Sometime's something that seems like the worst possible outcome at that time, is the exact solution you've been asking for.
So there I was - 22, pregnant again with my second baby and in complete shock.
I truly didn't think that the pregnancy test was going to come back positive, it was completely out of the blue and a total surprise. That shock very quickly turned into being absolutely terrified. Terrified for so many reasons - I had been so scared to have a second baby because I knew I would feel exactly like this, so I had put it off for years and quickly shut people down whenever anyone asked about it.
Half of my fear stemmed from how difficult Dais was when she was a baby and how much I struggled to cope with her, but if I'm being really honest - having a difficult firstborn was some of the reason I put off having another baby for such a long time, but that wasn't the thing that riddled me with complete terror. Unfortunately - and I wish this wasn't the case, what terrified me the most was my fear about how much my body was going to change when I fell pregnant again, and how out of control I would be of my body - Something I put all my energy into trying to control all day, everyday.
The fear of putting on weight already consumed me and controlled my every thought before I was pregnant, now I was in a situation where I was going to put on weight, regardless of what I did and immediately after seeing the positive test I was literally riddled with fear of the weight gain that was going to come with this pregnancy.
I couldn't believe this was happening, I was so un-prepared for handing this in my mind - I was at this point in my life where I had just made a declaration to heal myself from this vicious cycle of disordered eating and living but I didn't know how on earth I was going to do that, and truth be told I was still completely reluctant to heal that part of me because in my mind, deep down - I knew I would have to let go of trying to be the ‘size’ I had always wanted to be, and I really really didn't want to accept that. I still wanted this crazy idea of a ‘perfect body’ so so badly - because I still believed that these feelings of happiness, contentment, calmness and success were waiting on the other side of my ‘goal weight’. The stupid thing with this was, I had already reached my ‘goal weight’ but when I was at that weight, I decided I’d look better a bit smaller, and I also felt no sense of happiness, contentment, calmness or success, all I could see were more flaws, and a deep feeling of self loathing.. and I still thought that if I lost more weight, those feelings I wanted would eventually come to me.
In my mind it felt like now that I had fallen pregnant, those feeling that I longed for were never going to come to me, because I had told myself that the only way I would ever feel that good about myself and good about my life is if I had this ‘dream body’.
I was so stuck in my own head and so stuck in these thought patterns of: My success and happiness are only determined by what I looked like and if I looked a certain way then I will get everything I wanted out of life and feel amazing.
Very bad move, but I had no idea there was another way.
I had no idea that there was a way to feel good about my self regardless of what I looked like, because I'd never felt that before, and I thought that just wasn't possible, even if I'd read something or heard someone talk about it, I just wouldn't believe it. My self love and self acceptance had always been at a zero because it was purely based on what I felt when I was looking at myself and because I compared myself to everyone around me, I didn't like what I saw when I looked at myself.
Back to the story...
This pregnancy had really thrown me, and I was really struggling to wrap my head around going through it and I felt like I just couldn't get excited about it. I really had no tools to deal with these feelings and the chronic stress and pressure I was already putting on myself, let alone nurturing my body and mind enough to be able to carry a baby. I had no idea how to change my ways and get out of these patterns that I was completely stuck in, and now all of a sudden I was faced with something that was going to change everything so quickly and something that I had no control over. The anxiety I was experiencing over this initially was completely unbearable. I really didn't know how I was going to cope with 9 months of it.
The shock and terror remained, but there was this other thing lingering deep inside of me, just like I did when I was pregnant with Daisy I had this strange sensation very very deep inside of me that everything was going to be fine and this is actually the perfect thing to happen, at the perfect time.. And somehow this is eventually going to help me heal everything. I didn’t know what it was that was telling me that but I went along with it, and I tried to trust it and surrender to it, just like I did when I fell pregnant at 17.
But on the surface level, I was so caught up in my own thoughts and inner dialogue that told me to only see fear - that when this little strange insight came into my head, amongst the crazy inner dialogue, thoughts and stress - it would only be for a second and it was never quite enough to pull me up and out of the chaos.. and I went straight back to what my mind had always been extremely good at: creating negative inner dialogue about myself and my life, and being a complete pro at seeing the bad in everything.
A few months into the pregnancy, I still had no idea how to cope, I still couldn't rid myself of all of the anxiousness around my rapidly changing body. I would watch the scales creeping up, I would watch my body become bloated and puffy and I would dread seeing any other change to my body - changes that were all apart of being pregnant and growing a human, which is completely and utterly extraordinary and beautiful - but my toxic mind had the power over seeing it like that.
