At Go Mum! we are famous for having a friendly and supportive exercise environment. But don't take our word for it. We asked Rachel, a Go Mum mum about her experiences of motherhood and exercise.
1. How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have two children. Caitlin is three and a half and Thomas is about to turn one.
2. What do you most like about being a Mum?
Watching them grow and develop their personalities. Caitlin is now at an age where she can come out with pretty funny comments and ideas. Yesterday when I was trying to get her to talk she told me that she had lost her voice and that her mouth was in her leg! I love sharing with them things that I enjoyed as a child with my parents, be that blowing bubbles from soapy water in the bath with Thomas, or craft adventures with Caitlin.
3. Were you nervous about getting back into exercise after having a baby? If so, why?
I don't remember being nervous about getting back into exercise but I was a bit apprehensive about how I would manage to exercise whilst looking after a baby. Thomas was two months old when I did my first class at Go Mum and I remember that when he got a bit unsettled I popped him in the carrier for a while until that no longer worked and then Christine gave him some cuddles and he was fine! I've not had to worry about juggling exercise and childcare since as Christine is wonderful at helping out.
4. How long have you been training with Go Mum! Group Fitness?
Since January 2016.
5.1. Before starting with Go Mum! what level of understanding did you have about the importance of core & pelvic floor strength for pre and post-natal women? (out of 1-10, 1 being no understanding, 10 being a guru!).
I'd say a 2. I had some idea it was important but didn't know why. I remember going for a walk on my first day home after getting out of hospital with Caitlin (she was born by c- section) and I felt like I'd run a marathon before I got to the end of the road! After having Thomas I eased back into it much more gradually and through Christine have learnt lots.
6. What do you enjoy most about training with Go Mum! Group Fitness?
The friendly nature of the classes - everyone is supportive of one another - and the fact that I know my children are happy whilst I am exercising.
7. What are your main fitness goals for 2016?
To fit exercise into my life each day be that a Go Mum class, a walk or a swim. I like to mix it up!
8. Tips or tricks for new mums getting back into exercise
Know your limits - don't push your body if it doesn't feel right. And most of all enjoy! Exercise can be the last thing you feel like doing when you're sleep deprived but rarely do you feel worse for doing some.
9. What are you most grateful for as a mum?
Having two happy and healthy children and being able to watch them grow. I am so very lucky.
Thanks Rachel! We love having you and the kids in class and we will see you soon.
It can be daunting walking into a new class or gym but we have your back. Our trainers love helping out with your kids, and our classes are filled with everyday mums that are there for safe, fun, kid friendly exercise. We hope to see you in class soon.
An article by Go Mum Advisory Board Member and Clinical Psychologist, Amanda Bryen.
Recently in my work with Mum’s and their young families, it has become apparent the need to inform parents about children’s core emotional needs.
Through improved knowledge of these 5 core emotional needs, parents can accommodate and meet the emotional needs of their children.
All children have core emotional needs in childhood – that fall into 5 broad domains:
(Source: Jeffrey E. Young, 1993).
When a child’s emotional needs are met during their formative years it can enable emotional development and emotional regulation (that is, the ability to calm down and manage their emotions effectively). It also provides the child with the foundation for well-balanced emotional responses and emotional maturity into adulthood.
The resources below will provide you with more information on this topic. And of course, at Caring 4 Mums, I also provide face-to-face counselling re emotional intelligence coaching and guidance for parents and children.
Michael Grose - Parenting Ideas website & the Mood Meter Program:
Dr Marc Brackett from Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence website and the RULER Program for children:
Dr Daniel Siegel website and book: "Parenting from the inside out":
Happy Parenting – Best of love and luck!!!
About the Author
Amanda is a Clinical Psychologist providing dedicated perinatal services for expectant mums and new mums & dads (antenatal and postnatal care). Her services range from caring for the carer (new mums), infant care, parenting information, education & strategies, through to therapy for anxiety, sleep deprivation, birth trauma, anger, and ante/postnatal depression (PND).
Her focus is to provide mums and their families with an approachable, sensitive, and professional service and her home-visit service provides a truly convenient option for new parents.
Caring 4 Mums P/L – Perinatal and parenting support service, Brisbane.
PH: 0412 94 3366
What happens when a group of trainers and allied health practitioners get together to discuss women's health? Inspiration, information and a whole lot of fun!
Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Women's Health and Fitness Summit in Melbourne. To be honest, this is the second year in a row I have attended and I would sell my left kidney to get there. But fortunately I had enough Flybuys Points to get me there and my sister put me up for two nights so no kidneys had to be sold.
The event opened with some inspiring guest speakers (all of which made me cry like a baby with heartache and happiness for their journeys). A real highlight was hearing Kerryn Harvey share her story of recovery after a minor bike accident in 2013 left her with an aggressive bacterial infection that resulted in the amputation of her arm and shoulder. Since then, she has rebuilt her body to achieve a silver medal in the amputees triathlon world championships. If that doesn't inspire you to overcome your barriers to exercise, I don't know what will.
We then got stuck into the sessions. There were a couple of real highlights for me. The first was a practical session by Kylieanne Farrell from The Movement Room entitled Moving with Prolapse. She talked about the impact that environmental factors such as sleep, nutrition and stress can have on a women's prolapse symptoms on any particular day. I think this is an important point, not only for women with prolapse but for all women. Training within our boundaries and being in touch with our bodies can have a great impact on the effectiveness of our exercise choices.
An eye opening session was conducted by Antony Lo from The Physio Detective entitled Stop Hurting Women with Exercise. Antony likes to challenge popular beliefs about exercise and encouraged us to challenge the status quo and think more broadly about how we train women. For example, he believes that physios and trainers "hurt" women with exercise by:
Over the weekend I also attended a much needed seminar on marketing (I much prefer to move than to market) but it was a great presentation and I promise to add the ideas to my long list of 'to dos'. I also attended a session on diastasis recti from a Melbourne physio. This a topic close to my heart (and stomach) and there was plenty I took away from this session. I also felt great admiration for the presenter as she kept her composure and diplomatically managed questions from accomplished physios in the audience that challenged her points.
Possibly the biggest difference to last year's event is that this time I was not in a room of strangers. Along with the connections I made in 2015, there was also a small contingent of Brisbane practitioners and trainers as well as other contacts I have made via social media in attendance. It was great to put a face to the names and we all enjoying talking at every opportunity we could get. Melbourne of course is never short of a good place to eat and we all braved the fashion police and went to dinner in our #activewear.
If you are a fitness professional that trains women, I strongly encourage you to attend this event. Feel free to drop me a line and I will connect with you there next year.
In our lives before children, we often don’t anticipate the chaos and overwhelm that one tiny human can bring! Without a doubt, the most challenging time I have ever experienced in my motherhood journey was the post-birth period.
As an organized, timely professional this rattled my usual calm and collected self. I suffered bouts of postnatal and antenatal depression with my first two non-sleeping reflux babies. When I was pregnant with my third child, I made a decision to be more deliberate and intentional with my parenting, based on my experience with my first two boys. This has let me be the mother I always desired, non-sleeping reflux baby, and all!
Here are some of the things that you can do to survive the post-birth period:
Own your parenting ability
We need to OWN our parenting abilities, and that we are the perfect mother for our baby. We know how they prefer to be held, where their ticklish spots are, the songs that make them smile and the exact furrows of their faces when they frown. This is the parenting skill that we need to trust – we are the person that knows our baby intimately, and therefore we are the best one to know their needs.
Release yourself from unrealistic expectations
We are often high performers, with equally high expectations of ourselves before we have children and place the same expectations on ourselves pre- and post-birth. The baby will sleep, we will finish ‘xyz’ project, have endless coffee dates and a spotless house. Our babies never read the memo!
It takes time, and more often than not, trial and error, to work out what works for your baby, and every baby is different – even in the same family. We cannot expect to immediately ‘get it all’. As new parents, like any profession or job, it takes time to learn the ropes.
I was always a classic over-committer, until my third baby came along. Like many new mums I was a tired, dairy machine struggling to keep up with my older children’s school and kindy activities. I learned to start saying ‘no’ or at the very least re-negotiate the level of my involvement.
My first step in setting boundaries as a new mum was to establish some breathing space so that I could rest, clear my head and determine what I had the time, energy and space to do. Once I became clear on what I could realistically manage, it became easier to set my boundaries without feeling guilty for saying ‘no’ or ‘not right now’.
