Bringing Home Twins

Bringing home twins was probably one of the most intimidating experiences of my life. Firstly I was terrified of the hormonal and physical toll I was likely to experience. For example, when my daughter was born postpartum knocked me off my feet. From inconsolable crying to torrential night sweats and almost hourly epsom salt baths, I felt like I had been in a traumatic battle. So needless to say I was terrified of the twin postpartum phase and the hormonal changes times two.

Secondly, I was petrified of bringing home and caring for two tiny babies and one needy toddler. I imagined so many scenarios that ended in me locking myself in the bathroom or taking off down the street half dressed and hysterical. Luckily for me, my imagination made things out to be a lot worse than it was. Do not get me wrong it was a difficult transition, and there were many moments where it was overwhelming and I was on the verge of hysterics. However, as a second time mom I knew what was likely coming my way and this time I was ready for all the ups and downs of postpartum and was well equipped.. The following list I would like to think is what made those first few months tolerable at their worst, and may I dare say wonderful at its best. I am hoping other moms-to-be, twin moms or not will find this list helpful to them as well.

Bringing home twins was probably one of the most intimidating experiences of my life - Fallon Melander for Nesting Story

Mom Friends: someone who you can turn to, who at that exact moment is also experiencing what you are as well. For me it was a neighbour whose son was born two weeks after the twins. We quickly bonded over life as second time moms. From weekly walks to long coffee chats she was my life line during those precious and sleep deprived months. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to look far for a mom pal, but I definitely suggest connecting with other moms through facebook groups, local early years centres or even through apps that are available specifically to connect moms.

Smash + Tess Rompers: I lived in these! So comfortable, flattering, loose in all the right places, perfect for breastfeeding and dare I say pretty cute too. The last thing I wanted to think about postpartum was what I was going to wear. Being able to pull this romper out and put it on within seconds made it a huge win in my books.

Native Deodorant: as I mentioned above, postpartum sweat is real, and so is postpartum smell! For me this deodorant not only worked amazingly well, but it also is aluminum free, cruelty free and paraben free, so I felt safe wearing it around the little ones

Sleep Consultant: this is probably my number one recommendation for twin moms-to be. When I found out I was expecting twins I connected with another twin mom who just had twin boys. She recommended a sleep consultant that she had hired who not only assisted with forming a sleep plan for twins, but also provided overnight sleep support – aka stayed up all night with the babies while you and your spouse slept! Obviously this is not an affordable option for everyone, but for us it was life changing. As you can imagine as a pumping mom I was functioning on very little sleep, as was my husband who was up every few hours feeding one of the twins as well. The ability to have a trusted person in our home looking after and feeding our twins twice a week allowed us to recharge and emerge as functional human beings again. 

Bringing home twins was probably one of the most intimidating experiences of my life - Fallon Melander for Nesting Story

Swaddle and Sound Machine: these were both life savers for us in ensuring our twins fell asleep and stayed asleep, and were recommended by our sleep consultant. With my first child, who hated being swaddled we used terrible velcro swaddles that she would always manage to break out of. We also gave up so easily on swaddling her because she would protest. We also had a sound machine that would turn off just as she was entering into her next sleep cycle, and would wake up. To remedy this with our twins we used the “Swaddle Up” zip up swaddle and used an inexpensive sound machine with a continuous play function we bought on Amazon. 

Snap n Go Double Stroller: I used this baby until the bitter end, when I literally thought it was going to collapse under the weight of the twins. Although this stroller is not the easiest to maneuver and I would not recommend taking it for long trail walks, it was amazing for quick trips into the mall or grocery store. Being able to keep the babies in their infant car seats while quickly snapping them in was invaluable. A bonus, I was able to score one from a second-hand store and definitely got my money’s worth. 

Swing and Bouncy Seat: having numerous places to put the twins down was essential, especially when I was solo. From swings, bouncy seats, baby loungers, rockers, you name it we had it at some point. Every baby is different and instead of buying two of everything I bought a few things and then assessed whether it was worth it to buy a second. My house often looked like a baby amusement park at this stage.