Stupidly, I did the worst possible thing I could of done: compare myself to every pregnant person on Instagram, on the internet, on TV and in magazines. Just like I’d compared myself to everyone my whole life. This comparing myself would always end up with that same old story of “I’m just never going to look like these people, and I will never be worthy of feeling good, these people just have better genetics than me and an easier life, I'll just always have it harder and I'll never feel good about myself” - I can’t tell you the amount of these crazy stories I’d subconsciously written and lived by my whole life, whilst having no idea they were actually creating my reality.
Honestly, hindsight is an amazing thing and where I am now, I cannot believe how terribly sad it was that I was completely and utterly consumed by the wrong things throughout this pregnancy... but it's clear to see how it happened, I never knew how to tune into myself and my life and to work on myself first and I've now realised this is what happens when you don't have the opportunity to work on the thoughts you are feeding yourself with and when you are constantly searching for validation from the wrong things and boxing your happiness into a certain thing, because it never ever works out.
Although I was struggling a lot, one thing that what was different now than in my my darkest year (the months before i fell pregnant) was that I knew what I was doing and that I still had a lot of work to do, I just didn't know what that work was. I was aware that I was focusing on the wrong things.. but I had no idea how to change that, I didn't understand what was going on at the time and I was desperate to see things differently, I was desperate to see my life and myself with clarity.. I was desperate to feel comfortable in my own skin and accept myself for all that I was at the time, but I just didn’t know how that could ever happen, I felt like I was going to be trapped in this negative, self doubting, non accepting, fearful, anxious mind forever…
I was desperate for someones help but I had no idea who to turn to. Did I need a Psychologist? A counsellor? A meditation teacher? A body image therapist? I had no clue, I wanted and needed something but I didn't know what was happening. I couldn't understand how if I knew my problems, how could I not change my ways? - This was the most frustrating thing, and I really couldn't tell if I was normal or not.. I couldn't tell if everyones minds and thoughts were like this about themselves or if it was just me? I couldn't figure out why I felt so much stress and resentment towards myself all the time and I had no idea how to help myself. I didn't know if just had a busier more negative mind than others or if I had deeper problems. I didn't want to believe or be told I had problems.. and deep down I didn't actually feel like I had serious problems, I just felt like I needed to get to know myself. So instead of trying to find someone to help me, I just begged and prayed to myself for something to get out of my head and out of my ways and help me to get to know myself and see clarity within my mind and my life.
Around the middle of this pregnancy, it finally hit me me how incredible pregnancy actually is! And how unbelievably blessed I was to even be pregnant in the first place.. It took me that long to recognise that enough to change my perspective.. I still can't get over the fact that it took me that long to have that shift in perspective, but that just goes to show what happens when you are completely stuck in your head.
Up until that realisation, I was completely sabotaging any opportunity of enjoying how amazing it was to be pregnant.. and it was a pretty good metephore for how I had lived my entire life: Too stuck in my head to realise what was actually happening around me. I knew once and for all I had to somehow overcome these issues I had with myself. I didn't know what they were and how they got into my head or how I would get them out but I had had enough. Truth be told I thought it would be impossible to change my ways but in that moment I did the only thing I could do at the time, I started to trust that weird feeling deep inside me that the baby in my tummy would give me the strength to heal me from my mind and I surrendered to the fact that I’d fallen pregnant for this exact reason. My wishes had been answered, just in a way that didn't look like it at first. When I had this realisation I actually got slightly dizzy because it was the first time I realised that this was actually the exact answer I'd been praying for and that there is way more to this world than what meets the eye. I remember sitting in my room holding my belly with tears streaming down my face thanking this little human inside of me.
From that day I decided I was going to focus on shifting my perspective every time I got the chance and I started doing anything I could to enjoy the pregnancy. I would catch myself scrutinising over my body, and whenever I was, I would make an effort to think about the pregnancy and the baby instead of my body, and I would do everything to try and let go of the need to control it as it was changing. Just doing this I started to feel shifts in my mental state, they were small but they had impact.
The more I let go, the more I to started enjoying the pregnancy. The more I would catch myself fixating over my body and go out of my way to distract myself with something for the baby the more mental shifts I was having.
I started to crave relaxation and peace, something I don't think I had ever experienced before.. but I could sense that was what the baby wanted and needed (mothers intuition is a powerful thing). Of course I wasn't very good at this because of my racing mind but I did what I could to feel that sense of relaxation and give that to the baby.
This new connection I had with the baby in my belly was growing, and I was finally excited that I was pregnant and this meant the fear was slowly dissolving, I could feel that he was pure love and I shouldn't fear him, it was bizarre but it was exactly what I needed.. and I was trusting more and more that he was the piece of the puzzle that I was desperate for.
