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Unstoppable

Unstoppable. This year I decided to do something new, and instead of writing out a list of resolutions, I chose a word. Unstoppable. If you asked me 22 months ago if unstoppable would ever be a word I would describe myself with, it would be a no.

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22 months ago, I had just given birth to the most beautiful baby boy. I had done all the right things for the past 9 months. I took my prenatal vitamins, ate all {mostly} the right foods that all the healthy bloggers had recommended, read all the books, and made sure his little room was perfectly set and ready for him. I was so happy! They put this sweet little squishy thing in my arms and just like that I was a mom! The next 2 days of bliss in the hospital were wonderful! Nurses just a button away, meals brought to me 3 times a day, and just taking every moment to relax and bond with baby.

Then just like that they let me out on the streets {And not just any streets, New York City Streets!} with this tiny little thing without a shield, or a bubble, or any protection but me. I cried the entire way home (thanks hormones) and stepped across the boundaries of our apartment, not prepared for what the next several months had in store for me.

My milk didn’t come in, so the sweet baby in the hospital just began to cluster feed…Sucking at my cracked and bleeding nipples for 45 min every 30 min. Then because he couldn’t get enough to eat, he would cry….and cry and cry. Something else that had come to light once I was away from the sweet glow of the new baby in the hospital, was the 4th degree tear that happened to my nether region when I got too cocky and pushed my son out in 3 pushes. (Yes, it was my first child, Yes, I only pushed 3 times, and NO, I had no idea so much damage could be done when doing this. I just thought I was being awesome) YIKES. To put it lightly, everything hurt.

I couldn’t walk to the bathroom without crying, and in order to get my milk to come in my Dr. recommended drinking 150oz of water a day, which will make you pee a LOT!! My husband kept trying to get me to leave the house to walk, and the idea of that was so painful, I would just cry… I had postpartum depression and anxiety and the thought of my baby being stolen by ISIS was so real I would spend time awake crying. My sweet baby didn’t sleep longer than two hours at a time at night, then be nursing for 45 min, so I would only sleep for about an hour and 15 min at a time, and that would make me cry. So needless to say, there was a lot of crying in my house those first few weeks.

On top of that, I thought I had just made the biggest mistake of my life. Because of all the pain, I had a very hard time connecting to this sweet little nugget that had entered my life. He just needed my love and attention, but I felt I was giving and giving and giving, MY WHOLE SELF, and it wasn’t enough. People kept saying things like, “it’s tough, but don’t you just love them so much??” Yes, of course I loved my baby, or else I wouldn’t have done all I did. BUT, what about me? What about the girl I was, and my needs and my wants. They seemed invalid all of a sudden. When you become a mom, do you really lose who you are? Does everything you worked to become just disappear and in one instant, you must become someone else? All those women on social media make it look so simple. So easy…. I was a mess. A hot mess who couldn’t control the fluids in my body. My nipples would leak uncontrollably when Liam would cry, and then I would be in full distress about the fact that I was wasting precious milk. I had many “peed my pants” moments because my bottom half was destroyed. (and when I say peed my pants, I mean serious emptying of the bladder… not just a small leak…)

But then once we finally got into a routine and I felt like I was getting a hang of this mom thing, (I had my baby sleep trained to fall asleep on his own at 2 months!) my husband got a job…across the country. We were moving with a three-month-old from NYCà LA. Crazy? Maybe. (Definitely) 3 weeks later we were packed up and on our road trip to the other end of the states. (We thought it was the best idea to drive… it wasn’t… if you have ever been hanging over your child’s car seat trying to shove your engorged boob in their face to eat, with their sweet little head being too small to lean forward and reach it and they are screaming as they stretch their necks out to get their dinner- AND your husband is screaming at you from the front seat to get the baby to quiet down because we are in the last stretch of an 8 hour drive and he has a headache and is trying to listen to the gps, you will know what I am talking about. If this has never happened to you, you really are missing out *she says as she laughs out loud writing this from her couch*

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WE MADE IT TO LA

And I was in a very dark place. We didn’t have any family out here. I had a few college friends, but no mom friends, and I didn’t know the community. I felt so lost in all areas of my life.

I was a dancer, and performer, and in great shape. Now? I was about 40 pounds heavier than I was comfortable being and felt so awkward in my skin. Every time I looked in the mirror, my heart would break. Is that really me?

I knew who I was in New York, I knew what my days and weeks looked like. I knew that I was Rhiannon, the girl who got her mani/pedi every 3 weeks and went on auditions and performed in concerts and shows. I got up and got ready in a cute dress with my makeup done and my hair flawlessly bouncing as I speed walked my way through the city streets.

I loved to read, and listen to music, and cook! I loved spending hours cooking a delicious meal. I would spend days creating a beautiful craft project, and I knew my way around a sewing machine and hand made a lot of the blankets and decorations in our home.

After having my little dude, I didn’t like anything. I didn’t want to get dressed. I didn’t want music. I didn’t want to read, or make crafts, or least of all cook. I sat in my house and just tried to pass the days. Binge watching TV while trying to unpack all of our belongings in an apartment that didn’t feel like home. In a new city that felt so foreign.

I met a wonderful woman when we first moved to LA. We rented her Air BNB. I chose her specifically because she was a young mom and I knew that she may know about some of the mom happenings here in LA. She told me about MOMS Club. But I’ll be honest… It took me 3 months to finally go because I was so nervous to put myself out in public in the crazy state I was in.

But here I could be anyone, right? I could be the brave girl who would go and meet new moms and put myself out there, and no one would know that I was actually a sad, scared new mom. (I thought I was so alone… Thank goodness for our village, right??)

While I was there I met Jessica. She invited me to this workout she taught called Stroller Strides. She invited me multiple times, but I didn’t go until it was a free class she was offering for MOMS Club. I still felt so weird looking in the mirror at myself, and I knew I wanted to do something to change that, and I was on this new “bravery” kick that I thought, Why not?

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I went to class. It was AWFUL. I couldn’t jump, it was painful, and I had diastasis recti (ab separation) so I had to make every modification. I was looking at all the other moms and they were AMAZING!! They were all so strong and so beautiful and nursing their babies while working out!! Way cooler and stronger and more awesome than me. “I’m not coming back” I literally said in my head as I was getting ready to leave.

“SO, when will I see you again?” Jessica asked me cheerfully as I was walking out. Oh crap… She caught me! Why can’t I just fly under the radar and go away and dissolve into the ground and disappear!?! “Um, I don’t know… but I can try to come next week maybe?” I said trying to sound kind of convincing. Anyway, I told her that I had to ask my husband about the pricing. I didn’t ask him because I knew it would be just a waste of money. But this amazing woman kept on me. Finally, I talked to my dear husband and convinced him I needed a 10-class pass, thinking I would use one or two classes and be done with it. Then he and I would get in a fight about the money I had wasted, and that would be the end of that!

But something else happened. Something I never expected. I went to my next class, had a bit of a break down in class, and a mom approached me and said, “I totally get it Mama!”, and another mom said, “It’s the worst! Being a mom is so hard!”, and Jessica said “You got this Mama, I believe in you”

Those were the magic words that changed my life.

I BELIEVE IN YOU

I didn’t have the strength to believe in myself at that moment. But someone was strong enough to believe in me for me. She believed in me so much, that I wanted to do everything I could to not let her down. And I worked hard!

I started going 2, then 3, then 5 days a week. I made friends and then wanted to show up to hang out with all of my friends and laugh about the ridiculous things that happen when you are a mom! (like peeing when you do tuck jumps!)

Something else amazing happened. I no longer worried about my weight and my body. I was feeling great and energized and getting so strong! So strong in fact, that I was able to do things I never believed I would be able to do. Once I stopped nursing, the crazy hormones left my body, and I started seeing huge changes. What I was feeling started to match how I looked! I didn’t care what the number on the scale said, because going by numbers the dr. thinks I still have weight to lose, but when I look in the mirror and see the definition in my arms and legs and feel like the I could do anything, THAT is what became most important to me.

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Then one day in the fall, I got a call from Kat. She asked if I wanted to teach Stroller Strides. TEACH??? ME???? Are you sure??? She was so excited about it and felt like I was the right person for the job. She believed in me. I took some time to think about it. This was a big job. My Instructor changed the entire direction of the course of my life! How could I be there like that for the other Moms?? The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. I believe so strongly in every mom I work out with, and they challenge me every day to be the best I can be. Why wouldn’t I want to do that for them? I said yes.

A few months later I hit my one-year mark. On that day, I weighed in and I had lost 30 pounds and 4 sizes. I felt so strong and so happy. And guess what else? I had found myself! I was Rhiannon, Liam’s Mom. I wake up every day and head to Stroller Strides. Then we hang out with our friends. I love coffee, working out, fun music with a great driving beat. I love to read even if I don’t have as much time as I want to do so. I have so many wonderful friends, and we all get it. The good days and the bad. And we cheer each other on through it all. I love laughing and stupid puns. {dad jokes are my fave!} And best of all I am so SO happy.

We are all in this together, and it’s so nice to have a group of women who you can be real and authentic with. You can celebrate the achievements (baby sleeping through the night!) and mourn the losses together. (spilling that entire 8oz bottle of freshly pumped breast milk) We are there for each other through the funny stuff and there for the real tough stuff. We listen on the venting days, laugh on the silly days, and we hold each other up on the worst days.

I love my FIT4MOM family more that I can put into words. I can’t be more grateful to the strong women who believed in me. And now, I feel strong enough to believe in every woman that I am lucky enough to see every week. It took me a while to get here, but I’m so happy I never gave up on myself. This year I can truly say, I am feeling Unstoppable.

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