Fallon Melander is a thirty-something wife, reformed lawyer and mother to twins plus one

Homemade Frozen Meals: easy, delicious and fast. That is all you need when you are home, exhausted and hungry! I enlisted my mom to make a bunch of healthy meals that we could freeze and eat without worry.

Diaper Stockpile: especially for twins, you will not believe how many diapers you will go through. Disposable or reusable, stock up in advance! Our family threw us a diaper party and the amount of time and money we saved was such a gift.

Couch: This was a tip that I learned from the Nesting Story blog and probably one of my favourite nursery design decisions ever. I initially intended on purchasing an oversized glider for the twins room but quickly decided that even though it would allow me to sit with both twins, my husband would have no place to sit. Nesting Story showed me how a loveseat sized couch was perfect for not only allowing two people to sit and feed the babies, but also allows a place for one baby to lie down (supervised and within reach) while feeding the other baby. The couch is still used today by us to cuddle, read stories and lounge on while watching the twins play. 

Honourable Mentions: good quality double breast pump, tons of activities to keep any older siblings busy, dry shampoo (this is how I often “washed” my hair), adult diapers for those post-birth days/weeks, and a huge water bottle – stay hydrated and combat all the water loss.

Fallon Melander is a thirty-something wife, reformed lawyer and mother to twins plus one. As a survivor of anxiety and depression, she hopes that by sharing her story she can help to inspire and bring others together.

Twins… what was I getting into?

Me: “Is everything okay in there?”

Ultrasound Technician “Yes, everything is okay… times two.”

Me: “Ummm, excuse me.”

Yes, this is how my twin journey began. It was quite a surprise and one I will never forget. I realize all twin/multiples pregnancies begin their journey in many different ways and each and every one are truly unique, but mine was the classic Hollywood portrayal of stunned parents-to-be who at 12-weeks-pregnant have just found out that they are expecting not one but two babies.

Fast forward to the end of my pregnancy and I had NO idea how I was going to handle taking care of two babies at the same time. See, I was not a rookie mom, a few years earlier I had given birth to a daughter who was the star of our lives, but also demanded a lot of our attention. To be honest I wasn’t even sure if we could have handled bringing another baby into our family without losing our minds. I felt like I was still emerging from the new mom fog and I am ashamed to admit it but I may have googled “how to know if you should have another baby” one too many times. Alas, when we finally decided to give it a shot it didn’t even cross my mind that it could be a double shot.

From a mom of one to expecting two babies, dealing with a twin surprise by Fallon Melander and Nesting Story

So you can imagine how unprepared I felt. From things like strollers, car seats, bassinets and high chairs we needed to either buy new items or in the case of my car we had to upgrade to something larger that would fit three car seats safely. The economic impact alone of having two babies at once was a hard pill to swallow, and still is. But I can tell you the emotional and physical impacts for me were even harder. Extreme nausea, fatigue, joint pain and swelling combined with anxiety, fear, anger and panic kept me up all hours of the night. I read every book, joined every twin mom group and scoured the internet for all the information. But as prepared as I may have been the deep seed of the unknown began to weigh me down. That is until those babies were born. I did not have an “aha” moment during my pregnancy nor did I find a sense of calm. It wasn’t until those two babies were in my face with their perfect little round faces and tiny little bodies did I see the true miracle that was twins.

I was surprised with two babies and became a twin mom by Fallon Melander and Nesting Story

I hope to share my birth story and personal twin journey with you all soon but I really wanted to share my true side of finding out and processing a twin pregnancy and beyond. I hope this provides any of you who may be beginning your multiples journey or those in the midst of it some comfort that it is not all rainbows and butterflies. That fear and anxiety is okay and you are not alone. It does get better and it does get easier in other ways. Reach out to other twin mamas for support, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and know you are stronger than you think.

7 Pivotal Moments That Led To The Creation Of Nesting Story

In celebrating Nesting Story’s new website and the addition of it’s contributors, I wanted to share the 7 most pivotal moments that got Nesting Story to where it is today. It’s had some unexpected twists, very exciting turns, and I wouldn’t change a thing…

#7: Feeling like I needed to create something that was mine.

I think entrepreneurs are cut from a certain cloth. We are idea people, who no matter how many times say we are going to take a step back, end up waking up the next morning with five new ideas. It’s in us, the urge to create something from nothing.

I’ve always had this sense, but it became impossible to ignore once I had my first two babies. So, I began dabbling in creative outlets, hoping that one day it would turn into a full-fledged business. I had Etsy shops where I created and sold hand made headbands and mobiles. I created a baby concierge service, which never quite made it past the planning stages, and eventually landed on an Interior Design and mural painting business, with a focus on children’s spaces. So in 2013, Nesting Story was officially born.

busy mom

This little business began to thrive, and it felt great putting my Interior Design and fine arts skillset to use. But it came to a halt when I had the surprise of a lifetime… twins! I was pregnant with twins, and had terrible pregnancy sickness to accompany it. My days of climbing a ladder to paint were officially on pause…

mural

#6: Craving connection during an isolating twin pregnancy.

My twin pregnancy brought me to my knees. Although our twins thrived, my body struggled through the entire process. I would black out after climbing stairs, my hips were in constant agony and I even lost my vision at the end. On top of this I had two older kids that needed me.

Many days were spent laying on the sofa, with a pillow between my knees, beds for my kids made on the ground, feeding them bowls of Cheerios while watching a movie.

pregnant with twins

It’s amazing how alone you can feel when you are surrounded by so much support. I longed for connection with other parents of multiples. I didn’t know one person with twins. So family members began connecting me via email with twin parents they knew. I was shocked by the negative emails I was receiving from them, with the over-arching tone being “your life is over.”

I wouldn’t accept it. I began scouring the Internet for twin-mom bloggers, who hadn’t lost their identity, but came up short. It was this longing, as well as some encouragement from friends to switch Nesting Story over to a parenting blog…

#5: Sharing my twin pregnancy story and finding my tribe.

When the dust settled, and my twins were around six months old, I began to blog. I shared everything, from what it’s really like to be pregnant with twins, to the depression I experienced during my twin pregnancy.

It was during my twin pregnancy and birth series that I started to gain some traction. With the help of my twin mom Facebook group, we got the posts out into the world and more and more mothers began to resonate with it.

twin mom

I found my voice with writing and shared every gritty detail, but always ended on an inspiring or solution-based note. The last thing I wanted to do was scare other moms like the emails that were sent to me had done. Besides, although I was in the trenches, I was able to find my voice and was slowly rehabilitating my (new) body…

#4: Hitting a viral nerve.

Going viral is not a natural or normal human experience. Anyone who has experienced going viral can probably agree that it is a bit of an out-of-body journey with a roller coaster of emotions that follow. Although it can bring some incredible opportunities, it can also throw your life off course. Here is my story.

In 2015 I had been pretty pumped about the fact that I was finally falling into a rhythm with my early morning workout routine and could actually see my body coming back after having my four kids, (including twins). I knew that my body would forever be changed. I had a few followers expecting twins that I wanted to share my body after baby story with.

So, after a finishing dinner with a big glass of wine I sat down and began to write. I laughed with my husband that I probably shouldn’t be blogging because I was a little buzzed. I cranked my music and began. It poured out of me. I enjoyed going through my pregnancy photos and finally felt balzy enough to throw in those postpartum photos I once felt so ashamed about. After only an hour and a half, (record time), I finished and went to bed, waiting for the morning to hit publish. 

Over the next day I could see the post was resonating with everyone, not just moms expecting twins. My website traffic was slowly climbing and the comments were pouring in. “Cool,” I thought to myself, “my post had legs.” Over the weekend I watched the numbers climb. I mentioned to some family that one of my posts was going viral, “oh that’s nice,” they replied, not knowing what was about to happen.

