Eighteen years ago (yes, I’m that old!) I was working in sports management for a private company responsible for managing some of Australia’s greatest and most recognisable Olympic athletes and AFL footballers. I was happily married, we’d bought a home, and I was pretty fit. Falling pregnant wasn’t that hard…staying pregnant was!
My first pregnancy lasted only 12 weeks, and I miscarried two-days after we’d told everyone our happy news. I hadn’t even considered it could happen to me! Tears flowed, wine was guzzled and before I knew it I had another “bun in the oven” just 2 months later. This time as you can imagine I was super anxious. Weeks slowly ticked by, we made it to the 12-week scan and all was perfect. We shared our happy news and guess what…a week later I sprung a leak BIG TIME! Blood everywhere, at work, surrounded by stunned (young) male colleagues…SHIT SHIT SHIT NOT AGAIN!
But the little bean growing inside me was a stubborn little thing (still is!) and held on tight. Even though my body kept trying to get him out, he stuck in there. By 23-weeks the little bean was big enough to be viable so into hospital I went and stayed there until little bean was born at 31 weeks. Small, skinny, no suck reflex, but a bloody strong ticker and a good set of lungs.
Eight weeks of daily or twice daily visits to the hospital only to have to leave my baby there, expressing day & night (god I felt like a cow – 100% express feeding will do that to you!) was my introduction to motherhood. Not normal but I didn’t know any different. All my energy, focus and love was being poured into the little bean we named Ben.
Fortunately, Ben thrived once he eventually got home and I dropped expressing – mastitis anyone? I quickly forgot about all of the above and guess what…19 months later we added a bouncing baby girl to our family (yes I was pregnant again before Ben had turned 1!) It was a text book full term pregnancy, natural drug free delivery, no stitches and she was 3.8kg!
Just to keep life interesting, we started a renovation to our little house. Not a room was left untouched. So with a 19-month old toddler and a 10-day old baby (yes 10 DAYS) we moved into my in-laws for 6 months!
A little side-bar here: Up until the first pregnancy, I had “control” over my body. I trained hard, ran harder and faster (or tried to) each session, I was hyper aware of my weight and what my tummy looked like. 3 pregnancies later, little time to recover, less time to exercise and that control I had over my body was gone but not forgotten. I tried gyms, but the kids hated the crèche; I tried running again, but my back didn’t like that (probably my weakened pelvic floor and abdominal separation had something to do with that but I didn’t know anything about those things then), walking with the kids in a double stroller was my sanity, watching (very) closely what I ate was my weight control. (Return to running blog coming soon)
But I digress…the little internal flame for another child was still burning bright. So although I had sworn 2 children was all I wanted, I NEEDED a third! Baby #3 decided to make things a little difficult towards the end of the pregnancy as he (yes, it’s the boys who have caused problems) decided he was pretty happy lying across my belly and wasn’t moving. He wanted to come out the sunroof, not the door! So, c-section it was for #3, followed by wound infection, followed by mastitis…let’s just say with 3 babies & 4 pregnancies in 4 ½ years I was over the whole pregnancy/birth/breast feeding/baby thing and that internal flame was snuffed out!
But as with everything I take on, I threw myself into being a full-time stay-at-home mum but to my own detriment. I felt I had lost me in the process of giving so much of me to them (make sense?) I wanted and needed something where I could just be me, feel good about me, take control again. Eventually I found that in running. The more I ran, the better I felt. The better I felt, the calmer I became, the fog lifted and I was a much happier person/mum/wife. (By this stage I had learned about pelvic floor weakness & abdominal separation and was working on re-building from the inside out.)
So, why am I telling you this? Because we all have scars of motherhood – some visible, some not – and I’m no different. We don’t all bounce back after childbirth, nor should we. And just when you think you’ve got this motherhood and being a woman thing nailed…hormones go bonkers, what was working now isn’t, and you’ve gone back to square one.
I’ve learnt the hard way that we need to be kind to ourselves, allow time to heal, recharge and reflect. Harder & faster is not always better. Make space each day to devote to you – move and nourish your Heart Body & Soul. … little by little…a little becomes a lot xx