Postpartum Depression – It’s Real, and Someone You Know Probably Went Through It

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May is National Mental Health Awareness Month – and the one mental health issue that (I feel) has only recently been talked about more, monitored better(ish), and treated is Postpartum Depression.

My goal here at Fit Mom Strong Mom is to bring education, awareness, and support to other moms though my education and experience as a personal trainer…and by sharing other moms’ stories so that you know you are NOT alone.

In this post, four moms share their experiences with PPD – how they recognized it, worked through it, and overcame it.

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“Having a baby changed my life! It made life so much more amazing and happy and full of more love than one could dream of…and yet so much more difficult and sadder than I had ever expected. I knew something was up when I just couldn’t kick the “baby-blues” after the first 2 weeks, not just blue, but sad, but in a way that I was desperate for, something – something I wasn’t sure I even knew what I felt but it sorta felt so heavy and so empty at the same time.   And when I couldn’t bear to put her down, not because she was so cute and cuddly or that she ate every 45 minutes (Every. 45. minutes.), I thought I was doomed for loneliness.  I couldn’t put her down because I was overcome with terror. Terror that something so horribly unspeakable could happen in the .002 seconds it took me to simply change my shirt. I’m not talking her just rolling off the bed, I’m talking about her rolling off onto something that would impale her or she’d land in a way that would break her and an awful image of said brokenness would pop into my head. I knew it was ridiculous but these thoughts just came.

At my 6 week appointment I told my doctor a very, very minor version of what actually went on in my head (it was embarrassing but I also thought all moms had mommy-worry). She sent me to see someone about it. He was typically a drug counselor and I didn’t really get a comforting feeling from him or even felt that he “got it.”  I left after 2 months with the diagnosis of postpartum depression and Seasonal affective disorder (along with OCD/anxiety but I knew that already!). He said to take vacation during winter for the S.A.D and to “think positive thoughts” about the PPD.
Guess what?  It didn’t help. And on our next vacation to the coast (we did stick to the vacation plans!) I was still not a happy person and I could have ruined a great time..or maybe I did. That vacation was one year postpartum and about 1.5 years postpartum I knew something was wrong. It (or I) was affecting our marriage too. Another counselor later, I began to realize there were still things “wrong with me” -hormonal things wrong. My husband began to understand, just as I was beginning to understand, that I wasn’t better and I was a hard person because of the PPD. There were other things in our life affecting my anxiety and PPD and we needed to figure it out and get though it…or else.   So after working on being more of a team, understanding it was something that had to be fixed and I had to understand myself that I had to keep seeing the therapist as an outlet, for over 2 years. I never took meds, I nursed for 2 years and I really didn’t want to compromise that. Talking about it and being open with my husband and myself really helped work though it until my mind and hormones regulated a while after I stopped nursing.
After having the experience we did with PPD I knew it was possible with baby #2. Surprise, surprise, I got it again. This time it was correctly labeled as PP Anxiety. The sadness wasn’t there this time but the horrible possibilities were. Being aware of it helped. Talking openly with my husband helped (communication is not a strong-suit for most men but we had to pull that one out to be better!). Talking with friends helped.  I hope this helps moms realize they’re normal but also getting help is important. I thought I was “normal” but it was seriously affecting my relationships with myself and my husband, and friends. It’s common, but it sill needs to be addressed to move on, living sad or anxious doesn’t have to be your norm even if you’re still normal!”
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“Postpartum depression was something that wasn’t even on my radar when I had my daughter in 2012. I hadn’t heard anyone in my family suffer from it, and very few of my friends had children. I feel incredible guilt looking back… I truly did and do love my Charlie-girl… I just honestly wasn’t myself. My biggest symptom, which I tried to cover up, was just not feeling connected. It’s hard to explain, especially to people that have never had it, but I didn’t cry when she was born, I didn’t get overwhelmed with emotion, I was just kind of numb. In the weeks that passed after I didn’t eat much, didn’t seem to need sleep and was more like a zombie going through the motions. She was colicky, but even that didn’t phase me. I would pace for 5-6 hours at night while she cried at me without shedding a tear myself, even though when my mom first saw how she was at night, she cried. I took the pictures and made the social media posts like my friends did, but I know now how unnatural that felt to me. I hated nursing and stopped a few weeks in, I pretty much rejected all of the normal bonding someone does with their infant. I feel like I had no personality and wasn’t myself, I wasn’t upset to leave her, didn’t mind people holding her, just a shell of my former self getting through the days, waiting for the mail to come and waiting for Ellen to be on T.V.

 

I didn’t know I was suffering at the time, but my mom did, and looking back I can see it too. My husband at the time left for weekends to visit friends when she was weeks old, went golfing instead of coming straight home to us, and eight weeks after she was born I think my mom decided to intervene. She had been doing CrossFit and told me I should give it a try. My former competitive self, a college athlete, liked the idea of getting back into shape. I had a difficult pregnancy and hadn’t worked out the entire time. She paid for my “on-the-ramp” classes and came over to babysit so I could go to the gym. I hated it at first, I am not going to lie, I was sore, I was tired, and I basically couldn’t do anything. But what I can say is that I started to feel more like myself then I had in a long time. I started to see strong women around me and knew I wanted my daughter to look at me and be inspired. Fast-forward to now, 5 years later…. I am divorced and remarried, happier than I have ever been, pregnant again, and even after the stillbirth of my son this past Fall, I feel like I am me. In the past years I focused my attention on training, eating well, and being a good mother and wife. Taking care of myself, before my family, is what makes me a good mother and wife. If I am not well, confident, and healthy, I am first of all not a role model for my daughter, and secondly, won’t be around long enough to see her get married and have children. I want to be there like my mom was for me.”
-Ashley of Mom as Rx
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“I always thought I had a hard first baby.  It took him 5 months to successfully sleep through the night and he never looked back.  Then I had my second son last fall.  He was a different kind of hard.  Not like, “Oh it’s your second kid hard.”  He was impossible.  Screamed all the time, never slept except on us, and is still not sleeping much these days. Those first few months are a blur, and all the while, I had the overwhelming feeling of being unable to cope.  Even days when he was easy, I would feel down and filled with grief.  I talked to many friends and my OB about my feelings and they all suggested I take medicine to just take the edge off of what I was feeling, but I fought it for a long time.  I think as a fitness professional and a self-proclaimed pillar of health, I wanted to be able to just get over it myself.  I thought by talking to a counselor, using essential oils and praying, I would feel better.  It really wasn’t until I realized I didn’t have a good reason to not take medication, that I sought help.   I was worried for the lives of my children and my family.  I didn’t want to live.  I didn’t care about my kids, but I recognized that those were wrong feelings and not a true indication of how I felt deep down.  

