I have always been a fairly high anxiety A-type person. I liked to do everything right & that meant I felt the need to do it myself. Which is fine when you live alone, even when you are newly married & it is just the two of you.
But that all changes when you have babies. All of the sudden you have this tiny baby & as the mother, you feel even more need to do everything right & by yourself. Society tells us this should be natural & instinctual. But Society also doesn’t factor in all of the additional stress that women are facing today when it comes to raising kids.
Add in the fact that the mother is not nurtured & cared for as she needs to be after having babies here in North America. We are exhausted & depleted of so many nutrients, when you add the stress, sleepless nights & rambunctious hormones, you just can’t keep up with the demanding needs of your body. So, what does your body do? It prioritizes what it deems as most important.
The 10lbs of baby weight you are trying to run or starve off… Not Important.
The luscious hair you had in pregnancy… Not Important.
The supple skin & dewy glow… Not Important.
Heightened sense of anxiety & attentiveness to your baby… Ooo that one we will keep & dial up!
The million thoughts spinning around in your head… well some of those may be about the baby, so let’s just forget everything else that might actually be important like where the keys are.
This was me. I had postpartum anxiety, I couldn’t lose the weight, I was foggy, zoned out, & felt like a tired bag of crap.
Sure, there were lots of moments of joy & excitement & bliss, but my body felt like someone else’s.
Now we speed through the years…
Stick baby in daycare
Go back to a stressful job when you feel so dumb, distracted & really don’t fit into those dress pants
Get pregnant again
Grow another human
Birth another human
Experience postpartum all over again, but with even less help because people think “it’s her second, she knows what she is doing”, but now you are home alone with 2 kids who both need constant attention.
Put both kids in daycare
Go back to work again, feeling even dumber, more distracted, & the close fit even worse.
We had periods of time where things seemed to flow nicely, kids were slightly better behaved, a lull in projects at work, or I would get into the workout/meal prep groove & feel strong again.
But I was RUN DOWN. The Exhaustion starts to compound. My hormones never had a chance to recover (it can take 2 years for your hormones to fully recover after having a baby, but if you get pregnant within that 2-year window it goes all out of whack again). My mood was unstable at best (sorry hubby, you will always get the brunt of it).
Then I got fired. Ugh!
Thankfully I had already started Strelle in my head, now it was time to just get it up & running. We were lucky enough that I could stay home with the kids & build up my business for a little while. But it was HARD. Trying to change the way mamas are treated postpartum, how workout messaging is presented, & helping mamas when they are overwhelmed, exhausted & on EI… not easy.
The stress started to build up more & more. I was getting more exhausted, I was not able to lose any weight (despite my personal training & nutrition knowledge), I was foggy, I could not concentrate, I needed a nap more than the kids did every afternoon. Coffee in the morning, wine in the evening was what was getting me through. Oh & the headaches… between them & the periods being out of control I was convinced something was wrong with me.
I had bloodwork done many times… Normal.
I had a CAT scan done… Normal.
I had ultrasounds done… Normal.
I adjusted my diet… Nothing.
As far as the doctors were concerned, I was fine (one even told me it was all made up in my head… thanks!).
But I didn’t feel right, & this shouldn’t be “Normal”.
So, I dug into things on my own. I started self-experiments with nutrition, exercise, supplements, self-care practices & routines. I would start to feel better, then something else would come along, like a new full-time job. Then I would start to feel really good, & what comes along… a PANDEMIC…
This is where the train completely came off the tracks, skidded into a local farm, took out the cows, chickens & then went over a cliff.
I was working more hours than ever before, I was trying to keep my 2 kids happy & occupied, I was planning & preparing almost all of the meals, I was trying to maintain the community I had built up through Strelle, I was attempting homeschool my kindergartener, & still workout in the meantime.
Sleep was not a thing. Nutrition was weak at best. Self-care… HA, I was lucky if I had a shower every 5 days! I was exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, & burnt out.
My work started to slip, I started having panic attacks at work, & I felt like I was constantly letting them down.
Basically, the same thing was happening at home too. I was spiralling out of control quickly.
July 1st hit & I had the sudden realization that we were ½ done the year. We only had 6 months left in 2020. And I was a hot mess. I needed to get back in the drivers seat & steer this train back on track.
I started to dig into the books, the research, the podcasts, blogs & textbooks. I became obsessed with finding ways to dig myself out of this burnout & feel good again. I had some really great moments of reflection, let’s look at the good times & see what was going right at that moment. Pulled some of the gold nuggets from those points in my life. I did the same with the bad, what went off the rails & how it impacted my whole world.
Then I was able to piece together my strategy. When I implemented my strategy, I was able to pull myself together much quicker. A stress truck would run into the train, but instead of getting completely derailed, a car or two might slip off the tracks, the rest would rattle, but it was easier & easier to get right back in the flow of things.
I was starting to see triggers coming up ahead & either slow down or shift tracks to avoid the blowout.
I have been duplicating this strategy over & over every time a stressful event came & tried to knock me out. I have also been sharing this with some friends & they too have been able to bounce back a little easier.
Today I am happy to say I am actually happy! I feel stronger both mentally & physically. I have more energy, more clarity & more passion for my work than ever before. Even my sex drive has started to skyrocket. Because I feel confident, light, energized & connected.
This is what I want for other Mamas! I know so many of you have been feeling the same things. We are all in this storm together, we have different boats & different issues going on, but sinking back to a similar (but customized) strategy can help you too. I want you to have these in place so when something comes to knock you down, you are ready to knock it right back out.
Your babies need you mama. They need you to be strong, confident & to take care of yourself!
I would love to share the Depleted Mama Refuel program with you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's chat about your stress story and how I can help you feel incredible again!