Recently I had a taste of what it was like to be me again - sounds romantic, dramatic and far fetched, I know! As part of my strong women class I attended an adhoc Thai boxing session. Too many years have passed for me to put a date on when I last entered a ring, put in a gum shield, wore pads and let rip.
Yes of course I was worried that I wouldn't remember what to do or what I would look like. The reality is that both pregnancy and birth battered my body several times over, with an average weight gain of five stone each time. Leaving me with no longer a connection with my abs, my core strength or the time and inclination to do anything about it. It was already too late, right?
Having had gestational diabetes with all my pregnancies, research shows that I am now in a higher-risk category for developing it later on in life. Coupled with my bad posture, stiff neck and occasional niggling back pain I am reminded that health wise, time is not on my side. I have a limited opportunity to fix 'ME' so that I can actively enjoy my life and embrace old age with a cuddle.
Aside from my jelly belly and chunky thighs, which can be changed daily with a good Instagram filter or well fitted clothes, this is more about how I feel inside out. There is no long term quick fix that will offer more than a band aid. I mean I could have it all hoovered out, I suppose? But when it all returns because I never knew why it was there in the first place, I will be scratching my head and emptying my bank account to fix it again and again.
Inside is where it hurts, inside is where it starts, that's what matters and that's where you need buy in. We are all on this journey as mums, the question is how much time are we willing to dedicate? Are we prepared to invest in ourselves? Can we continue to give from an empty well?
When I watched my friend pulling a car around her waist a few months ago, I laughed out loud: "Good on her, it's not me, I am not that strong, I have a rubbish core and I can barely pick up my own children."
Famous last words, "This is me!"
A mum, a writer, a wife, a sister, a daughter picking, lifting and squatting.
Multiple identities, of which, until now, few solely belonged to me.
The trainer had me at, "I just want to build a community of women, who do crazy sh*t!"
I have joined a local class of eclectic women who have come together to get strong! One lady in there is nearly 70, another lady has transformed her body and life in less than nine months and there are other mums who are just dedicated, want a space to be crazy, be them and be strong.
It is easy to get caught up in the martyrdom of motherhood being the provider of food, emotional well being, love, stability, the purveyor of memories, there's more, obviously there's more.
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the 'poor me' syndrome. Questioning, who is looking out for me? Who cares about me? Who will fix the weakness in my pelvic floor? The strength of my core? The deterioration of my health, as I enter my pre-menopausal phase of my life? Who? I ask who?
Ok so no one other than me then!
I remember the feeling, the excitement and release I would get from a Thai boxing class all those many moons ago. I was surprised that muscle memory meant that I could still punch and kick nearly 20 years later.
I remember the joy of practicing handstands and cartwheels for hours when I was a young girl. Through my daughter, I recognise the twinkle in her eye as she is now doing the same. I want some of that sparkle, some of that magic, some of that strength and some of that 'ME' back. Therefore, my challenge is to build up enough strength that I won't break my wrist trying to grab some of it!
As a wise woman once said 'Health is wealth' so for me it is time to invest in my MUMBOD - is anyone else game?
HuffPost UK Parents is running a week-long focus on 'Mumbod' to empower mums and mums-to-be to feel confident about their bodies pre- and post-baby. We are launching a section on the site that focuses on all aspects of mums' bodies and highlights the amazing things they are capable of. We'd also love to hear your stories. To blog for Mumbod, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To keep up to date with features, blogs and videos on the topic, follow the hashtag #MyMumbod.