I’m currently 7 months postpartum with my second child and still taking medicine.  I don’t always feel 100% back to myself, but this time period also brought out other issues from my past that I hadn’t dealt with.  Overall, I feel better and able to function on a day to day basis.  I’m not as depressed as I felt, and I’m hoping this passes as my son grows.”

-Kelli of My Fit Finish

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After years of trying to conceive, battling infertility, struggling with the unexplained multiple pregnancy loss – seeing another positive pregnancy test wasn’t a completely exhilarating experience. It was scary. I was anxious. I felt a fear of every possible unknown available. Finally seeing a heartbeat that was strong and above 150 the first several OB appointments was easing my mind tremendously. By 18 weeks and time for the gender reveal I still held on to a tiny shred of fear but for the most part I was the ever growing, not so much glowing VERY happy pregnant woman. ( Let’s take time for a bit of honestly- pregnancy was very hard on me and I physically was exhausted and HUGE ) The life inside of me however brought me more joy than I can ever put into words.

Fast forward to birth and bringing our sweet babe home. All that joy was quickly dwindling and while I was so thankful and grateful for this beautiful precious miracle- something inside me felt dark. I became overwhelmed, exhausted, sleep deprived, and just angry with myself for all the things that I felt weren’t going right. I secluded myself to the point where the only time I left the house was to visit Target and Starbucks and generally late at night. “What if someone sees me?” “Will they know that I hate myself?” “Can they tell that I wish I could just die right now?”

It started becoming a daily struggle just to pray and put two feet in front of each other. I was scared to reach out to anyone because in my head, it was just me, I was crazy, and someone would take my sweet baby away from me.

At about 5 month PP I was in the bathroom and holding a razor blade. I wanted to slice straight up to my elbows and just bleed out right there on my bathroom floor, next to the cute whale bathtub. I don’t remember what happened next other than praying God please help me. The next day I told my husband who had no clue what was going on and I reached out to a sweet friend for help. At my doctor visits the following day I was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression – I wasn’t depressed, I didn’t want to harm my child, I was still depressed and had NO IDEA. I had my IUD removed and am currently managing with doctors care, daily sweat sessions, proper nutrition, and lots of sheltering trees.

Today my son looked at me while typing this and said “mama.” The tears are flowing and I am so thankful and grateful for this life and the opportunity to be a fit, strong, mama. If you are feeling a little off and maybe dark – Please, Please, Please reach out to someone!

-Jessica of jessicalazer.com

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Pregnancy Related Depression and Anxiety with expert, Sarah Strong, LMSW

There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding Pregnancy Related Depression and Anxiety (I will refer to it as PRD for ease). PRD is the most common complication of pregnancy and is estimated to effect 1 in 5 women. Although usually referred to as “postpartum depression” mental health professionals recognize a range of pregnancy related mood disorders, with depression and anxiety being the most common. The symptoms may happen during pregnancy or during the postpartum period.
Below are some common statements I hear from my clients as a mental health therapists and my corresponding responses.
Myth: “It’s just the Baby Blues.”
Fact: Baby Blues do effect up to 80% of new moms. With crashing hormones, little sleep, and major life changes we can expect that moms will take a couple of weeks to adjust  (complete adjustment obviously takes much longer, because being a mom is hard!), but if you continue to cry frequently, have little joy with your new baby, have no appetite, feel guilt or hopelessness, have trouble sleeping (that isn’t due to baby waking you up)AFTER 2 WEEKS, it is time to talk to a health care professional.
For pregnancy related anxiety, you will look for symptoms such as constant worry, thinking something bad will happen, inability to sit still, racing thoughts and change in appetite or sleep. Again, consider 2 weeks your gauge here.
*If at any point, even in the first two weeks, you want to harm your baby seek professional support immediately.*
 
Myth; “PRD happens right away. If I feel depressed 6 months postpartum, that’s different.”
 Fact: PRD can happen any time during pregnancy all the way to your baby’s first birthday. If any of these symptoms pop up during this time it is worth being screened.
Myth: “I have a great support network, my baby is healthy, my labor and delivery went great, so I can’t be depressed.” 
Fact: There are risk factors that increase the likelihood that a woman will experience PRD (Traumatic labor and delivery, baby spends time in the NICU, history of depression or anxiety,  poverty, stress, etc.) every woman has some risk of developing PRD. No matter how well your prepare or how supported you are, you can’t control the intense hormone changes related to pregnancy. Your best bet is to be prepared- put the signs and symptoms on your fridge before you ever give birth. Make sure your partner knows he/she can come to you if they are worried.
 
