Friday, March 27, 2009

Taking Care of Mii

Today I am the guest blogger for Fitness Friday at The Wii Mommies Cool Mom Guide To Fitness!

As the weeks wind down, and we approach the month of April, I am constantly reminded of my frightening days, trodding the path of post-partum depression, nearly one-year ago. Forever burned into the deepest corners of my soul, I recall the hours I spent retching, pacing, crying, rocking, praying, and feeling utterly alone and scared, thinking at any minute, my spirit would be devoured by the sheer hopelessness that had invaded it. Just being alive had become so horribly painful- it is difficult to describe with words. Almost three hundred sixty-five days later, I can say that I am wiser for the trauma I experienced....that I know myself better than in all of the thirty-some years prior to the last one....but the fragment of wisdom that stands out, far beyond any other, is the importance of taking care of myself.

As mothers, most of us have found that, from the minute we first gave birth, life as we once knew it was over, and we, for better or worse, had to rise to the challenge of being responsible for the life we'd brought into this world. And, for most of us, we have proven overly capable of completing this task, using one style of parenting or another. Though some mothers I know are remarkably successful at remembering their own humanness and the magnitude of their needs, as women, as mothers, as people- molding the souls of our future- I believe that they are in the minority. For most of us, our own fulfillment in life, right down to basic hygiene, is sacrificed by this insidious philosophy we've chosen to buy into- you know the one- that the more we give the better we are. And for a fraction of mothers, this is enough to cause or exacerbate the very illnesses that actually prevent us from caring for our children at all. I, for one, am constantly finding myself at the end of my day, without having showered, put on decent clothing, brushed my teeth, eaten a nutritious meal (sitting down), checking e-mail, or calling a friend. And further down the list, I put off exercising, having no energy or desire even, to move my body, though I'll quickly start a tub of laundry, then spend the last hour of my night folding another one. The crime in this, friends, is that, after eleven years of self-neglect, I've found that this pattern of ignorance does not work and creates within me a self-loathing that infiltrates all that I think and do, and leaves me far less capable of giving than I realize.

This week I've instituted some measures, which are, by no means, remarkable, but on a very personal level, may prove life-saving. I forced my naked body in front of the mirror, Sunday evening, and as I poked and prodded at those regions for which I feel nothing but hatred, you know the ones- the layers of fat around the middle and the stretch marks, and the rolls....I started to challenge those thoughts, and I whispered words of love and encouragement to this body which has brought forth four very amazing children. And I made the commitment to practice loving this earthly vehicle, which carries my spirit to and fro. I began the act of praise, rather than punishment, lauding my belly for housing, my hips for birthing, my breasts for nurturing, my arms for carrying, my feet for walking floors and hallways and miles and miles to playdates and back. I thought long and hard about the rejection I've forced upon my body for its current state and I've decided to empower myself to care of it, as it so deserves.

So I've invested some money, which I would have otherwise spent on markers or goggles or candy, or DVDs, in organic lotions, and lovingly applied them to my weary skin each morning after showering, and each night before retiring, on time, to bed. And I've carved out a measure of space, in all of my upcoming days, to move my body, in a positive and purposeful fashion. Not to bring one of my children to school or to carry my crying baby, not to dance the hokey pokey for pre-schoolers, or chase a basketball with my six year-old. But to remember what it was like to feel invigorated by the release of energy which, will, in-turn, produce a domino-like effect on my weight, and then on my emotional well-being.

Hopping on the wii-fit, while the baby is napping, I squint and half-close my ears, as it mutters "obese" after my body-test. Really, friends, I think I'd rather be hearing on CNN that the world is ending, than to be forced to ponder that word, as it relates to my curves. But I press-on, knowing that the first steps are the hardest, and facing our demons is a most necessary act in releasing them. And these are baby steps, folks, not two hours of grueling exercise which will leave me dreading the next day, and quitting immediately- but thirty minutes- (fifteen focused on strength training, and another fifteen on aerobics). Then I fix myself a heaping bowl of dark leafy greens, assorted veggies, simple protein, and a little sauce, and quietly revel in the glow of accomplishment and the gift of having taken time to nourish me- well, mii.


Julie@Cool Mom Guide said...

Oh my gosh, Judy. What an inspiring post. Thank you so much for being our featured writer today and I wish you all the best on your fitness journey and hope to continue to read as you progress each week!

Fairiemom said...

That is an awe inspiring story!!! Best of luck with all that you do!
Thanks so much for sharing!

Lindsey said...

Wonderful post! When you have kids it is hard to remember that its important to take care of yourself, isn't it? We all tend to think of it as a noble sacrifice or something, but it's also important to teach our kids to take care of and value themselves too. I know I for one don't want to pass on any negative attitudes about self-image to my daughter - life as a kid is tough enough!

Come by my post if you get a chance! :-)

Colleen said...

Great post! I love your outlook! I have been trying to have the same...I do have to say I hate hearing that word obese also...I hate it even more knowing I have lost 25 lbs and it still says it...but like you steps..they all add up and eventually wii will be fitter!

Jen said...

Thanks so much for your words of inspiration! They are what I needed today.

SixInTheNorthwest said...

You've accomplished a difficult but valuable task ... putting into words the ultimate importance of viewing ourselves as mothers first yet taking the time to become the mothers, wives, sisters, friends that we need to be in order to be our best. I firmly believe in baby steps as the way to succeed. They've changed my life too.

Rachel said...

Good job! A year from now you'll view this decision as the true turning point of your recovery.

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Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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