I finally wasn't in denial about having this new life with us so I started nesting and preparing and it brought me so much joy, I was finally able to focus on something that wasn't about my body and what I looked like.
This was also the time I started to really make a huge effort to connect even more with my little girl. It dawned on me that it would no longer be just us three and when I realised how emotional that made me, I made sure to pour as much energy as I could into being present for her. I started being that mother I'd always wanted to be. I realised how many precious moments I'd missed out on with her because I wasn't completely present. I was too stuck in my head to ever be present with anyone. And I wanted to give her everything she may have missed out on over the years. I cry every time I think about this. It makes me so upset to realise the power my mind had over me.
This new perspective was taking up all the time and energy I used to give to my anxiety and the crazy thoughts about myself and it was so incredible to feel like things were changing.
I hit the 36 week mark and knew my baby was on his way, I was ready to meet him and sure enough I went into labour.
I gave birth to my Angel baby.. I call him that because he literally gave me my life back…
Again - just writing that makes me cry every time.
Jack Spencer Ashby (Aka Bear) was here and every time I held him I sensed a feeling of peace within myself that I'd never felt before.
In the first few weeks of Jack’s life, I was oddly the calmest I've ever been, I was content and I wasn't worried about anything but the baby in my arms and my little family, it was pure bliss.
But then at about 4 weeks post-birth I felt the pressure of 'the baby body bounce back' and I decided it was time to get my body back. Unfortunately I wasn't nearly as healed as I thought and my mind got the better of me once again and soon enough, I was pretty much back to my old ways - not nearly as bad, but my focus started slowly slipping into what I looked like and what I looked like to others. I looked very different from when I first got pregnant.. so I didn't have a lot of patience in letting the process happen gradually and I wanted my body back straight away.
I started to fall into old patterns and began to struggle with the thoughts I had about myself. I started trying to control everything again because this was the only way I knew how to get things done and this A type personality that I had developed over my anxious years was getting the better of me again. I was running around the house making sure everything was perfect, cleaning constantly, controlling everything I ate, and exercising intensely after nights of no sleep from feeding Jack. I wasn't listening to my body and I was consumed by my own pressure of being and looking a certain way again. That wasn't something I chose, it just happened - in hindsight, it was because I hadn't worked on myself properly yet.
My lack of self love was very much still present and the disordered eating and exercising were back and becoming an issue again.. the inner dialogue in my head was also back and very loud, but thankfully it was less and I had my beautiful calm little angel baby to distract myself with when I was aware enough to do so. I could deal with the control it had over me a little more because I slowly started to be able to get perspective and awareness.
But I was starting to get really disappointed with myself, and all these fears started setting in that I had lost everything I though I had gained at the end of the pregnancy. I was terrified that I was completely back to my old ways. I was becoming stressed out again over what everything and especially over how I felt about myself. I thought I had miraculously healed myself from all of this when I was pregnant, but all of a sudden I was slipping right back to where I was and I realised I wasn't even close, and again I had no idea what on earth to do and why I couldn't just be at peace with myself and feel amazing like I longed to feel.
I desperately wanted as much perspective and awareness as I had during the pregnancy but I felt like I had lost it.. and all of my clarity had gone. I was quickly starting to become consumed by my thoughts this and I felt as if I was never ever going to free myself from my thoughts and the actions that came with them.
When jack was about 8 months old we went on a holiday to Bali, which I still recall I craved so badly because I had this feeling that something might shift over there (that deep feeling inside of me again) and I was still always desperately trying to find answers to end the struggling and suffering that I had going on within myself.
On the plane trip home I decided to listen to a podcast, something that I’d never done before. I randomly pressed play on one I found and it was a young girl talking about the struggles she had overcome in her life and how they had all stemmed from her mind and the way she was computed to see the world. She was talking about the thoughts she often had about herself and the amount of time and energy she put into making herself look a certain way to feel good and that it often didn't lead her to feeling good at all she was also saying that she always felt as if there was a void that she was trying to fill within herself.
I couldn't believe it, it felt like I was listening to myself talk out loud, everything she was saying resonated with me to a tee and I couldn't believe that I wasn't the only one that felt like this.
She went on to talk about her transformation and how much inner peace and amazement she had within her own life now, and she explained that it wasn't until she worked on herself and looked inward instead of what was going on around her that she had this breakthrough. She then explained that it was when she started becoming interested in Self development and doing anything to work on herself that she started to come up with the answers she had always wanted and that was what got her to where she was now.