Myth: “I don’t have time to worry about this. I need to take care of my baby.”
Fact: Taking care of yourself IS taking care of your baby. PRD doesn’t just have an impact on Mom, but on the whole family system. Your ability to smile, make eye contact and engage with your baby as well as have the energy to enjoy them and take them out into the world are essential to their development. It isn’t selfish to take a break and seek out resources for yourself, that’s all part of being the mom your baby needs.
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If reading the above myths helped you recognize that you may be struggling with PRD, consider the following approaches to reducing symptoms:
  • Get out of the house and get some sunshine and fresh air! Open the curtains and windows, let light into your home. We all know how easy it is to stay inside all day. Even if you have physical limitations that make it hard to get out, do what you can to being the outdoors inside. Vitamin D and sunshine are truly healing!
  • Find a group. This is important- not any “moms group” will do. If you find yourself spending time with moms who make you feel inferior/alone/ anything bad at all- this does not count. If these are your friends still make time to socialize, but please find a postpartum support group or group connected to a hospital or birthing center where other women are coming with their own doubts and worries.  Some online resources here: http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/tools-for-mom/
  • Eat healthy and move your body if you can.
  • Accept support when it is offered.
  • Be honest with your friends when they ask if you are OK.
  • Consider medication. Another common myth is that there are no approved antidepressants or anti anxiety medications for breastfeeding moms.  There are! Reach out to your OB or midwife and if they aren’t helpful find a psychiatrist. Remember, an OB/Midwife can write a prescription, but a psychiatrist is truly the expert when it comes to these medications.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with postpartum.net, which includes signs and symptoms of PRD as well as resources for family members.  Have these conversations with your partners and support people before the symptoms come up so that they can keep an eye out for any changes and you can get help right away. Remember: you are not alone. You are an awesome mom, you are doing a great job and your baby is lucky to be yours.
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I would like to thank Nicci, Ashley, Kelli, and Jessica for sharing their personal stories and Sarah for her expert information on how to recognize PPD and the steps.

Every pregnancy is different – it’s a good idea to be aware of the signs of PPD prior to pregnancy, and to make sure your partner and friends/family are aware of the symptoms as well, so should you need help, someone can recognize the signs and get you the help you need. NO SHAME – NO EMBARRASSMENT.

If you liked this post and want to stay connected sign up for my Fit Mom Strong Mom mailing list and receive occasional messages of inspiration as well as workouts and recipes for busy moms!

I Thought I was a “Boy Mom” until I had my Daughter

I always wanted to be a “boy” mom. I don’t know if I thought boys were “easier” than girls or if I just feared the attitudes and drama that came along with teenage girls (speaking from experience! Right, mom and dad?) Or maybe it was because I’m not super girly and thought, if I have a daughter what if she likes hair and make up and sparkly dresses and hates sports? (Which now that I think about it, is silly because I am a girl and I was never that way!)

Anytime I saw a woman with 3 sons I always thought – “She is sooo lucky! I would love 3 boys!” It melts my heart when I see men on TV (specifically athletes) say “Hi Mom!” When they are being interviewed or the camera is on them. It’s never “Hi Dad!” “Hi Grandma” Nope…it’s always “Hi Mom!” Something about the relationship between mother and son turns me into a ball of mush…and I am not an overly emotional, soft and sensitive person.

When we got the call from the doctor my first pregnancy letting us know we were “having a boy” I literally jumped off the couch jumping up and down with excitement! I said to my husband “let’s listen to the message again!!!!” YESSS!!! I was having a boy! Thrilled is an understatement.

Fast forward 2 years to when I was pregnant again. This time I thought – ok, my son is smack middle in the toddler phase…and he’s TOUGH…is it because he’s a boy? Or because he’s a toddler? Are all boys like this? Do I really want another boy? Maybe a girl would be ok.

In comes the gender call from the doctor. “It’s a girl!” I’ll admit…I didn’t have the same excited reaction as when we found out we were having my son – but I did cry. Not out of sadness – I wasn’t sad about having a girl – I was ready to hear that.

Then one day I was in the shower and it hit me. “I’m having a girl” what does that mean? It’s bigger than hair and make up and sparkly dresses – it’s more than will she like sports and want to be active. I get to influence her to be strong, confident and independent. I get to teach her she can be and do anything she wants to. She is not the weaker sex, she is not the victim. All of a sudden I felt completely different about being a girl mom. I stopped focusing on the unimportant character traits and started focusing on the important ones…the same ones that would apply to her brother…the same ones that apply to ALL PEOPLE regardless of gender.

Over 3 months have gone by and my heart explodes every single time I look at her. I can NOT imagine life without her. I’m not a “boy mom” or a “girl mom” I’m just “mom” and I’m ok with that.

Coming SOON! The next FREE challenge group for MOMS who just don’t have TIME. Maybe you work full time AND have to “mom.” Maybe you stay at home but you have tiny humans consuming most of your time…all day…everyday. You LOVE being mom, but you need to exercise too or else someone’s gonna get it! (Too dramatic?) Get on the list NOW and be the FIRST to hear when this FREE challenge group launches!

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Healthy Bodies Repair Faster

So, last week I was preparing a salad for my husband to have with his dinner. My mom had given me a mandolin for Christmas a few years ago and I found it to be super helpful and efficient when chopping vegetables. EVERY time I pulled it out to use it I would hear my mom in the back of my head, “be very careful! It’s very, very sharp and you don’t want to cut yourself!”

I bet you can see where I’m going with this.

There I am chopping away at the carrots when, “gasp!” I pull my finger away and look…whew! That was close…I must have just missed….oh, shoot…nope…here comes the blood.

Ok, stay calm..it’s just a cut…run it under water (ouch!), get some paper towels, apply pressure.

3 mins, 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins go by and it’s still bleeding through…let me look again…”OH MY GOD THERE IS A CHUNK MISSING!”

I took a few deep breaths and tried to stay calm. Do I need to go to the ER? No…all they are going to do is clean and wrap up my finger and then charge me a $250 co-pay…I can do this!

