How to support a new mum – New Parent Survival Guide

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

There is serious wisdom in the proverb above and if you’re in the orbit of a new family or you’re a new family yourself, the chances are you’re going to need what I like to call a ‘RBRT’ (Rapid Baby Response Team) to support the impending #BUBLIFE.

Having a baby is far more momentous than we really give it credit. Those two little lines that mothers find swiftly turn into a journey that brings their biggest dreams and fears to the fore, all for their little cub/cubs and the future they desire for their family.

It’s a time of high anxiety and preparation, for something completely unknown and equally exciting, so it’s no wonder we need to create our village in advance to make the best of the life ahead with a little human we created ourselves.

If you’re like me, you might experience anxiety and depression, so I’ve made this little new parent survival guide that you may like to use or adapt for yourself or someone you know. Give it a go!

Although it’s hugely vulnerable to ask for help, it’s important that you do… and it’s important that people know what you need, because there’s no doubt that someone will want to help (and you want to make sure they bring the right chocolate).

 

RBRT (RAPID BABY RESPONSE TEAM) 

NEW PARENT SURVIVAL GUIDE

SEND REINFORCEMENTS

Send in the almond milk cappuccinos, low fodmap foods (no onion, garlic, dairy or gluten), steak, veggies, or lindt dark chocolate…

HELP US (MORE THAN JUST) ‘BEER’ IT

Take Dad out for a beer, bring coronas or send us out!!

SUMMON THE SANDMAN

If we are looking bleary-eyed, offer to let us nap and watch the little one if the sleep deprivation has gone to red alert.

IF YOU’RE FEELING EXTRA GENEROUS…

We know every one has plenty enough dishes to wash, vacuuming to do, mouths to feed, things to do, people to see, but if it’s looking bleak in our village, please offer to help or help us have time out.

DIG A LITTLE DEEPER

We are prone to anxiety/depression, so dig deeper if we’re looking blue and you’re willing to listen. Check in with us.

WE AREN’T ALL FOR MARY “POP-INS”

“Merry Pop-Ins” aren’t one of our favourite things… Give us a buzz before visiting. We wouldn’t want you to walk in on us naked!!

KNOW HOW MUCH WE SERIOUSLY LOVE YOU!!!

We are tremendously grateful for the love and support you’ve already shown us and when we have the capacity to give as much as you do, know we will shower you in love too.

Musings for Mothers Day

Until last year, I didn’t fully understand the depths and extents of the love and dreams a mother holds in her heart for her children, well before they are born.

I barely understood what it took to be a mother and how far a mother would go to love, protect her children, how much she would give, and everything she would do just to hold them and love them at any cost.

I didn’t realise just how much some of us yearn for new life, with so many of us having to practice such great surrender and patience for something beyond control. I didn’t know what many people went through to become a mother, and while I have a greater sensitivity to it now, especially now that I have worked more closely with mothers in the gym, I feel humbled, maybe slightly overwhelmed by the kindness, compassion and love shared with me by mothers even when I didn’t understand or should have known better.

To see a window into the tribe of mothers and the bounties that motherhood brings is a blessing beyond anything I can describe. My hope is that I will always, or at least learn, to love others as these mothers and my own, teach me to every day. My heart is warmed by the mother-tribe every day.

Thank you to all the mothers, my nephew, neice, mother tribes, my family and friends, my experiences of the last year and more, for humbling me, teaching me, and stirring a love I never knew was possible in me, for loving me as deeply as they do. There’s peace in my heart when I channel into that warmth.

I am grateful motherhood exists.

May, in my moments of weakness or anxiety, remember the kindness and calm that exists when I step into the love and the mother heart, for we are deeply connected to much more than ourselves. 

***

One of my mother’s bravest qualities is her kindness. She loves without condition and holds us in her heart with the most humble generosity and selfless grace that I’ve ever seen or felt.

Over the last year of working with mums, I’ve become more aware of not only how many sacrifices mothers make, the mountains of time spent pouring into us and building a life for us, but just how fiercely loving mothers truly are – and how empowering it is to be surrounded by women who care wildly.

It’s a gift.

Whether you’re celebrating Mother’s Day or it is a day of mourning for your family, my hope for you is that you will be totally engulfed in a love like my mum’s. Happy Mother’s Day, to all the earth mamas, mamas-to-be, dad-mums, grandmums, aunties, dog mums, step-mums, nurturing souls, and all mums. My warmest love and thoughts to all the angel mums and their families, and mums of angels and dreams. Happy Mother’s Day.

