After almost a year since the miscarriage, and I couldn’t get pregnant. I felt so ashamed of myself, as if I’d let everyone down. I know I shouldn’t have, but I did. My little guard started coming around again to comfort me. He’d aged a little and put on weight, but he could still do his job. I had gained a bit of weight myself. My clothes were getting tighter as my body changed bit by bit. I started to feel like less of a woman in many ways. I became insecure and allowed negative thoughts to consume me so much that I needed distractions. Unfortunately, I ate a lot of Taco Bell. It was warm, cheap and comforting. While it wasn’t helping me or my body in the long run, the short-term benefits brought me solace.
In 11 months, I gained 25 lbs. I kept telling myself the weight was due to hormonal changes after the miscarriage, or my age. Maybe it was just a phase women went through. But, deep down, I knew the truth. My suppositions were just a protective layer I’d built to shield my feelings. I had been in this situation before. Oddly enough, the more I gained the safer I felt. I knew it wasn’t my best body. I knew I didn’t look as desirable as I did in the past, according to societal norms. On some level, I understood my self-sabotage. I was just tired of trying. All of my effort was exhausting. It was easier to just give in and go with the flow of eating whatever I liked.
I kept telling my husband I didn’t want another baby, because believing that made it easier for me to bear the negative pregnancy tests. Month after month my rage grew. The more I yelled about not wanting a baby, the quieter his voice became.
One day, I reluctantly went to a fertility specialist to explore my fertility options. The doctor said she could help me track my ovulation. After that, I went in almost every day to get an ultrasound to see if I was ovulating. I had only one fallopian tube, so I figured my chances were slim. I soon discovered that one tube is just fine because I ovulated not one but two eggs out of the remaining tube! Talk about lucky. It was my super tube! I immediately thought, “Holy sh*t, imagine twins!” I really wanted a baby, or twin babies, no matter what I’d been yelling at my husband.
On my drive home, I had flash backs of my pregnancy with my son. I suddenly felt excited about the idea of a baby again. I was immensely relieved that it could actually happen, but also extremely scared.
A month later, I was pregnant. Although I was overjoyed, my body didn’t have a normal reaction. I knew how easily pregnancy joy could be ripped away, as well as love, and I was scared. Experience will do that to you.
I was about about 2-3 weeks along when I began bleeding. I came out of the bathroom crying and told my husband the news. He ran to my side, held me, and only spoke positive words. I called the doctor and he immediately prescribed me medicine that made the bleeding stop.
Weeks passed and I was still pregnant. I felt numb, and unable to celebrate. My mind raced - What would it be like with a Father involved now? Would he run out and get me ice-cream and pickles like the husbands on TV do? Would he be disgusted by me? This experience would be new to me, and I didn’t know what to expect. After the miscarriage, and everything else I had been through, I needed a lot of support. My husband was there every day, hugging me, telling me I was beautiful and that he was so happy we were having a baby. Seeing the excitement on his face helped me to finally get excited too.
I began adjusting to a new family dynamic. I was pregnant, and tired, and it was not easy. I gave into cravings, with the idea in my head that I could lose it like I had done before. I gained a total of eighty-one pounds, which for me, was pretty good compared to the hundred pounds I gained in my first pregnancy. Having a man to support me during my second pregnancy made me emotionally eat out of happiness. Who knew.
I began to truly understand how I was using food for both sadness and happiness. I ate out of fear, anger, happiness, and love. I was using food again to reveal myself, when all I needed to do was tell my husband how grateful I felt, how excited I was, and how much I loved our family. Being vulnerable was never my strong suit, but I learned during the last trimester of my second pregnancy, that communicating more led to less self-destruction.
In 2016, when our beautiful daughter was born, I stared at her and felt like I was meeting a part of my husband I never knew. She had his blue eyes, and they were wide open. She was ready to see it all. I kissed her milky white arms, and cried with happiness. She had a strength about her that was radiating off her body, and I felt as though she was the one taking the lead. She was strong, beautiful and had dark hair like her brother. I loved her so much already.
I felt much different this time around. I decided to get my placenta encapsulated because people were raving about how good it was for post-partum depression. Well, it worked. I felt energetic, happy, and most of all, balanced. I think my husband had a lot to do with that too.
We took our little bundle of joy home, and introduced her to our son. He took one look at her and instantly fell in love with his new little sister. As they stared at each other, I watched my son’s eyes sparkle, and then well up with tears as he hugged her. He loved her so much already. Seeing them together was truly a dream come true.
The sleepless nights came but she wasn’t crying as much as her brother had. I gave into the bottle way sooner because, like last time, my milk supply was low. I got on my weight-loss journey much sooner too. I even made sure to schedule in date nights for my husband and I, and felt pretty good about how I was balancing my life. I was proud of myself and happy with our growing family. I felt like I really had a handle on things.
About 2.5 months post-baby, I started craving Taco Bell again. I had been on such a good path, and I wondered why these emotional cravings were returning. Turns out, I was pregnant again! (Taco Bell never fails.)
