I’ve been SO wonderfully inspired lately….like really inspired. Do you ever feel like you’re on the edge of something life changing and profound? These days I feel ready to burst with excitement. It’s like there is a parade of happy dancing kittens cheering me on. Ha ha, but seriously, all these new revelations have brought me to a space of beautiful vulnerability and because of this, I’ve decided to share a bit of my story with you.
I’ve been a Midwife and involved in the lives of mom’s and babies for a long time. More than 15 years! That’s almost half my life. I love my job. There is nothing more humbling, beautiful and awe inspiring than helping a family safely welcome another little soul into the world. But, this career is not without it’s significant challenges, sacrifices and heartaches. Here’s where things get a bit more personal. Over the past few years I’ve been forced to deeply re-evaluate my life, my directions and prioritize what is truly important. These lessons have been hard learned and are what I’m so excited to share.
In 2007, I was in the midst of a busy midwifery residency when my whole world came crashing down. My fiancé and life partner suddenly passed away. I was heartbroken and felt utterly destroyed. Did I stop to heal and take time to grieve? No….not really, I kept going. I dove head first into my career and found purpose, love and passion in helping others.
I spent hundreds nights helping usher new lives into the world and in the midst of all of this I also pushed my body to preform athletically, as an avid skier, trail runner and climber. So, can you guess what happened? My body started to speak to me. My hormones became unbalanced, my mood and energy suffered tremendously, I found myself overwhelmed by food allergies and sensitivities and worst of all (for a midwife) I found myself infertile.
So, call to action! In 2012 I started my journey back to health and wellbeing. I learned all I could about nutrition, holistic health and functional medicine. I changed my diet and adopted a more Paleo diet, I changed my exercise habits (a bit) and also started sharing what I was learning with my clients, blog followers and pretty much anyone who asked.
Do you know what happened? My clients became healthier and happier but somehow, I kept getting worse and my body began shutting down. Wait….what was I doing wrong? Well, a few things. While I had been busy caring for my clients, as so many of us do, I did so by rather neglecting my needs and myself. After a big health scare this summer, I realized was doing a pretty crappy job at following my own advice. I had all the tools at my disposal to heal myself but, the stress of a job paired with a busy type-A lifestyle didn’t give me space to fully enact my healing program. What a frustrating situation! However, do you know what I learned? What was missing piece of the puzzle?
Here’s the simple plan I started for myself.
1. Diagnose and treat deficiencies:
After running a few traditional and non-traditional tests, I discovered where my body was weak and started to treat my deficiencies without over supplementing the parts of me that were strong. I’ll be following this post with another to share what worked for me.
2. Eat for health AND for happiness
I’ve always been good at this part of the puzzle; I’ve been extra careful to avoid foods that cause me problems. My previously squeaky clean diet, (yes, I actually eat liver every week) actually needed to loosen up. Relaxing my diet a bit has created more spontaneity and joy, AKA more healthy treats and healthy carbs = pleasure and balance. This has value. Great value. Sometimes you have to eat the coconut milk ice cream or gluten free French toast. Have your deal breakers (I’ll share how I found mine in another post) but remember food should both nourish your spirit and body.
3. Learn to manage stress in all it’s forms
This was BY FAR the biggest piece of the puzzle for me. As much as it broke my heart to admit, my body needed a break from being on-call and up all night catching babies. Sleep deprivation and a high stress career put immense pressure on my body and with all the other systems stressed, the lack of sleep just did me in. I’ve worked with numerous shift workers (nurses, etc) and new mom’s in similar situations. It’s a tricky place to be and demands a lot of attention, respect, as well as appropriate support.
For me, it wasn’t just the job stress that harmed my health but it was also untreated emotional trauma, such as what I suffered when I lost my partner. I’ve had to learn to re-program my cells using a combination of yoga, meditation and mindfulness. For me, spending time in the mountains is one of the most helpful things I can do for myself, but everyone is different (my Instagram feed is the proof in the pudding..yumm pudding).
"Treating yourself with a pinch of gentle loving kindness can sometimes be the world’s best medicine." Meg the Midwife
Over the past few months I’ve stepped away from baby catching. I’m sleeping, eating quality food, and taking appropriate supplements while spending time in nature. My hormones are re-balancing. I have perfect poops every damn day (ha ha...true story). I’m slowly starting to get better and become a fertile woman again. It feels miraculous.
What does the future hold? Well, I’m still going to be baby-catching, but with more scheduled time off. Due to popular demand I’m also transitioning towards supporting women and their families in different ways. I’m creating more space and time for nutrition and lifestyle consulting. I’ve been re-affirming my mission to share information, learn all I can and help other women find their radiance, fertility and support their pregnancies.
So there it is….that’s a little piece of my story. Stay tuned for more info about what I’m doing to help myself along the way. Please feel free to share your stories and contact me with questions, I love hearing from you.