I dare you not to break out into song as I ask you this question. "How do you measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee?
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?"
But then, life...
Ok, seriously. My question is really -
How do you measure progress along your health journey?
Numbers on the scale? Inches lost? Energy and strength gained?
But what happens when life happens? What do you do when the numbers on the scale just don’t seem to be budging as fast as you would like? What do you do when your toddler gets sick, passes a cold throughout the house, and before you know it, it’s been a week of lost sleep, that’s got you so run down that you can’t even remember a life on the other side of the box of tissues?
As I sit at my dining room table, the early morning winter sun shining through the window and lighting up my face, the house still and quiet as everyone else continues to sleep - I’m pondering on progress. The beginning of the new year comes with the pressure for big change. You’ve set new health goals for yourself and created what felt like a manageable plan. But then, life. But then, life in the time of COVID. But then, toddler.
It was a beautiful Christmas holiday, but then we rang in the New Year with COVID symptoms. After quarantine and daycare closures, it felt as if January had passed right before my eyes. Now February rolls around and there’s been loss, more colds, and more sleepless motherhood nights. Now, the moment that I’ve been preparing over two years for is finally arriving. Instead of feeling more than ready and confident in my progress, I currently feel beaten down, nervous as hell, and ready to crawl under the covers and ignore the fact that the time has finally come.
Doing all the things
Since 2016, my husband and I have been on an infertility rollercoaster that I sometimes wish wasn’t our path, and other times I see how it was this challenge that has molded m
e into a stronger, wiser woman, wife, and mother. After multiple rounds of IVF, thousands of needle pricks, countless tears and fears (and who even wants to count the dollars!), I finally became pregnant and gave birth to our son in 2018. Now, as it’s time to expand our family, recalling our last remaining embaby that has long passed as a loss, a major crush to our hearts, it’s time to completely start anew.
Since the end of 2019 I’ve been on a journey of self-growth and healing, all in preparation for this moment - to begin a new IVF cycle. I’ve journaled and prayed, checked for food sensitivities, completed elimination diets, done thyroid and gut healing protocols, practiced yoga and energy work, expanded my mind with new coursework and dove into certifications and books. I’ve cleaned out the pantry and added to my supplement regimen. I’ve done ALL THE THINGS. I’m not a brand new person. I still experience bloat sometimes, I still don’t move my body as much as I should or sleep as soundly as I’d like, I still experience anxiety and fear over past traumas. But it’s how I approach those obstacles that’s changed. I now see the cause of bloat almost as quickly as it sets in. By clearing out the things my body was sensitive too, I now hear my body speaking to me when something is off-balance. I now see that daily movement in my life right now looks more like stretch breaks between the work day, chasing after my toddler, or dancing while I clean the house, rather than hitting the gym. And when I feel anxiety creeping in, I know how to honor myself, who to call for help, and how I need to work through it.
If I get myself caught up in all the things that are getting in the way of my progress (which are bound to happen in life, especially as a working mother of a toddler), I’ll never feel accomplished. Instead of focusing on how derailed I can sometimes feel after a long day, a cold, a set-back,
I must measure my progress by noting how far I’ve come - even if that’s only in the little moments and bite-sized accomplishments.
I must measure the knowledge gained, the mindset shifts, and the simple healthy swaps that I’ve made that are adding up to big things over time. The little moments where I quiet to hear my inner voice before making a decision. The little moments where I choose a whole food organic meal over the easier take out option. The little moments where I carve in self-care, even if that is only able to look like a clean beauty skin care routine. It’s progress. It’s focusing my attention on removing the more obvious obstacles in life that will keep me from my health goal, so that when life happens, I am better equipped and able to keep forward progress with the resources and supports I’ve put in place. Even in times when I feel derailed, at least I’ve moved forward. When I feel I’ve experienced setbacks - and I have, it happens, that’s true - I need to remind myself that I’ve experienced those setbacks as a newer, more mature version of myself that’s able to overcome them with grace because I have the knowledge, resources, and support I need to see each setback in a new light.
Kate is a 2010 graduate of Drexel University with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is also a certified Women’s Health Coach Certification by The Integrative Women’s Health Institute, on track to become board certified through the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). Kate is passionate about educating and inspiring women about health and wellness. She is excited to come on-board as Care Navigator/Health Coach to guide and support women in creating the life they love!