I continued on my journey for baby #3 in shock. I had gone from struggling to have a baby, to “wham-bam-thank-ya-ma’am” pregnant again. I decided this was the pregnancy to try to control my eating (finally). Apparently, third time’s the charm is the running theme in my life. I had a beautiful pregnancy (well, not really-- my pelvis felt shattered) and we had to move to the East Coast for my husband’s job. It was pretty rough. Having no family around, and giving birth in a new city was stressful. But I was determined to push forward because that’s what I do.
In 2017, our second beautiful baby girl was born. I watched them cleaning her off and reached my arms out eager to hold her. They finally brought her over to me and when I looked at her I felt like I was looking at my son all over again. She was his twin. Her skin was tan like his and her hair was dark too, but she was different. She had a calmness to her that I had never experienced in myself. I kissed her cheeks and hair and she snuggled into my neck. I could already tell she was going to be a mama’s girl. I told her I loved her as I held her. I felt totally complete.
I had a few complications after giving birth that I didn’t expect. I had retained placenta. After a long process, they removed it manually. I was okayed then sent home. About three weeks later I didn’t feel right. I went back to the doctor. She reluctantly ordered an ultrasound and found some placenta left inside. I felt pushed aside and not taken seriously, and today I still feel women need more care after giving birth. I had not one, but two D&C’s and this process lasted for the entire six months after giving birth. I felt irritable and hormonal because of this, and I didn’t know how I would ever come back from the horrible feelings. I felt myself slipping into depression again.
I tried being a full-time stay-at-home mom instead of a personal trainer, but I was hit with so many waves of emotions that I broke down daily. I have a whole new respect for stay-at-home moms now. It’s no joke. I remember sitting inside our sun room looking outside at the birds, and just crying. It’s so hard to be still and just hold a child. I talked to my husband and told him I needed to train people again. He was on board, of course. He wanted me to be happy and was glad that I was honest with my feelings. Showing people it is possible to achieve the “impossible” and helping people get to their goals was what I lived for. So, I began with myself. I was now vulnerable, honest about my emotions, and the weight came off even faster than before.
I began to look at all the times in my life when I pushed my feelings aside. I let out all that pent up resentment against myself as I lifted weights. I cried and screamed as I transformed. Weight-lifting became therapy sessions for me. Every workout, old emotions escaped, and were replaced by new positive ones. Every single breath I took during exercise, spread the fire inside of me to the point of no return. This time was the final time, and I got in the best shape of my entire life, mentally, physically and emotionally. I burned my past, and started a new life.
It was vulnerability that truly transformed me. Muscle takes time to build, but if you address new fears that arise, you will never stop transforming. I voiced my feelings every day to myself and others, and I grew stronger physically and emotionally. I even did a photo shoot that I would have never in a million years done before. I became a changed woman inside and out, and I have vulnerability and weight lifting to thank for all of it.
Weightlifting saved me countless times from so many obstacles in life, and I will never turn back. I’ve gained weight, I’ve been depressed, I’ve had medical complications from babies, I’ve felt helpless, hopeless, lonely and lost. I’ve been totally down, but have managed to always pick myself back up. With my dedication to exercise and a healthy family support system, through exercise I was able to overcome my own weaknesses.
My kids are still so young. One is in school and two are in diapers, but the passing time feels like a big blur. My painful memories are long behind me because I took back control over myself and my body. I had some residual body damage, but I did the best I could and I strive to do better. I look at myself now and feel happy. I move quickly with my kids and can lift all three in my arms if I need to. I can roll around on the ground with them, and jump up and down in a living room dance party without pain. I own myself again, and I will never stop being the best I can be. I know I will transform again and again as life goes on, and now I know that if I keep my heart open, and love myself, nothing can stop me ever again.
As a mother of three, I live in the moment. The future will bring what it brings, but if I worry about my past and what the future may bring, I will not stay present. I would have missed my daughter handing me a booger and laughing about it with her siblings when I made a face. I would have missed seeing my son playing hide-and-go-seek with his sisters as they all laughed and ran through the house. These little moments will stay vivid in my mind one day when I’m old and grey, and I will smile, knowing I allowed my heart to see it all.
After a day of lifting, steaming veggies and dancing, I sat in the sunroom with all three kids playing together. I watched my daughter on her toy stethoscope listening to her brother’s heart while their other sister stared back and forth at them, learning and taking it all in. I watched them all giggling, and then ripping toys away from each other causing bitter tears. I let them work it out, as I watched a bird dip down into our driveway and flap her wings as she searched for food. I studied her markings, and watched the shadows dance on her feathers. She took off suddenly and flew to a nearby tree where I noticed a nest. I watched her nestle in tightly, duck down and disappear.
I smiled as I thought about how every mother on Earth just wants happiness and safety for her children. We all want to feel good inside, so that we can be the best mother we can be.
We are more than just moms though--we are women.
We are fearless, smart, strong and brave.
We are still sexy too.
We love endlessly and have room in our hearts for so many. We multi-task.
We wear granny panties sometimes.
We want to feel young forever, but not the kind of young we once were.
We want to be able to complain, but then shake it off, move on, and forget what was ever said.
We want to feel beautiful, but we love sweats and messy buns too.
We want a quick fix, but can also be patient.
We want alone time, but then miss our family.
We want a moment of silence, then worry when it’s silent.
We want to treat ourselves, but then feel guilty about it.
We scream and cry, and then we laugh.
We want a perfect family photo.
But then somebody throws a tantrum.