I’m not great at being present. I used to think I was, but I am not really a moment liver in a sense I hadn’t discovered yet. I’m speaking in relation to my kids mostly,… More
Being fit does NOT mean having a six pack and cut obliques. Being fit CAN mean that, but to me it means being strong of body, soul and spirit.
For the last 18 months, I have been fit of body, but my soul and spirit were weak.
I am a mother of almost 2 (second is due June 29th!). My son, born July 2014, suffered from constipation for 8 months, which caused him to have reflux as well, and we trudged along for 17 long months of him waking every 30 min-2 hours, nursing all night long, needing help to sleep through naps, never having a moment to ourselves. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, truly.
I quickly sank into post-partum depression, but denied it for a very long time. I even went to my Dr. once, and talked my way out of anti-depressants, and never went back for help. It’s hard to open up about it when you’re in it, and having convinced myself I didn’t really need help, it was even harder after that.
Then winter of 2015 hit, and I hit my ultimate low. This is where my journey begins.
I was angry all the time. I hit my dog harder, and more often than I can bring myself to admit, and I’m grateful dogs are as loving, and forgiving as they are loyal.
I began yelling at my 17 month old son to sleep, to stop touching me, to stop nursing, and I’d have to put him down and go, leaving us both to cry in anguish, so I didn’t do anything really harmful to either of us.
I began contemplating ways out; adopting him out to one of our families, for certainly they could do a much better job than I ever could as his mother. Thankfully other things were too horrid for my mind to contemplate, so as soon as those darkest of thoughts entered, they shuddered away. I believe this was Holy Spirit, guarding my heart even when I had completely lost sight and touch of who God was.
My mind, was a fog. And the battle was waged under the haze.
I finally broke. I needed sleep, and I needed it because I was dying. Inside, but maybe outside as well … I felt like I could not live one single more day without a full nights sleep. It was the slowest torture I’ve ever felt, and even as I write, tears well up in my eyes to think of the pain I surrounded my family with, because I didn’t get help. I asked for help; I opened up.
I went and slept at my parents house for 5 nights, leaving my husband, who had lost just as much sleep as I had, to fend for himself and take on night duties full time. To this day, I know God surrounded him with the fiercest of love and strength, to pull him through those nights, as he had anguish and sorrow in his heart as well. It was a long, weary battle. But I slept. And I slept again. And again…
I finally started regaining clarity and with that, a sense of direction, and something I’d been praying about for a few weeks became the clearest of answers to me, I contacted my friend and asked her how to become a beachbody coach. I knew I needed to get working out again, that this was my happy place. I’ve loved fitness for a very, very long time, but as a new mother, almost forgot how, unless I was running outside during the summer. I knew winter had shut me in (Canada, hello freezing), and I knew that I needed to make myself a priority again. So I started to research.
I researched the shakes, because it was something totally new and foreign to me, but I knew that I absolutely needed something to get me healthier on the inside than I had been capable of getting myself for the past 6 years, and especially in the last 18 months. Once I fell in love with the shakes, I researched the business, and what I kept finding was: people first, profits later. People first. People first. People first. It was like their banner. Be YOU. Help OTHERS. Be healthy. Be fit. People first. I couldn’t love or agree with something more.
I joined, first for myself. And really, I can’t even verbalize a ‘why’ that I joined. I can’t explain it. I’ve always wanted to get into fitness for a living, but never knew how, and why I figured this was the time, well I can’t say. But it changed my life. What I see now, is that I knew I needed accountability, I needed something to be passionate about, and I needed something that was just mine.
I got my program, CIZE; Endorphins began to rush, my fog began to lift, I began to figure out how to help my son sleep, we started sleeping more, eating better following the nutrition guide; I drank my shakes and had energy like I hadn’t had for a long time. I began to heal, and my amazing husband who has loved fitness as long as I have joined with me, and we started taking our lives back. Back from depression, back from lethargy, back from apathy. We wanted to win.
I cried a lot over the next few weeks, and 5 weeks later, I still cry at the end of every single workout. I cry because it’s a burst of joy that I can’t explain. It’s a sense of accomplishment, a sense of my old self, a sense of a bright future, and just plain fun in my life again.
