Choosing my future.

Twelve months ago, I was banging on about how I was running and loving it. Then I injured my ankle and back, and I was always going to get back in to it, but excuses, and blah blah blah, it didn’t happen.
All through last year, I told friends from one of my mother’s groups that I was trying to lose the last of my baby weight, but I pretty much stayed the same weight all year. I started sporadically going to the gym after I went back to uni, but then I got distracted by assignments and exams. Fast forward to the start of this year, and one of my goals I set for myself for the year was taking care of myself physically.
I’m not sure how serious I was about it. A few days into the new year, I was shovelling a block of chocolate in my gob, telling myself it was good quality dark chocolate, so it wasn’t that bad for me. Ha! Until I realised how many calories I’d smashed in five minutes. It was like a slap upside the head. I’m not going to lose weight if I don’t exercise, and if I eat chocolate very day. And that family history of being overweight/obese, heart disease and type two diabetes? If I don’t make changes, that’s my future. I don’t want that, for myself, or my children.
Now, I’m not overly heavy, but I’m pretty short, so any extra weight shows up pretty quickly on me. I’m sick of feeling heavy, I’m sick of having crappy skin, and I’m sick of the way I look carrying extra weight. I’m sick of talking about losing weight, but not actually doing anything about it. So I’m counting calories and I’m making better food choices, I’m working out and I’m feeling good. I’ve just got to keep it up. I always stumble when some sort of hurdle pops up – injury, uni assignments, life. I’ve got to remember how good I feel when I’m healthy, how much better I am at life when I’m fuelling my body with wholesome food and when I’m feeling strong. This has to be a goal for life, not just for the year.

Every day, I must choose to make my health a priority. Every day, I must choose my future.

Looking after myself – sleep

So we’re a week into the new year already, and for a change, I’m still sticking to my plan for achieving my 2015 goals. My goals that involve uni are still in the planning stages – I can’t really do too much with them until uni goes back next month. But I think planning plays a huge part in whether or not I achieve my goals.

What I have been sticking to is looking after myself, making changes to my lifestyle so that I feel and look better. I tend to take my health for granted, and when I startling self-care slide, I pretend to ignore how bleurgh I’m feeling until I can’t ignore it any longer. And I’ve hit the point where I can’t ignore it. There a few different changes I’m making to become a healthier version of me, so I’m going to write it out in two parts.

*****

When I was pregnant with Dylan and Mahalia, I usually only woke once a night to pee. I was pretty lucky. With Harry and Zach’s pregnancy, the night waking started pretty early and I’d be up multiple times a night. As frustrating as it was, I didn’t mind too much because there were two! babies growing inside of me. When they were newborn, and I was living surviving on 1-2 hours sleep a night, as I tired and emotional as I was, I knew that there was a reason for them to be waking and feeding so frequently and for such long times. It’s just that having two of them made the whole process take longer. And when they were six months old, as much as I longer for sleep, I knew it wasn’t unusual for babies that age to still be waking at night. And when they were nine months old they were teething and learning to crawl and had just started day care, and I knew all these things could impact their sleep. And from 9 until 16 months, we were on the never-ending cycle of day care colds, ear infections, teething, a couple of bouts of gastro, and learning to walk. We had a few good nights where one would sleep through. Usually they’d take it in turns having a good night, waking only once, while the other would wake two or three times. And with two toddlers, having existed without a full night’s sleep in almost two years, it’s easier to spend 5 minutes feeding a baby/toddler during the night than trying other means of settling that could end up waking the other one and having two crying children to deal with.

I told myself that if Harry and Zach could finally get rid of their colds, their sleep would get better. If we could just make it to the Christmas holidays, they’d have a break from day care, their immune systems could recover, and they’d start sleeping through the night. Except it didn’t happen like that. If anything, their sleep got worse. Not wanting to go to sleep at night, more frequent waking, until we had a run of about four nights where I spent the best part of the night just trying to get them back to sleep.

I woke up on Monday morning and realised that I’m almost at the end of my reserves. I can’t keep functioning on broken sleep. Being up for hours at a time during the night brings out the worst in me. If I want to be a better, happier parent and wife, I need sleep. If I want to enjoy my family, I need sleep. If I want to do well in my final year of uni, I need sleep. So I rang Ngala and told them I need help. I should have rung months ago, but every time I thought about it, I always told myself that there are other people who need their help more than me, and after all, what did I expect having twins? Except, if we need help, we need help. Just because other parent’s might be getting even less sleep than me, doesn’t mean that I don’t need help too.

We’ve been offered a date at the end of the month to go in for a day stay to sort out the our sleep issues. And in the mean time, the lovely nurse I spoke with gave me some tips to try to help get me through until we go in. I tried them Monday night, and it was shit. Absolute shit. It was probably the worst night we’d had in a week, and it had been a shitty week. But I gave it another try on Tuesday night. And hallelujah! BOTH Harry and Zach self-settled, and they BOTH slept through the night. I know they’re not miraculously cured of the cases of waking in the night. But having had my first night of uninterrupted sleep in 22 months, and knowing that they can actually sleep through the night? It’s topped up my reserves enough that it doesn’t seem like such a long wait for our Ngala day stay. The light at the end of the tunnel is shinning with strength of a thousand suns.

This year I will sleep.