As I begin sharing and asking the world to come along with me on my journey as a holistic health coach, I realized that some may be asking why is Jenna doing this and what is she doing? I wanted to share what brought me to this place in life. But, to do that, we need to journey back about five years to where this story begins.
Becoming a mama was the most amazing, frightening, and hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. Matt and I had a hard time conceiving our first son and after 12 months of trying we were blessed with our little miracle baby. I prayed for months that we would become pregnant and God was faithful with us on our journey.
I had an uneventful pregnancy...that was until the end. Suddenly, it was week 37 and my blood pressure went sky high, I lost four pounds (when you're supposed to be gaining a pound a week), and an emergency ultrasound was ordered. I was told that our baby was measuring 3 lb. 7 oz., which is extremely small for where I was in pregnancy.
I was under observation for a couple of days and ultimately admitted to be induced, which led to an emergency C-section and the birth of our first son, Owen William Allerson, 3 lb. 14 oz. and 17.5 inches long. Owen came into this world as a little fighter and that's literally what his name means. We had a three week stay in the NICU with Owen before we were able to bring him home a very chilly and dark November night.
I was terrified. I was used to hearing the beeps of the machines that Owen was hooked up to in the NICU telling me he was breathing okay and that his heartrate was normal. I was used to the nurses coming in and ensuring me that everything was OK with our little bundle of joy. I was used to the buzz of the hospital with people coming and going. Then all of sudden, it was quiet. I was home with this baby that I had prayed for for so long and I was at a loss as to what I should do. This little guy did not come with a manual.
The weather was cold, and we were instructed that we couldn't be around children for 60 days as Owen was very compromised due to his size. We had special protocols for sleeping and medicine that he needed to take. We went into endless nights with interrupted sleep. Matt and I would take shifts throughout the night. And as much as I loved Owen, I was so tired and felt so out of control that I began to count the days until I would return to work. To a place a I knew. To a place where I felt confident.
For a year we survived. I don't use that word lightly, but that's how it felt. Some days were so traumatic, that I have blocked them out. Owen went to daycare, Matt went to work, and I went back to work. Then, Owen got sick. His first bout of illness was a double ear infection and RSV. This was just the beginning of the longest year of our lives. Owen was sick constantly, we were all exhausted, and I had so much anxiety and guilt over what as happening to my baby.
I took on all the blame. I kept thinking, if Owen hadn't been so small he wouldn't be so sick. If I wasn't working, then Owen wouldn't be at daycare getting sick. Something must be wrong with me for Owen to have been so small and compromised. The thoughts kept coming and coming. Until finally I couldn't take the constant anxiety anymore.
We lived in this state for over a year. I remember I finally put my guard down and went to the doctor and shared my constant worries. Constantly worried that something would happen to Owen, or to myself. That we wouldn't be able to be a family somehow. These were completely irrational thoughts, but I wasn't able to process that. I saw the doctor. She gave me a pill and a referral to a therapist and sent me on my way.
This was the beginning to the longest and hardest four months of my life. A time I didn't know that I would survive. I saw countless doctors, therapists, acupuncturists, and psychiatrists. All looking at individual symptoms trying to cover up one or another, but NEVER getting to the root cause. At this point I had been prescribed countless medications, I wasn't sleeping, wasn't eating, wasn't hydrating, and I was hiding from the world. I didn't want anyone to see me like this and I didn't know how I would survive this.
And then everything changed...
I found my therapist, Crystal. She saved my life. I didn't even want to go. I didn't want to share my story again. I had given up and the second I did, God stepped in. Crystal listened to me. To the whole story. I'll never forget. She looked at me and said, you have postpartum OCD. The second she said that, I felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Now, if we at least know what we're dealing with, I had hope that I would be able to get through this and I did. With a lot of work, a lot of tears, and a lot of prayers. But, through it all, Crystal kept ensuring me that I would get better. Having someone believe in me helped me believe in myself.
As I continued to work with Crystal, we began identifying all of the areas in my life that I needed to address to ultimately be whole again and to be able to thrive. I needed more time with my hubby, I needed better nutrition, I NEEDED sleep, I needed exercise, and I also needed medication that wouldn't make me sick, but medication would be ONE tool in my toolbox to help me cope and Crystal helped me find that as well.
She referred me to a DNP (doctor certified nurse practitioner), who completed a genetic test on me before prescribing any medication, so she could see exactly how I metabolized drugs. We found out that EVERY medication that I had been on were ones that I couldn't metabolize ultimately making my recovery longer AND harder.
Slowly, I started to become whole again. With the help of my hubby, my friends and family, and my team of professionals I was finally on the right path. Through this journey I found my voice again in writing (prompted by my therapist) as a creative outlet that I wasn't tapping into. I found a running group (Moms on the Run), which I'm still with today, I figured out how to find time for my hubby and my friends. I realized that yes, I was a mom, but I'm still Jenna and I need to take her of her first, so I can be the best mom.
Once I started to feel well again I began to realize how in the traditional health care system no one was looking at me as a "whole person." They would only address their "piece" and send me along, which made me exhausted to have to find yet another person to talk to. This even happened at the "general family doctors," they would just lead me to the next specialist with a referral of course for insurance.
I'm not going to get on a soap box about how I think we need to do better in the healthcare system, but this was part of my journey to become passionate about holistic health. I'm not a doctor, but I am a person who will listen and I'm interested in the whole person. To give you an idea, check out the graphic below.
Holistic health is about the whole you - beyond the number on the scale or the number's that doctor's track (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) These are ALL important, but they are only one part of you.
So, what does a holistic health coach do? I help lead you through transformation in health goals related to ANY area of your life. I create space to listen to your story, so we can get to the root cause that is holding you back from leading your best life. I support, keep you accountable, and celebrate your wins (on and off the scale).
We look at all the areas that make up your life to see if there's an imbalance that's holding you back from reaching those goals on the scale. We use nutrition as a tool to help you thrive. I will also help you find the resources you need outside of health coaching. I want to eliminate overwhelm and stress for YOU, so you can get on to living your best life. You'll see this in group coaching and one-one-one coaching.
I hope this helps you understand a little bit better what I'm up to these days. I hope you're still interested in coming along with me on this journey. I'll be sharing information and resources on all areas of life.
Right now I have a few offerings if you're interested in learning more:
Blessings to you and your family!