Fuck ‘Bouncing Back’: Taking Back Postpartum and Empowering Motherhood

‘Scuse my french for un moment, but can we just say FUCK “BOUNCING BACK”? ⠀

Constant speculation, scrupulous judgement and fear permeate the prenatal and postpartum period for so many mothers… taking the focus away from gratitude, healing and acceptance of herself and what her body has achieved or what it can do, and may instead lead her down the path of self-doubt, fear or anxiety.

Focusing solely on post-birth weight is counterproductive to returning new mothers to her “vitality” or strength. In fact it may instill more shame and halt healing. ⠀

Imagine if… ⠀
The body never returns to what it was pre-pregnancy…⠀
The maiden is now indeed a mother.⠀
Perhaps we need to reframe the extraordinary strength in this new way of being, rather than attaching ourselves to what once was.⠀

Too often these boxes cause more damage than they’re worth.

Let us not place so many assumptions on women to “bounce back” after babies, but instead encourage her with the knowledge that she can most definitely be the healthiest, strongest, most confident, or empowered version of herself post-birth but the version she envisions for herself or that society envisions for her may not match and there’s beauty in finding herself again, as a mother. Her way.⠀

Motherhood is the gateway between heaven and earth – there’s immense beauty in that transition, beyond losing the baby weight.⠀

It’s time to reframe ‘bouncing back…’⠀

My thoughts for new mama-bears today:⠀

May you be gentle with yourself post-birth, and⠀
Listen to your body and your needs.⠀
Why push yourself at the cost of healing?⠀
Dream bigger for the vitality you seek,⠀
Fit not into society’s boxes or even your own.⠀
Know that you are loved throughout this transition,⠀
No matter how your body has changed for new life.⠀
May you love and embrace it,⠀
For in that, there is strength.⠀
May you transition into motherhood,⠀
Focusing forward, not back.⠀
The life you’ve created is magic in the mess,⠀
And so are you.⠀

May new mothers go on a journey to finding renewed vitality and confidence, tune into their bodies and minds, beyond expectations or shame. ⠀

That’s when transformation and healing occurs.

Thankful from the bottom of my stomach

Do you ever feel like your life is MISSING something if you or someone you know can’t eat conventional foods?

Do you feel like other people are UNHAPPY in their lives if they don’t eat the way most people seem to?

Do you feel like something is LACKING, if you’ve ever been prescribed a way of eating that is supposed to help your body to heal?

Do you ever look at anyone with “dietary requirements” and feel a little DISGRUNTLED?

You can admit it if you do, it’s okay…

While I try not to make a fuss of it, I often get some side-glances when people find out I eat a largely gluten-, dairy-, refined-sugar free way – without apples, onions, garlic and other high “fodmaps” (Google it)!

But before you freak, I’ll let you in on a little secret…

I am not missing a thing.

In 2014, I experienced more severe symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’ll spare you the details, except to say, I was enraged.

I felt betrayed by my body and I couldn’t understand what was going on! For years I had eaten what I wanted without (m)any repercussions and I thought my eating habits were up to scratch but everything I ate felt like junk… including foods you wouldn’t normally expect – like apples and onions… when “an apple a day keeps the doctor away…” #notsomuch

That’s when I started working with Lily Nichols, RDN.

Lily helped to uncover a whole new world for me…

She helped me work out the foods that were likely causing inflammation in my body; she helped clarify my mental battles and work out a way of eating that best suited MY body, and not what everyone else advised (which by the way is why you shouldn’t take ‘blanket’ diet advice).

Lily is one of the catalysts for helping me to learn to appreciate and be genuinely GRATEFUL for my body and food – as painful and inconvenient as it felt at the time – and she helped me to heal my body bit by bit.

You can read more about that here.

This journey is one of the reasons I get so excited about food.

I will never be completely free of IBS and I have to maintain a good attention to what’s in my food but I am lacking NOTHING at all.

3 reasons I am grateful to eat the way I do:

  1. I appreciate all the foods I have access to.

There’s an abundance of food and yet not everyone has access to it. I appreciate the beautiful foods we have.

We have such wonderful wisdom and education where I live to know what great food IS. I’m grateful we have people like Lily who clear up the garbage we are fed by conventional un-wisdom.

By paying attention to my food, I’ve learnt a new appreciation for our beautiful farmers and the complex world of food production and security.

I also learnt to cook, which I think my husband liked (even though he’s the better cook in our house!!)

  1. I rarely if ever crave junk food.

I DO NOT enjoy the way junk makes me feel and it feels AMAZING to not eat it. If someone offers me food I “can’t” or don’t want to eat, I don’t feel like I am lacking anything, as I always have a stash of food I CAN eat.

It’s too easy to get stuck in what we DON’T or CAN’T have…

But we have plenty.

To have that access is a gift.

I hope someday to share that with more people.

  1. Eating the way I do makes me feel NOURISHED, STRONG and SATIATED with a happy, happy belly.

That doesn’t mean I miss out on luxurious foods whatsoever.

It means I might not be “normal” but I never want to be anyway. I am happy to be different and be on a path that rocks my socks off.

I eat what I know my body enjoys.

One of the best parts of life is EATING FOOD!!

‘Getting to’ and ‘being able to’ eat nourishing foods, is a pathway to feeling FREEDOM, FLOW, HAPPINESS, and CONNECTION. It’s exciting.

I am so grateful for people like Freeman’s Fitness Training Studio – Hornsby and Lily Nichols, who opened me to a fabulous world of food. Thank you from the bottom of my stomach!!

✨ “Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realise there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.”
– Lao Tzu ✨

Is it time you listened to your body and not the crowd?

Is it time you did a little more digging into the best way of eating for you?

Is it time to feel awesome about your body and your food!?

I am a Precision Nutrition coach but I am not a medical professional. What I write should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice. I recommend speaking with a trained nutritionist for more information.

Some good places to start:

Resources:

Mental Health LIFE: You Really Do Matter

October is Mental Health Month…

But for me, it’s every day.

We each wrangle fears, pain, suffering, sadness, stress, mental, and physical games, and our own demons…

It’s what makes us human.

Though that makes it no less painful, it’s given me hope at the times I’ve surprised myself with how far ‘down in the dumps’ I can go… where the lights are turned off.

I’m lucky that I’ve always had an inkling, that even there, there’s a way to make light or fire, even when I’ve lost the energy to create a solution. Maybe you’ve been there or ARE there now and I send my love to you.

There’s so much worth fighting for and I am grateful for every time I’ve been pulled out of that place…

Though I could never have done so alone.

When in that place, there’s nothing quite like an unwavering anchor – a support person, an organisation, nature, a counsellor, a reason to live, something to love, whatever it is – and each time I’ve gone to that place, I’m grateful for the anchor that’s helped me to regain my strength.

And I know I’m not unique in this.

Each day, many of us fight for the light within.

It’s not just for the empaths and feelers like myself, but every one of us in different ways.

At our most vulnerable, there’s a special few who step up and their kindness changes the world. Thanks to how they live, they inspire me. They’ve helped me and taught me so much through their care. If it’s you, thank you.

One of the special few is Daniel Freeman.

In my darkest moments – or even just nervous nelly dizziness – Daniel steps up, knows what to say to calm me, understands my psychology better than I do, and CARES deeply. It makes a difference and I am so grateful for him.

He’s helped me get through and wade through the mess…

He’s a bit of a legend.

On the flipside, I’ve learnt endless wisdom thanks to the journey with his own mental health that he shares in his first book, Fit for Life.

It means a lot to read those words on those pages…

Because every one of us is attached to someone who may be experiencing their own stress, anxiety or depression…

And I am grateful to those of us who give it a voice.

(Plug: http://www.freemansfitness.com.au/fitforlife)

I want to say it’s taken guts to share what he has – and though I’m deeply proud of it, I don’t want you to ever feel as though you have to be courageous or brave to speak up or seek help if you are feeling vulnerable or don’t know where to look. You may feel like all hope is lost… that there’s no courageous or gutsy bone in your body.

And in that case, I hope simply to shine a new light…

Perhaps on what IS beautiful in this world.

Or what is beautiful in YOU…

I see how many of us fight in the silence…

And that’s why I write this.

If you are in the shadows, please know you matter.

It sounds vague, meaningless even, but listen, or I will.

You really do, matter.

You might be weird and wonderful in ways others don’t seem to understand but that’s okay.

You’re not alone.

We live in a truly weird and whacky place. While human psychology and life endlessly inspires, fascinates and causes deep child-like wonder and awe in me, it also baffles and devastates me. There’s plenty of things out of balance in this world, but that’s why we need sensitive and caring souls who want things to be better, who know, who have the creative minds to contribute and inspire this place.

I am grateful for all the people who’ve ever pushed through their own demons to show us all what is possible.

The world would be far poorer had we always listened to the poison parrots on our shoulders.

I hope you’ll hear me when I say, let’s ride this together.

I am here to fight with you.

Being alive, as cliche as it may sound, is a wonder.

I hope to share that with you much longer.

None of us are immune to fear or darkness.

I wrangle my beast and settle it often, by living my life the way I do – hiking, weight training, writing, et cetera – and I am grateful for the angels who – by stepping into their power – walk this earth and remind me just how beautiful life is, in all its dichotomies, especially when I lose my way.

If it helps…

Remember…

I have two ears to listen,
And two eyes to see,
That your life matters, and
You’ve got plenty reason to be.

Keep trying to light the fire in the darkness…
Share with someone who’s lost their power…

Reach out.

Together, we power up.

Stay with you, stay with me.

What is your reason for keeping fit?

On the way up the hill from Berowra towards Cowan yesterday, I remembered a moment about 5 years ago, when I said to myself, “I will never be this unfit again.” What prompted it?

I was out with my fire brigade and we were completing a navigation exercise on the same hill we walked yesterday. My fit colleagues were bolting up the hill and I was lagging behind, feeling completely and utterly exhausted. Sure I have short legs, but it was a physical and mental incapacity that I couldn’t stand.

It was a feeling I truly despised, but such great motivation…

I imagined how this would play out in a real-life emergency. Would it be okay for me to be this unfit? No way…

It wouldn’t just be incredibly hard for me in a situation like that – with fast action required – I would be letting my team down and that would be unacceptable and potentially life-threatening for us all.

Even though no one said anything, it was a lesson I’ll never forget!

It was a moment of motivation and awakening – and though I’m still no mountain lion, I am grateful for every opportunity to stay fit and reminders of how important it is for me, but also people around me.

It’s my feeling that one of the best ways we can care for others is to care for our fitness and maintain it at the highest level we can…

That doesn’t mean someone else’s highest level, but our own.

I will never be as fit or fast as others, but I can improve my fitness and hopefully be in the best state I can be to carry out my life in service.

I am grateful for the fire brigade and the fit and strong leaders who, without even knowing, taught me many reasons to stay fit – and helped prompt me into the life-changing action of maintaining my fitness!

 

 

Would you like to be fit as a fiddle to fight fires with determination and strength?

BUY FIT FOR LIFE NOW.

What does it cost to NOT invest in your health?

“I will get fit when…”

Often we say to ourselves, I’ll walk to work, I’ll meditate, I’ll start that fitness program, or I’ll eat better “when… {INSERT HERE}” … when…………..?

WHEN…

WHEN work calms down…
WHEN your kids grow up…
WHEN you free up your time…
WHEN you have enough money…

What if work never calms down?
What if your kids always require your energy?
What if you are always busy?
What if you never invest in your health?

The likelihood is that life isn’t going to calm down.
So why do you keep pushing your health to the side?

Do you ever wonder what if would be like looking back on life if you keep putting the snooze button on your health? It’s not one of those things that maintains itself when put to the side (in fact, what does?). Your health infiltrates every aspect of life. If you want life to calm down before you focus on your health, you’ll always be waiting. Exercise requires us to MAKE time and if we don’t think we have it, to be creative and find a way.

I used to view exercise a chore, but now it’s so much more. It’s a lifestyle; it’s a non-negotiable and even though I won’t be bionic-woman because I exercise, I know that it helps me live the happiest life I can.

Training and nutrition can be such immense signs of not only self-respect, but GRATITUDE FOR LIFE.

This body is a gift.
This mind is a gift.
This spirit is a gift.
This life is a gift.

Carpe diem.

—-

What if WHEN turns into NEVER?
What if WHEN never comes?

Don’t do it WHEN…
Do it NOW.

“Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda

Get FIT FOR LIFE.

BUY FIT FOR LIFE NOW.

http://www.freemansfitness.com.au/fitforlife.html

It’s okay to say you’re not okay

R U OK?

It’s okay to say
You’re not okay.

When life’s a raceway,
Or you want to hideaway

It could be your DNA,
Or time for a holiday.

You may have forgotten to play
Or lost your way.

When you feel the world weigh,
Sometimes it’s hard to see past today.

There’s no need to downplay
If you’re feeling in disarray.

It’s okay to say,
You’re not okay.

Before you run away,
Meet me in a café.

I will always make way,
And never slip away.

I won’t write an essay
But I am here for you every day.

It isn’t cliché
To ask, R U OK?

If you’re not okay,
Don’t keep it at bay,

It’s okay to say,
You’re not okay.

Stepping into my own, one session at a time

Took my first group session alone at the gym where I’ve been doing my fitness prac and I’m not even happy about it… clearly… 😉

I am LOVING what I am learning about health and fitness – with the best possible teachers (including the group I instruct!). It’s such a joy to see people SHOWING UP for themselves but also for me. Big gratitude and love.

This is a huge step out of my comfort zone, but no doubt one that’ll help me to GROW.

Lessons from this morning are:

💪the power of loving people

💪what a gift it is to learn to LEAD

💪what a gift it is to have genuine leaders to GUIDE me

💪it’s high time to learn the quiet art of LOVING COMMAND…

And help others to grow by ‘stepping into my own.’

I have always been the POLITE one… The NICE one…

But I’m determined to channel my sensitivity and kindness into something strong and switch on my quiet assassin mode – and I’m so grateful for incredible examples of this.

My heart is too big for a small impact.

Stay tuned.

What are you doing that is helping you to GROW?

What’s the impact you’d like to have?

Living our healthiest lives is so far from deprivation, it’s not funny.

“Just eat the cake…”

“Why don’t you have a slice…?”

“YOLO!”

When did cake, sweets, over-eating, or over-indulgence become major markers of living our fullest lives?

When did supporting local producers, movement and mobility, cooking at home, minimising waste, and eating quality get the backseat?

Far too often I see “healthy choices” being equated with deprivation and joylessness… and it baffles me.

I see many people being torn down by what can only remind me of tall-poppy syndrome…

We live in a world where junk is often the standard…

And it’s up to us to shift that.

If we only live once, wouldn’t we want to define what a rich life means to us, according to our values, and learn to find joy in eating or moving in a way that serves those values – especially if one of those is FAMILY or HEALTH?

Wouldn’t we want our choices to reflect our values?

Wouldn’t we want the highest quality food?

Wouldn’t we want to push ourselves to great heights?

Wouldn’t we hire the best trainers? Follow the best fitness program?

Wouldn’t we want to share joy that lasts?

“Life’s too short to not eat cake…”

“My grandfather ate cake and drank wine everyday and he lived until he was 94! See, there’s nothing wrong with it…”

Too quickly attitudes like these can lead us down the garden path. A little cake or sweets are fun, but when you look at how much sugar is in almost everything we now eat or drink, it’s important to rethink how we “YOLO.”

Treats quickly become life.

Life’s too short to eat junk consistently. Cake can be nice and if you put the right sweets in front of me, I’ll eat it guilt-free, but I will not attach myself to it because I know I’ll be living my happiest and fullest life without it.

Food is exciting whether it’s sweet or not.

Cake is not the marker of joy, we are.

After experiencing IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) for a number of years now with great discomfort when it flares, I am conscious of the choices other people are making and why – and I try to be mindful in how I communicate my needs too, so that people see I’m still laughing.

Be mindful of what you’re communicating.

There’s a chance you’re talking to someone trying to wean themselves off junk food, recharge their mind or body, heal themselves, eat more, or prevent disease; to feel their best. The next time you say “just eat it, what’s the matter with you?” Remember, there’s nothing wrong with them and in fact, they could just be nursing one of the world’s fartiest tummies. So everyone benefits if we don’t aggravate that, trust me!

Living our healthiest lives is NOT deprivation.
Eating the best foods that we can is NOT joyless.
Moving our bodies is NOT a chore.

EACH ONE OF THESE IS LIBERATING.

Each of these is necessary.

That’s my two cents (in a pudding).

To learn how joyful and liberating fitness can be for you, pre-order ‘Fit For Life’ by Daniel Freeman today.