When you workout, and eat right, your body will be what it will be. If you end up having some physical goals, so be it, but they will come from a healthy, happy mind. A mind that has exercised daily the habits of self love, dedication, and feeding their body like the temple it is.
If when that is done, you are still bigger than me (which is 5’3 and around 110-120lbs, I don’t weigh myself, ever), then guess what, you’re still freaking fit and an absolute rockstar in my eyes. You don’t need to be me, or anyone else on this planet, to succeed at fitness. You just do you, and that joy is yours to own. You don’t need a six pack to post a body proud photo on Instagram. You don’t need 600 likes to tell you that you meet this societies standards. You also don’t need to stop working out because working out means you don’t prioritize your family first. I don’t believe in fit shaming, I don’t believe in fat shaming, I don’t believe in skinny shaming … I don’t believe in mom shaming.
I don’t believe in shaming.
My highest engagement posts on Instagram aren’t ones of flexing, they aren’t of my “tiny preggo body”, they are of my raw, real posts about the challenges of motherhood and PPD. It became so clear to me that fitness of mind is more important, and it’s a much harder muscle to work, but it comes from determination, and just hitting play every single day.
We are all worthy of looking in the mirror and seeing a masterpiece, created with purpose. That doesn’t give us a reason to eat like crap and sit on our butts all day, because that’s not how our bodies were designed to function.
But it does give you a reason to love your curves, love your chub, love your skin and bones, love your thighs, your arms, wings, tire, muffin, thunder thighs, big hips, cankles, skronny, lanky self. Whatever you use to describe you, turn it into a compliment. And then get up, and get to work, and treat yourself like the freaking princess God made you.
You ARE worthy. You are ARE beautiful. And you have my support.
Welcome to Braids and Brass, my name is Michelle, and I am a fitness and health coach, a mom pulled from the wreckage of depression, who still struggles day to day, but continues forward none the less.
I hope I can help you find community, accountability, self love and encouragement on your fit journey, and I welcome all that you bring to mine.
A big mug full of hot water to sip on.
Fluffy plaid slippers.
A story on for my son to listen to.
The other is napping.
The cat asleep on the couch beside me.
The dog waiting impatiently for her walk.
This is my life. Moments compiled together which in my head, create stories.
The past 3 years, most of my moments shared on social media have had one goal in mind, creating an income online.
Have they been helpful? Yes, I’m told by many how uplifting, inspiring and helpful my posts have been.They have been vulnerable, real, honest, raw, personal and for me, healing. So I’m not saying it’s been BAD, and making money is also not bad, but I have grown. I have become more aware. And with that, there has been a shift in my heart which has created upheaval in my entrepreneurial journey.
I don’t care anymore about what posts catch your eye, or break the almighty algorithm for more visibility and thus sales and business. More than ever, I want impact, not popularity. I really wanted to belong for a long time, to find somewhere to fit in, to find a group that takes me in and loves who I am.
And I’ve found that. And it wasn’t enough. Because money and finding others to love me never fulfilled me. It exposed the chink in my shell as it were.
It couldn’t sound more cliche or trite than this, but here it is.
I didn’t love myself. I wasn’t content with myself. Money and somewhere to belong is external validation. What if that person leaves my team? What if my income drops? I just kept seeing over and over in my failure that I was still moving forward in joy, in contentment and falling more and more in love with my life.
My idea of success has changed completely!
Success is not six figures, it’s not $500 … success is being present with my kids, even if I’m not able to pay for next week groceries with my #sidehustle. Success is doing what we can, being responsible with what we have and trusting that God will care for my family.
Success is not having my schedule figured out and time blocked perfectly so I can get everything done in a day, but instead it’s having some kind of routine while still allowing flexibility for my kids to be kids, and to create quiet times in our day where we sit down and write, read and listen to stories. Success is being able to relax in the midst of chaos, and not living for the hustle.
Do I want an income that will help my family and give us the lifestyle we dream of? Yes! Of course! But lately that endeavour has felt at the expense of my soul.
Over the past four years I’ve been chasing worldly desires, and left behind chasing God and His desires for my life. I’ve missed passion, I’ve missed worship, I’ve missed being deeply apart of God’s family. He’s never left me, but I in the depths of depression and anxiety I’ve felt invisible and lost.
I don’t know how to create an income online in a way that aligns with my entire soul.