I had this overwhelming sense of emotion come over me and I remember looking at my kids asleep next to me and my fiancé who had them on his lap. I started to think and question to myself: Why did I have these two beautiful, happy, healthy, wonderful children and this amazing supportive loving finance, and everything I could need and I still didn't feel right, I started to question why my life is basically perfect and amazing and how could that not be enough to get me out of my ways.. Why did I have what people beg and wish for but wasn’t happy?
I had definitely always been grateful for my kids but I was SO fixated on these feelings of who I was and what I looked like that I was sabotaging any chance I had to actually live the amazingness that was my life and life in general. I was so used to looking and focusing on everything that was wrong with me.. because I decided a long time ago that if I loved the way I looked, I would love my life. I realised in that moment that I was very wrong and I needed to go 'inward' to sort this out.
I didn't know what this woman was talking about when she mentioned Self Development at the time, but something sparked in me and immediately started to seek it out. The first thing I read about this idea hit me like a tonne of bricks, and I knew that it was the final answer, I knew that this was what was going to pull me up and out.
And it did.
I decided I would dedicate myself to Self Development and learn as much as I could about it. I started seeking out books, podcasts, lectures, influncers, thought leaders and I was completely obsessed. I spent most of my time on this and I seriously couldn't believe I was only just learning what I started to learn then.
Once I really started to commit myself to Self Awareness, Personal Growth and Self Development and really do the work, it was only then that I started to question everything I had always thought about and told myself.... I started to question if I was really ever dumb and stupid? Was I really born a fat person and am "just a big girl hiding in a skinnier girls body?!" - Seriously this is one of the biggest most repetitive stories my inner dialogue would tell me! Or was I just me?! Someone who used to struggle with their weight and now doesn't have to anymore? Is there more to me than what I look like? Is there more to me than theses stories I had written about myself? Is living like this normal? Do I actually have to weigh myself every morning to see how my day was going to be? Could I maybe even be happy with who I am, just the way I am? Did I have to please everyone around me? Did I have to wait for compliments on my appearance to feel accepted or successful? Did I have to settle to doing nothing special with my life because I "didn't know how to" or wasn't capable? The list of questions went on and on.. Before this, all of these questions would have been shut down and passed off as something that I’m not interested in questioning when I was in my old state. But I started having these insane breakthroughs and I realized something very powerful: All of these little moments of decididng to change my ways had payed off, and everything may have actually been working for me not against me this whole time. I realised i was on this crazy journey, that I had actually subconsciously asked for and this journey was my whole life, and it was all perfect.
My wishes, prayers and begs for the clarity to heal myself had been answered.
The next few months were the most incredible experiences of my life.
I started to develop myself in every single area of my life.
Everything got better. Things I didn't even realise I was doing and were causing major discomfort in my life were put in front of me and shown to me with complete clarity.
My mind was opened. The lifelong brain fog cleared. The anxiety went away.
I got to the point of recognising the inner dialogue in my head for what it was and realising it didn't need to control me anymore. I saw things for what they were. I became present in my life. I was able to gauge when something effected me or whether it was just an old story making me feel a certain way. I learned how to respond to life instead of reacting to everything. I learned how to use everything to my advantage, even things I would of thought were horrible and just "my bad luck" once upon a time. I learnt how to navigate myself to my greatest potential. I realised I actually had potential! I realised I had the ability to create the most amazing life, and it was in me the whole time, I just didn't know how to see it or access it.
I started to bring mindfulness into my life, something that I had tried and failed at countless time because I had not worked on myself yet. I healed my relationship with myself - the one thing I thought that I would never be able to do. I started seeing myself differently in the mirror, I started actually liking what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I started eating food without being terrified of what it was going to do to my body, I started being able to listen to my body and giving it what I needed, not out of fear but out of love for it - I couldn't believe I finally got my ultimate wish to love my body and my self! And it had nothing to do with what I actually looked like.
Pretty much everything I struggled with before, even things I didn't know I was struggling with and making difficult, I found a solution to and I had complete control in choosing the way my life was happening in front of me. My whole world changed in those few months. Honestly it was like I was reborn into the world, I know that sounds a little lame but it's the only way I can describe it. I realised that I'd been asleep for most of my life, and all of a sudden I felt awake, and I gained so much clarity - I literally felt unstoppable.
I started to understand exactly what had happened to me and why I had gone through what I had, and how that had happened and that there was nothing wrong with me at all I just didn't know what I now did. I started to think about my life in a completely different way and I realised that I was here for a very important reason and that was to come across this process, go through it, live it, breathe it, learn everything possible and develop my own Self Development tools and process and bring it to the world! Because what I couldn't believe when I had my breakthrough was how many people are basically asleep because they don't know to activate themselves and remove the old layers that aren't searching them anymore.. what was evident was that literally everyone needs to commit to developing themselves at some point in their lives.
Growing up I never knew there was such a thing as working on yourself, and when I found it, I realised it was all I had ever needed to find those feelings of happiness, contentment, calmness and success in my life, without changing much about my outside world. I honestly could not believe how profound the effect of this work was, and I couldn't believe it wasn't more spoken about.
There and then I decided that this was my purpose, in fact I think that was decided for me a long time ago.. I just didn't know it for a long time, and I had to go on this crazy journey to find it.
The thing that was weird for me was, I was kind of good at it, something sparked in me and it all made sense really quickly, I connected with it and I automatically started helping people around me by using the tools I had learned, and I knew that this was what I had to do.
I started spending every spare second I had on learning more and more and I knew that I had to do gather and learn as much information as possible, so that others could go through the same process. I wanted to dedicate my life to this and bring this to the world, and to do this I had to not let my old fears of failure get in the way of that.
I needed to change every story I had ever written about myself, for example the story that I was never capable enough to give something a go that came from trying to find my way when I was a little girl.
But the perfect thing was everything I'd been through and worked on when I committed to Self Development, gave me the ability to do this and gave me every tool I needed to actually do something with my life.
I decided I was going be completely vulnerable in sharing my journey (hence the enormity of 'My Story') even though I initially was terrified by this, I did so in the hopes that someone who is caught up in their thoughts and not in control of the workings of their mind or is riddled with blocks stopping them from feeling amazing (which is pretty much the norm these days) has to the chance to relate and realise that it doesn't always have to be like that, that they can question everything about themselves and their lives and choose again and that they don't have to stay stuck forever..
Creating this company was the perfect test to really apply Self Development to my life and add amazing meaning to my life.
I was going to follow this journey that I'd been put on because it was all so clear to me exactly why what had happened in my life had happened, and I had to trust it (again the deep feeling inside of me, hello universe!)
Since deciding all of this, a LOT of time, effort, support, money, struggles and emotion have gone into doing whatever I needed to follow this new found mission I had to change my life and eventually change other peoples lives with the same process..
But despite all of this, it has always felt so right since I started doing it. I have put every little bit of my energy into it, every single day and I have loved it. I spend my time learning and seek more and more, I would find minutes and hours in the day that weren't there before and I would use them to work on creating a this idea that I was obsessed with and bring Self Devlopment to people who wanted it, and its been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done.
Now I can say that I am a truly healthy person, and that’s ultimately because I know how to make myself a very happy person. I have a great relationship with life, with food, with my my body, even the parts that aren’t my fav! and I haven’t weighed myself in over eight months, I don't even have the desire to. Most importantly I now have a great relationship with my mind, the one thing that was responsible for all my hardships! I don’t battle with my mind anymore and I’m at complete peace with myself, I know how to use it to my advantage and I know how to bring clarity to things. Since having my breakthrough, all the relationships and experiences in my life have changed for the better, every single one. I have learned how to respond to life and how to see things differently, and this is because I have learned the most amazing tools to navigate myself with. I’m finally the Mum I always wanted to be and my parenting is not thought out, it's not just going in blind and hoping for the best. I have now found fulfilment with my life, I've felt what it feels like to actually experience life, to have meaning in my life and to wake up out of bed pretty much be bursting to start my day.
Ultimately I have learnt how to succeed at life, and I have learned that success is whatever I decide it is - and it has nothing to do with what I look like or even the success of whatever happens with this business - I have already won, I already have everything I could possible want, everything on top of this is just a bonus.
Writing this was an emotional experience for me and something I deliberated a lot, but I did it so that people can understand my passion. Everyone has to realise that we're all worthy of living exactly the way we want to, we just aren't always equipped with the awareness and tools we need to do that, but when we commit to working on ourselves, the most incredible things can happen.. because we have it all in us already we just have to access it.
The way I live my life now, did not come naturally to me at all, it was a process that I learned.. and my purpose in this life is to use my own lessons and experiences and add my the wisdom and knowledge that I have learned and develop that into a process that provides an opportunity for anyone who wants it... for anyone who wants better.. for anyone who feels like theres a void in their life and anyone who wants to bring to their lives a sense of clarity, contentment, calmness, fulfilment and success!
I am one hundred percent certain that everything I went through in life was to help and support others through their own journeys.. I strongly believe we're all guided to exactly where we need to be and it's no mistake that this is how my life has turned out. If you feel like some of this is resonating with you and you are feeling unfulfilled with your life, I urge you to make the decision to find out how happy you really can be.