Meet Jackie Steele. Jackie is an avid fan of sport and exercise. She’s also a certified Pilates instructor. Along with Becky Dyer, