Maternal Mental Health Matters The Most In Order To Change Our Collective Mental Health

Guest blog post by: Andrea Page, Fitmom Fitness

We can also talk until we are blue in the face, but if we do not have practical solutions for dealing with mental health in real time, talk is yes very cheap. Why do I believe maternal mental health is the benchmark for a healthy society? Simple. 90% of the time a mother is the one providing the fundamental nurturance for infant and toddlers in the time their brains are being wired and developed most.

When we neglect mothers we neglect society.

I did my first media piece on mental health and motherhood 15 years ago on than CITY TV. I was actually in the thick of it. I told half truths and was still banging on doors for help. I was working myself to the bone caring for other mothers and barely sleeping and to be frank was a complete mess most of the time ( but a very good actress ). I lived with shame and guilt. Parented poorly. Did not really know how to ask for the right kind of help. This is a cycle in my family passed down and will share more at a later date. I talked and talked about mental health publicly for years and than I really just stopped. I was tired of stating the obvious and preaching to what felt like the wrong people….. mothers.

After Bell Lets Talk along with a very disastrous mile stone in my families mental health this month, I am opening up again, but with the goal to not just talk but offer tangible solutions and shed valuable insight on improving our collective mental health. I will not be sharing all of my thoughts and insight here but on my personal facebook Andrea Fitmom Page and you are welcome to add me or follow me if this interest you.

I also am available for coaching on how to address with practical measurable changes in addressing acute situations with mothers, children and teens and have caregivers, teachers, principles and parents contact me for advocacy often to help create plans that actually help people without depending on the system that is very broken. You must empower your mental health and that of those you love. There is no quick fix. You have to do the work.

Lastly I will leave you with my post from today on Facebook, and invite you to join me:

“So I have decided to attempt to talk about mental health everyday and back it up with meaningful education and actions you can take for yourself and those around you. A huge corporation that gouges Canadians playing on the vulnerabilities of peoples stories when they have a known track record of not dealing with their own employees mental health does not fly. They ploy us to do their marketing for them for a massive tax right off and does not make a real dent in my opinion. Its about changing us. Our responses. It is about social education. It is not about depending on a broken system.

So day 1.

I have debilitating depression and anxiety that I have learned over time to manage most often and continue to heal the underlying issues. Sometimes my mental health effects my ability to show up for my children and my clients. THERE ARE ALWAYS UNDERLYING ISSUES. You cannot talk about MENTAL HEALTH without talking about trauma current and trans-generational. In fact talk really is cheap. It is good to have someone to talk too but to get the tools to manage a panic attack in real time is essential to helping growth and productivity. The very first thing I would suggest is to recognize there is no easy way out. You MUST DO THE WORK. Hard yes if depression is a factor. Double check if you are surrounding yourself with people strong enough to hold you accountable with love. There can be a cycle of poor decision making when we are suffering the most that feeds the cycle. That is a pattern. You need loving people to challenge you to manage your self care properly. Own your patterns with self love and compassion and commitment to doing better each day. This week I am running a self care challenge that I will run again in a couple weeks. Improving your mental health is about developing self awareness. It is about sharpening your tool kit. It is about fighting back when it knocks you down.”

Each moment is a chance,

Andrea  xo

About Andrea Page, Fitmom Fitness:

In 1999 I became pregnant with my first child I had very little support and I was not prepared for the immense responsibility and stress that accompanies motherhood.

Mothering did not come naturally to me. Like most of us, my reality was often at odds with the glamorized version perpetuated by North American media. I bought into the idea of ‘Supermom’ thinking that if I worked hard to ‘do it all’, I would indeed become one. I was wrong; I often felt isolated and cut off from my community and, it turns out, I wasn’t alone. The experience of raising three sons and training over 50,000 women has taught me that mothering in seclusion is not a healthy option. Community is the key to improving a sense of balance and strength in mothering.

Over the years, my story and what is now called “Andrea Pages Original FITMOM™” programs have inspired women to prioritize their self-care and encouraged women to work together to build community. These values are echoed in every FITMOM™ original class and city that our programs are offered. We encourage our members to strive for balance in their daily lives and we assist them in reaching their personal health and wellness goals. Our ultimate goal is to create a community in which mothers and families can thrive.

By: Shannon Fisher, And Now I’m A Mom

Alright mamas, it’s time to talk about it. We face it every day. It’s amazing, it’s magical, it’s maddening, it’s stretched, it’s different, it’s life-giving, it’s wonderful, it’s earned, and it’s frustrating.

That’s right, it’s our postpartum body. Nobody gives birth and then immediately looks like they did pre-pregnancy, so we’re inundated with two types of articles as we’re spending our few free moments scrolling the depths of social media. The first, is that your new body is basically an eyesore and you must diet and workout constantly until it returns to it’s original state.

Yeah, sure. In the words of Ariana Grande, Thank U, next.

The next type of article is that we need to love and cherish every inch of this large, stretched out squishy belly, because, well it gave us our baby. And let’s not forget the “other women would dream of having a postpartum belly, be thankful what you have” posts (Which yes, is true, and I am in no way taking away from that. But that doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to not be happy with ours).

Now, I get it. I’ve been a strong advocate for body positivity for years, and yes, you should love your new body. I truly believe we should work on and focus on self-love and self-care every day, but that’s just not always the case, is it?

I love what my body has done for me, and I am eternally grateful. But. That doesn’t mean that I’m thanking my stomach every time I have to lift it over the waist of my pants to pretend they fit.

I am thankful that I was able to carry my beautiful healthy daughter for 9 (or 10?) months, but excuse me if I don’t weep with joy when the sweat pools between my delightful belly rolls.

Thank you belly rolls,  for you are a product of my daughter. Thank you, entire wardrobe that no longer fits, because now I don’t need you anymore, for now I understand why moms wear leggings and sweatpants- and I’m so grateful to be a mom that it’s totally ok. 

I’m sorry, but no. Absolutely fucking not. I can love and be thankful for my daughter while simultaneously missing my old body. I can be grateful for the pregnancy I experienced while mourning a large portion of my self confidence, which seemed to disappear around the same time as my ability to wear backless dresses. (Also, where the heck does a new mom wear a backless dress?)

Would I love to feel nothing but love as I squished my handfuls of belly in the mirror? Sure, who wouldn’t? But let’s be real. It’s hard to feel a lot of love for your new belly when nothing in your wardrobe fits you anymore and your silhouette has much more, shall we say… shape? Alternatively, would I love to be doing yoga and exercising regularly, while maintaining a healthy, calorie reduced diet? Yes, I would. Am I going to? Probably not.  Like my first thought after pushing a watermelon out of my vag and then not sleeping for months is exercising, and not, you know- sleeping. Nope. I’m going to nap. I’m going to eat snacks. And I’m going to enjoy my ice cream after a long-ass day, and I’m going to indulge in that creamy pasta because goddammit I want it and I deserve it.

It’s  lovely thought, to be able to either start exercising right away. Or to just love and cherish this new body that gave you your child. But I don’t think it’s realistic. This shit takes time. It takes energy, and it takes commitment. You know what we’re spending that time, energy and commitment doing? Being a new mom.  And you know what we don’t hear enough? It’s okay not to like your postpartum body. Gasp!

There, I said it. And I’m going to say it again.

IT’S. OKAY. NOT. TO. LIKE. YOUR. POSTPARTUM. BODY.

Not liking how you feel in your new body does not mean you love your child any less. It does not make you any less grateful, and it sure doesn’t mean you feel any less sympathy for women who can’t carry children.

It simply means you’re not this saggy, stretched out belly’s biggest fan right now, and that you also don’t really have the energy or great desire to do anything about it for the moment. That’s life. Own it. Vent to your mom friends about it, and how your belly jiggles in so many new ways that it could take someone’s eye out. And do it, while treating yourself to that ice cream sundae and loving every. Single. Bite.

Guest Blog Post by: Elisabeth Parsons, Fit4You


 Man or woman, I am sure you agree.

  • Life begins and grows within our hipsWomens-hips-in_jeans
  • We allow music to be felt through us by dancing, swaying our hips
  • Our strength in physical movement originate here
  • Here we sit.  Here we stand
  • They propel us forward whether it be to run, jump or twirl
  • We feel pain here when things are not right
  • We feel pleasure when they are

As much as our brain is the head office of our nervous system therefore our command centre; I think of our hips as the head office of physical action.  Most movements originate here and therefore any dysfunction, even if not felt, can cause pain and discomfort in other parts of our body.  So why is the optimal function of this so important part of our body so often ignored?  Or even worse, mis-treated?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is usually due to lack of knowledge.  Most people don’t know what, or if anything, is required to maintain good function and health in our hips, pelvis, pelvic floor.

Woman In Back PainDysfunction, weakness and imbalances can cause such common problems such as back pain, constipation, urinary incontinence, pain during sex and so much more.  When you hear your friend, spouse or co-worker complain of a bad back you probably don’t think to yourself “his/her pelvic floor must be week”.  You might think, or even say; “you should work your core, I have heard that helps a bad back”.  But do you know what it means to work your core in a way that is beneficial for your back?  We have all heard by now that we should be “working our core”.  But what does that mean?  Crunches?  Sit-ups?  No!  These exercises can only make matters worse, or will create dysfunction where nothing was wrong to begin with.

Did you know that your pelvic floor is a part of your core?  Probably not.  Neither did I a few years ago.  But it is this lack of knowledge that has women complaining of urinary incontinence, constipation, back pain and more, just to be told by their doctors and friends that it is normal.  Apparently this is what happens when a woman has had children, or is approaching menopause… NOT IT IS NOT!!!

Core_4The muscles of the core

There is nothing normal about peeing when you sneeze, cough or exercise.  There is nothing normal or acceptable about having pain when you have sex with your partner.  It may be common, but it is not normal.  There is something that can be done.  And quite easily too.  First, I need for you to rethink this whole hip area a little.  Our pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles, and like any muscles, they need to be exercised in order to work well.  But you can’t just go about this casually, it must be done in a way that will recruit all the muscles that work synergistically along side it.  Only then will you experience that your back pain goes away, hip pain becomes a thing of the past and you can sneeze without crossing your legs again.

I have been doing this work for a few years now and find it incredibly rewarding to help women reach an improved quality of life by eliminating many of these problems and thus making them feel they can swing their hips all the way to the gym, not worrying about peeing when they laugh at a joke and enjoying intimacy with their partner again.

Detoxing_happy_tummySelf-Care is Empowering

This past weekend I had, alongside my colleagues, the pleasure of running a course educating other health professionals on how they can help their clients and patients restore their core and pelvic function.  So much fun and so empowering not just for us, but for our clients.  This is why I love what I do.

I invite you to learn more about this and my RestoreYourCore Program, and please pass on to any women in your life who you think may benefit (everyone I would think)

I wish you the happiest and healthiest of days 🙂 xo


elisabeth

ELISABETH PARSONS is a pro fitness trainer, nutritional counsellor, and lifestyle coach to women. She is a mother of 4 very active boys, and enjoys sharing her life experience and knowledge about adding vitality to your life through healthy, active living.

Give your inbox a dose of delight.

Sign up to receive helpful parenting info, program updates, contests, and special offers - right in your inbox.

WE ARE HONOURED TO BE TRUSTED BY: