This post is part of YummyMummyClub.ca’s support of the Dove® Unstoppable Moms for Unstoppable Girls Contest. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors. Go to www.UnstoppableMoms.ca to enter by sharing how you inspire girls to reach their full potential.
A little over 3 years ago I was a very active woman, at the age of 36 I was quite proud to be training for my first half-marathon and identified myself as an active Mother. All of this came to a screeching halt in February 2010 when I was involved in a car accident. At the time of the accident I seemed to have minor injuries, a concussion and whiplash wouldn’t stop me!
Within a few weeks it became clear that this horrible pain I was living with wasn’t going away anytime soon. My life had gone from one of rich family time spent hiking, biking and many other activities to me lying down watching life pass me by. My gorgeous little 4 & 6 year old girls were missing their Mommy and begging me to do things with them that I just couldn’t. It was heartbreaking to lie on the couch as my wee one would come and ever-so carefully lie beside me so she didn’t “hurt Mama”.
Over the years, with many doctors and learned professionals I’ve learned to cope with chronic pain and daily migraines. I’ve had to curb my expectations of myself and watch as my darling daughters have done the same. Going through this experience has been humbling and yet enlightening.
No longer can I jump up on a whim, pack the girls and their bikes into the car and hit the trails….I’m somewhat a prisoner of my limitations….but within this I’ve found a positive perspective.
I Decided to be Unstoppable!
I may have gained weight, I may be much less physically active and yes I’ve experienced deeply dark times where I’ve hated my body but I refuse to hide from life!
During one of these dark times when my self-image was in the gutter my daughters wanted me to come swimming with them, such a simple request but so difficult at the time. As I looked at myself in my swim suit, glaring resentfully at the new cellulite, my skin which was sagging from lack of muscle tone, the rolls bulging from the waistband… I was inclined to refuse. Something within me wanted to go and hide from my the world, hating the thought of what others would think of the way I looked and how little I could do.
It was then that my youngest burst into the room wearing her swimsuit, babbling excitedly about how she was going to show me her new dive. In that moment I knew I had to stop hiding and get back into life. I had to grab that flame of joy from my daughter’s eyes and stoke the flame.
I had a choice; either sit in the muck of my own making or step up and get real. That day I went swimming! I didn’t perform a swan dive of epic proportions but I did get moving and enjoy the time being active with my girls.
Sharing That Our Bodies Don’t Define Us
Since then I’ve had very real discussions with my daughters about my self-image, I’ve realized that by not participating I was conveying a message which I didn’t want my daughters to embrace. We have been able to discuss the reality of my limitations and how that has made me feel and my daughters have watched me persevere through the difficult times, to me this is the message I want to share.
These days we celebrate our achievements, rather than celebrating my 10 pound weight loss we celebrated the day I was able to go on a 10 minute walk. There is beauty in our lives as we seek to keep improving, no matter how little the progress feels. By maintaining an open, honest dialogue we have become empowered to harness the power of positive forward-movement.
Our journey is by no means at an end, there are ongoing challenges which we face daily because of my disabilities but these days my girls know that their Mom will never give up; that she will find a way around the limitations so we can experience as much as life has to offer!
What do you do to empower your children? Are you UNSTOPPABLE?
Are you an unstoppable mom? Share YOUR story about a time when you thought about quitting an activity you loved because of how you felt about your body and let them know how you think moms/role models can better support girls to participate in activities. You have until June 13, 2013 to enter. You could win $2,500 for yourself and $2,500 will be donated to help raise a girl’s self-esteem.
Check out more stories on YummyMummyClub.ca about amazing unstoppable moms: http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/family/mummy/unstoppable-moms-for-unstoppable-girls
Georgia Beckman says
YOU are an encouragement. Please remember, the size, shape & tone of your body do NOT define who you are. It takes all shapes, sizes, attitudes, skills & character to make the world we live in. We all have something to contribute. Carry on, my friend, carry on.
Thank you Georgia, it’s amazing how differently I look at myself now that I’ve let my negative body-image issues go. Life is so much sweeter
Chandra Christine O'Connor says
Wow, good for you to get up and moving and congrats on 10 pds down, I struggle with weight but not because of an injury but I have hand disease my hand keeps putting food in my mouth. My youngest and I, well my mostly my youngest are doing dvd exercises in the morning. I do what I can do before my knees kill. Keep going positive motivation is contagious.
Chandra it’s a very good example you’re giving, by sharing that time with her you’re encouraging good habits later in life.
Angie@Echoes of Laughter says
Great post Julie! I think that it is so amazing that your girls have been able to watch you overcome challenges and pain and see that you keep trying and moving forward! You are sending them such an important message and being such an important role model in their lives! I, too, am humbled by your struggle! You go girl! Wishing you a lovely week ! Angie xo
Angie your comment has touched me, thank you for sharing.
Stephanie @Good Girl Gone Green says
As I have told you a trillions times you are amazing and so inspiring! Your girls must be so prod to have a mom like you! xoxox
And once again you’re making me teary eyed, you my darling inspire me as well
Good for you for getting out there and doing what you can! Your girls will pick up on that and I’m sure it will encourage them to try new things as well.
That’s exactly what I’m hoping for Cheryl, that they’re not afraid to look silly or be held back by what they think other people’s opinions are.
jodi shaw says
Julie you are unstoppable and beautiful! I love this story and how you share pieces of who you are with all of us who follow you. I was in a horrible car accident four years ago and have suffered every day since, though I don’t write about it much. Maybe I should. You’ve inspired me to branch out and know there is nothing today you can’t do.
Keep going Jodi, you CAN do more than you think
I’m sorry you experienced all this but as you know, this makes who you are today and who you are today is a beautiful empowered woman, wife and mother who I know I am proud to call one of my closest friends. Your girls are lucky to have you in their lives, to guide them through their hardships and hold their hand when they need you most. As hard as our kids are on us, they are taking it all in; motherhood is a gift God has placed his trust in us with. Love you my friend. xo
I am truly blessed to have you, thank you for all of your support
Jenna Em says
Julie, kudos to you for overcoming your major obstacle! What I do to empower my children, is to praise them lavishly when they have done: with sports, art, music, etc. I am trying to be unstoppable, but taking my own health, fitness and nutrition into my own hands. It has paid off well, and has set a good example for my children!
And an example for ME!
What you’re doing is the best example for your daughters! Way to be unstoppable :) You serve an inspiration to so many.
Misfit Momma says
Congrats on your progress! You really are unstoppable.
My kids definitely pick up and follow along with the things I do, and sometimes I need a reminder to that :)
I think we all do, it’s so simple to forget that we’re modelling behaviors they will mimick.
You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your story. Not the level you are talking about but I’ve been living a healthier lifestyle and losing weight. When I shout YEAH! and my daughters ask what I’m happy about, instead of saying I lost weight, I tell them I’m getting healthier.
You’re doing so well Kathleen!!
such a great post Julie – it’s amazing how the excitement in our kids can help give us the push we need sometimes
I have NO idea where I’d be without the encouragement of my girls
Julie, I have read a number of your blog posts, and I just want to say that I think you are pretty cool. You are real and human, you’ve had some serious challenges in your life and made some mistakes, but you are courageous to face those challenges the way you have while sharing them here so openly. Thank you for this post and your blog, it’s always great to find someone who is genuine in a world where people can pretend to be whatever they want to be behind their laptop screens.
Each of us is imperfect, I guess I’ve truly accepted myself and am willing to share that with others hoping they can do the same.