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By: Christy Risco

I had ALMOST convinced myself that having a baby meant saying goodbye to the old me.

Before Valentina, it was almost easy for me to be in shape and on top of the world. I never really had to work hard for a body I loved to live in. I was always naturally thin, enjoyed exercise and loved eating healthy ~ it was just who I was. I read at least 2 personal development books a month.  I was the Marketing Director, Bookkeeper, Transaction Coordinator and CFO of our thriving Real Estate Investment business -working practically 24/7 and loving every minute of it! And most importantly my husband, Ray, and I worked together successfully and had a passionate, healthy relationship. But after my daughter was born, that identity got a little (a lot) fuzzy.

I am sure most moms (and most dads) can relate. Back pain, sleepless nights and zero energy became the norm. I questioned how it was possible to get back to the lifestyle I always knew. I questioned the moms I was seeing on social media. How could they find the time to exercise, meal prep and seemingly look like they had endless amounts energy and vitality!?! I figured something had to give – either my sanity or my health; my business or my baby; myself or my marriage.

It was definitely a struggle to get back to a place that I felt like me again.  I slowly but surely started to understand that this was part of the problem. I simply wasn’t able to go back to the old me.  She was gone – not in a good or bad way – just in a matter-of-fact way. I created a human inside my body and now this human needs me in order to survive the next 18+ years.  How could I ever be the same Christy?

So when V was 15 months old, I signed up for a retreat with one of my mentors.  It was in the middle of the woods in Gainesville, with extremely limited internet connection.  I had never left my daughter, so the Mom-Guilt part was tough, but I knew I needed a change of environment in order to get myself together again.  

That was one of the most powerful weekends of my life – 10 women, in the woods, surrounded by trees and deer.  We journaled, meditated and did yoga to our hearts’ content! We inhaled essential oils and exhaled pain and stress.  It was relaxing and inspiring and scary all at once…and I finally got the space I needed to reconnect with myself.

I soon realized that it was all my mindset! Enough was enough. I just needed a shift in the way I was thinking and both myself and my family deserved better. They need, I NEED, me at my best! This WAS the new norm and I just had to work with it.  From this centered place of acceptance mixed with resolve, I was able to make some new commitments to what our life would look like from that moment on.

Taking care of ME became a top priority again.  ‘You cannot pour from an empty cup’ became my new guiding principle.  This was not from a selfish or self-centered place. It was from a place of self-love, clarity and intuition.  I had to take care of myself better, so that I could then take care of everyone else.

I started waking up earlier (6am) , exercising even when I didn’t feel like it(at least 20 minutes of yoga), eating foods that were nurturing (even if they weren’t all that tasty).  I started talking to friends more, voicing my thoughts and feelings to Ray and journaling in the morning and night to let the ‘stuff’ out of my head and heart.

This started to trickle into our relationship, home and business as well and soon I saw a shift in how I was showing up as a mom, as a wife and as a business owner.  It was a slow and steady process but consistency was the name of the game. The more I did it, the better I felt and the better I felt, the more I did.

I don’t know if it was postpartum depression or just the realities of becoming a mom while also running a business and wanting all of my areas of life to be at a level 10, but the transition caused me to transcend into a new version of me – not better or worse – just different.  

I wouldn’t trade mommahood for anything in the world, but I also wouldn’t trade my marriage or my business for anything.  I get to have it all!! All I have to do is get some clarity, prioritize, ask for support and remember that I am never alone.  I will always have Ray and V, and I show up for them and for myself – everyday! <3