Oh, the holidays. A time for counting our blessings and gathering with extended family. A time for filling stockings and cheerfully singing Christmas carols. A time for sending out brightly-colored greeting cards with photos of our families and receiving the same. At least that's what we're told we should do. And many people DO love this time of year and do just these things and enjoy every moment of the season.
But if you're childless not by choice, or experiencing difficulty adding more children to your family, it can actually be the hardest time of the year. I remember vividly the Christmas of 2004. I was on break from teaching and the baby that our adoption agency had confidently assured us would be in our arms by Christmas was nowhere on the horizon. After four years of the "fertility treatment & adoption roller coaster" and still being childless, I had had enough of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. I spent those two weeks of my holiday break that year napping as much as I possibly could, because that was the only escape I could find from my sadness. It's easy for someone looking in to say, "Gosh, there are so many bigger problems in the world that that." Sure. But when it's happening to you, it's difficult to keep pasting a smile on your face and to feel happy for everyone else around you.
If you are experiencing heartache this season, please know that I understand. I have been there and I will never forget. And if you need someone to pour out your feelings to, I am here for you just a click away.
I also hope you will take a look at this guide, entitled "Surviving the Holidays Without a Child," put out by the wonderful organization Creating a Family: The National Infertility & Adoption Education Organization . This is a FABULOUS resource and truly a must-read for anyone experiencing difficulty with this time of year due to childlessness. From start to finish, it is spot-on, not only giving words of encouragement and reassurance that those feeling less than festive are not alone, but also offering real and practical strategies an individual can employ to feel much more in control of the season. It helpfully suggests possible triggers to avoid. There is even a list of "snarky answers" to nosy questions, as well as a game of Infertility Bingo, just to inject some much-needed humor into things. And their focus on how to alleviate stress, both emotional and physical, as well as financial, rounds out this guide pretty perfectly and makes it very easy for me to heartily recommend it to my Body & Spirit Fitness family. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!
I watched my friend Leslie's weight loss journey with Beachbody for THREE YEARS before I finally decided to jump in. After that, it didn't take me long to wonder, "Why on earth did I wait so long?!"
But even once you do start down your own path, you need to be prepared for more waiting. True health is not achieved overnight; it takes hard work and dedication to nutrition, exercise and nurturing your spirit. You will need to be patient and willing to wait as long as it takes to reach your goal. No one program is going to be the right fit for everyone, but the person who never tries at all will spend their entire life waiting.
So what are you waiting for? If you're ready, I'm here. And I can't wait to help you.
Guess what? It worked! There were MANY days in which I easily could have said it was too hard or I was too tired or I was too busy. But because I was NOT about to have to pay somebody because of a lame excuse, I got off my fanny and did it anyway! And instead of gaining my usual 10+ pounds over the holidays, I actually lost .7!
Accountability is everything. If you struggle with consistency and the it's-so-easy-to-keep-quitting syndrome, consider joining my accountability group. We support each other and keep each other on track. And that's what gets results!
A question was raised this morning in one of the Facebook groups to which I belong.
"It's been 11 years since I've had a newborn... so, have to ask..does a 3-4-5month old watch tv? I don't remember mine watching tv this young..a friend has her four month old in her car seat watching cartoons..I was surprised,she did seem to be glued to the tv."
I have to imagine that right about now, you're having a gut reaction to this question. I know I did. Maybe you're thinking, "What's the big deal?" Or perhaps--if you're like me--you felt a wave of sadness.
Not necessarily because it's possibly setting them up for a sedentary life of obesity and unhealthiness. Not even necessarily because of the overstimulation that can occur when children under 2 watch TV. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 100% abstinence from TV before the age of 2. See this great link.)
Rather, it's because of the devastating impact that the one-two punch of TV-watching and missed physical developmental opportunities gives infants.
Now, I am not anti-TV. My hubby and I are big fans of movies and TV shows. And we discovered years ago that a little TV-watching actually helped our son unwind if he had had some major sensory overloading earlier in the day.
But for a baby? Man. I get that parents need a break sometimes. It's been years since I had a baby in the house, but I still remember needing to just...take a break sometimes. However, setting them in front of the TV is not a great way to go about it.
So what's a better choice? How about placing them in a baby swing, where they can feel the gentle kinesthetic movement and use their hands to reach for and explore the hanging toys. It helps their eyes track, develops their vestibular system and strengthens their fingers, hands, arms and shoulders.
You know what? This relates to fitness! An individual's vestibular system is what regulates his or her sense of balance. Children with a healthy vestibular system may have an easier time walking, running, turning cartwheels and somersaults, and anything else physical that children love to do.
Let's add that helping those eyes learn to track leads to healthy hand-eye coordination. Being able to see something, reach for it, and grab it reliably. Like when playing basketball or swinging on the monkey bars. And it helps with spatial reasoning--being able to tell where your body is in space, in relation to other objects and people. Helpful for just about everything, like playing soccer and, you know, not getting hit by a car while crossing the street.
And being able to strettttttttttch and reeeeeeeeeach for those toys builds up those little hand and arm muscles, making it easier to learn to hold and control a spoon (and then a fork, and eventually a knife), or grab a ball and throw it, or dribble a basketball, or hold up one's own body in the midst of a handstand or cartwheel.
So the next time you are tempted to take a break by turning on the tube for your baby, consider keeping it turned off...and instead turn ON your child's brain by providing opportunities for healthy development!
Hi! I'm Lyn and this is where I blog about family, health, workouts, nutrition, meditation, relaxation & life in general. But it's not all about me--it's about inspiring healthy changes in other people's lives.
"...the only gift I wanted was to take back my health and reclaim my body."