Which is why here, that’s not what I’m trying to do.
I’m here to share.
To create conversation.
To ask important questions like why the hell do we pray when bad things still happen? And are the beliefs I hold actually true, or is the Jesus we think we know a lot more radical and kind of sick of the way we do church right now?
Or … why do so many mothers suffer anxiety and depression now? Is it just talked about more or is it happening more?
Do cell phones and social media kill relationships? Families? What is technology doing to us really? Or is it just some of us?
Can we sell it all and live on the road in a trailer with my kids, dog, cat and WIFI?
Are we robbing our children of roots, childhood friendships and a church home or am I gifting them experiences beyond their imagination and the ability to see that it’s ok to live and be different?
Should we as Christians be vegan? Or look for ethical meat? Does God care? Did God give us animals to consume them?
How do you have sex when you’re tired, depressed, anxious, trying to mom and create an income online? Who are these super women? Why am I broken?
How do you find the fun and carefreeness you had post kids in your relationship now when you have preschoolers and toddlers, mental health issues and no money?
I have so many “oh I’m gunna go there” Things for here.
No more games, no more live videos on FB sharing for viewership.
Blogging aligns with my soul. I feel content here. Undistracted. At ease.
See you next week.
This is gunna be fun.
The first set of photos is me one week post competition.
The way I was eating was totally unsustainable for me, and one I won’t ever be doing again, because it’s honestly been a really hard road finding normal again.
The bottom set of photos is me 3 weeks into my new program, which I am LOVING. It makes me feel fast, like an athlete. I feel very strong and capable.
But as it’s been a hard road, I didn’t commit to the nutrition and was surprised I had any results to show at all, which goes to show you it’s about showing up and doing the best you can and just committing to get better every day.
What I didn’t expect was my reaction to my after photo … specifically the bottom right. I was 100% going to change clothes and “fix” what I saw before sharing these outside of my private VIP community, but there’s a lesson here, so underwear and all *sorry* here’s my biggest insecurity.
Now, let me explain.
I believe fitness is a feeling, not a size.
If you’re 300lbs now and you can’t find it within yourself to love and speak kindness to yourself, you’ll feel and see yourself as 300lbs no matter how much weight you’ll lose.
And you’ll continue to speak that way to yourself forever, and you’ll be heavy of heart, even if your body is light. Yes, you’ll have more confidence, but freedom comes from loving yourself in the journey.
I am on my own journey of self acceptance, and I get a lot of flack for NOT being 100% confident in my body because hey, I’m skinny. *ps don’t call people that*
But everyone thinks their problems will be magically solved when their body looks the way they think it should look.
After all, isn’t having a six pack everything?
Well I was really confident and happy in my competition body for one reason, the area I have highlighted in the bottom photo, what I see as love handles, was finally gone.
I had figured it out, and it was unsustainable.
I have had a really hard time accepting my post competition body, more than I did my post baby body because I know I don’t ever want to live restricted, just to look a certain way.
Why does this matter? Why say anything?
I look at this photo and in my head I KNOW it’s nothing because I’ve done the mind work.
I love myself more now than I ever have, but one day over 10 years ago, someone changed how I saw my body, and now I choose to love what I see, but I’m not sure I’ll ever unsee it.
You see, I did a photo shoot for a local boutique and modelled a bikini, and my photos were photoshopped.
That area I’ve highlighted was so neatly “smoothed out” as she put it.
She put a nice little gap in between my thighs, touched up the imperfect razor burns I had, and it felt icky.
I had no voice then. I had no idea this wasn’t OK.
I remember being SO confident with my body until that day. I was never this fit in high school, but I never once recall being embarrassed by my body. Maybe because my dad has called me beautiful every day for as long as I can remember that I never questioned my worth in that way, but that changed in an instant.
I remember feeling shame as she showed me what she did. I don’t know that I could have described it then but I now know it as a violation.
• My eyes were robbed of seeing the beauty •
That day I became a mean girl to myself.
I have since then always hated my love handles. Hated my lower belly. I started comparing myself to others.
I STILL catch myself, to this day and THIS SIZE sucking in my belly in an effort to reduce attention to that area of my body.
What this means for you? Someone who is maybe bigger than me hoping to one day be fit, toned, thin?
This means your answer to self loathing lies within.
This means you need to re-format your thinking.
It’s time for a shift.
It’s time we rise up and STOP setting these insane standards for our kids, for each OTHER.
It’s time we ACCEPT every body type and every insecurity that comes with each one.
I love being fit.
I love exercising and the power it gives me, heart body and soul. I love connecting to my inner warrior and letting her out as fierce as she can be.
And what I do with that warrior is I fight all the negative thoughts that come my way and I begin to stand in my freaking power and choose to believe that I am beautiful.
I refuse to continue to see my body in a negative light.
• For we are fearfully and wonderfully made •
This has not only helped me with how I see myself, it’s helped me how I see others.
I truthfully didn’t believe fitness was a feeling not a size two years ago.
I cringed at certain body types.
I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart, because now that I see women with a healed heart and healing eyes it breaks me that they don’t see their beauty.
To end, I ask that when you work with me, or any other fitness coach, that you do the work.
I ask that you sweat.
That you track your food and that you stay committed to choosing food that fuels the long energetic life you want to live.
I ask that you stay committed and connected to your WHY.
But mostly, I ask that you learn to love yourself.
So that when you look at your photos all you have is love, pride and joy.
With love and grit,
Braids & Brass
We’ve all been there. And if you haven’t, you probably will be one day.
Your hair is dark, and you want to be blonde. A Kardashian (I couldn’t tell you which one) did it in one day so why can’t you?
I get it, I do. You’re paying, you want it done now and you are frustrated that no one seems to be able to do it.
Let me preface it by saying we are all able to. It has nothing to do with our capability and more to do with our integrity, and the integrity of your hair.
If your stylist knows you and your hair history, the chances of you getting blonde faster is higher so I recommend finding a stylist and getting cozy. Much like a doctor, we keep records of your hair history so we know exactly what has been done, how you keep it maintained at home and what you’re going to do when you’re blonde. This is so valuable for major hair changes so stop bouncing from chair to chair, find someone you like and get over the fact that she books “so far ahead” and be grateful she’s talented and sought after and just pre-book mk?
Now that that is out of the way, let’s move on to reasons a stylist says no to making you blonde in one day:
- How much time do you have? Did you book a consultation prior to this appointment and set aside 4-5 hours? Because if you are just sitting down for a colour that’s not going to cut it. Colour corrections are finnicky and if your stylist doesn’t have an assistant, it’s nearly impossible to do if double booked with other clients.
- It’s not just the lifting that takes time, it’s the treatments in between, because sure I can maybe make all your hair blonde today, but I just might end up sending it home with you in a plastic bag and a fancy new $600 platinum pixie cut.
- On that note, what’s your budget? Colour corrections vary by stylist, salon, experience and product used. There is no guarantee on cost when going into a colour correction and your budget needs to make room for *oh crap you have a ton of hair* or *we need to lift again / highlight* or even better? You have banding weeeeee
- More budget … again, treatments cost money and they vary on salons and procedure. There can be a couple done in one visit depending on your process and don’t forget to factor in your new shampoo, conditioner, protein and deep moisture treatments, styling treatments and to do it all again in 4-5 weeks (minus the products, but hey, they run out and you’ll need more)
Here’s the reality, most people don’t have 8 hours to spend in the salon going from black to blonde in one day, nor do they have the budget. It’s much easier to spread it out over a few months, or in my case a year. Yes, I’m a stylist, no I don’t pay your prices for colour and I still took a year.
Why? Because I wanted healthy (ish) blonde hair. Because even with all the treatments in the world, coloured and lifted hair is damaged hair and damaged hair is great! I can’t stand when my hair is too healthy because news flash! It doesn’t style well.
Blonde in my world = volume. Praise the Lord.
Ok, so you have the time, you have the budget, your hair history is with your current stylist and you’ve never coloured your hair at home and she still won’t do it.
There are no guarantees.
She might be scared to say yes because she knows that some hair is harder to lift (like mine needs two processes in one visit on a root touch up to be platinum) and she knows that you won’t be happy if you don’t leave Gwen Stefani blonde today and we just can’t guarantee it will happen and we truthfully don’t need you going around town badmouthing our work and how “warm it still is” when we exhausted all our options making your blonde dreams come true.
