Letting go and delegating were some of the biggest learning experiences I faced during my pregnancy. When I fell pregnant I had so many people tell me that I was going to find a whole new meaning to what feeling exhausted was and what busy really meant but after our sons arrival the biggest change I needed to adjust too was my expectations of my time and ability to get things done at the rate I was used to operating AND my perception of how I was able to fulfil my values was also challenged.
Before our son arrived earth side I already knew the feeling of exhaustion and a busy life from running and meeting the demands of a growing business and developing myself personally and professionally.
I enjoyed pregnancy until the final weeks when I was super uncomfortable, I loved learning about our baby’s development and what I needed to eat more of or supplement with, to make sure I was getting in and absorbing the vitamins and minerals that would be best for our baby as he grew, but I wasn’t really that maternal, or overly clucky for that matter.
One thing that caught me by surprise though was the massive values shift I experienced after having our son. It wasn’t so much that they had changed, it was more about adjusting from the way I used to live by them so that I felt I was still filling my cup in all aspects I needed.
In the 6 years prior to motherhood, my life had become perfect in every so becoming a mum was life changing in a way I did not expect. My heart was captured and completely smitten over our little boy and I suddenly didn’t have the passion to return to work as a personal trainer. As a result, the way I fulfilled my values had to change a little.
I was so used to spending hours upon hours studying, signing up for any course that interested me and sitting up the front to take in all I could from the learning experience. I worked until late at night and got up early to get a head start again. I really immersed myself in the lifestyle that allowed me to deeply invest in my career and the business we set up, Assist Personal Training, running our own private training studio in Lilydale. We were in our first year of a very in depth mentoring program that included 5 x five day seminars each year plus monthly coaching sessions. My due date happened to fall on day 3 of the final seminar for 2016. I spent the entire 9 months desperately hoping I’d deliver before the seminar or after it, but not any time during those five days, but that wasn’t meant to be. My boy had other plans!
At my 39 week appointment (the day before our final 5 day seminar for the year would begin), my obstetrician became concerned that I was now presenting with more symptoms and diagnosed me with mild preeclampsia. He booked me in for an induction the following morning. I was scared and upset because I was losing the opportunity to experience labour naturally and I wanted to reduce the odds of a c section but I was also upset because my induction was being booked in on the day the fifth seminar would begin, meaning it was now a definite that I would miss the entire thing. This particular seminar was with Dr Andrew Lock, I had been looking forward to it for an entire year and it was now going to clash with me giving birth in a way I had not planned.
I tried to reason with my husband we could spend the early part of my labour out in the park across the road walking about and could just sneak off and catch a taxi down the road to where the seminar was being held after they got the ball rolling, and I could labour quietly up the back until I needed to return to the hospital! ???????????? I realise how stupid and ridiculous this sounds now and why he thought I had gone crazy, but at the time, I was 100% serious. So many values were being challenged – freedom, empowerment, knowledge. I had to surrender.
Above: On the left, in hospital the night before I was induced feeling powerless vs a couple of photos of me over the last few days (a few months later) still fulfilling my values and feeling richer than ever.
You might be thinking, how ungrateful was that girl on the left. She’s about to become a mum, she’s about to meet her baby for the very first time and all she’s worried about is missing a seminar and being in hospital surrounded by a team of professionals to make sure her and her babies health are looked after. It wasn’t a matter of being ungrateful though, it was a matter of extreme fear and my values being challenged, the fear of them no longer being able to be met in the ways I knew how. And above all, this was a moment I was facing where I wanted and needed all the strength, power and positivity around me so I could bring our baby into the world with the natural birth I wanted for us both.
I felt challenged because I felt I had been forced into a situation that tested my ability to be empowered. I had to hand over a portion of my bodies power to the hospital to get labour started artificially and powerless because i had an opportunity to learn from leaders I respect and learning and passing on knowledge is a part of my identity. However, I had no idea what I was in for in the hours that followed that morning and even less of an idea how motherhood was about to change my world!
Something I began preparing for during my pregnancy was my role in the business and how it had to change. I needed to delegate, let go and step back, which is really hard when you’re a control freak but as my mentor told me during that time of transition, my baby was growing up and it was at a point where it didn’t need me mothering it anymore. He was right. Nothing fell apart, not even after my right hand admin girl had to leave after landing herself an awesome job opportunity with Collingwood Football Club. When our son was 11 weeks old I stepped back into the business as needed and things kept flowing.
One of the big things I did this year was I dropped my expectations and allowed myself permission to take my foot off the accelerator.
The high expectations I had for myself to keep wearing all my business hats as the manager, the marketer, the sales person, the accounts person, the admin person, the student, the coach, even personally with my own training, with housework and the rest. I also lowered my expectations of my turn around time to get things done, allowing myself the chance to step up and become more like the Mum and wife I wanted to be. What used to take me a couple of hours began taking me a couple of weeks to do, but accepting that made it ok. I went from all things being urgent and needing immediate attention to getting up earlier or going to bed later for anything urgent and the rest, well that would take as long as it needed to take now. I also had to reflect and recognise how my values were still being fulfilled now but in very different ways.
On a personal level though, I still needed to keep doing something for me outside motherhood, something that empowered me and challenged me to keep growing.
So I re-signed for a second year of personal training business mentoring, which was full of professional and personal development, training days and fortnightly one on one coaching calls. I was so used to saying yes to opportunities like that that I had failed to take into consideration how I would even attend all of the five of the five day seminars this year with a baby and actually get anything out of now. What also made it challenging was that each time we had a seminar to attend, our son was in a different leap too. His needs and behaviours were different so I never really knew what to expect by the time the next seminar came around. Just as I thought I had worked him out, he’d change! I attended the first seminar when he was just 6 weeks old. It was the easiest one of all to be honest as all he did then was feed and sleep. But from a learning perspective, I could no longer sit centre and front row to take everything in and I couldn’t hold my baby up the back and take thorough notes at the same time. So we decided for the next seminar that we would see if my mum was able to help out for a few of the five days. Seminar number two kicked off when our son was 15 weeks old and seminar three when he was almost 6 months old.
It was these ones that I remember being particularly hard as he didn’t travel well around that age and our trips in and out were an hour each way in traffic. There were plenty of tears on our trips home from the third seminar, lots of me hovering over his seat singing songs to comfort him, lots of stopping, parked in the side streets so I could feed or comfort him until we got home when he could be in my arms for as long as he needed. Yesterday I watched another amazing Mum try to take in her final day of the 12 month program, with her 5 month old little girl in her arms and on her own on this particular day. I looked at her and I saw myself back at the first seminar I attended this year, except I wasn’t 100% on my own, I had my husband there with me on all days too. We had done a little share that day giving a shout out to someone in the room. Her shout out was to me and through tears she thanked me for inspiring her and I honestly wasn’t expecting it. I think it was because as Mums, we don’t look at ourselves personally as inspiring, we just do what we need to do to survive and get by and we are good at playing down the effort we make too. On the flip side, I spent the year observing the same Mum that was observing me and I was taken back why this amazing Mumma was thanking me because she looked like she was blitzing this Mum business. Seeing her train right up to her final days before giving birth, running her own business, building a team of trainers and then also returning to training and lifting heavy not long after her baby arrived was inspiring!
And that’s when I realised that Motherhood itself was not slowing down my growth but rather helping me grow in ways I never had the opportunity to do before.
Motherhood is so rewarding and challenging but it also gives us the ability to look at the way we live our lives with a different perception. Hormones and lack of sleep can really play havoc on our emotions and wellbeing so it’s really important to recognise how our values are still being fulfilled now but in very different ways.
It’s been a massive 12 months of change for me. Our children really do become our greatest teachers and I’m so incredibly grateful for this amazing year and all it’s taught me and is still teaching me.
As a Mum and working with lots of Mums, I truly believe it’s really important that we don’t lose ourselves in this important role we have of raising children. Setting some time aside for yourself is incredibly important not only for your health and happiness but also that of your family too.
It can be hard to do as our babies are only babies for a short while but taking that time out to fill your cup is vital during motherhood. I don’t write a lot about living a healthy lifestyle. If you want to see future articles, like my page and keep in touch there.