Within days, Nesting Story reached just under two-million page views. The crazy viral numbers started to level out and slowly decline. Then came the press. For the next couple weeks I averaged four interviews a day, (on the phone and reporters in our home). I was featured on media outlets like People magazine and Fit Pregnancy. It felt like a dream.

viral

As the buzz tapered, so did my energy. I had to find my footing again and figure out what was next. I hadn’t even monetized my blog yet…

#3: How do I turn this into a business?

I sometimes look back at when I went viral and think, “that woman had no idea what she was doing.” Okay, in terms of storytelling, the old me knew what I was doing. In fact, I am kind of jealous of the filter-free Joanna. I’ve definitely found time, growth and my kids getting older have made me more filtered. But what I meant was, I had no idea how to turn a blog into a business. Here I was on the heels of a media storm, basically holding a golden ticket and I had not idea how to cash it in.

I began calling PR agencies and after some negative encounters, (and what felt like Pretty Woman moments, “big mistake, huge!”), I decided to go to a blogger conference. So I snagged a ticket, and booked a flight to Scottsdale Arizona and attended my first Mom 2.0 Summit, a conference for bloggers.

Finally being plugging into a blogging community was everything. I no longer felt like a lone wolf. I created friendships and learned faster than I could take notes. Then on one fateful day, after a lovely lunch conversation with a fellow blogger, she said “I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Baby Center.” My jaw dropped, I felt like I was in the presence of blogger royalty.

This chance encounter with the Baby Center team was a huge moment on my journey. They ended up adding me as a contributor, and through them I was able to get my first paid gig and learn how to work with brands.

baby center

Brand partnerships soon followed on Nesting Story and I was able to start making an income. My dream of creating my own company from scratch was coming true. I continued to share my story on my blog, but I began to feel like writing and photos was limiting some of the stories I wanted to tell…

#2: I guess I’m also a video creator.

I could have continued telling my story on my blog, but some needed extra explanation and visuals. I really wanted to give my twin mom audience a nursery tour and show them how I fed my babies, without help during the night, from day one. “Could I film it?” I wondered. I decided to give video and YouTube a try. I had already slapped a few videos up on YouTube, what’s one more? Besides, I could embed it in a blog post so that it can actually be viewed.

So, I invited a friend over and asked her to film me in my twins’ nursery with my phone. After a couple failed attempts with cranky babies, I swapped my twins out for dolls and I was off to the races. That video now has almost 100,000 views.

I enjoyed creating that video so much, I thought I’d try sharing a “day in the life.” I was able to capture my day on my phone and edit it together. Success!

I dabbled with video here and there over the next year, and slowly I gained 5,000 subscribers. I would do this thing where I’d film myself casually, talking to the camera, and then show my day. It wasn’t until that year’s Mom 2.0 Summit that I was told by someone that I was really good at vlogging. “What was vlogging?” I thought. I had so much to learn, and apparently some YouTube to watch.

I was soon after introduced to Kin Community Canada, being told that it would be a great fit for me. After some adjustments to my videos and my channel, they signed me. I didn’t realize that Kin would not only become a huge stepping stone for my career, but would also feel like family. It was also through Kin where I met my “work wife” AmandaMuse. Together we have created videos, a business, and spoken at events.

Over the next few years Nesting Story transformed, and grew with me. I began to share more about me, and a little less about my kids. I began to share more lifestyle, home, DIY projects and wellness content which all made my heart sing. But something was nagging me. I didn’t want to abandon the twin community that meant so much to me. I wanted to pay it forward and help other new bloggers the way Baby Center helped me. And I didn’t want my blog to fade into the background, being overshadowed by video…

#1: It’s come full circle.

By late 2018 I began saying something out loud to a few of my closest people, “I want to add contributors to my blog.”

“You’ve wanted to do that for years.” They’d say.

I had. I had been saying it for years. I had held back out of fear. Fear because I didn’t know if anyone would want to write for Nesting Story, fear because I didn’t know how it would all work. But it was time. I also had an incredible team by this point who I knew would help make it happen.

So we put out a call, and boy did you deliver! We had a huge response. I was so excited to pick our final contributors and I am even more excited to share their stories. So, who are Nesting Story’s contributors? Some are twin moms, some are new moms, one isn’t a mom but is a master of minimalism. One specializes in makeup, while another one specializes in Interior Design. But the common thread is each of them speak from an honest and inspirational place which I am sure is going to resonate with all of you. I’m sure as our contributors own platforms grow, they will move on and we will be ready to add the next wave of writers.

I see this point of Nesting Story as a full circle moment. I am able to continue telling my story and do what I love, but I am also excited to share the spotlight with new writers and budding bloggers. I am exciting to work behind the scenes on some other projects including ebooks, an ecourse, a shop and lots more.

I don’t know entirely what’s down the road for Nesting Story, and after some of my surprising twists and turns I’ve stopped trying to predict the future. Right now I am going to celebrate this new launch and just breathe it all in.

Join Nesting Story on this exciting journey on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube!

Was I Being “Body Positive” Or Destroying My Health?

I love my body. I love that it has carried four babies, two of them being twins. I love that it has birthed my children. I love that it has scars and stretch marks and dimples. It has many and it is the road map of my life. When you really think about it, a woman’s body is incredible and can do incredible things.

But lately… lately I have been letting it down.

Before twins I always had a negative relationship with my body. I got angry when it wouldn’t shed pounds. I covered it up because to me it wasn’t ideal. I starved it and overtrained it and cursed it when it didn’t perform.

During my twin pregnancy everything was stripped away, and my one job was to grow and incubate my babies. I felt my body stretch, my hips seperate, and my heart race. But despite the pain my girls thrived. My body did it’s job.

During those days as I lay on the sofa with a pillow between my knees I made myself a promise. I promised to thank it. I promised to care for it and treat it the way it deserved. That meant losing the weight I purposely put on during my pregnancy, feeding it the right foods and strengthening it. But above all, I would rehabilitate my body with love.

I did. I followed through with my promise. It was a journey but I kept my promise.

You can read about my body after babies journey in my popular blog post: What Having Four Kids (Including Twins) Has Done To My Body and My Confidence.

At least until last year.

Last year I had a couple of life events that shook me. I was stressed and started to reach for food as comfort. I overate at every meal and every snack. I gave myself constant stomach aches, (which is really risky for me because in the previous year I suffered from Diverticulitis), but in the moment while I ate I felt numb and numb felt good.

Besides, a trend was building that was telling me that curvy was good. That adding on some extra weight and embracing it was actually the kind thing to do for my body. Or at least, that was how I was interpreting it.

But I didn’t feel good.

So I’d try to be mindful of my portions and ramp up my exercise and then it would fall apart.

I began posting on Instagram, along with almost everyone else, photos of my curvier body and how I was embracing my curves and buying new clothes to fit the new me.

But I didn’t feel good.

I was out of breath, was getting light-headed often, I had a sore back, and felt lethargic. So I’d try again with a new goal of caring for my body better, (which for my small 5’2″ frame meant shedding some of those pounds), and I shared this goal of health online. The response? Some positive, but I also received some blowback because the goal I was after wasn’t popular. This threw me and once again, and I stopped.

Was it guilt that I felt? I’m not sure, but I felt like I was doing something wrong.

But I didn’t feel good.

In January I turned 36, and I started to notice my body felt stiff. Really stiff. I initially joked that it was just my age, but 36? Really?

So, a few weeks ago I decided to be really honest with myself and step on a scale. Yes, a scale, which in my opinion, can be a great tool for some if used properly. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe what I had done to myself. What about the promise?

Enough was enough. It was time to make positive changes for my health and make sure I protected what I knew was right. I went through my social media and unfollowed anyone who I felt was making me second guess my goal. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault that I had lost sight of my goal of health, but it was making me second guess myself.

I’ve made sure that what I was doing to move more was on my terms and left me feeling satisfied and proud. I am working out every morning. Sometimes it’s ten minutes of stretches and abs. Other days I hop on my treadmill and run while watching Netflix.

I am taking my time to pre-cook my meals days in advance, and slow down and enjoy every bite and today my gut health is better than ever. Don’t worry, I am enjoying indulging on our weekly date night and here and there. But not everyday.

Today I am choosing love. I am choosing health.

I have lost seven pounds, and plan to shed more.

I’m happy and I feel good. I’m climbing the stairs without getting winded and my body feels more flexible.

I think some really great things are coming out of the current body positivity movement. But somehow along the way balance was lost and a bizarre version of reverse body-shaming has begun. I fell victim to this trend and I am 36.

I worry about my three daughters entering a world where the conversation is so one-sided. I want them to love their body at all stages of their life. I want them to know that we are all different and our relationship with our bodies is a personal one.

I want them to treat their bodies the way they deserve to be treated. I want the goal of health to be important to them.

You can be curvy and be healthy. You can love yourself and still chase a goal.

Body positivity should be a movement based on knowing yourself, accepting other people’s choices and cheering each other on. Body positivity should be about listening to your body and knowing when it is in a season of grief, healing, growing another life, rehabilitation or renewal. Body positivity should be about knowing the difference between embracing health and settling into a body that may not be thriving.

Above all, body positivity should be about supporting each other, knowing that what may work for one person may not work for another. That one person may need a strategy or a diet to battle inflammation or digestive issues, and that a scale can be a great tool for one person, but a torment for another. Body positivity should be about erasing judgement and saying I support you and your journey towards health.

I am choosing what’s right for me. I am choosing to chase health, and happiness.

I will be documenting my journey on Instagram and I’d like you to join the conversation and follow along there.

My friend Ana at Bluebird Kisses has also written an article on this topic. I’d love for you to weigh in and let me know what you think about this current trend.

How I took my body back after having four kids – every single secret to losing weight and loving my body

How I took my body back after having four kids - Nesting Story

Have you ever felt like you have no control over your body? Ever since I can remember, I was always the chubby member of my family. It saddens me to reflect on how much I obsessed about my weight, even as a child.

My body was always my enemy. Even as I grew into an adult, occasionally stuck to a diet and lost some weight, I was always experiencing inner turmoil with my body. So, I abused it, made fun of it to my friends, and cursed it under my breath.

I get a pit in the bottom of my stomach just acknowledging that I had these kinds of feelings for thirty years of my life. It sickens me.

But nothing made me feel more out of control with my body than pregnancies. My body was in charge and I was a passenger.

It took me three pregnancies, the final one being a strenuous twin pregnancy to change my relationship with my body. It was that last pregnancy that shocked not just my body, but my mind and my heart so deeply, that it set me on a different course.

I have not only lost the 70 pounds since my twin pregnancy, but I’ve kept it off. Although I am not a fan of focusing on the number, (in fact I don’t even have a working scale right now and quite like it that way), but those extra 70 pounds on my 5’2″ frame were causing health issues, pain and depression. So yes, my journey to self-love through self-care has involved weight-loss.

I have for so long wanted to bottle my secrets and lessons as best I can to pass them on. To pass them on to a younger me. To pass them on to that girl who didn’t know how to not only be in control of her own body, but truly love and appreciate it. To that new mom that doesn’t even recognize her own body.

What actually has been my secret to not only losing the baby weight, but keeping it off? Well, the secret is years in the making. It’s not just a magic diet, or an intense workout routine, but so much more. It’s so much more that no one ever tells you. But I truly believe, without hesitation, that these tips can help anyone who is struggling with their weight.

Let’s rewind to the beginning, shall we?

twins day 1

The day I came home with my twins.

