My journey and purpose has changed from where it first began; back in 2017 when I began studying for my nutrition diploma, my purpose was, shall we say, 'broad' - I wanted to understand in great detail how nutrition and lifestyle could help people of all ages, with all conditions, from all walks of life -I wanted to help everyone!
Fast forward four years and having successfully qualified as a Registered Nutritionist and Health Coach, my purpose has shifted significantly. Having experienced the dramatic ups and downs of pregnancy and motherhood (twice), my real purpose suddenly became crystal clear.
When I started researching early this year, what I found was:
- Nutritionists specialising in supporting women through fertility
- Nutritionists specialising in supporting women through pregnancy, and the immediate post-partum period
- Nutritionists specialising in weaning and how to ensure you give your child the right foods
- Nutritionists specialising in helping women navigate the sensitive stage of menopause.
Don't get me wrong, these are all absolutely incredibly valid and important; but there was a gap.
What about the women who had their children five years ago? Or ten? They are over the acute, intense early years (the "crumpets and toast" years as I like to call them). Their children are weaned, and eating well. They are not yet at menopause age, and yet all I saw and heard from women in this age group was:
"I feel old"
"I feel fat"
"I feel slow"
"I don't feel like myself"
"I don't like how I look"
"I don't have time for myself"
"I'm always exhausted"
"I can't be bothered"
"My relationship is suffering"
"I feel resentful"
"I'm confused about what food is good for me"
"I've tried dieting but it doesn't work"
"My sleep is dreadful"
Now this was a group of women who needed help. When I sat down and really thought about it, I realised there was a huge lack of support for women at this life stage.
They weren't in the delicate, kid-glove stage of pregnancy anymore. Nor were they in the intense and emotion-ridden post-partum years. Whilst challenging both physically and emotionally, I do feel that women get so much more all-round support while carrying and then raising a baby. The support available is great; doctors, sonographers, midwives, health visitors, not to mention the influx of family support that often comes with a new arrival into the family. Presents, cards, visits, offers of childcare. But what happens afterwards? The children grow up a little, and women go back to work and suddenly have to navigate not only childcare, but pick ups, drop offs, meal planning, work deadlines, reconnecting with friends and colleagues and attempting to re-discover who she was before the beautiful onslaught of motherhood began
Do women at this stage in life not require even more support with how to achieve health, happiness and wellbeing? This was it; this is who I was going to dedicate my time and energy toward helping. A group of women I could resonate with on a deep and genuine level.
My belief: a woman's best health years can come after she has had children. I believe it. It might feel like an unachievable goal with so many responsibilities and demands on their time, but I'm setting out my stall and I am going to change the narrative for the 30+ year old Mums out there!!