A few bandaids, neosporin, and some white medical tape and the bleeding finally stopped.

I was diligent in keeping the cut clean and dry by changing the dressing at least twice a day and used a cleaning spray and neosporin every time.

The healing process AMAZED ME. I was sure I was going to have a hole in my finger for at least a few months. Here it is day 9 and it almost looks normal again!

This got me thinking…the human body is incredible! A nurse friend of mine said to me, “protein is the building blocks of cells, and I know you’ve got that covered. Plus, you’re healthy, so it’s healing nicely.”

You know what…SHE’S RIGHT!

We often equate health with a clothing size or a certain number we see on the scale because that is what the diet industry tells us. But really health means having clear skin from drinking enough water and eating your fruits and vegetables. Health is having strong muscles because you eat quality protein. Health is not smoking, or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or consuming massive amounts of refined sugar.

Tying health directly to vanity and not to how the body functions is what’s wrong with society. If I told you, you could save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars on medical procedures, vanity procedures and products and “quick fix” wraps, pills, and powders…get sick less and heal more quickly if you just ate clean well balanced whole foods, drank water, and moved your body…would you do it?

If you liked this post and want to stay connected sign up for my Fit Mom Strong Mom mailing list and receive occasional messages of inspiration as well as workouts and recipes for busy moms!

From Being Told “You’ll Never Run Again” to Boston Marathoner – One Mom’s Inspiring Come Back Story

Once upon a time I was sitting at my desk at the radio station I worked for as an advertising account executive checking my email….really I was just scrolling through reading subject lines and deleting without opening when all of a sudden one caught my eye.

 

It was from Nike and said something about entering yourself into the lottery for the Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. I thought to myself the only way I would be running a marathon is if I was “lucky” enough to be chosen through a lottery… because I liked to run but I wasn’t THAT crazy. A marathon was 26.2 MILES and the most I ever ran in one shot was MAYBE 5….so, I entered…and 2 months later found out I got picked! Oh $h!t…looks like I better start training!

 

5 months of training – lots of hours hitting the pavement, the trails, the parks – it was tons of hard work and took up lots of time. This was way before kids when I, you know, actually had time to work towards this kind of goal.

This month one of the most well known races will take place – the Boston Marathon – and you can’t just get in with a little luck like me – you need to qualify…and by qualify I mean run fast as hell.

 

First, if I ever wanted to run another marathon again (I don’t) I can’t even imagine running fast enough to ever qualify – but even if I could HOW would I find the time to fit in all the training now being a mom?

 

Well, it just so happens that Fit Mom Strong Mom Ambassador, Steph (mom of 4!)  IS qualified for Boston and has one of the most incredible comeback stories you will ever hear.

 

Steph was a very competitive runner in high school (5:06 miler) and she continued her passion for running into adulthood.

But when she was 6 months pregnant with her 2nd child (son Bodie who’s now 17) she had a near fatal car accident on the way to her 6 month check-up.  Her 5 year old daughter, Paige, was with her, but was not seriously injured.

A driver had run a stop sign and hit their car. Steph injured her back, fractured her pelvis and both hips. She also went into preterm labor, but thankfully the doctors were able to stop it.

 

While she and her son survived, she had a long road ahead of her. Steph had back surgery after the birth of her son and lots of physical therapy. She was also told she would need to hang up her running shoes.
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Steph says, “I am not a quitter and when I was told I could not run again…well, it was devastating. It was just what I needed to prove I could and would run again!”

Since the accident Steph has completed 23 half marathons, 20 full marathons & 4 ultra marathons!

 

I had the opportunity to interview Steph about her upcoming Boston Marathon.

 

FMSM:  When did you qualify for Boston?

Steph: I ran a 3:48 at Mt Charleston marathon & felt pretty defeated. Instead of waiting until next year or maybe giving up,  I applied to run on Kathrine Switzer‘s team – 261 Fearless & I was accepted. She was the first woman to run the Boston marathon, when it was illegal for women to run it. The race director tried to drag her off the course, but she refused to quit. It is the 50th anniversary of that incident & she is 70 years young now…same age as my Mom. I raised $7300 for her charity, Team 261 Fearless that helps women get back on their feet, find confidence, inspiration, support & meets other needs to empower & help them through her running club.

 

FMSM: Being a mom of 4 – how did you find time for training?

Steph: I try & get most of my workouts in while my kiddos are at school, I am a stay home Mom & my Hubby is very supportive. I do my long runs early on Saturdays while they are sleeping or Mondays while they are at school. Life is busy, but I love showing my kids that we Moms can have goals & dreams too.

FMSM: What are you looking forward to most during this race?

Steph: I am most looking forward to the experience of the Boston marathon. I am also very excited about being part of a team of women helping other women find themselves again through running. I am extremely competitive & I always give all I have in a race, but this race is less about a PR & myself and more about something way bigger than my own aspirations. I also can’t wait to give my Momma the medal!

 

FMSM: What is your next fitness goal?

Steph: I am running Big Sur 10 days after Boston. I qualified for the amazing Leadville, Co 100 mile ultra race starting at 10,000 ft elevation & going up the mountain over 36 hours in August.

 

 

If you are a MOM and you like to run it’s time to join the Fit Mom Strong Mom Running Team!

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5 Reasons Why You Ate Like Crap Today

How many times have you made it to the end of the day and thought to yourself, “I ate like complete crap today” but then couldn’t figure out where you went wrong?

Well, I’m here to tell you, you are not alone! Here are the 5 most common reasons for why we eat like crap.

