The Second Act: Discovering My Confidence
I'm reading a great book right now called "The Confidence Code" by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. It's all about the values of confidence for women - both scientifically and emotionally, and why so many of us don't have it. It's also gotten me thinking a lot about my journey this past year and what might lie ahead. Before the birth of my first son, I spent a lot of time preparing to get pregnant and then preparing to give birth. We are talking probably about 2-3 years! After giving birth for the first time, I felt all the usual emotions - intense love, wonder, and pride. I also felt loss. At the time, I couldn't articulate it, and spent a lot of time crying (yes, a lot of that was due to crazy hormones). I felt unprepared for how overwhelming the task of motherhood was, and imagined that my entire being had vanished in the care and love of my son. I reluctantly went back to work, cried every single day, and lasted about 6 months before leaving. I transitioned to a part time job, but when I got pregnant with the birth of my second son ended up making the decision to become a full time mom.
Fast forward 3 years and I had two more beautiful boys, but that feeling of loss had never really gone away, although much diminished after a few years of adjustment to life with my little ones!
I know now that feeling of loss was the abrupt end of my pre-children days. It comes so fast, and there truly is NO way one can ever be prepared. It's all part of the magical journey of parenthood. After 6 years of trying to get pregnant, being pregnant and then nursing, I found that my confidence had plummeted. Giving birth and caring for young children is very empowering, but my belief in that pre-mom self and my unique value to the world had gone by the wayside.
In college and young adulthood, I was very confident and sought opportunities for public speaking and leadership. I found that now I didn't really believe my ideas or thoughts held value and couldn't begin to think about what I could contribute other than my skills as a stay at home mom (which were certainly enough to make me proud, but still....). I found myself getting quiet and withdrawn , and felt consistently frustrated by attempts to just start feeling like my old self again. I had almost come to the point of acceptance that being a parent doesn't always mean you get to be your old self, and that my own interests would have to take a back burner for quite a while.
Getting my health and nutrition back on track about a year ago was kind of a shot in the dark. I saw a friend of mine posting on Facebook about the 21 Day Fix and decided I had nothing to lose. I was just sick of feeling like a stranger in my own body and wanted to get back to that confident, healthy girl that I knew before the birth of my sons.
A year later I just can't believe how much has changed. It really only took about 6 weeks of consistent exercise and dialed in nutrition to start seeing changes in my body and truly get clean emotionally for the first time in years. I felt confident and ready to start chasing some of my dreams again.
I know now that I can't have it all, but I can damn well try. I know that in this second act I'm NOT the same person I was before my sons, and that's ok because I may be better! I'm still home with my boys and wouldn't trade it for the world. Luckily, I now have the confidence to also pursue my dream of helping others through coaching and I'm even working on some new goals for this coming year! There is a quote in the book that I love:
" Confidence is linked to doing...It is a willingness to go out of your comfort zone and do hard things. Mastery. About having resilience and not giving up." In the end, getting to of a rut and getting back my confidence was about DOING. I had to take action and get back to the things I loved. Luckily it was exploring my passion for clean eating and nutrition that really helped me on the path to getting my back my center and my confidence.
I look forward to continuing the journey this year and keeping up the "doing". I'm in my second act, certainly not my last, but so far the journey has been a good one.
I want this for everyone and anyone that has been in a position where you feel you may have lost your glow, which is why I'm inviting you to my January 11th Challenge Group! For the first 3 people that sign up by 12/31, I will give you a copy of this book! Comment below, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or use the hello button to let me know!