It was three years ago this month that I underwent my second surgery. Saying goodbye to what one not-so-subtle person called "everything that makes me a woman," I embarked on a new life -- with new perky breasts and let's just say less production in the reproductive department. It was challenging, of course, but I also saw it as a new beginning. Right around the same time, I started walking the hills of our 'hood, pushing two hefty dudes around in the double stroller and taking Pilates twice a week. In six months, I was 30 pounds lighter and stronger than I had ever been. My life's enormous change morphed into an empowering journey, one that encouraged me to live in a way I never had.
Two years later, we were on the verge of traveling to Taiwan to finally bring home our daughter. We had suffered setbacks with her case and the wait was one of the most excruciating times I have ever experienced. A few pounds crept up as I sat night after night reading other adoptive family blogs, comparing our timeline to theirs, guessing when we'd get THE call. At least I had exercise to blow off some steam.
But when Lucy came home ten months ago, I had no idea that along with her arrival would come the departure of me. The double-stroller walks were the first thing to go, Lucy despised being wheeled around. And to leave her at all to do something for me felt selfish, a decision I can see now wasn't necessarily the best for anyone. Pilates became a thing of the past in December when we had to make some tough financial decisions. I can see why it costs so darn much -- it's quite effective! But with three small kids, it felt frivolous. So off it went.
With every passing day, my stress level increased, depression set in, and I had no where to turn with the conflicting feelings swimming around in my head -- except food. With Jeff working nights and feeling utterly exhausted when I finally got the three kids to bed, I would open the refrigerator like it was a movie marquis, trying to decide which feature I was going to dive into that night. Ice cream? An enormous bowl of cereal? More ice cream? I was overwhelmed, lonely and confused... didn't that make me deserving of a little treat? Add holidays and eating off kids plates and things were going downhill quick -- starting with my rump.
I was able to stay at a reasonable weight even though I had put on around eight pounds. But the lack of exercise saw things shifting and I could feel my clothes fitting more tightly. My ability to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed was more like red-eyed and lumpy-tailed.
Then we discovered the mold.
For five weeks we lived in a hotel and apartment. Jeff was working a zillion hours one day and nothing the next. We were in such a state of instability and insecurity, both at home and work. We had to postpone our annual trip to see my family, which threw me over the edge. Living in a building with a gym was completely pointless, given I couldn't get to it without three kids in tow. Take out was the only meal I was serving and fast food even entered the picture -- FAST FOOD, people! -- something I normally only do on the rare road trip.
Suddenly here I was up 15 pounds, more irritable and upset than ever. How did I become this? My eyebrows haven't been waxed in weeks and my nails... I have to hide my toes, they're so embarrassing. I had completely lost myself in all that's expected of me -- finding a contractor, entertaining the kids, handling the transition again and again, leaving me last on the list of priorities.
I woke up this morning, laced up my running shoes and hit the street. It felt good to move, breathe and -- best of all -- be alone. Lucy started preschool camp last week (HURRAH - she loves it!) and all of my kids spend three days a week decorating t-shirts, running through sprinklers, and getting dirty in the sandbox. Three whole glorious days that I can work on the exciting new consulting gigs I've landed, get myself back in shape, and do all those glamorous things like grocery shop, pay bills and maybe, just maybe, get those caterpillar-channeling eyebrows waxed.
But I don't want to do it alone! Do you need you get your groove back? Whether it's weight loss, "me" time or getting inspired, join me! Comment here, telling me how you're looking to get life going on the right track. Or follow me on Twitter.com/jackiemacd, we'll use the hash tag #momgroove to keep up on eachother's progress.
Now go get 'em!