Women who run with the wolves

"If a woman is taught to hate her own body how can she love her mothers body? Her grandmothers body? How can she love the bodies of other women and men close to her? Harsh judgements about body acceptability create a nation of hunched over tall girls, short women on stilts, women of size dressed as though in mourning, very slender women trying to puff themselves out like adders and various other women in hiding: Destroying a woman's instinctive affiliation with her natural body cheats her of confidence. It causes her to perseverate about whether she is a good person, and base her self worth on how she looks instead of who she is, it pressures her to use up her energy worrying about how much food she consumes or the readings on a scale. It keeps her preoccupied, colours everything she does. It is unthinkable in the instinctive world that a woman should live preoccupied by appearance this way...
The body is like an earth. It is land unto itself. It is as vulnerable to overbuilding, being carved into parcels, cut off. The wilder woman will not be easily swayed. For her the questions are not how to form but how to feel. The breast in all its shapes has the function of feeling and feeding. Does it feed? Does it feel? It is a good breast. The hips, they are wide for a reason, inside them is a satin ivory cradle for new life. A woman's hips are outriggers for the body above and below; they are portals, they are a lush cushion, the handholds for love, a place for children to hide behind. The legs they are meant to take us, sometimes propel us; they are the pulleys that help us live, they are the anillo, the ring for circling a lover. They cannot be too this or that - they are what they are.
There is no "supposed to be" in bodies. The question is not size of shape or years of age, or even having two of everything for some do not. But the wild issue is: does this body feel? Does it have a right connection to pleasure, heart, soul, to the Wild? Does it have happiness, joy? Can it init's own way move, dance, jiggle, sway, thrust? Nothing else matters."
larissa Pinkola Estes

Tim McDonald
Reflection

s part of CrossFit and as a business owner, I’ve learnt to constantly redefine what you think is possible.

At the beginning of 2017, the year that I turned thirty, I had big plans. I chose a word to define my year, and was careful that it wasn’t “growth” because how could I possibly go through more turbulence? I felt as though I’d grown enough thank you very much.

I’m as yet, unsure whether the years events have helped make me a better person, but they have definitely made me more myself.

To recap, we entered into our fourth year at CrossFit Croydon, driving 45mins each way to work most days (at one stage I was so befuddled I thought there was 8 days in each week…it just doesn't stop!) because I desperately needed to live by the ocean. I didn't count on feeling so lonely and I was incredibly anxious…all.the.time. I was living in fear of my annual winter depression and so I missed out on what could have been an amazing summer.

My moon cycle returned and on our anniversary, I literally thought I would bleed to death. I was struggling with meeting the days challenges, parenting and looking after myself. I felt hurt by my friend’s apparent rejection (story of my life…I’ll get into that in a moment) and things were unstable between Eric and myself.

Winter was another shit storm. We lost 45 athletes, lost friends, I lost myself too…we had no money and our bills had nearly tripled. Despite this, we managed to attend Splendour In the Grass and I stayed on in Byron to reconnect to myself. I had no one to talk to. My dad went and married his partner without inviting me. Eric and I kept fighting. I stopped breastfeeding Reef after 6 years of continual breastfeeding, tandem feeding and donating my breast milk. There’s a story for another blog.

The last few months we have recovered somewhat…our community is thriving and sees value in what we do, Eric created a comp squad which has seen us winning local comps, and I’m so excited to watch everyone perform in the 2018 CrossFit Open. The weather has been good so I’ve felt emotionally more stable. We met Dave Castro and many of the CrossFit HQ team before watching the Aussies cream the Invitationals in Melbourne. There’s been many highlights too.

I have put so much energy into meeting deadlines this year; filming my online program, writing a book, finishing my doula studies and growing our CrossFit community. 

So, I have achieved lots and overcome more than I thought possible. My mental health issues still play up, sometimes making me a shitty mother, wife and friend. It’s not an excuse and it’s something I work on everyday. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who stayed beside me through another tumultuous year, to the friends that have become more like family, and my beautiful children who show me what unconditional love is, and the value of being in the moment.

Here’s to more presence, love and sunshine.


https://melissaambrosini.com/wealth/manifest-your-dreams-and-create-an-epic-2018/

Tim McDonaldComment
Top Four Tips for Post partum weight loss

Normally, I don't advocate "weightloss" advice, because it really isn't my priority. However I do know many women that struggle with losing weight after having babies, whether that is because of lifestyle changes or weight gain during pregnancy.

