am. And then he’d go back to bed an hour later and so would I. And then we would wake up for another hour or so. And then when he’d nap I’d exercise. For an hour or so. And then the next nap I’d workout, for an hour or so. And then before dinner I’d take him to the daycare at the gym and I’d run on the treadmill, for an hour or so. And with all this time I spent exercising, I had very little time for eating, so I ate only on the fly most of the time. A handful of this, a piece of that. A salad for dinner while my husband ate steak and potatoes. And an hour later my son went to bed and I shortly followed suit.
 
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Looking back now, the answer is so obvious.
 –
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Why am I so tired when I’m sleeping 10-12 hours a night and sometimes napping during the day?
 –
 –
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The answer comes clearly to me now. But I was in a haze back then. I was in a fog.
 –
 –
 –
I was EXHAUSTED.
– 
I just had a baby, I was starving myself, I was working out way too much, I was mentally and emotionally OVERwhelmed. The list goes on.
 –
 –
And yet I can’t figure out why I’m tired.
 
 –
– 
My body just made a baby. In 9 months it built a human where there wasn’t one before. And my body pooled all of its energy resources to birth that baby. To bring it into the world healthy and happy and screaming for life.
 
 –
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Why is that not enough? Why did that feel like something I had to “make up for”? Like despite that fact that I had just done all of that, I still looked pretty good and that was something to be proud of. Why did the way I looked have ANYTHING to do with it.
 
 –

Why did the way I looked have EVERYTHING to do with it?

This overwhelming pressure from where-the-fuck-ever it’s coming from to “get our bodies back” after baby is making us hate ourselves, at a time when we should be LOVING ourselves. Unconditionally.
 –
 –
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But instead, we’re sitting around thinking about all the things we are doing wrong, or not doing, when we should be snuggling our newborns and eating HEALTHY, WHOLE and DELICIOUS foods.
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Whether you had a baby two weeks or two years or even ten years ago, I am talking to you. Your body did something amazing. Let’s take a moment and applaud that.


Now, can we stop talking about what our bodies look like?

 

 And start talking about how we feel?

I spent a whole year exhausting myself, over exercising, under eating, and hating my body for not being what I thought it should be.

 –

And all that time I ignored, hushed, and silenced how I FELT.

 –
 –
I was tired. I was sad. I was confused. I felt like a failure.
 –
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Those feelings were a result of how I was treating my body.

So if restricting my diet and exercising 3+ hours a day wasn’t getting me the results I wanted physically, and was actually leading me down a path to depression, why on earth was I doing it?

I wanted control. I wanted to be in control of my body, my weight, and my life.
 –
 –

But here’s the thing. I had a new baby, and there’s no way to control that.

 –
My body was trying to heal from having that baby, and there’s no way to control that.
 –
And then I went and over exercised to the point of exhaustion where even 12 hours of sleep wasn’t enough.
– 
 –
I wasn’t controlling anything. I was doing just the opposite. I was sending my self into a tailspin.
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Not only was I not in control, but I wasn’t getting any of the things I wanted. I didn’t even know what I wanted.
 –
So. I had to reassess. Which meant having to relinquish that “control” I thought I had. I had to actually let go. I had to change my thinking in order to be able to recieve the changes I really wanted. And to be finally be “in control”.

I hired a coach, to help me with my workouts, and help me safely heal all the damage I had done running and crunching my postpartum body.

And then I looked inside. I worked on myself. And asked myself..

Why was I doing this?

What did I really want?