I recommend being willing to spend 2-3 visits going blonde, and hey maybe you get lucky and it happens straight away!
I’ve personally done a technique that got my client to a perfect, healthy platinum blonde in one visit but it was a 5 hour visit and $600 and that doesn’t happen often and people are rarely willing to pay. She was unhappy with the price even though she agreed her hair felt perfect and she figured she could have seen someone else for cheaper and gotten the same result.
So yes, I’m a little leery about taking people blonde because I have personally found if the price isn’t $200 and perfectly white the client isn’t happy, even with a properly discussed consultation.
So if you’re ready to ride the platinum train be willing to:
- Manage your expectations for the end result and work for that perfect blonde within a few visits
- Pay for it and pay well #notaboxedblonde and expect the “quote” to be loose
- Visit in 4-6 weeks (preferably 4) depending on growth and yes, pay for it again.
- Be happy with your toner for 1-2 weeks and then wish you had never washed your hair ever
- Learn to wash your hair less.
- Have photos (pictured is my hair warm and cool; know the difference and show the difference because we all see colour differently)
- Trust your stylist
Let me know what you think in the comments below and submit your hair questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
I have spent a long time thinking; “I’ll be totally happy when…”
Don’t get me wrong, I was happy, but I believed I’d be MORE happy when I had more money for clothes, more money to fix broken things, more money for anything.
I thought my problem was money. I knew it wasn’t the answer but something deep in me ached. A dissatisfaction.
Today as I type this, my blender works but I have to cover the top with my hand as a piece broke off (I don’t pay for things until they’re completely and utterly irreparable) the magic bullet died, the coffee machine is dying, our TV is second hand and shuts off occasionally, I own 2 pairs of shorts and 6 pairs of underwear.
All very MINIMAL first world issues that used to feel HUGE.
I would feel crushed under the weight of all that we “needed” to pay for and here I sit today, content.
I have found wealth in the strangest of places; in my own heart. It has been building, and will continue to build even greater and the funny thing is, with that builds income. It just comes.
I HATED when people said true wealth starts inside. Shut up Tony Robbins I want to fly to Tahiti with nothing but my purse and buy everything on my trip! That’s wealth!
And then my eyes were opened. Slowly. Pried maybe. But opened none the less.
Now I see, truly that wealth is gratitude. Wealth is the daily practice into self.
Because when I’m connected to myself, I can still my mind and connect to God. Wealth is connection.
Wealth is the ability to not care about the now in a sense of dread because I am connected to the knowledge that we are on our way up, that God has taken care of us already and that coffee machines don’t matter.
I’m working with people to change deep seeded disbelief in their value, their ability, their image.
Getting up early every morning and taking time to run my dog is the single best part of my day, and it allows me to FULLY enjoy the rest of my day. Ok not always fully, but I’m more present and connected with as a mom is a huge gift to my children.
This practice of biking, not being touched by another person, having the wind in my hair and the smell of the day freshly starting, this is what I have needed for so long.
This time invested in me, connected to me, has allowed me to see clearly all I have. And that I have all I need and more.
I’m so excited about this act of getting up and spending time on myself away from everyone and everything that I’m actually developing a 5 day morning boot camp for my team of coaches who are looking to elevate their own lives.
I believe it’s time to rise; that it’s possible and tangible.
I believe for the first time in my life I can have it all, and I can give it all to others.
I’m grateful for the morning, because with it comes two little miracles that give me a reason to invest in myself more than ever.
Now is the time friends; if you’ve ever considered being a coach on my team now is the time. Just hit contact me and let me know where you’re at, because this training for now, will be exclusive to my team. Those that have said yes, I’m ready for change; I don’t know how, but I’m willing to try.
That’s all I need. A small seed of belief that says yes, I think I can.
With that, together we can change it all.
“I wish I looked as good as I feel” I said to myself this morning.
“When people meet me, they’re probably disappointed that I don’t look better than I am”
These are the thoughts rambling about my head today, and it’s not ok.
I’m a firm believer that body image affects us all, big or small, because we haven’t dealt with our inner voices that tear us down.
You can lose all the weight in the world and build all the muscle in the world but if you can’t speak KINDLY to yourself and love yourself in your current imperfections, how on earth can you expect to love yourself when you’re at your goal weight?