Prevention before Cure
The best way to lose "baby weight" is to not gain excessive amounts of weight through pregnancy. Women can expect to gain an average of 8-twenty kilo's over a 37-42week gestation.
This can be broken down into:

  • Breasts: 0.5 to 1.5 kg
  • Uterus: 1 kg
  • Placenta: 0.7 kg
  • Amniotic fluid: 1 kg
  • Increased blood volume:  1 to 2 kgs
  • Increased fluid volume: 1 to 1.5 kg
  • Actual fat stores: 2.7 to 3.6 kg

Every pregnancy and woman is unique and this is just a guide, however slow weight gain throughout pregnancy is a key factor in dropping excess weight after birth and preventing birth complications, haemorrhoids, and constipation.

Sustainability over Quick Fix
It is important to remember that your child will only be this little once. If we become obsessed with our post partum bodies, we can easily lose sight of the miracle that has just occurred and miss some beautiful moments just BEING a mumma. The best approach is one that delivers slow, sustainable results that your body can adjust to, that your milk supply can handle and that your baby can thrive on. The quality of your breast milk is dependent upon your maternal diet, if we eat in a restrictive manor, we can become under nourished, as can our babies.
Eating a wholesome, wholefood diet rich in colour and variety can ensure healthy weight loss and nutrient dense meals.

Make it easy
Stay hydrated, get your organic fresh produce delivered, plan your weekly meals once you have your groceries and in advance, and recruit help when you can. A new mother needs absolute pampering in the fourth trimester, or the forty days after birth. If family can help by making a few meals each week, or you can afford a meal delivery service like mygoodnessorganics.com.au/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI052Z1tGS1wIVTFe9Ch0u8Q6_EAAYASAAEgJq_fD_BwE then do not be afraid to say a gigantic YES! My friends made me the biggest pot of pumpkin soup AND paid for my meals delivered for one week after Reef's birth, this was extremely helpful with two other children to care for. 
Be mindful that when you are breastfeeding it is normal to feel super thirsty and hungry, your body requires an extra 300cals daily (more than during pregnancy) to produce breast milk.

Nutrition and Movement
When I wake up, I drink a glass of warm lemon water which starts my metabolism and helps to cleanse my body, this is also a great reminder to drink your first glass of water. As a plant based mumma, each of my meals include a source of organic fruit and or vegetables. For breakfast, oats with coconut milk, cinnamon and seasonal fresh berries (frozen outside of season) and a little maple syrup for sweetness helps to stabalise blood sugar levels and provide slow releasing energy. My other main meals both include at least one cup of spinach/kale and I eat an avocado and a handful of nuts each day for essential fats. 
Every morning and night I spend 2-5minutes diaphragm breathing. Especially early in the post partum period this helps tone the uterus and reconnect your pelvic floor to the breath. This is a major player in healing abdominal separation and pelvic function. It is also non negotiable for me to fit in some form of movement each and every day. In the first six weeks post birth, I recommend walking, gentle restorative yoga and transverse abdominis (TA) activation. From there I was able to create a strength and conditioning program for new mothers which enabled me to get back into CrossFit within 8weeks. 
If you have major abdominal separation or are unable to activate your pelvic floor then I strongly recommend consulting a Women's Health Physiotherapist before participating in any strength or conditioning. 

Was this helpful? To be part of the movement and be one of the first Mummas to participate in my 8 week online Postpartum Program please subscribe:

 

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Tim McDonald
International Day of the Girl & World Mental Health Day

Like most of my blogs, I don't really draft them...I just write them from my heart. Writing is my therapy and as much a part of my spiritual practice as meditation. In honour of two of my most passionate subjects I am writing this in two parts that weave together, because being a feminist and having mental illness make me the woman I am and yet neither define me.

