Episode 8: Kelly
You’re listening to This Girl Can – real stories from real women celebrating getting active in all different kinds of ways.
This series was recorded during the coronavirus pandemic in Australia when the women that you’re hearing from were at home either with their families or on their own. All the interviews were done over the phone. We hope that these stories inspire you to feel good and get active in your own way.
Hi, everyone, I’m Kelly. I am a 38-year-old mother of three beautiful children.
I work full time in customer service and have started to take my life back. As a 38-year-old woman who probably put her kids first a bit too much, not that that’s a bad thing, but I’m just starting to live this second stage of my life and I’m loving every minute.
I had my first child when I was relatively young, so I was only 25 and it was easy to bounce back from then. But as I kept having children and doing less and less for myself, I had a guilt of not putting them first. Or I would be a little too tired to do something. And it wasn’t expected that you left your kids with people so you could go exercise. It was kind of maybe in my own head an expectation that everything you do is for them and they always have to be first with everything, which is totally fine. But I really lost myself and put everything first before my own health. But as I came to realise – and as things would go wrong within my own mental health and physical health – I can’t help anyone else unless my cup is full.
So I had a feeling and a connection or, you know, a way of feeling selfish if I wanted to go and do something for myself or go for a walk or, you know, there was always something else that was more important to do. But actually, I wish it was the opposite back then, because if the ship is sinking, you can’t help anyone unless you are driving the boat.
After my third child, I had – I don’t know if this is going be okay for everyone to listen to – but it’s reality. I had some bladder issues, so after I had him, I didn’t have use of my bladder. And so I was sent home from the hospital with a bladder bag and my two older children were like: Why did you let that happen? How could this be avoided? I really hadn’t taken care of myself up to that stage. So it was a really big eye-opener to go okay, you know what, you need to take care of you because you can’t help them. And that’s when I realised that physically I need to also be healthy enough to take care of everyone around me and not feel resentful, if that makes sense.
It was about 2 weeks where it was pretty terrible. But still to this day, and I think a lot of women have these problems with various things that may have happened during their birth or pregnancies, it’s still recovery. But the funny thing is you only talk about it in mothers’ group or with mothers that have experienced kind of similar or the same problems and no one really talks about it anymore. But it’s so real. But I don’t let it stop me, is what I’m trying to say. You just have to work around these things and do those, you know, pelvic floor exercises or remind yourself or go for a walk or choose healthy choices to make yourself feel good. And yeah, that’s why I just keep reminding myself of the ‘why’ rather than the ‘why not’.
A girlfriend of mine introduced me to a Pilates class because of the issues I’d had with core strength and I became absolutely addicted. The classes, I could only fit them in in the mornings, about 6 in the morning, because I was too tired by the end of the day with the three kids, you know. By the time you finish everything, seven o’clock, if you sit down or if I sat down, my day was over. I couldn’t get back up. So I knew that if I wanted to have this amazing feeling that I got after doing these classes, then I would have to do something about it, which meant if I have to get up early in the morning, I have to get up early in the morning. But it would push me to do it because it felt so amazing afterwards. So that was a really good way of me getting back into exercise. Just for my own physical core strength.
After that, a bunch of women at our school wanted to start a netball team just for a run around because it was probably the only thing that they did every week. But if we were in a team, which we are, it meant that you had to turn up or you were letting someone down. So it was a good excuse to not make an excuse, if that makes sense.
We’re not in it to win it, that’s for sure. I think we’ve only won three games and when we have they’ve been amazing celebrations or the teams against us have not had a full team. But that’s okay, we still win.
So we are very competitive now, actually, I think we give people a run for their money, but we’re really just doing it for a run around. We get out of the house, hail, rain or shine. We make our blood move and it is so much fun and it’s a beautiful community.
I have two daughters as well, and one of them is a teenager now in high school, so it’s really important for me to continue to play netball or to go and do a Pilates class or we go on family bike rides now, which has been amazing, to firstly get them off the screens and secondly, show them that even old people like us can exercise. And it’s good for you. And it doesn’t always have to be winning or losing, but it’s a good part of life that should be in everyone’s lifestyle instead of just a chore that you have to do.
The endorphins pump in straight away. And I might cringe at the time going, Oh, I can’t do this, but once you finish doing whatever sport it is that you’re doing, it’s the big rush of happiness and just a sense of a little bit more of an achievement rather than anything. For me, it’s like the biggest reward. I feel like it’s the next stage of my life, now that my kids are a little bit older but I’m still getting back into exercise. I don’t want to just end up being that typical person that let’s themselves go completely after kids. I see hope that, you know, it’s not too late. It’s not too late to do anything. You can start whenever you want. And I don’t care what people think about what I look like as much as I probably would have when I was younger. So it’s like, you get to do it again, which is great.
I just want to show the kids that you’re not too old to do anything and your circumstances don’t change your abilities. And I enjoy it. So it gives me pleasure, which makes me want to keep doing it. I like the way it feels when I’m active and I just want to keep getting better and better and better at getting that feeling. I’m by no means an exercise junkie, but it’s just that once a week or twice a week that it makes me feel amazing! And I remember how good it feels once I’m there and it just keeps going from there.
Everyone can go out and enjoy sport. Everyone needs to take care of themselves. My Mum is beautiful, but she definitely, still to this day, puts herself way down the food chain as far as taking care of herself physically and mentally. She’ll drop everything. And I don’t actually want that for my kids at all. So as hard as it is for me sometimes to say, no, it’s my time now, I don’t think it’s doing them any bad. I think it’s going to be a good way to show them that they’re important. And when your cup is full and overflowing is the only way you can give back. Not in a selfish way. Self-love is not selfish. It’s love. So it makes me a happier person, which means I’ll be a better person to everybody around me.
This Girl Can is an initiative of VicHealth. For more information about how to get yourself moving or to connect with clubs and groups in your local area go to www.thisgirlcan.com.au or check out This Girl Can VIC on Facebook and Instagram.
We love to hear about women who are getting out and active, whether it’s walking the dog, going for a ride or having a kick with your kids, so follow the hashtag #ThisGirlCanVIC and celebrate women who are all kinds of active, no matter how well they do it, how they look or how sweaty they get.
This episode was produced by Dewi Cooke and edited by Nick King. Thanks for listening.