On the day I came home from the hospital after having my twins, the curiosity was killing me… how much weight had I lost now that two human beings had exited my body? They each weighed 6 pounds, so, I figured, maybe I had lost 12 pounds, or even more because you have to count the amniotic fluid and placentas. I hopped on the scale and was devastated. I had only lost 3 pounds.

I looked down at my massive swollen feet, and the logical side of my brain told me that I was retaining a lot of water and needed to be patient. I had been through this twice before after giving birth to my older kids. But come on, two freaking people, it didn’t seem fair.

As I looked down at my body, I didn’t recognize it. It was bruised and mushy. I had swelled to a weight that I didn’t think my 5’2″ frame was capable of.

I picked myself up and switched my focus to what was most important: caring for my four kids, healing from my C-section and basically surviving our family’s new dynamic.

weight loss after twins

Year one 

The time had come. I was given the go ahead from my doctor to slowly start exercising. This is it. This is the moment I had been waiting for. I had been dreaming about taking my body back since I spent day after day, on my sofa, with a pillow between my knees, growing babies.

At first my progress was slow. Keep in mind I was trying to care for four kids as well as myself. It was so difficult to carve out any “me” time. It wasn’t until I began waking up before anyone in our family each morning to exercise. That’s when everything began to fall into place.

I made time. I stopped waiting for time to find me and I made sure that I carved out time for exercise.

I began to love and appreciate my body. I have struggled with my weight since I was a child. Anytime I would make some strides with my weight-loss and strengthening goals, it came from an angry place where I felt I had to punish my body. Having twins was finally the event that changed the way I looked at my body. It has done incredible things and it was to be celebrated and cared for.

I was focused on my goals. Losing the baby weight was my number one goal. I planned to eat healthy foods, indulge here and there and not beat myself up about it. I also wanted to get in shape again, especially knowing I was finished having children. I would take my time. But this time it was different. I had simple goals that were for me and no one else. I wanted to be strong. I was over hurting my back when I pick up a baby. I want to be flexible. No more pulling my neck while reaching for a pacifier that had fallen under a crib. I wanted to go to my closet and feel good in whatever I put on. No more pulling at waistlines and being limited to leggings.

lost weight after twins

plateau

Year two

Little did I know that I was heading into a one-year weight plateau….

I started to play little mind tricks with myself, like, you’ve got this far, you can take days (or weeks) off of exercise. Or after an exhausting day of building my business, while giving enough attention to my family, I would “reward” myself by gorging on unhealthy, or ridiculous portions.

Every once and a while I would find my rhythm and work at getting a few more pounds off, but despite making “losing the last ten pounds” my number one goal, I would continue to self-sabotage.

Then, at around 17-months postpartum, I made the conscious decision to relax. I embraced my body again, and was proud of how far I had come.

This was also the year that I was starting to hit on something that would again pop up in year five. I realized that I needed to experience more joy and laugh more. But more about that later.

I switched my focus of weight-loss. I stopped making “weight loss” my New Year’s resolution. Maybe having “lose those last ten pounds” as my New Year’s resolution, did more damage than good? Maybe that’s too much pressure, and I was setting myself up to fail?

I rewired my brain. I also started to realize how much I was stress eating and began my journey of rewiring my brain to stop thinking, “you deserve this,” and instead think, “this won’t fix your problem.”

I began to see my body’s purpose and know it’s power. I knew that the war my body had been through was it’s own and couldn’t be compared to other bodies. I had no intentions of erasing my journey, just rehabilitating the body that brought my kids into this world.

bikini after twins

before photo

Year three

As year three began, I started to feel ready to go after a new goal… strength. But every time I tried to get myself into a rhythm with exercise, or healthier eating habits, I would get in my head again and self sabotage.

I began to dive deeper into reasons why I was self-sabotaging, which ended up going way back to some injuries and illnesses I experienced as a child and I stopped seeing myself as broken, and realized that I was self-sabotaging out of fear.

After this important realization, I told myself “I’m not broken, I’ve just been scared.” It was time to let that fear help propel me forward so that I can reach my goals, drop the excuses, be secure within my success and know that wanting to reach the finish line is not selfish, it’s self-love.