The truth is you won’t.
The truth is you’ll be disappointed that the girl staring back at you is the same girl, and you’ll be sad.
You’ll feel good, you’ll have more energy and you’ll have all those things you hoped you’d have, but you’ll still feel not done yet.
You’ll still feel incomplete.
Because the real work starts in the heart.
The real work starts with strengthening your MIND.
I should wake up and tell myself daily that I look FREAKING AMAZING but instead I’m brought down by this little layer of fat? Maybe it’s just skin? My mind is so bent I can’t even tell you what it is.
The truth is exercise is important. Eating healthy is important.
But if you lose the ability to move your legs one day and suddenly you have it all ripped from you and you have to sit with yourself every day and you gain a few pounds, are you less worthy?
Are you less worthy?
No! You’re freaking not!
You should wake up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror and think I’M A FRICKEN GODDESS YAAAAAS!
This is not a mindset reserved for the fit and thin! This is available to everyone right freaking now if you just CHOOSE IT!
Yes still work towards a healthy lifestyle, have strength goals, have Self LOVE goals but for fricks sake love your life and love your damn body.
What’s wrong with the world where someone like ME has tears in her eyes as she takes these photos?
If you’re overweight let me tell you, SKINNY ISNT THE CURE TO YOUR LOATHING.
It’s just not.
You have to work on you. You have to fight more than weights. More than food. More than sore muscles.
You have to fight your inner demons.
And that why so many fail, and that is why so many of my clients succeed. I’m here to tell you, we are worth more. We fight these vicious thoughts.
I won’t find the love I desire by cutting 700 calories and carb cycling.
I’ll find it by telling myself every day I’m freaking powerful.
Here’s to living loved.
I am a mom of two! One beautiful 2 year old and one hilariously happy 9 month old.
I workout 30 minutes a day MAYBE 45 depending on my kids moods.
I eat mostly clean and swing in and out of being a total zealot and not caring.
I have gone from results focused, to healthy living focused, back to results focused and am finding my way back into a happy heart focus.
I’ve gained a booty in two months, muscles I’ve never seen on my arms before and quads that are noticeable. I search for more but am pulling back that search for being happy and content while still striving for those goals and not getting lazy in my eating habits.
That is my balance.
I am imperfect and insecure but at the same time strong, mindful and powerful.
I don’t have a lot of money.
I shop sales racks, I buy groceries based on sales and I use coupons.
I shop at thrift stores partly because it’s cheaper and partly because I love finding unique clothes no one else is wearing right now.
I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt in my entire life and I’ve only been lifting weights for two months while expecting the results of someone who’s been doing it two years.
None of my pants fit.
Sometimes I yell at my children when I don’t mean to.
Sometimes I’m the most loving calm mother ever.
I drink Shakeology every day and another protein from a local store that isn’t related to beachbody at all.
I love home workouts, I love going to gyms, I love hot yoga and all things outdoors.
I love getting my nails done when I can afford it, but stick to French tips or clear because I hate nail polish; having my hair the perfect colour is always a must.
I love lipstick, I hate mascara.
I love getting dirty playing outside with my kids, I hate getting my hair wet when I go swimming.
I do not fit in a box.
Accepting that is my transformation.
It started with a dumbbell.
I am Braids and Brass.
I said yes. I gave my full consent. As the needle went in, as I was cut open and unknown hands entered my body, I felt completely violated even though I said yes.
I’m talking about my c-section on July 30, 2014 when my first son was born. It was to be a day I recalled as the most joyful day of my life, and one day I will not only say it was, I will feel it.
But today is not that day.
Today is my first step towards that goal, by speaking out what I’ve hidden so long in my own heart that it remained a mystery even to me.
I wanted a natural birth. Not for the glory or accolades that come with it from other so called birth hero’s, but simply because I believed it to be the first gift I could give my child; life born uninterrupted.
I was OK with the thought of a life saving c-section. I knew it would devastate me, but not more so than the loss of my son. I had no grand illusions of fighting for an ideal, but what I didn’t expect was to be pressured by those deemed more powerful than myself.
I was told my son was SGA (small for gestational size) and that at 40 weeks it looked like there was low fluid in the womb and I was told he had to come that day by emergency C-Section.