Here’s what I found:

1) I want to like myself. Regardless of what my body looks like.
2) I want enough energy to keep up with my kids.
3) I want to be active every day.
4) I want to enjoy the food I eat.
5) I want to be surrounded by supportive, like-minded people.
And I set out on my journey to create that life.
Here I am, two years later, with experience under my belt, and ready to share it all with you.
I no longer restrict what I eat. I no longer spend hours a day exercising. I have two kids and I’m expecting my third, I sometimes go weeks without a proper workout. I never feel bad about that. I miss it, but never feel bad.
I get joy from helping other moms. From encouraging them on their journey to self love and satisfaction with their lives. Being a mom is the most amazing experience in life and it brings me intense joy to help other women see through the difficulties of motherhood and postpartum into the incredible experience of raising little ones.
I was in the haze for too long. But I won’t ever go back there. The year I spent “not being good enough” made me person I am today. The mother I am today. And if it had been any other way I don’t think I would have the same appreciation for motherhood and its challenges that I do.
That being said, I don’t ever want another mom to waste a minute or even a second of her children’s precious lives worrying about her size or shape or weight.
And so I’m here. I’ve created a 15 Day Feel Better Challenge for you and it’s here now. I’ve put together the building blocks of what changed my life around and I’m sharing them with you, so that we can grow together.
I want you to find happiness, ease, self-love, support, health and become the kind of mom and person you want to be. That’s what this challenge will do for you.
Join us now and let’s do this together.

I lost 45 lbs and My Self Worth

I was trying so hard not to “let myself go”, that I completely let go of myself.

 

I had my first child at 25. That’s old to some, young to some, and the same age a lot of us start our families.

To me, it was young. Looking back I definitely ready to have a baby, to be responsible for a baby, and to take care of that baby.

What I wasn’t ready for was to take care of me.

Up until then I had been reliant on three things to build and hold up my self worth.

They were:

 

  • My ability to work & make money.

It was really hard to let go of being an income earner. My independence had always been connected to my ability to earn and maintain myself financially. I was a successful hairstylist and at anytime I needed more cashflow I would pick up a bartending job to make ends meet.

But when I had a child and I was at home making zero dollars but working harder than I ever had in my life.

The reward of being a mother is enormous but it is hard to recognize especially in those first and often trying weeks of motherhood.

Not even a smile for 6 weeks?? I mean whose idea was that. That is the true test. If you can make it to the first smile it all gets better from there.

But it was still hard for me to equate baby giggles to my ability to earn. There is no dollar figure attached to the job of being a mother. And there shouldn’t be, because it is literally priceless. But I didn’t learn that right away.

My self worth was dwindling with every scream that child let out. With every nap that was not “on-time” and every milestone that was not perfectly timed.

  • My social interactions.

My friends and my friendships had always boosted me up. They made me feel strong, powerful and useful.

Not only was I in a completely new town when I had my child, I had no friends, my husband worked 14+ hours a day and I knew no one – not even back home where I had friends still – who had a baby in the last 12 months who could sympathize with me over the trials of new motherhood.

I was alone, isolated, and feeling worthless.

Even when I did catch up with someone, or see a friendly face, I was so ashamed of the way I was feeling I couldn’t bring myself to tell them the truth about how I was feeling.

So I was left with shame and worthlessness. And I was all alone. Even if there were people around I wouldn’t have been able to see them or hear them through the walls I had built up.

  • My appearance.

Here’s the thing, as most anyone who has had a child knows, all those things change drastically if not totally disappear when we have that first baby.

My appearance totally changed. From the shape of my body, to the feeling of my skin, to the amount of time I had to spend being concerned and focused on my appearance it all changed. I didn’t look like me anymore, I didn’t even remember what I looked like.

I had identified with myself as “attractive” under such specific guidelines that I didn’t allow myself to be beautiful in my postpartum state because I didn’t recognize it.

My postpartum body is one of my favourite things about being a mother. Biceps and abs are great but nothing is as impressive as a core that’s stretched to hold now my third child and returned to a state of relative normalcy all the while holding the rest of me together.

Here’s the thing ladies: I didn’t always feel that way. I still don’t always feel that way.

In that first 6 months, that first year after I had my son, my first baby, I was trying so hard not to “let myself go”, that I completely let go of myself.