I got help. Sometimes going it alone isn’t enough, and it’s okay to get some help. First I trained with a personal trainer for three months. This taught me that my body was far from frail, or broken and that I can push it farther without fear. I also signed up for a healthy eating program just long enough to help me understand what size portions I should be consuming, and what times of the day I should be eating.

personal trainer

after photo

Year four

Last spring, after a quieter winter, life got busy. I lot of exciting projects came my way, I had a lot of travel, both for work and vacations, and the kids schedules were getting busier.

During that excitement I noticed my energy levels lagging, heart palpitations kept coming and I was often light-headed. I kept putting it off and finally I went to see my doctor when it dawned on me that I hadn’t had a physical in over FOUR YEARS!

Whoops!

My blood work came back showing that my iron levels were in the toilet. So I started to take iron supplements and my energy levels came back.

Just as I was starting to feel like myself again, I had another major setback. By the end of August I started having abdominal pains that were different than any IBS symptom I had experienced in the past. But, typical me… I ignored them.

Well, I ignored them until my husband convinced me to go have them checked out. I was immediately sent to the hospital and was diagnosed with Diverticulitis that day.

in the hospital

This for me has been a big wake-up call. I have been making some huge lifestyle changes including being less busy, moving towards a more minimalist life, having laser focus on work, but not trying to do everything and making more time to cook.

I have also been exploring my health on a deeper level. I have been peeling the onion as to why I am having so many digestive issues and struggling with my energy and using food as fuel instead of comfort.

Really knowing and caring for my body. Being more in tune with my body and making sure that it is better cared for has helped me stick to exercise routines. I now know that there is a handful of foods that I just cannot eat because I have food intolerances that cause excruciating pain. I would have never found these answers if I didn’t keep digging deeper and deeper.

skiing

Year five

As the fall approached, some tough stuff came our way, which forced both myself and my husband to self reflect and think about what we really want and what is really important. On the top of my list was to find my joy again. To actually experience life instead of surviving, or controlling life.

I have fun. This year I have been choosing joy and choosing me more. This has included getting a puppy and taking up skiing again.  I’ve made caring for my body fun and second nature.

Recently I realized was caring so much for a couple people in my family who were stumbling, and I was working so hard to help them find balance and happiness again, that I began to neglect myself. This formula doesn’t work. I’ve begun to put the oxygen mask on myself first, before anyone else in my life.

I am my first priority. I’ve begun a new journey of self discovery and lifestyle improvement that includes everything from a healthy diet and exercise, to meditation, listening to inspiring audiobooks, massage therapy and doing some things for myself that I’ve wanted to do for a while.

weight loss

It has taken me a long time to get where I am after having my twins. It has taken a lot of perseverance and hard work. But most of all, it has taken a lot of patience and love for myself.

I knew that post-babies would be a new chapter for my body and that I had to learn how to love my new curves, stretch-marks and dimples.

I have come so far and have been through so much. I have recreated who I see myself as, knowing that although I’ve changed some things, that it doesn’t mean that I have lost the best part of me. This change has come from a place of self care and of giving back to my body after everything it has given and created.

Make time. Love and appreciate your body. Focus on your goals. Try to have goals other than just weight loss. Rewire your brain to break bad habits. Get help. Truly know and care for your body. Have fun. Make yourself your first priority.

The truth is, reaching fitness goals and then maintaining a healthy body is a journey. Use these lessons as a roadmap for you to begin yours and whatever you do, don’t stop. Don’t settle. You deserve this.

Success isn’t perfection. Success is allowing days to slow down. Success is allowing a day to feast with your family. Success is to be at peace with those days and getting back on track the next. Success is embracing your health and knowing deep in your core that you deserve to treat your body like a temple. Success is being able to zoom out and see the big picture, see the humans it’s created, the war its been through and the strives you’ve made.

You can continue to follow my health and fitness journey on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube!