‘Mom, you need to work out.’ When I realized I wasn’t able to run around with her, she became my ‘why.’: Mom shares health journey for daughter, ‘She makes all the struggles worthwhile’

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“We were married in 2005, and for a long time, we waited to have children, as we both wanted to wait. Then we finally decided it was time several years later. We tried and tried and tried to have them, and none came. I decided maybe my weight was holding us back. I had an epiphany one day at work. I texted my husband and told him I needed size 2xl scrub pants, and he replied, ‘Don’t you think there is a better way,’ so that was my wake-up call. I started my diet that day and started exercising and eating right. It was a struggle; there were lots of temptations at work with donuts, bagels, and cookies on a regular basis that I passed up, but I persisted and ended up losing 90 pounds in 2015.

Once I got healthy, we also discovered we had fertility coverage with our insurance. After a bunch of testing, we found out both my husband and I had fertility issues. So they suggested we tried IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination), but they weren’t super hopeful for our chances and said we would probably need to progress to In-vitro for success. But we went for it anyway. I remember a few weeks later when I took our first pregnancy test—I was in disbelief it was positive. I took several just to make sure. We were pregnant after years and years of trying! This was it! I was so beyond happy. To finally have our family, to finally have our baby. The pregnancy was a challenge for me, and I ended up gaining 60 pounds during it, as the only thing that would stave off the morning sickness was eating.

Charlotte was born in June of 2016. Giving birth to her was the most incredible thing I have ever done in my life. I had high blood pressure, so I had to be induced three weeks early. I went to the emergency room on a Friday, was put on bed rest, then went again on a Monday, again bedrest even stricter. I went to my doctor on Tuesday morning, and he told us to go back that evening to be induced, so we did. I was induced at 7 p.m., my water was broken the next morning by the doctor, and I progressed very slowly due to having issues with my oxygen (I have asthma). Once the doctor realized what was going on with my oxygen, he fixed it, and I progressed rapidly. He came back in the evening, and I was dilated to where I needed to be.

He said, ‘Let’s have this baby,’ and within three sets of pushing Charlotte was born. Holding her for the first time was the single most exquisite event of my life. After Charlotte was born, I decided I was going to get healthy again, for her. I wanted to be a good example to her and be around for years to come. After she was born and I got the go-ahead, I started working out and eating healthy, and I ended up losing 50 pounds pretty quickly, and boy, was I proud of myself. Then I let stress get the better of me and ended up gaining the weight back and then some due to stress eating and battling a binge eating disorder. I was so disappointed in myself. I fell into a depression and had very low self-esteem.

mom holding her newborn
Courtesy of Heather Thompson

It wasn’t until Charlotte was several years old that I decided to get back on the wagon and start working out. I noticed Charlotte was watching me and ‘wanting’ to do my workouts with me, so I got serious about working out and eating healthier again. When I realized I couldn’t keep up with her and I wasn’t able to run around with her and be the mom I wanted to be, she became my ‘why.’ My reason for wanting to get healthy and my reason for working out and eating healthy. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but she keeps me motivated and strong. I wake up early every morning to get my workouts in before I go to work. There are days when I don’t want to work out, but Charlotte reminds me, ‘Mom, you need to work out.’ She is my motivation, my ‘why.’ She keeps me strong and pushes me to be a better version of myself. She drives me to improve myself because I want to be around for her for a long time. I want her to know what good health and strength look like. I want her to know it’s okay to have struggles along the way as well, but that you can get back up and move on.

photo of a mom
Courtesy of Heather Thompson

Every journey has low points and high points. I have lost about 20 pounds from my highest weight as of right now. The last year has been full of struggles with my career as well as my husband’s health, and I have maintained, lost, and gained the same 10 pounds over and over again. Recently after taking a mindset course online, I ‘re-discovered’ my why again, and a spark has been born. I have recommitted to my weight loss journey and am more determined than ever to reach my goal of losing 100 pounds. I have a long way to go, but I have the support of my family, and I know I will get there. I have decided I will not let stress get the better of me. I have a phrase that hangs on my wall that says ‘Aim High, Aim True,’ and it has arrows pointing upward. It is my ‘mantra’ so to speak, as well as my motto for the year. It keeps me motivated and helps me rediscover my ‘why’ of Charlotte, which has sparked a newfound enthusiasm for the journey.

mom on a fitness journey
Courtesy of Heather Thompson

I would have to say the high point of my journey is when Charlotte does my workouts with me. It makes my day. I stream online workouts from my computer and/or T.V. She is just so cute about it, and it makes me proud to know I am setting a good example for my daughter for years to come. It makes me proud I didn’t give up, and that I pushed forward. She is always watching me. I even bought her some of her very own one-pound weights. She also has two-pound weights so she can lift weights with me. She affectionately calls weights ‘tights.’ I love it when I am doing squats and Charlotte is next to me doing squats by my side. It is the cutest sight to see. Whenever I say I am going to take the dogs for a walk, Charlotte wants to go with me. I hold Liberty’s (Standard Poodle) leash and Charlotte gets to hold Ruby’s (Schnauzer/Yorkie mix) leash. She beams with delight that she gets to hold Ruby’s leash. Charlotte listens to those around her. Recently she has been telling me, ‘Drinking water is healthy for you.’ She learned that from her Grandma. Being able to know I am teaching her good habits and setting a good example makes it all worth it. The struggles, the triumphs, the non-scale victories. Everything is worth it.

mom and daughter smiling
Courtesy of Heather Thompson

I grew up in a household where I was raised with a father who had a strong work ethic, and he instilled this into me. Because of this, I choose to work outside the home, I work full-time, and doing so is a hard thing when you have a child. I am very blessed in the fact that I have parents who are willing to watch her while I work. Because of this, Charlotte is very fortunate to have a very close relationship with her grandparents while I work full-time as a Veterinary Receptionist. I am very fortunate now to have a job that I love. Being a working mom gives me the opportunity to teach Charlotte many values and to teach her what a strong woman is. It also helps me to provide her with opportunities she wouldn’t get otherwise. I treasure my days off, as I get to spend them with her. I get to take her to kindergarten on one of my days off, and it is one of the highlights of my week.

mom and daughter
Courtesy of Heather Thompson

I never thought my ‘why’ would be my daughter, but she is. She is the single most important reason that I am trying to better myself. The reason I push myself during my workouts to try harder, to do the moves a little better, to avoid the donuts and treats at work, to eat healthier, to skip the junk food, and to go for walks more often. She is my shining star. She keeps me stronger, and makes me want to be a better version of myself in more ways than one. I am grateful I get to be her mom. I am grateful I can be the best version of myself for her. I am grateful I can show her what health and fitness look like. I am grateful I get to be there for her. Watching her do the exercise moves with me is the coolest thing. She truly is my ‘why,’ and she makes all the struggles worthwhile.”

mom and daughter working out
Courtesy of Heather Thompson

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Heather Thompson from Utah, USA. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear about your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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