I lost my self worth and 45 lbs. And it took longer to get them back then it did to gain and lose them in the first place.

I spent day and night worrying about my weight. I spent all my time thinking badly about my body. I left no room for self love. When all I really needed was a little love. But it couldn’t come from someone else. It had to come from me. I had to decide that I was good enough, that I was worth fighting for NO matter what I weighed, what I got paid, or what my friends thought.

So you know where I was. Maybe you’ve been there, too. Maybe you’re there right now.

Where did I go from there? How did I become this confident, life-loving, dream-chasing, do-it-all kind of mom?

I’ll tell you my secret. Because there is no secret. I’m just being me.

For some reason, I thought when I became a mom I had to also become someone different. I thought I had to dress differently, talk differently, act differently in order to “be a mom”. But it turns out, all I had to was squeeze an 8lb baby out of my hoo-ha and BAM I’m a mom.

And me, whether I’m a mom or a carefree teenager, is a confident, life-loving, dreaming-chasing, do-it-all kind of gal.

What I needed to be all along, what I needed to hear and what I had to learn on my own the hardest way was that just being myself was the best way to be happy.

So I lost myself for a little while, it sucked.

To the point that I went and talked to a family counselor. My husband made the appointment for me because he was worried about me.

I didn’t want to go. In come the shame. I didn’t want to need help. But there is in fact strength in needing help. And even more in asking for it.

So I went, and I talked. Okay I sobbed. For a full 60 minutes I spilled my guts. The feelings, the actions, the sadness, all of it. I said all to a complete stranger. She listened as I cried and my 8 month old pulled every book off the shelf and emptied the contents of her purse onto the floor.

And the she asked me something, that I never even considered before she said the words to me.

“What makes you feel happy?”

The simplest question. The simplest answer required.

It was so easy to reply.

“Yoga, being outside, hanging out with friends.”

She said “okay, can you make that happen?”.

“Yes, I think so.”

But inside my heart, my brain, my soul were screaming: “This is it! She’s broken the glass! We have arrived! How did she know? How did she know what we needed? Who is this sorceress? Let’s get out of here before she realizes she wasted an hour of her time on a girl who already had the answers the whole damn time and just didn’t know it. Run! Grab the kid! Get out of here! Honey, start the car!”

When I got home I sat outside. Made small talk with a neighbour. And then at nap time I did a short workout in the sun.

I tried no harder than that. I sought no further accomplishment than to make those 3 things happen every day.

Interact with other adults, move my body(gently and with love), be outside.

And every day it got easier, until it became a habit that I didn’t even have to try for.

My son was about 15 months when I made friends with another mom who had a child the same age. She loved the same things I did. We laughed together over the trials of the first year of motherhood.

I felt like a person again.

But I would have never made that friend if it wasn’t for the work I did on myself to become my self again.

After I had my son, I lost the 45 lbs I had gained. I also lost myself.

In the years since then, I have lost and gained weight and gained another child with a third on the way.

Most importantly, I had become more myself than I ever thought possible. The me I was before I had kids IS me, and I’m even more myself as a mom. A fun-loving, hard-working, reach-for-the-stars kind of mom.

I needed three things to find that self again. And those things were:

  1. Kind, considerate exercise. A way to move that showed my body love and affection, not pain and disappointment.
  2. Social interactions. Talking to other moms who had been through similar experiences, as well as ones who had been through totally different ones. I needed to know I was normal.
  3. Self love. Self worth that came from inside me. Payment in the form of acceptance. Letting go of the dollar figure of an income earning job in order to feel the real reward of being a bad ass mama and seeing my kids grow being all the payment I needed.

I found these things, it took me years.

I don’t want you to have to look that far. So I’m putting them all in one place. And that place is the  #betterafterbaby community. In the community you will find self love, body love, friendship and compassion. We will laugh, learn and grow together. No more shame, no more loneliness. Let’s do this together.