Stress – the big ‘ol elephant in the room. Let’s talk about it. The list of things that stress us out as moms is a mile long…including: Am I producing enough breast milk? Why is my baby still crying? Are we going to be late to xyz appointment…again? What bill is this and why is it so much? Soccer practice is scheduled at the same time as gymnastics and CCD and Girl Scouts?! You get the point. When we are stressed our cortisol levels increase making us crave sugary, fatty foods. When we are stressed we want pizza not salad…we want ice cream not fruit. So, if at the end of the day you are waving the white flag in surrender – accept defeat and move on. You can’t re-do today so let’s focus on tomorrow. New day – clean slate – calories start at 0 again.

Too many carbohydrates – as mentioned above when we are stressed we grab sugary foods – or if we are not prepared carbs are an easy and quick thing to grab: a bagel, a muffin, a pretzel, granola bar, etc. If we’ve gone too long between meals, say if we are working on a project or dealing with the kids – a bowl of cereal is quick and easy and doesn’t require pots and pans and multiple ingredients. When we are hungry and have 5 minutes to ourselves, cereal works just fine. The problem is, when we eat too many carbohydrates- especially on their own- they spike our blood sugar and then after about 20 mins or so we feel hungry again because it then crashes. So what do we do? Go get another handful of pretzels, chips, or grab a donut. The cycle is vicious and can be easily avoided with a little bit of planning.

Not enough protein – I’m talking quality lean meats, eggs, and the vegan/vegetarian complete protein equivalents. A chicken breast has 0 carbohydrates so it will not effect your blood sugar – it digests slowly and keeps you satiated. Chances are after eating a grilled chicken salad you won’t be feeling hungry 20 mins later like after eating a donut.

Didn’t drink enough water – when we don’t consume enough water our body gets confused and thinks we are hungry rather than thursty, so we grab a snack. Drinking water regularly throughout the day will keep the munchies away – a good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150lbs you would drink 75oz of water per day.

Didn’t exercise – most often when we exercise regularly we are making a conscious effort to live a healthy lifestyle – sure there may be a time or two after a 5k or Spartan Race you down a few beers and burger with some friends, but more often than not we will consciously choose to eat the grilled chicken or fish with the veggies and baked potato. Think about a snow or rainy day when you are stuck inside all day. If you don’t have the luxury of having a home gym or some fitness equipment chances are you aren’t getting out of your pajamas all day and will be parked on the couch watching movies and eating appetizers like weiner dogs and pizza bagels. (Confession…I have a home gym and still have chosen the PJ’s and couch option on a snow day!)

So, the next time you make it to the end of the day and wonder “what the hell happened?” run through this list and see if you missed the mark anywhere and then just make an effort the next day to do better. That’s all we can do – what’s done is done so let’s move forward and make tomorrow a better day.

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I’m a Mom and I Crossfit

For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with being strong. When I was a child I never wanted to do push ups on my knees in Karate class (no matter how much I wanted to – I couldn’t let the boys see me as “weak!”) When I did cheerleading I was always the “base” lifting up my teammates overhead (and not because I was one of the “bigger” girls, but because I was strong.)

I had first heard about Crossfit when I was working at a store that sold high end fitness equipment. A guy came in looking for an Olympic bar and started telling me about this new workout he was doing. It sounded like all the things I loved to do already – lift heavy weights, run, gymnastics…but it was still so “new” at the time, that I forgot about it for a few years.

It wasn’t until my husband and I were ready to start trying for our first baby that I decided to join the local Crossfit box. You’re probably wondering, “Why would you sign up for Crossfit when you were trying to get pregnant?” Well, I was SOOOO stressed out by NOT getting pregnant month after month that a friend and client of mine suggested I continue to pursue my goals and when it was the right time I would get pregnant. So, I listened to her – And exactly 1 month after my first Crossfit competition, I found out I was pregnant!

So, while my experience with Crossfit may have happened BEFORE I became a mom, the Fit Mom Strong Mom community is FILLED with moms who do Crossfit…and I wanted to know why they chose that as their workout of choice when there are so many other things out there to do. Here is what they told me:

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“I Crossfit because it makes me stronger all around in everyday life .. I found Crossfit 5 years ago and I am doing things ( push ups pull ups) that I never thought I could . It makes me confident in more ways than one. I am healthier for my 2 babies and I am more well rounded than I have ever been.. Crossfit changed my life!”

Keri, 37 year old mom of 3 – Florida

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“My interest for CrossFit piqued a few years ago. I was about to turn 40 and had completed a year that included nine obstacle course races, a year of at home workouts, trail running, road running and pretty much blindly finding my way through fitness. My husband and I sold our home and were moving into a smaller one with not as much outdoor space. We had to pack up our small at home obstacle course, that the whole family played on every night. I found myself home alone a lot with the kids (since my husband was building our new home nights and weekends, and still is!), and little time or space for at home workouts. My commute time home tripled since our move and I knew I had to do something! I was gaining weight and driving myself crazy. My husband was the one that suggested I join our local CrossFit gym. I was so intimidated, everything I knew about CrossFit seemed impossible!! But, I knew I needed a change. I wanted a change and also a challenge. I wanted to get stronger, but wasn’t sure about the correct way to go about it. I will never forget my first “on-ramp” class. That was a HUGE eye opener and humbling experience. I knew I had a lot of work to do and was finally ready and willing to do it. This May will be my one year anniversary with my box. I plan to be there as long as my body lets me.

The main point I want to get across is this: I no longer care about that damn scale. It doesn’t mean shit. My body is already changing and molding so completely differently than it ever has. What matters is how much stronger I am getting. What matters is hitting PR’s for weight I never dreamed I could hit (with coaches and other athletes cheering me on telling me I can do it!). What matters is the sense of community that happens all around you. Having trained dedicated coaches right there with you through every workout is priceless. You are being watched like a hawk to make sure every move you make is SAFE for your body and skill level.

CrossFit is not for everyone, I thought it was crazy! Until I stepped in and experienced it for myself.”

