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As a mom with four kids, life got really busy. And my attention was more on them than on myself and I ended up letting myself go.

It was very exciting and kinda nerve-wracking being a new mom. You know, going through the whole cliche thing where, you just don’t wanna break your baby or do anything wrong. And the sleepless nights…

It was crazy good and could be kind of crazy bad. I was the stay home mom, so I was really excited when my husband would come home and I would get a breath of air for a few minutes.

And then we transitioned in to the birth of our fourth child. And after he was born, there were complications and we were getting ready to learn a totally different way of parenting with him.

So we had about a seven day window before we actually found out that he had Down’s Syndrome. Which seemed like the longest seven days of our lives.

The days felt like they almost kinda ran together. Like you couldn’t tell the difference between where one ended and one began.

It shifted my my responsibility to my own health. I definitely started letting that slip because you don’t think about you know, fueling your body.

You’re just thinking’ about getting it over with so you can go on to the next thing that’s on the list of life.

I actually developed some blood pressure problems and I saw Doctor Neil for that.

She’s not crazy about prescribing a whole lot of medications, but she looked me in the eye and said, “We have to do this because I’m not gonna let you die.”

I had never really had a doctor express concern and care to that level. She was saying that she was gonna fight for my health.

The switch in me started by “thinking” about my health a little more. But it was a very gradual process.

I felt like I was really stepping in to new territory and that if I was gonna do this, I had to do it in a way that was gonna make it count and give it everything I could.

Not just living the life of sitting on the couch not having any energy to get up… I wanted more out of life than that.

Now I run crazy distances almost weekly. And I’m getting ready to run my first full marathon in October, the Chicago Marathon. I’m actually running at a charity bid for people with Down’s Syndrome.

There will be hills and valleys through the journey of focusing on yourself.

Even if it’s just a brisk walk for five minutes to begin with. The big thing is not to focus on the time, but just the effort of getting out there and giving yourself a break.

It will help your whole family. You’ll feel better and you’ll think more clearly. And you’ll be a stronger person for your family.

That’s what I would say to all the moms out there. Don’t neglect yourself.