What is my experience as a woman in Australia today?
Each day I am bombarded by images of the "ideal" woman. I am taught how to dress and how my body should look, I am taught how to behave and how to present myself. I don't watch TV, so all of these messages come through via social media and movies/billboards/buses/radio etc.
I am incredibly privileged as a white, middle class female compared to my sisters from Indigenous and other backgrounds. 
I have the choice to work and marry whom I want (though it has to be a man at this stage - ridiculous).
My chosen career is dominated by men, and luckily I haven't really experienced sexism in the last four years. I worked with the Melbourne Storm Rugby under 18s for almost a year and THAT was horrible. I was bullied for breastfeeding at the first CrossFit gym I owned, and told by our business partner that I didn't deserve the same pay as he did. The men there completely ignored my coaching. The business coach we hired suggested I should "stay behind the desk" despite being the most qualified person in the room.
Since opening CrossFit Croydon I have felt respected and valued as a woman with an abundance of knowledge. It has allowed me to heal and become confident once more in my ability to coach and create a healthy community.
My primary job is as a mother, and I've been lucky to marry a man that believes in raising his children and whom works with me to peacefully parent them. We have three kids and because we work together, we do most of our parenting together. He supported me in my desire for a home birth after cesarean and supported me in breastfeeding them past 2years of age. We have a better than average sex life and feel deeply connected in this way, we both work hard to be fit and healthy and find the rewards of this include mutual attraction/desire.
I am LUCKY because many women that I know do experience workplace inequality and have unsupportive partners, this seems ridiculous to me. I am LUCKY that I can bring my children to work with me because even if I wanted to utilise expensive childcare, my decision not to vaccinate means my children are unable to attend.

What does it mean to be a four year old girl today, from her mother's perspective?
My daughter is fierce, loud, super intelligent and very blessed to have the space to express herself at home and at our work. She is stubborn and knows exactly what she wants, which makes parenting difficult, but these are great qualities for the future. When she spends time with her elders she is often scolded, told she is behaving like a "baby" and that she's not as strong as her brothers, that pink is a girls colour, that girls have germs etc. This frustrates me, though my job is to create a home environment where she is valued, knows her worth and feels wanted. We never really did gender stereotyped toys or clothes, and certainly not abilities (she's such a well coordinated and strong chick). The Steiner playgroup she attends each week is gender neutral and fosters her independence and spirit. 
My daughter is lucky because she does not hear that she is "too much" of anything. She is not smacked or punished. She has a roof over her head, an organic vegan diet, access to health care as needed, she has travelled overseas often and has a tribe of people who love her. She does not hear her mother speak negatively about women's bodies, including her own. The relationship her parents have is not perfect but she can see us working hard for the life we desire.

What does having depression feel like when you do not have children?
Depression to me has always felt like drowning. It feels heavy, suffocating and exactly like you cannot call for help. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 10. My parents separated and I already did not have much self worth or confidence. In my case, I am also affected by lack of sunlight (called Seasonal Affective Disorder) so I literally get winter blues. The worst periods of depression in my life were the year I turned 11, I have no memory of this year, and when I was 14-15 years old. It was likely influenced by hormones and diet. In between these stages I was bright, had good friendship groups, was creative and excelled at whatever I put my mind to. Then after losing my best friend in a car accident, I was consumed by grief and felt I'd lost the only person who "got me". So from 18-22years I was a menace. I coped in various unhealthy ways and always felt like a fraud because I believed so much in health but I couldn't fix myself. During this period I was also abused by others. The men that hurt me in different ways were lost themselves, and I believed I deserved what I got. It took lots of changes for me to claw my way back to a positive mind and life.

What was my experience of depression after babies?
River's birth was deeply traumatic for me. I felt disempowered from the moment we arrived at the hospital. After I had an emergency cesarean I felt numb. I loved my baby more than anything in the world but I felt cheated of my magical birth. I struggled to breastfeed but I refused to fail that too. I felt like I had failed myself. River didn't sleep...I was at my uni exams two weeks after his birth, my husband worked FIFO and I felt had no one. I punched holes in the wall late at night, I screamed into my pillow, I was crazed from sleep deprivation and fierce protectiveness of my child. Everyone mocked me, or so I believed, for being a "crunchy" mumma and breastfeeding on demand, using cloth nappies, hand washing his organic clothes, not using plastic, going vegan, not vaccinating, using elimination communication and then doing Baby Led Weaning. I had so much hatred inside me, I was angry that he wouldn't sleep, that a surgeon had cut me open, that no one understood. I loved being a mum but those first few months were hell.
When Raine was about 6months old our business partner bought us out of our business, his girlfriend and her friend were bullying me and he wanted to run things his own way. It was a horrible experience and we were in the middle of moving houses, everything came crashing down. Both Eric and myself endured a difficult process of starting CrossFit Croydon with two young children, we lost friends and couldn't even pay our rent. We felt like we had no one to talk to and it was mortifying to ask for financial help to get groceries. In this time we fully experienced the trauma of what had happened to us in the past year or so, E losing his mum and my separation from my husband as well as getting pregnant so quickly and unexpectedly. Both of us experienced depression.
With Reef it was different, I didn't feel depressed at first...it was after three months that I just had this lingering heaviness, this fear that everything was going wrong, that I was out of control. It escalated when Reef was one. I lost the will to live and I thought my husband was going to leave me, our finances were completely fucked and I couldn't see any single way out of the dark hole I was in. It was horrible for me to put my children through that experience. Both River and Raine still sometimes ask me about the main event and when I recently sliced my finger open I had a few minutes of confusion and felt as though I was right back in that time and place.
It's really strange looking back on these times right now as I'm not experiencing depressive symptoms. Sometimes I feel like I've made it all up. I don't know that I'm not going to feel depressed again, because when my mind is like that I cant stop it. It's the same with anxiety...my rational mind knows that there is no need to panic but I cant stop the feelings from consuming me.

What do I see as a solution?
Moving forward I really do not know. For myself, I am in a more consistent routine and training six days each week. I've been spending time with people that really light me up and have been making an effort to see my friends outside of the gym more (this is still hard when I work most days). I feel more confident that with Spring here and Summer approaching I can better manage my emotions, and I have honestly found that not talking negatively about our financial situation has helped.
I am striving to create an environment for my children where they feel valued and wanted, where they understand that no means no and that only they can choose what to do with their own body, I know that they have two loving parents (Riv has three) and we are creating a more stable family life for them.
I am striving to connect with other mothers so that they too can raise families with consciousness and compassion, so that the generation of children growing up now may not have to suffer from mental illness.
I believe it is my responsibility to help women birth in a way that promotes healthy babies, to help mothers love themselves so that they teach positive body image to their children. That it is my responsibility to share my experiences as an attachment parent, a vegan, an environmentalist and spread hope that it is possible to achieve a life of love and happiness despite having depression, anxiety and limited support.

Tim McDonaldComment
Baby Michael's marathon birth

At 1am on Thursday 31st August Corissa went to the bathroom and noticed a trickle of amniotic fluid that persisted. By 2pm she was having mild and sporadic contractions. Like many first time mothers, the excitement of meeting her baby soon kept her awake, alert and unable to continue her daily routine. The waves of labour were managable and Riss was calm and felt relaxed in her bath and able to stay at home.
As I was at home, I had time to bake zucchini and strawberry muffins, clean our home, organise to stay in Warrandyte overnight and basically be there whenever needed. Riss was 39+1 and I had an feeling it would be a longer labour.
At 10pm, despite the poor reception at Warrandyte, Anthony managed to let me know that Corissa's contractions were 3mins apart and she needed me to meet them at the hospital.
We met at The Angliss and everyone was in high spirits, the midwife was lovely and on board with the birth plan. Antibiotics were recommended and declined. Corissa was a little tired at this point and we all assumed that the birth was close. Each time she relaxed, the contractions would slow and loose intensity and we knew that her baby boy was LOP (posterior). 
We had discussed optimal foetal positioning during pregnancy however there was definitely room to have practiced the principles a little more.
Syntocinon was suggested right from this point, so we agreed to try to get things moving and change bub's position. Corissa was EPIC, she marched and power walked through her contractions for hours, they were consistent and powerful. But she tired again...and when we agreed to do the first VE at 3.30am she was found to be 5cm with bubs in an awkward position. She had been labouring like a boss for more than 24hrs. Her labour was awesome, she was so beautiful to watch, so strong through the whole process. We had to get things moving. So more marching and many position changes, lots of cat/cow, many pep talks, food and drinks were had. At this stage it was requested that we do 20mins of continuous monitoring due to the premature rupture of membranes (PROM). It wasn't much of an issue until Corissa fell asleep again and her contractions again lost power and consistency.
We had a new midwife now who was also really lovely and we tried so many ways to get bub to move into a better position. Corissa was such a goddess warrior. She fought her fatigue and powered through. Another meeting with the OB saw both Riss and Ant stand their ground and refuse antibiotics, though we were definitely considering an IV drip to help perk up her spirits and another VE was consented to at 7.30am. The midwife (not the OB) performed this and also ruptured the rest of Corissa's membranes, but encouraged her to lie supine/on her back to make the little man move to a better position and as Riss relaxed, the power and intensity of her contractions slowed once more.
Unfortunately the OB decided that Riss had not progressed in the four hour period though miraculously we were given more time. The IV drip of fluids was administered at about 9am and this did give Corissa more energy. The problem with VE's every four hours is that the Failure to Progress talk is devastating for a labouring woman, which can in fact actually stall labour.
t was also unfortunate that the OB performed the last VE as she had poor bedside manner and was rather rude to our little labour party. In my opinion, Riss felt like she was failing. She was utterly exhausted and at this point in time unable to cope with the thought of an endless labour.
I had written "Corissa is going to achieve her beautiful, natural birth very shortly. She is amazing, breathing through, calm, beautiful and aware."
We had another midwife change and it was agreed upon that Corissa would use some gas to get her through, as syntocinon was practically forced upon her. In hindsight, I wish they had respected Riss and Ant's wishes to use the synt only until the contractions were established but they kept the synt flowing even after the birth of the placenta! The gas was turned too high to begin with and Riss was in an alternate universe for a short while there :) but it helped her manage one contraction at a time until eventually Michael's head began to crown.
Beautiful baby Michael was delivered earthside at 5.12pm on the first day of Spring, his parents were overjoyed at achieving a natural marathon birth and the family are healing well in the postpartum period. It was an honour to be part of the birthing team.

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Tim McDonaldComment
The lonely years

At our lululemon talk last week, it was stated that motherhood was one of the lonliest periods in a womans life. It can be an isolating, terrifying, fulfilling and awesome venture.
Today I have had a visit from my beautiful grandparents and a little conversation with a girlfriend via messenger but thats it. I don't have another conversation with an adult until my husband gets home.
Social media makes it worse, not better, and so on my days off I limit myself to checking/posting no more than three times. That means I can run my businesses without FOMO because I'm not scrolling through pages of people holidaying somewhere warm or consuming nothing but supplements...

I'm usually a massive fan of birthdays but this one is approaching wayyyyy to fast and I am dreading it. I haven't got anything planned, I have to work from 6am-8.30pm on the actual day and I'm feeling overwhelmed and well...lonely. I haven't got a best friend to share my celebrations with and while I know that there are worse things in the world, friendship has always been the most important thing to me. It hurts when people move on from spending time with you. It hurts when your love and attention is not returned. 
Being a business owner is lonely and so is being a mother. I am both of these 24/7. I also have stupid mental illness which makes me incredibly self conscious and critical, and causes me to isolate myself. As much as it hurts to hear it, I understand I am often the cause of my own suffering. 

Some things though have definitely helped me through this time of my life. Obviously creating new routines and rituals with my husband. Being a little more open to hearing each other and making a distinct separation between talking as lovers and talking as business partners.

Starting each day with a gratitude list, and ending each day in reflection...check out my video here www.facebook.com/ohmmumma/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel 

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Knowing that my evolution as a human is constantly changing, and that sometimes you can only understand your own self once you have been destroyed, completely. That it's in the rebuilding and the fixing and the healing that you get to know who you really are.
"Before you judge someone online, ask yourself:
Am I afraid that other people will think this person is more significant than me?
If the honest answer is yes, remember that your significance is always the love you are channeling into the world." @jordanbach

Finally the thing that I hold on to is the future mental health and present happiness of my children. In my darkest moments of despair, when I feel the world would be better off without me in it, I haul my ass back to the reality that it is my job to instil self worth in my children, to speak to them with kindness, to teach them empathy and compassion as well as passion and perserverance. It is my job to give them a home, to create a life of abundance and love for them to be children in, to help them grow and fail and succeed. 
I truly could not give them this without the support of my husband, and while often we don't align emotionally, we do our best to meet each day as it comes, to plan for our future, to stay present, to work hard and work together, to stay positive and change our negative thought patterns.

The reason I have persued my career is not just physical health...I truly believe that when mothers are supported and empowered, when people feel as though they are part of a community, when the community prioritises wellbeing, health and happiness; that this is where children thrive.

We are each important, we each have the right to be here, we each have a devine destiny, we each deserve a life of abundance, and we all deserve a tribe.

Tim McDonaldComment
Weaning

It's the end of six years of continuous breastfeeding.
My body feels so happy and I am far less touched out :) In the end it was pretty easy...we had tried to night wean for MONTHS, both Riv & Raine were super great when we chose to night wean so it was a shock when Reef flat out refused.
He screamed at me, he screamed at Eric, he just screamed.
Then in Byron he decided to wake up five or so times a night in that first week, and be up for the day at 5.30am...it was fucked.
He woke up during the night less as the weeks went on and he settled in, the last week I was only feeding him to go to sleep and he was pretty good most of the time but still asked to feed a lot.
The trip home sealed the deal...as I was driving I "couldnt" feed him. So he fed once in three days, then I felt engorged and on the verge of mastitis on one side. He hadnt fed in about four days, I woke up at baout 2am one morning and he was feeding on that side. That was about six days ago...and he has not fed since.
I was as gentle as possible, and I am not even a little bit sad about it! I've had such a great time nourishing my babies.
While I encountered many issues in establishing breastfeeding with River:

  • cesearean birth
  • flat and inverted nipples
  • nipple shield
  • mastitis and engorgement
  • thrush
  • limited support

With Raine, it was a breeze. I tandem fed both river and Raine. With Reef it was far more challenging due to severe tongue and lip ties which were lasered (and resulted in him feeling traumatised), he was severely underweight for a few months and refused a bottle (of my breastmilk), I was stressed which made my supply dip though I managed to tandem feed Raine & Reef too.
Raine had her last feed just after our wedding last year in Feb. I assumed I would make it to age three with Reef but I was pretty done with breastfeeding at around 18months! 
What a blessing to have exclusively breastfed each child for 6months before introducing solids with Baby Led Weaning, tandem feeding (and donating milk to babies in need) and finally weaning each child after 2years of age.

Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts you can give your child. Benefits include:
For the baby

  • Superior nutrition
  • There is an increased resistance to infections, and therefore fewer incidents of illness and hospitalisation
  • Decreased risk of allergies and lactose intolerance
  • Breast milk is sterile
  • Baby experiences less nappy rash and thrush
  • Baby is less likely to develop allergies
  • Baby experiences fewer stomach upsets and constipation
  • Breastfed infants tend to have fewer cavities
  • Breastfeeding promotes the proper development of baby’s jaw and teeth.
  • Breastfed infants tend to have higher IQs due to good brain development early in life
  • Babies benefit emotionally, because they are held more
  • Breastfeeding promotes mother-baby bonding
  • In the long term, breastfed babies have a decreased risk of malnutrition, obesity and heart disease compared to formula fed babies.

For the mother

  • The baby's sucking causes a mothers uterus to contract and reduces the flow of blood after delivery
  • During lactation, menstruation ceases, offering a form of contraception
  • Mothers who breastfeed tend to lose weight and achieve their pre-pregnancy figure more easily than mothers who bottle feed
  • Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast cancer later in life
  • Breastfeeding is more economical than formula feeding
  • There are less trips to the doctor and less money is spent on medications
  • Breastfeeding promotes mother-baby bonding
  • Hormones released during breast-feeding create feelings of warmth and calm in the mother

The decision to breast or formula feed remains your individual choice. However, breast milk is undoubtedly the best nutrition you can give your baby, with added benefits for a mother.
http://www.australianunity.com.au/

www.who.int/nutrition/publications/infantfeeding/global-bf-collective-calltoaction/en/ 

With love,
riel x

Tim McDonaldComment
Who am I

Whenever I used to start a journal, I would always pick a name for it/her and introduce myself. It is interesting to look back and see the various descriptions of myself. I would name my best friends, my boyfriend/s, my music taste.
It's painful to real them. I was always so unhappy, so hateful to myself. Unfortunately in the last few years that pathetic, depressed, negative person has been showing her fugly head. I cant stop it.
If I could be anyone that doesn't suffer from depression and anxiety, I would be her. Telling me how grateful I should be only makes me feel like I'm being ungrateful. In fact I always think of five things I am grateful for each morning. Usually coffee, a roof over my head, beautiful children, access to organic food and a career/job that I can bring my kids to. Often it's my husband.
Many people suffer from mental illness and I want every single one of them to know that they aren't alone. The problem is that two people suffering together tends not to make the situation better. The phone calls to lifeline sometimes seem so patronising. More often than not I feel like I cant say anything to anyone because either a.) people cant empathise or b.) don't want to.
Having children should have stopped her, having my dream job and a husband that I work with should have stopped her, moving to the beach and yoga and meditation should have stopped her.
So why cant I feel ok? Why are there days I cant get out of bed? Why do I still feel like I was never supposed to be here, and everyone would be happier if I was gone? Why didn't getting older make me love myself more? Why didn't anyone else's love ever feel like it was enough?
I wish I could go back and hold my own four year old hand and tell myself that I was the only person that would and could ever love me. I wish I could go back and tell my ten year old self that one day I would be fit and a badass at CrossFit, that I didn't need to control my food with hate. I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self to pull my head out of my arse, do more yoga and start loving the person you are now. I wish all of these things because then maybe at thirty I wouldn't feel like such a giant fuck up.
And here I am. I dont know what to do.
The only thing I can think of is to tell my four year old daughter that her mum loves her, that she was wanted more than anything, that she should love herself everyday even if she is bossy and loud and different. Then I can tell her when she's ten that she doesn't need to be in control of her body and should love it with movement and exercise. And when she's a feisty teenager I can tell her that her home is where ever I am. That I understand that hormones can make you feel insane, that my job is to keep her safe because I love her, that she should do yoga instead of run amok.
And maybe I can encourage as many other mum's as I can to love themselves, maybe even if they cant love themsleves then to at least love their daughters like they wish they had been loved. Maybe then I could understand the reason for me to go through what I'm going through.
Most people have had hard times, most people experience overwhelming sadness or stress at some point in their life, many people are fighting this invisible battle with themselves everyday. 
How do you overcome it?
Writing helps me, as does talking to a trusted friend, 
Definitely being aware of the situations that make things spiral and avoiding them while knowing the people and places that make things seem alright and going there can help.
As a mother, less judgement for yourself, more forgiveness, and reflecting on the experience of "low road" behaviour, thought patterns and words. I am reading an interesting book called "parenting from the Inside Out" which is both hard to read but helpful.
For me, perhaps I may need to consider medication. I am not sure what else I can do to keep functioning the way I want to. Obviously that is greatly displeasing but I will have to see how the next week goes.
Big love to all my readers xx

Tim McDonaldComment
Home

The past week has been a rollercoaster ride. Monday, Wednesday and today have been awesome with the between days feeling flat, and frustrated.
Funny that Monday and Wednesday are my big days at work...we leave at ten past 5am and arrive home anywhere between 8.15-9.30pm. Sometimes I find it easier to HUSTLE, to have a deadline, to rely upon coffee and sheer determination. I wrote down the list of what was stressing me out yesterday (another great suggestion from my girlfriend to clear my mind):

  • money, fear of not having enough to get through the next two weeks
  • trying to stay positive so that everyone likes me
  • having the filming of my 8 week program perfect 
  • computer marketing/launching online and feeling lost because I do not have computer skills
  • feeling impatient, which I believe has something to do with the moon
  • disappointment at not easing into a routine or ritual, nor having enough space from the kids

I don't think I am the only mumma that desperately craves some alone time but then the second it is offered, anxiety takes over and I panic so much that I refuse any help...?
Hands up?!
Well, this afternoon, E played with the kids so that I could finish my scripting and has taken them to my mummas so that he can train, they can play and I can continue my writing. As they were leaving, I felt familiar panic and overwhelm but lots of cuddles later I realised that my needs are important too and I can put the kids to bed and wake them feeling accomplished.

There really is no such thing as perfect balance, we all struggle with mum guilt, feeling isolated, stressing about finance and loving our selves enough. So my new task is to TAKE the HELP that is OFFERED and always strive to help my mumma tribe as needed.

I'm about to make my own dinner for one and continue writing, this is the luxe life!

Tim McDonaldComment
Solo Mumma Travel Tribe

On Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 5am, Eric carried my bags and escorted me and the three into the airport. He narrowly avoided a tow away...
was armed with overnight oats in jars, vegemite crackers, cliff bars, cut up vegetables and fruit. I had activities including a magnetised mermaid, colouring and stickers. Though I didn't plan to make our entire trip screen free, it was! So the first flight was fine and in our Sydney stop over I found Bonsoy coffee and was able to entertain the mini people with food, a workout and some yoga. We didnt look that odd...
On our second flight into Ballina all three children slept, I felt so so so lucky that I had some peace and quiet to rest my busy mind. 
Byron Bay is quite child friendly, especially if your little wildlings know how to swim and not run off on you. The weather was less than optimal and on those days I was glad to have my little sister and brother in law help entertain the kids. Each night they were in bed before 7pm and awoke between 5-6.30am. 
I was able to get into CrossFit Byron Bay twice and the last two days were totally ripper weather. So I literally chilled on the beach while the kids roamed free.
There were a few hairy moments, like when I left getting coffee too late. Then there was the time I was carting all of our bags, carrying Reef in the Tula, had just purchased a Naked Treaties smoothie, and Raine desperately needed to poo...we found a public toilet just in time!
The flight home was difficult because Reef had napped on the beach earlier and REFUSED to nap again. There was no stop over, and I was desperately underprepared for food whilst also not interested in carrying any more shit. Cue cranky mumma and kids.
Hubs picked us up and drove us straight to Vegie Bar before bringing us home to our seaside abode.
Travelling solo, was definitely a challenge though I felt really connected to the kids, proud of them for (mostly) listening to me, and pretty stoked that E managed to move us in to our new place.
This is the first time I travelled alone with three, and I doubt it will be the last.
y take away message is simply to relax into the circumstances and enjoy an opportunity to grow.

On Friday 14th July 2017 I did it again! This time I packed the car, the kids and a bestie and drove to Byron Bay...
It's now the 4th August, so it is safe to say I don't want to go home! Steph stayed with us from Melbourne to Bondi (almost!), to Byron and then she jetted home the following Thursday. I then picked up another bestie and her two beautiful kiddies. Hubs arrived on Friday and we partied through Splendour In The Grass like a bunch of responsible adults that carted their kids around. Sarah managed to very cleverly bring her pram while Eric and myself carried our lot :I and I was quite envious, looking back!
Sarah and her tribe left after Splendour while hubby and I moved in with my sister, her husband and their newborn, Solomon <3 we stayed most of the week before driving back down to Sydney for the Hay House Writers convention and then I drove back to Byron alone while E flew home to work.
Since Tuesday I have been living in a beautiful house right off Jonson St and it has been awesome. I've trained every single day, finally getting muscle ups on the rings, I've caught up with my instagram bestie, enjoyed a lot of coffee and a little time and space to get my shit sorted.
I am writing the script to my 8 week program (which will be available online in September) branding all of my Mumma Movement and Doula offerings, writing a book proposal and trying to stay on top of the CrossFit admin. I get maybe an hour in the morning between the kids first and second breakfast, and if I can stay awake after they fall asleep I utilise the time between 8-11pm. 

It's Tuesday night, I'm not sure if anyone can tell how hard I am finding this. I've been alone with the kids since Sunday afternoon (thats nine days), have three days to get through before I am back in Melbourne. I will be exhausted, I am competing in our Gravity Wars Weightlifting comp on Saturday and will be coming off minimal sleep. Training here has been amazing, the kids have really thrived in a big space, we've been super lucky that mid-morning open gym has been quiet, and I've gotten most of my workouts done. There has been LOTS of poos and bottom changing in the middle of my WODs haha.
We have stayed in the most amazing place www.byron-bay.com/seadriftone/ and I've only lost my shit a few times (sorry neighbours!).
I have successfully weaned Reef down to one breastfeed each night to get him to sleep, though he wakes usually at least once for a feed which I refuse and is up for the day at the crack of dawn. As he didn't nap today, he fell asleep in the car driving home from the beach so I have not fed him since yesterday!!!!!
Sometimes being a peaceful, present, work-a-holic mumma on a holiday is completely impossible for me...but one of my fantastic girlfriends reminded me of how hard I do work and how lucky my tribe are to have this holiday experience. 

Last night I had a full breakdown...I let my anxiety about driving home get out of control. I had had a great day, taking the kids horse riding and catching up with friends as well as saying goodbye to Loz, Jake & Solomon, but full loneliness took over at night. I am also reading a book called Parenting from the Inside Out, which asks us to understand our own childhoods with self awareness so that we can parent our children with loving understanding and connection. Prior to becoming pregnant with Reef, I never questioned my parenting. I knew I was doing my absolute best at all times and I enjoyed parenting immensely. The stress of having three and figuring it all out left me constantly on edge, and not being able to talk about how I am feeling left me a little isolated. It came to a head last winter and I was so anxious about feeling hopeless again that I let my worry of the future and my fear of not wanting to live anymore cloud the past year. It meant I wasn't fully present with my children, nor husband and only felt like myself when in motion. I also stopped blogging because I believed that no one would want to hear how sad I was.
Most days I feel really good. My children are wonderful, the community we have built at CrossFit Croydon has completely uplifted me, my husband is the greatest man on the planet and 99% of the time he ticks all of my boxes ;) and of course, I just became an Aunty and feel very connected to my sister, brother and nephew. We worked our bums off for 11months so that I could take some time off coaching and physically being at work and I truly have enjoyed the majority of my time in my favourite place.
The kids are being beautiful today, and I will train and beach it up before driving back to Melbs.
hankyou, dear readers, for your support and love xxxxx

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Tim McDonaldComment