The other side of the coin is to know when to say ‘yes’. Offers of meals, running errands, dropping older children home – say yes! I used to think I would be imposing or asking too much of someone if I said yes, but from a practical perspective it’s rarely as much of an impost as we imagine it to be.
People offer because they want to lighten our load and give us a chance to rest occasionally, not because they think we cannot manage. It’s a sign of friendship and a genuine practical offer of support.
Ask for support
This is hard, and I have been guilty of going it alone, particularly with my first two babies. Ban “I’m fine” and “I’m just tired” from your vocabulary – particularly with yourself. Take out a piece of paper and ask yourself “How am I feeling? What do I need?” – write down your answer honestly.
It is normal to feel tired, upset and overwhelmed in the early days – the key is to know what you need to do to resolve these feelings. It may be a nap, a hug, a good cry or some strong emotional support. Reach out to your “no-judgment go-to person” and ask to be supported.
Importantly, if you find these feelings of overwhelm aren’t subsiding talk to your MCHN or GP for some additional professional support.
Lastly, Be kind to yourself
We are our own harshest critics, and it is easy to get caught up in what’s not working, rather than what is. Motherhood is exciting, joyful, challenging and fulfilling, all in the same day! Take time to savour each day and just enjoy the precious moments with your little one.
About the author
Michelle Keeffe is a mother of three boys and understands the highs, lows and chaos of balancing motherhood, business, study and life. She is a passionate life coach who supports expectant and new mothers in their transition to motherhood and beyond.
When she isn’t building Lego or chasing her youngest out the dog door, you can find her at www.speedoflifecoaching.com.au or www.facebook.com/SpeedofLifeCoaching
Photo credit: Emotive Images (http://www.professionalphotographybrisbane.com/)
WE recently had this question raised within our Closed Facebook Group (Go Mum Community) and thought it might be useful for mums everywhere.
RESPONSE FROM ADVISORY BOARD PSYCHOLOGIST AMANDA BRYEN:
Thank you for your question – it is a good one.
The first thing to ask your friend is: “How long have you been feeling like this?”
Let her know that the Baby blues occurs a few days after the baby’s birth, and then will go away after 3 or 4 days (maximum one week). The Baby blues are very common, it is said to be caused by the big hormonal adjustment happening in the woman’s body.
However, if the new mum continues to feel very emotional and ‘out of sorts’, ‘not myself’, extreme fatigue, irritable, irrational thinking, sad, down, angry, anxious, and/or has mood swings, and it has been going on for more than two weeks and is affecting her life, then it is definitely not the ‘babyblues’, it is more likely to be PND.
See the BeyondBlue website for information and facts about perinatal disorders – weblink:
What to do and say to encourage her to seek help:
“I think it would be a good idea to get some extra support. Have you thought about talking to your GP about things? The doctor may refer you to a counsellor. There’s also a quick 10-question mood assessment online at BeyondBlue”.
Weblink to online assessment:
All the best in your endeavours to help a new mum – you are doing the whole family and community a wonderful service!
Clinical Psychologist, Brisbane.
Hi! I'm Amanda - Clinical Psychologist and owner of Caring 4 Mums. I offer a dedicated perinatal service for expectant mums and new mums & dads (antenatal and postnatal care). My services range from caring for the carer (new mums), infant care, parenting information, education & strategies, through to therapy for anxiety, sleep deprivation, birth trauma, anger, and ante/postnatal depression (PND).
My focus is to provide mums and their families with an approachable, sensitive, and professional service and my home-visit service provides a truly convenient option for new parents.
Tasty Tacos! The Healthy Way to enjoy an old family favourite!
By Carissa Mason, Nutritionist & Go Mum! Advisory Board Member.
Carissa specialises in gut health, IBS in its various presentations, food allergies / intolerances and all aspects of hormonal health. Her nutritional philosophy is to empower women to develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies and simply be the happiest and healthiest they can be.
This is one of my favourite family dishes! It’s cheap, ridiculously easy and fun to make and it caters for everyone’s taste buds!!
What you’ll need:
1 Old El’paso Stand and Stuff Taco kit (Shells, Tomato Salsa and Seasoning)
2 tomatoes (chopped small enough to fit in the Taco shell)
2 Lebanese cucumbers (chopped small enough to fit in the Taco shell)
1 salad onion (diced)
1 brown onion (diced)
¼ fresh (sweet) pineapple (chopped small enough to fit in the Taco shell)
5 Ice-burg lettuce leaves (Shredded)
1 pack alfalfa
300g button mushrooms (chopped)
500 g mince (beef / chicken / pork)
1 tub pot set natural yoghurt (I love Tamar Valley or Jalna)
1 Tin Tomatoes
1 Tin Lentils (washed and drained)
2 cloves garlic (diced)
1 packet Taco seasoning
Jalapeno’s (for those who are game!)
What to Do:
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (this is for the taco shells)
On your stove top:
In a large frypan heat some olive oil. Lightly fry the brown onion, garlic and mushrooms. Season with Salt and pepper. Add the Mince and cook until browned. Once the mince is cooked add the taco seasoning and mix through. Now add the lentils and tinned tomatoes. Mix though again and allow to simmer for 15 minutes - Stir occasionally.
On your table:
Place the yoghurt, salsa, salad onion, tomato, cucumber, alfalfa and lettuce in separate bowls in the centre of the table. Place a mat / wooden chopping board there also- this can be used for the frypan of mince and taco shells. Put a plate out for each member of the family.
In your oven:
Remove the Taco shells from their wrapping and separate them from each other. I place half a toothpick in each shell – this helps keep them open whilst in the oven. Depending on your oven size place the 10 Taco shells on the steel rack inside the oven. I cook 5 shells at a time and use tongs to place them in the oven and remove them. Cook the shells for about 10 minutes - Or until they have lightly browned on each side. Remove them from the oven and remove the toothpicks.
Place the warm mince on the wooden chopping board in the centre of the table. Give each family member a taco shell on their plate. The rest is up to you! I start with the yoghurt, and then add the mince, then the salsa. I’m a Jalapeno freak – so they are generally jammed on next. Then as many salad toppings as I can get on top!!
This is a great family meal that kids love! Everyone can get involved in the preparation process and pick and choose their salad toppings. It’s super healthy and if you can manage to cram all the toppings into the Taco- it’s pretty nutrient dense. I have at times finely chopped some other vegetables and disguised them in the mince for the non-salad lovers!!
For more amazing food Ideas or to book a nutritional consultation please check out:
My Instagram https://www.instagram.com/carissa_anne_nutrition/
My Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Carissa-Anne-Nutrition-800277830041181/
The Clinic http://www.jessicacox.com.au/
Exercising for Mental Health - by Amanda Bryen, Clinical Psychologist
We all know that we want to (or, need to!) improve in the exercise department. It can be helpful to use the term ‘activity’ rather than ‘exercise’, as it helps us to appreciate that keeping more active in many and varied ways can provide physical and mental health benefits. The current health recommendation is that we keep physically active for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. The mental health and wellbeing benefits of physical activity are numerous - some important benefits include:
As a busy mum however, it's often easier said than done! So what are my top tips for ensuring mums are keeping active not only in order to keep up with their kids, but to ensure their mental well being? Below I have outlined three of my top recommendations for keeping active!
1. Choose activities that you actually like! Don't sweat it out in an environment you don't like, doing exercises you loath! Find what you enjoy – and do it regularly. Find an activity that works for you – and fit it into your life in a way that will work for you. If we like the activity, then we are more likely to do it – and we are more likely to feel the mental wellbeing benefits flow from it as well. We have to actually make time for the activity and schedule it into your diary so that it gets done. Then…just do it! So, if you enjoy walking, walk. If it’s dancing, dance. If it’s swimming, swim. If it’s running, run. If it’s cycling, cycle. Maybe it’s yoga. It is good to mix your physical activities around – change things up occasionally to keep life interesting. Make time for you – it’s called self-care. And as a mum, you are doing something most important - Caring for the Carer!
2. Get active outside in the great outdoors! Outside activity can be particularly good for our mind. Benefits of getting outside for exercise include an increase in sensory stimulation, connection to nature, and production of feel-good hormones (endorphins). Being outside meets our human need for sensory stimulation, and helps to keep us mentally optimistic and motivated. Think about the benefits of feeling the wind against your face and in your hair, seeing and listening to the birds, ducks, kookaburras, and other wildlife in the neighbourhood, smelling the jasmine and fragrant flowers in season, noticing the gum trees and eucalyptus leaves, being in the bush and near waterways, and acknowledging & smiling at others as we pass each other by. When we exercise outside we can practice living in the moment and being aware of what is around us in the natural environment (mindfulness). Our body produces feel-good hormones (endorphins – natural mood lifters & pain relief) when we are enjoying our activities. Being active outside has wonderful benefits for our mental wellbeing as we feel in tune with nature, and more connected with other humans around us.
3. Do it for confidence and wellbeing benefits! Keeping physically active boosts your confidence day by day. When we complete an activity that we value, it improves our self-confidence and overall self-acceptance. By doing a physical activity on a regular basis (e.g., three times a week) we gain a sense of achievement. Little successes add up and help towards feeling a sense of accomplishment and control over your life. Success after success builds confidence in yourself and bit by bit you will become more able and productive in your life. We all need a healthy sense of self-mastery, and keeping physically active can be a good way to achieve it!
Amanda is a Clinical Psychologist and owner of Caring 4 Mums. Amanda offers a dedicated perinatal service for expectant mums and new mums & dads (antenatal and postnatal care). Her services range from caring for the carer (new mums), infant care, parenting information, education & strategies, through to therapy for anxiety, sleep deprivation, birth trauma, anger, and ante/postnatal depression (PND).
Amanda's focus is to provide mums and their families with an approachable, sensitive, and professional service and her home-visit service provides a truly convenient option for new parents. For more information: http://caring4mums.myob.net/ or http://www.gomumgroupfitness.com.au/go-mum-advisory-board.html
At Go Mum! we talk a lot about the seriousness of pelvic floor weakness/dysfunction and communicating the importance of addressing such issues before returning to high impact exercise like running and so on. However, what's important to remember is that amongst all this serious body talk, as women we really do love an opportunity to socialise, have fun and share our journeys with each other.....And that's exactly what Go Mum! group classes provide (in conjunction with all the serious stuff!). We thought it might be nice for you to meet some of our Go Mum! mums and hear what they have to say about life, love, kids, and their Go Mum! experiences.
How many kids do you have, and what are their ages?
I have an 8 month old baby boy named Harrison, who we call Harry.
What do you like best about being a Mum?
I love seeing him grow and learn new things every day.
Were you nervous about getting back into exercise after having a baby? If so, why?
Yes. I wasn’t sure what I would be capable of doing! Prior to my pregnancy, I was the fittest I had been in my life, but during the pregnancy I didn’t exercise as much as I should have. I also wasn’t sure what exercises I should and shouldn’t do after Harry’s birth.
How long have you been training with Go Mum! Group Fitness?
About 6 months
Before starting with Go Mum! what level of understanding did you have about the importance of core & pelvic floor strength for pre and post-natal women? (Out of 1-10, 1 being no understanding, 10 being a guru!).
About a 6. I did prenatal Pilates while I was pregnant and was told about the importance of them. I didn’t anticipate how weak my pelvic floor would be following the birth though!
What do you most enjoy about training with Go Mum! Group Fitness?
At least once a week I get time to myself to exercise. I know that Christine is capable of looking after Harry if he isn’t otherwise occupied. I really enjoy the aerobics circuit that we do.
What exercises do you least enjoy & why?
I’m not a fan of lunges! For the obvious reasons - they hurt!
What are your main fitness/wellbeing goals for 2016?
My long term goal would be to run 5kms. I would like to continue working on my overall body strength and improve my general fitness- particularly improve the stair fitness test that Christine does!
Do you have any tips or tricks for other mums who might be struggling to get back into some sort of exercise regime post-pregnancy?
I think it’s important to get professional advice about what exercises you should and shouldn’t be doing. If you are able to do classes or personal training it is well worth it. I struggle with motivation on my own, and as a Mum don’t prioritise myself if left to my own devices. Even If you exercise with a friend, you are probably less likely to cancel than trying to do it on your own.
As a mum, what are you most grateful for?
I am very grateful for my family. I have the most beautiful, loving husband who supports me and is a wonderful father to our son. Having Harry really brought both sides of our families even closer, and we know that anytime we need either our mothers or siblings they will always help us.
Thanks Leigh for sharing your Go Mum experience with us! If, like Leigh, you're a little nervous about getting back into exercise following the birth of your baby, or, have been out of the exercise game for some time since having kids and would like some guidance, please contact the Go Mum! team and we'd pleased to help!
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