Today is the "end of goal" date, so I guess this is my last blog entry! Right now I'm on the plane to Spain, we've just got Alex to sleep, Jack's busy watching Dora The Explorer for the 19th time and Manel's having some time out to watch a movie. While I'm tempted to just sleep, I'll give it a quick go to write this.
So way back when I first started writing this, when I set my goals with Jen, I decided I wanted to get fit, lose weight, and feel more energised & endorphine loaded. I set our trip to Spain as the time frame, with summer in a bikini after two babies as a motivator! Jen made me set actual numbers in kilos and fat percentage as targets, and I can proudly say that I hit them a month or so ago, exceeding them & my expectations. I've had lots of comments on how well I'm looking and I feel confident to get out in that swimming costume in Spain, and I feel energised to truly enjoy my holiday.
Over the past 6 months since I have been training with Jen, and in particular since March when I started contributing to the blog and being more committed to the task (as opposed to just drifting along vaguely aiming for a wafty goal within an unspecified timeframe...), my knowledge gained from Jen on how to lead a healthy life has increased enormously. I always thought I was reasonably healthy, and while I was, sort of, I also ate quite a bit of junk food (chips and chocolate etc), didn't eat much fruit, and ate unnecessarily out of boredom, to relieve tiredness (which doesn't really work!) or because I felt I deserved it after a bad day. I skipped a lot of meals because I was always too busy and it used to really effect my moods and stress levels. I also didn't exercise for years, even though I love it when I do it. I feel now like I eat more (healthy food with the occasional bit of chocolate) and more regularly and for this I feel MUCH more in control of everything...my moods & energy levels don't fluctuate at all like they used to. Over the past 6 months, my husband has been away for work on two separate occasions for four months in total. Four months of being a single parent to a 3.5 year old and a (now) 9 month old baby is tough...especially when the baby doesn't sleep too well at night. I think if I had not given myself the attention & care I needed, by improving my diet & doing regular exercise, then I would have really struggled (more than I did!!!). I remained sane most of the time, and have come out the other end feeling so much stronger & really proud of myself.
Way back when Alex was 6 weeks old I really wasn't coping at all, as I mentioned in my first entry. While I loved my new little baby and knew I had a great life for which to feel grateful, I didn't feel happy. I was crying a lot, I couldn't think straight, I couldn't complete a sentence and I was even struggling to remember what I needed to write on my "Remember to Do" lists! I was falling apart at the seams and there was no way I could look after two kids in that way. I went to my GP and was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression. This is something I haven't shared with too many people, mostly because I don't know anyone else who got PND, and so felt like a bit of a failure. However, given the fact that it apparently catches hold of almost one in six mothers (according to the Beyond Blue website), perhaps, like me, people just keep it to themselves to save face...which doesn't help! The option of medication was offered and so I went home to think about it. Another day later, in a fog of tears again, I walked out of the house down to the beach. My head cleared & I decided I needed and wanted to do anything and everything to get myself better so I could enjoy being a mum like all mothers seem to do. I was missing out on what was supposed to be an amazing & special time in a woman's life. I went home and wrote a list (this time I was thinking clearly after the walk!) which primarily included: to eat better, take medication, get more sleep (by getting Manel to do the 10pm feed from a bottle), drink more water and finally and most importantly, to join Body Beyond Baby and get back into good regular exercise. I've committed to all of those things since that day, and as a result have felt SO much better and have really enjoyed my time being a mum this year, feeling like a normal person (as opposed to a depressed person!). And that's despite a few extra major challenges being thrown in!
The best thing about writing this blog is that if in the future I forget what worked and fall flat again, I can just read back to remind myself of what works. And perhaps if there's anyone else reading this who was lucky enough(!!) to get post natal depression, then perhaps my experiences can help you in knowing that you can turn things around if you get good advice from the right people....and want to take responsibility of yourself.
That's enough from me. Now it's time to have a holiday!