It all started with a contest entry.
A retreat getaway. A few days at a beautiful resort in Utah. Eating delicious, healthy food, meeting Brooke Burke in person, exercising with her and getting to meet other interesting women. It sounded like exactly what I needed. My soul was tired. My body was tired. My heart was on the mend. I desperately needed something like this. What if I entered? I took the chance.
You see, in 2015 my life completely changed. I had a 13 year old son and I became pregnant with my second child. My daughter. This was a total miracle for us. She was born with a birth defect that would require surgery to correct. It was so traumatic I never imagined having anymore children after her.
When she was 4 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. Another daughter. I remember sitting in my closet and crying. It was a mixture of shock, happiness and fear! I just didn’t feel ready so soon. When she was born, we got hit with another surprise. She was also born with birth defects. Severe ones not detected during pregnancy.
She had no real fingers. Her hands looked like little mittens. Her toes were fused, her head was enlarged and one of her eyes was swollen and bulging. Doctors told us that our baby had what’s called Apert Syndrome. It’s a very rare genetic disorder that causes premature fusion of bones of the skull, hands and feet. It also causes facial abnormalities, nasal and breathing problems, speech problems and much more. The list we were given was so long and overwhelming.
I was torn between the happiness of finally getting to meet my daughter and the the sadness of her condition. This was one of the most difficult moments of my life. How would I explain this to others? What if people were mean to her because of how she looked? My heart was bursting with love and at the same time, it was completely broken for her.
We spent a lot of time in hospitals, I was physically, emotionally drained. I stopped taking care of myself and I didn’t ask for help. I distanced myself from friends and family because I felt like no one in the world could relate to what I was going through. The hospital stays were rough. I rarely slept. I barely ate and when I did eat, It was sugary, comfort foods. I had no physical activity. The back to back pregnancies had taken a toll on my body and I gained somewhere around 50lbs. I was a mom but also a caregiver to a child with special needs. My world would never be the same.
Those were some really dark days.
I began following Brooke Burke after buying a product of hers. It was her “Tauts” postpartum belly wrap. In December of 2017 I saw that she was launching her own fitness app. I knew she had four babies and that wrap worked so darn well, I had total faith in her. I also knew I was in the worst shape of my life and committing to a gym membership was out of the question for me. My girls still needed a lot of care. Especially the littlest. I downloaded