Jaime, 40 year old mom of 2 – Maine

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“I started CrossFit 3.5 years ago. I had gone to the doctor for being underweight. They did tests and nothing came up so his suggestion was to “eat more bread”. I wasn’t happy with that answer so I started researching myself. The only healthy method I came across over and over again was to put on muscle. Round about the same time, my cousin had posted on Facebook that a CrossFit class just kicked her butt. Super curious, I looked it up and was instantly intrigued. I had some weights and started following Main site with substitutions where I could and gathered more equipment. Worried about my form, I signed up for an OnRamp course. I finished the instruction but got sick before I could finish the intro weeks. Come to find out, I have a sensitivity to FODMAPs. I wasn’t able to join again between the cost and hiring a sitter at 5:15 in the morning. Instead my dad built me a squat rack and now I dutifully write my own WODs over two week periods following the template and added in Starting Strength to increase my strength even more. I went from 134 pounds to 156, healthy weight gain. It’s not a dramatic story of any kind, but it’s a top priority in my life and I don’t know what kind of person I’d be without it. I’ve simultaneously started a business and will pitch my plan to a bank within the year. I wouldn’t have the confidence to do that without making it through some of the mind shit you hit when you’re under a bar or 10 sprints in or 5 more rounds to go. It’s powerful.”

Carolyn, 36 year old mom of 3- Nebraska

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“I have been an athlete and a lover of fitness my entire life. High school and college athlete turned personal trainer and engulfed in a career in the industry. From machines. To kettlebells. To half marathons. To strength training. My phases and crazes within fitness have always changed.

A year of massive changes (Divorce. Moving. Career change) my fitness needed a change too. I needed more social interaction. Motivation. Fun. And a community. I was bored working out alone. Had no drive. Or goals.

I knew I would love crossfit but was nervous I wouldn’t go often enough or try. BOY WAS I WRONG. Since the day I joined I go a minimum of 5 days a week. Met some amazing friends. Learned so much. Gained strength. Opened my eyes to an endless amount of Goals to reach.

It has satisfied my need for change and busted through my plateaus. Encouraged me to set big goals. Allowed me to meet more woman. More moms. More single moms like myself. It’s an amazing community….  A FAMILY. that I wish I had been a part of sooner.”

Jaime, 36 year old mom of 1 – Massachusetts 

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“I am a 33 year old mother of 3 (Brandon 8, Natalie 6 & Derrick 4).  My husband, Byron introduced me to Crossfit just over 2 years ago.  I was looking for a different fitness program.  I had previously belonged to a traditional gym with machines and free weights, but I often didn’t know what to do and it was difficult to get there regularly.  I had also tried DVD programs at home which was great because I could do them almost anytime but I was bored easily.  I also tried to run a few days a week but I have never found a love for running.  So Byron invited me to a bring a friend fundraiser at Crossfit Apex where he had been attending classes and we completed a partner WOD together.  I loved it!  Crossfit has taught me to focus on what my body can do instead of how it looks.  I am much less concerned about my body weight and more concerned about lifting more weight and learning more difficult skills.  The sense of community at Apex is exceptional!  There is support from all of the members and the last athlete to finish receives the loudest cheers.  We all push one another to be better athletes.  Our box also offers a family atmosphere.  Byron & I can work out together while our children attend kids or tots class.  I love tackling a WOD side by side with my husband.  He always pushes me to improve and he reminds me of how much I’ve accomplished. In addition to Byron and I enjoying Crossfit, our kids love it too and they enjoy cheering us on.  Being a positive example to them is so important to me.  I’m especially proud to be raising a daughter who is learning the importance of finding her strength, building her skills and living a healthy lifestyle.”

Melissa, 33 year old mom of 3 – Pennsylvania

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“I do CrossFit because it makes me feel more like myself. I am competitive by nature, hard-working, I love a challenge and am never satisfied if there is room for improvement. CrossFit allows me to take the time, in an hour or less, to feel all of those things and re-center myself. I come out less stressed and feel like I can be a better parent. It is only one hour- something I can justify I deserve away from my family and job- where improvement can happen physically if you work hard enough. I do CrossFit because I want my daughter to see that women can be what they want and who they want and don’t need to depend on anyone. I am strong enough to carry in all the groceries and my child. I am mentally stronger and more confident after what I have done in the gym. I wear my muscle and callused hands with pride. To be competitive in the sport it is a lifestyle- I love that she wants to help me in the kitchen and knows that food does not come from a box. I love that she wants to be “strong like mommy” and comments that she can tell boys from girls because “girls lift” breaking all the clichés and boundaries I don’t want placed on her. Even on my worst day looks at me like the greatest hero in the world and I don’t want her hero to ever quit.”

Ashley, 32 year old mom of 1 (and 1 on the way!) – Michigan

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In late 2015, I was almost two years postpartum.  I went to a friend’s wedding and felt glamorous.  When my friend sent me the pictures from her wedding, I hardly recognized myself.  I was at least twice as big as I thought I was and felt I was.  It was the moment I decided to change my life.  I started slowing with yoga to stretch out muscles that hadn’t been used in a long time and to try to get some core stability – something my c-section had taken away completely.  

After I lost 20 pounds, I needed more.  I decided to try a local gym that did nothing for me.  The day after my trial, a patient walked into my chiropractic office and told me she owned a CrossFit gym and to come check it out.  I was PETRIFIED.  I follow enough people on social media to see how hard and challenging CrossFit was.  I eventually called her and went to my first class March 28, 2016.  I WAS HOOKED.  

Every workout is different.  We work our entire bodies the whole workout.  It incorporates weights and cardio – which is a great combination for weight loss and overall health.  I also love that all workouts can be modified for whatever level of fitness you are at.  Over time, all the people I envied as I watched them workout, became my friends.  I love going to the gym and seeing my people – the ones that never make me feel less than, encourage me, and push me to do things I didn’t think my body could do any more.  

Since I joined CrossFit, I have lost an additional 40+ pounds, gained muscle, made new friends, and most importantly made myself healthier to be a better mom and role model to my little girl.

Kerry, 35 year old mom of 1 – New Jersey

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“I started attending the bootcamps at the Crossfit box because I liked the class atmosphere and having a coach to give me instruction and motivation.  Then I got intrigued with the weightlifting part and decided to sign up for Crossfit.  The workouts were extremely challenging in the beginning and it made me doubt if I can do them.  But over time with the coaching and encouragement from my coach and friends I made at the box, I began to develop mental toughness and believe that I can.  I never felt judged when I am unable to do certain movements.  No one compares with each other because each one of us is putting out their best effort.  I thrive on the high fives, the cheers, and the look of pride from my coach even when I am sometimes the last one still doing burpees or the last to arrive back from a 400m run.  I feel a sense of accomplishment after completing the WOD and it’s great to achieve a new PR.  

Crossfit challenged me and pushed me to surpass goals in fitness I never thought possible.  It’s great to be in a positive environment where the motivation is to be better, healthier, and stronger for life.”

Rose, 53 year old mom of 2 – California

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Last Friday night, as do many CrossFit boxes around the world, I gathered with my community of athletes to complete the 17.3 Open workout. I brought my two kids along, and they happily skipped off to the back room to play with the small group of other kids whose parents had also dragged them along to watch. As a coach, I spent the first half of the evening judging other athletes as they challenged themselves through the pull ups and snatches. I watched as two women who, before that night, had never snatched more than an empty 35 pound bar both achieve a 65 pound snatch. I reveled in the looks of joy and excitement on their faces, cheering them on. Out of the corner of my eye, I also watched my daughter, who had made her way to the front gym. But she wasn’t watching the athletes, absorbing this feat of female strength. She was stacking foam rollers and playing with a bucket of mobility balls.

I dream about going to a CrossFit competition or Open workout and having my kids enthralled by the action, watching me work out. I want us to be captured in that moment as I swing from the pull up bar and they are there behind me cheering. But by the time I was prepping to complete 17.3 myself, my son had found my cell phone and was off playing a video game, and my daughter was wandering around the gym looking like she might pass out from boredom. She did wander over to me as I completed my second round of pull ups, but quickly moved on when she discovered the whiteboards and dry erase markers on the wall behind her. I know the day will come once they grow a little older and slightly longer attention spans (they are only 6 and 4) when they will sit and watch me. But making sure they watch me workout is not really why I CrossFit. I CrossFit because of the daily work you have to put in. Because sometimes I fail miserably at it. Because it’s not easy. Because it makes me strong. Because it empowers me. Because it brings me self-confidence and self-efficacy for doing things I never thought I could do before. And those things, ultimately, are what I want to teach my children, even if they never actually watch me do it.

Heidi, 36 year old mom of 2 – Minnesota 

If you are looking for an online community of fit moms, where there is no judgement, tons of encouragement, and a bunch of fitness professionals at your disposal to answer your health & fitness related questions I encourage you to join the private Fit Mom Strong Mom Ambassador group on Facebook. (Sorry…just moms and moms to be…no dudes!)

Coming SOON! The next FREE challenge group for MOMS who just don’t have TIME. Maybe you work full time AND have to “mom.” Maybe you stay at home but you have tiny humans consuming most of your time…all day…everyday. You LOVE being mom, but you need to exercise too or else someone’s gonna get it! (Too dramatic?) Get on the list NOW and be the FIRST to hear when this FREE challenge group launches!

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A little about YOU – check all that apply


What Pregnancy is Not

Whether it’s your first time or fourth time being pregnant, hormones can really take a toll. From mood swings to cravings to other weird and unusual things happening to our bodies – it’s sometimes a challenging place to be. It is a wonderful miracle, for sure, but fit mommas, please take into consideration the following:

Pregnancy is not the time to punish ourselves for eating too much or eating the “wrong things.” Yes, we only need to increase our caloric intake by 300 calories, but if we happen to go over that (because lets be honest actually counting calories is daunting and stresses us out, right?) don’t fret. No, we don’t need to go “burn it off” at the gym.

Speaking of the gym – Pregnancy is not the time to try and set new PRs in our lifts. Yes, we CAN continue to workout and lift weights – yes we CAN even lift pretty heavy – but remember we have a baby growing inside of us – there are a lot of new stresses put on our bodies, both mentally and physically, not to mention the increased hormone “relaxin” which is needed to help our bodies change and adjust for the growing baby and allow our pelvis to move for childbirth – but it also makes our joints and ligaments loose and less stable which can cause us to feel less balanced and at an increased risk for injury. Loose joints isn’t our only new issue but our center of gravity changes as our bellies grow.

RadiaShield -Belly Armor

Pregnancy is also not the time to compare ourselves to other pregnant moms – not every pregnancy is the same – not everyone shares the same genetics – so if we are only 3 months pregnant but look 6 months pregnant and “Insta-mom” who we follow on Social Media is 6 months pregnant but only looks 3 months – SO WHAT! Pregnancy isn’t a physique competition – so if we find ourselves comparing to other moms we vow to stay off of social media!

Pregnancy is a time for us to get to know our bodies. It is a time to tap into our emotions (that we might otherwise suppress) because even if we don’t want to,
we will cry – and it will be over silly things – and it’s ok.

Pregnancy is also a time to connect with our partner – to open up and communicate and include them in the process.

Pregnancy is a great time to make new friends – other ladies who are going through the same thing – we all understand the good, the bad, and the ugly. Having that support team is priceless!

Buckle up and enjoy the ride because pregnancy is definitely an adventure, and sometimes even with the best “directions” we get lost. Have no fear, the final destination is worth the detours to get there!

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2 weeks Postpartum and 2lbs Below Pre-pregnancy weight – What's the Secret?

I said to my husband the other day, “I don’t know if it’s just because I had a big belly for so long, or what. But, pregnancy makes me really skinny afterwards.”

It’s true. The same thing happened after my son was born. Not just do I lose my belly because the baby is now out vs. in – but even my legs and arms are smaller. 

Now, before you roll your eyes so hard they pop out of your head or gather the townspeople with your pitch forks and fire to crucify me, hear me out.

The secret to getting back into your pre-pregnancy jeans in 2 weeks is that THERE IS NO SECRET. Are there things you can do to have a healthy pregnancy and faster postpartum recovery? Yes. Does that mean everyone is going to have the same experience? No. 

And let’s be clear – just because I am under pre-pregnancy weight and back in normal clothes doesn’t mean I am “healed” from pregnancy. I don’t have a “6 pack” (didn’t have that before anyway) and my stomach is still mushy. My body doesn’t look the same, even though the number on the scale says I weigh less than before. The number on the scale or the clothes you are able to wear again is NOT an indication of anything….just like when you are not pregnant. The number on the scale and on the tag in your jeans means nothing except your “body’s relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it.”

There are many reasons why some people take longer to “bounce back” to their pre baby bodies – some reasons of which might be out of your control. For instance, if you are considered a high risk pregnancy and your doctor puts you on bed rest – you must REST – if you end up having a c-section you will likely retain more fluids and carry around more weight post delivery. If you got pregnant and were already 10lbs, 15lbs, or more over weight you most likely won’t get back into those “skinny” jeans right away. 

Now let’s talk about what you CAN do in a effort to have a “quick” postpartum recovery:

1) If you are planning to become pregnant, it is a good idea (before conception) to get yourself to a healthy weight for your body – in other words a number your body feels most comfortable at and is easy to maintain without calorie restriction. (That number will be different for everyone based on what body type you have.)

2) Get into a regular workout routine, before getting pregnant, so you can get your body used to exercise so you can continue to workout at a fairly good intensity through out pregnancy (of course sometimes there will be exceptions and always make sure your doctor clears you first)

3) Eat as balanced a diet as you can during pregnancy. This one is easier said than done since there are often cravings or food aversions due to our hormones. Try your best not to gain over the 30 pounds additional that is recommended during pregnancy (this is the general “rule” for a single pregnancy; not if you are carrying multiples.) 

And finally, just remember – it’s not a race on getting your body back to pre-pregnancy shape. Your baby won’t care if you can fit back into your size “whatever” jeans – so, take the time to properly heal your body, practice self care and give your baby the attention he/she needs right now. 

How Amazon Prime, Pantry, Fresh, and Subscribe & Save Changed my Life!


As a recent mom of two, the idea of packing up and newborn and toddler and trekking out to the store alone for a few essentials, like diapers or bananas – scares me. I’m sure I can’t remain homebound forever…but until then, there’s Amazon…and I am in love!

It all started a few years ago with Amazon Prime. Someone recommended the service to us and we thought we’d give it a try. For just $99 a year you can benefit by getting free 2 day shipping on hundreds of items! We have used this for everything from household items to unique/specialty items, to full blown Christmas shopping (that’s right, no lines, parking, or nasty people to deal with at the mall!) 

Prime also come with tons of movies and videos, sort of like Netflix -and with a toddler who watches Sesame Street on loop this is a lifesaver! We use this app on our Roku everyday – and if it buys me 20 minutes of sanity, that could be the difference between this mom losing her sh*t and remaining calm!

Then my sister told me about this amazing thing on Amazon called Subscribe & Save. GAME CHANGER! In our house we are creatures of habit. We like what we like and very rarely switch or try new or different brands. This actually makes shopping pretty easy for us since we get literally the same stuff ALL – THE – TIME. I have a number of items in my Subscribe & Save account shipped to me either monthly, every other month or quarterly including diapers, wipes, face wash, face lotion, dishwasher soap, etc. I researched my items to price compare first and many are the same or cheaper than from Walmart – and I DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE MY HOUSE!

Amazon Pantry is also great for items I just need once in a while or can’t get on Subscribe & Save. There is a $5.99 flat delivery fee – however if you add 5 “qualifying” pantry items to your box you can avoid that $5.99 and get free shipping. This is the option I go with, so I make sure I go around the house making note of what we need or will be running out of shortly so I’m not just buying random stuff to avoid the $5.99 fee. 

Finally, and the most fun is Amazon Fresh! (I learned that this service isn’t offered in all areas so check your zip code) I am soooo thankful for this service. It’s sort of like “pea pod” or other grocery delivery services, where fresh food is delivered right to your front door. The first 30 days are free and then the service is $14.99 a month after that…and as long as you spend more than $40 you don’t incur any additional shipping fees. ($40 is sooo easy to do anyway.) I placed my first order at 10am on a Thursday and had it on my door step by 9am the next day! You can get fresh fruit, veggies, meats, eggs, dairy, shelf stable items and frozen items. It’s not just limited to food either, you can get household items as well! My biggest reason why I haven’t tried the at home grocery delivery service before was because I wanted to pick out my own produce and meats – but everything came perfect! For some, the $14.99 monthly fee may seem excessive, but if it allows me to avoid possible meltdowns in the middle of a shopping trip with my newborn and toddler,I will gladly pay that. 

Have you subscribed to any of these services? What do you think? How was your experience?

*Disclaimer: I have included my referral link to Amazon. You receive $5 off your first order using the Amazon App and I receive $5 for every person who places an order using my link. All experiences and opinions above are my own and were not influenced by this referral reimbursement

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