Hi! I'm Louise
(on the right in the pic above)
The image above was taken with my good friend and sister from another mister, Laura McGill (definitely a Bad Ass Mother!). We were halfway through a grueling charity challenge; The Isle Of Wight 106km. The event sees participants circumnavigate the Isle of Wight by walking or running or a mix of both. One Hundred kilometres is 65 miles. The Challenge is completed in one go, no sleep or long breaks. It took us 35 hours of non-stop walking (one and a half days including through the night). We laughed, we definitely cried, our feet bled and we lost toenails - all in the name of charity. Completing the challenge was entirely a matter of mind versus body. At the 90km point, we were ready to give up, both exhausted. It took a lot of steel to keep going to complete the final 16km. To put 16km in perspective, that is around 3.5 - 4 hours walking for the average walker, let alone if you have just walked for 32 hours through the night on no sleep!
The IOW Challenge changed my opinion of my ability to push through and succeed. It proved to me that I had mental strength, something which I had struggled to believe after suffering from ongoing depression due to the loss of my Dad three years earlier and a career failure. I had never undertaken a fitness challenge and am so glad that I did. It might have been "only walking" as some people described it, but for me, it was life-changing.
From that point forward I knew that I had the solid nerve to take on new physical challenges and complete them, no matter how hard and painful the experience; I began to trust that mentally I would never give up. If my mind could believe I could do it, then I would do it.
A couple of years later I became a Mum. Wow. No one prepares you for that moment. That moment where you suddenly become your last priority and every breath and cell in your body is devoted to your child. I knew I would love my baby but I had not expected the overwhelming, carnal drive to protect him and provide for him, sacrificing myself and my husbands needs to ensure my baby's needs were met.
Unbeknown to myself, the total surrender of myself to motherhood and my lack of self-care led me head first into postnatal depression and anxiety. I was sleep deprived, feeling lonely, struggling to cope and did not feel like there was a way out or help available to me. I did not want to return to antidepressants as I was breastfeeding and did not want to risk any medication passing through my breastmilk. I was in a very sad and desperate place.
Ten months in, I was desperate to shift my mood to a more positive space. I decided that I needed to get out and about more and connect with other mums. I ventured out to some toddler groups. I chatted to other mums and it was then that it became clear. Every Mum had their own struggles they were facing. Whether it was lack of sleep, baby not feeding well, husband working away, fear of returning to work, how they felt about their postnatal body, was their baby hitting all their milestones, the list was endless. Amongst all the baby chat, I found myself wondering about the person beyond the "Mum". Who were they before they wore the title "Mum"? What did they do for work? What did they enjoy doing at the weekend? Were they married? How did they feel about becoming a Mum? I noticed how lost many of us were in our new role, not really knowing whether we were enjoying it all or not. Clearly, everyone loved their children, but there was a lot of bravefacing, a lot of what I call "customer service face". All smiles but behind the scenes, things were not quite as settled as they appeared.
This bothered me, a lot. Becoming a Mum should be joyous and rosy. For many of us, it might not have worked out that way. It seemed that we were all trying to be happy and grateful for our new role, and of course, we were, but alongside that, there seemed to be an undertone of grief. A loss of our sense of self and the person we were before we were a Mum. Where was she and would she ever be back?
All these questions swam around my head endlessly. I began to research why I felt the way I did and was I alone in my thinking. Upon talking to many other Mums, it seemed not. I knew I had to be someone who supported Mums in finding themselves again. Even in the smallest way, I want all Mums to know that they are not alone in their thoughts about becoming a Mum. They are not alone in their desires to achieve for themselves again and having those desires does not make them selfish or lacking as a Mum in any way.
I wanted to create a community of like-minded Mums who wanted to support, encourage and inspire others to roll up their sleeves, take the world by the horns and begin to carve out some time for themselves; no matter how small that time commitment would be. I felt that the ideal vehicle for Mums to achieve this was to focus on a health and fitness goal. One that is theirs and theirs alone. Be it small or large, by setting ourselves a challenge and achieving it over time, despite what comes our way (sleepless nights, tantrums, neglected moaning husbands and a whole tonne of poo, wee and semi-chewed food) there is nothing better than hitting our target, crossing the finish line (especially with our own tribe of Badass Mothers to high five when we do) and knowing that not only have we done something for ourselves, we will have most definitely inspired our children in leading by example. Nothing will come close to seeing awe and pride in our children's faces in that moment of our own personal achievement. I have witnessed it first hand and am hungry for it.
I am not a fitness expert but I know some Mums who are and they are part of the Badass Mother movement.
I am not a health coach or mindset professional but I have taken the time to work on my demons and learn from a few.
I will try to share my knowledge, experience and personal journey to achieving health and fitness Badassery across these pages.
Yes ladies - We are Badass Mothers.
Welcome to the tribe.