As long as I go into labour, the outcome doesn’t matter.
Understand that I love and respect so much of the medical community, and I believe they had the best intentions for me and my son, but our beliefs on what that looked like differed greatly.
I knew in my heart he was fine. I knew he could stay. He was reading perfect on all NST’s (non stress tests). I could feel my intuition kicking in, my fight. I would not be pushed into this.
My Dr, God bless her, stayed and talked with me for 2 hours. She gave me all her information from her side. Numbers. Statistics. Tests that aren’t proven accurate.
I was set on no. We were headed that way, and then they said something to me that stopped me in my tracks.
He’s fine now, but he could be dead in 24 hours.
Now looking back, I see what that was. Their fear. Not fact, fear.
I was a scared new mom who only wanted my child’s life, and I felt that I no longer had a decision, for if I didn’t do what they said I would be held responsible for the death of my baby boy.
I didn’t have the resolve, the nerve and the self trust I have no to say no.
So I did what I can only describe as complete and total sacrifice of my body, my choice and my rights, for my son.
You see, the entire thought of being cut into and having my baby removed from me was a terrifying thought, and one my entire being screamed no to, and so while I was saying no, I said yes.
I cried for 4 hours leading up to the surgery.
I cried walking down the stairs, into the elevator, sitting in the chair waiting and finally walking into that sterile lonely room alone.
I couldn’t describe it then but I can now; I didn’t cry out of fear … I was crying because what was about to happen to my body was not my choice.
I know that seems contradictory, and consent is a funny thing that way. I signed the papers, I nodded my head, but the answer was no the entire time.
I can only call it sacrifice.
I was willing to let someone violate my body for fear of my son’s life.
I use the term violate because that is completely the feeling I have to this day. I am repulsed at the thought of “a little pressure and tugging”. I was open. My insides were on the outside. If it’s no big deal to you, that’s fine, but to me it is nothing short of violating.
I’m sure had I had a week to really sit with it and make a yes and let that settle in my heart, I wouldn’t have felt this way. But I had 2 hours. I had no time to research.
I had fear.
And then it was over, and as my body recovered, my mind deteriorated. I know now that this was the cause of my anxiety, my spiral into depression. In pictures I smiled, love was there, joy was there, but so was something darker.
It’s why I now (among other things) can’t handle a loss of control; a crying baby I can’t stop and why cutting my finger open 3 days ago and having a Doctor aggressively and against my hearts will dig into my cut sent me hurdling backwards to that sensation of being “done to”.
Because my ‘no’ was perceived as a momentary lapse in courage, not a cry for a discussion of my options.
Because my choice wasn’t real to me.
The only reason I have the courage to write this, is because my husband who sat beside me the entire time for both occasions, who saw me say yes, who held my hand as I cried, completely and entirely validated my hurt. I could never say this without that support.
And after it all, going back to that day almost 3 years ago, I can say truly that I would give myself up to it again and knowingly go through the same demons I fought for a long, dark two years.
And that, according to my husband, is what makes me the bravest woman he knows.
And he is proud of me.
And now I can heal.
I can be proud of me too … because I can look back on it as a mark of courage. I can look at my boy and tell him of the day I gave up my own perceived safety for his.
And that my friends, is a beautiful day indeed.
**I was able to give birth to my second vaginally on July 8th, 2016; I fought through very similar circumstances which helped form and confirm my feelings on my csection; if you’d like to read the birth story of my second, visit here **
I would like to talk about this as I posted earlier talking about finding my IDEAL, and I want to invite you into my world a little bit more.
You see, in 2009 I was 40lbs heavier. Yep. 40lbs. When I say I have been into fitness for for almost a decade, this photo on the left is me 7 months before it started. I was happy ish with how I looked. There is nothing wrong with my before, but I had a horrible relationship with food and myself. I had many demons.
Did I need a salad? I honestly hadn’t thought about it much before. Isn’t it amazing how one comment, that grows to many comments over the course of a relationship turns into your inner dialogue for years to come?
So for a long time I felt I had to build myself up in my head to be the best, because I believed my only worth was in my body. I didn’t believe I held any value outside of my looks. And if that was true, my value had the ability to be lost.
So I talked about how healthy I ate, my abs, and I searched from validation from everyone. I seemed arrogant and no one would have guessed I was struggling with my self image; I put on a very strong front. I didn’t know who or whose I was.
Fast forward to 2017; I have two little boys who love me regardless of what I look like, eat or do, and this is the healthiest, fittest I have ever felt, but not the smallest.
I have been much smaller, tighter and more muscular than I am now, but the difference is now my mind is at peace with who I am and whose I am; God’s love for me knows no numbers or sizes.
I no longer define myself by scales or muscles; I can celebrate them without being owned by them. So something like 20% body fat holds no joy or sadness for me. It’s merely a number, a gauge, a baseline. It allows me to track my progress but it does not and never will define who I am and how much I love myself.
It simply is.
And 20% body fat on me looks different on you. It might be healthy for me, and not for you, and my goals to lower my BF % are short term and will reflect a healthy loving relationship with my body.
I write this for the young girls watching, that you owe it to no one to be a certain body fat percentage. That my journey is my own and meant to inspire, not to add to the incredible amount of insecurity.
Both of these pictures I am beautiful on the outside, but the me on the left is struggling deeply inside.
The me now is strong. Has a healthy mind and lifting weights gives me a feeling of accomplishment and power.
I can do anything.
And so can you, but you are not the sum of your body fat. You are not the sum of the scale.
You are not a number, and fitness is not a size.
If you want to be surrounded by other women on this journey of self love and strength, I am here for you.
I keep forgetting that I’m doing this for ME. Not for anyone else. That this was a goal I set to push me further and do something uncomfortable and reach a goal I otherwise thought was impossible.
Posing in bikini?! Walking the stage in heels in front of EVERYONE in my company to show how hard (or not) I worked…it’s extremely terrifying and humbling. I’ve realized I can only be me. I can’t pretend to be someone else.
So, I took some updated pictures last night and I was SO disappointed I didn’t look like what I envisioned in my mind I should look like as someone getting ready for a competition.
I felt so much fear and doubt creeping in from a moment of comparison and it nearly crippled me.
Maybe it wouldn’t have so much if I hadn’t put it all on social media, because suddenly I was left wondering what if everyone else was having the same thoughts?
“She doesn’t look good enough yet…”
“She doesn’t really know what she’s doing”
“Her form isn’t really the greatest…”
And I could let those cripple me or I could embrace them, and that’s what I’m choosing.
I look and feel great but I am NOT where figure competitors are, and that’s ok because I’m 8 months post partum and started lifting light weights 2 months ago 😂 let’s be real here.
What I am is shooting for the stars and even if I don’t make it there by July, I’ll be a lot closer than I was if I didn’t try.
I also do not know what I’m doing haha I’m learning a LOT, and it’s hard because there’s a lot of friends I have who know a LOT more than I do and it can be super intimidating to put my “newness” out there. Like terrifying.
But even they started somewhere, with little knowledge and a LOT of hunger for more. And I own my journey and I love my journey.
Form and strength will all come. I focus on learning form to protect myself and I don’t lift heavier than what my form can handle, which means my transformation will be slower for now, that’s OK with me.
And then lastly, remember to just beat the girl in the mirror. So I grabbed some pictures from January and immediately realized I am stronger than that girl, I have more energy than her and I make it through more of my workout than her.
She is my greatest competitor and she is the only one that matters; I will not be trying to compete with the amazing athletes I’m friends with, I will compete with myself.
And I will win.
**If you are interested in joining me for my next challenge and you are READY, I mean ALL IN, hit that contact me button and I will coach you through my exact process**
Dear mommies, please don’t uncomfortably spin away from tiny hands touching your tummy. They don’t see fat or rolls. Regardless of your level of self love, let them love you. It can be so healing to see those eyes light up as they play with your extra skin ❤ it’s just an extension of you.
Sure I don’t have a lot so what do I know right? But I’m a woman with insecurities. Just because we’re different doesn’t mean we can’t be united in that.
I’ve had babies and my body doesn’t look like it did before and no matter your size, society affects us all and the only way to positively influence society …
is to let our kids love us. All bits of us. And to never show them we don’t love parts of us.
Let us show them what strong, beautiful and confident looks like. Let us show them that we will not be defined by our bodies but by the strength of our hearts that beat within them.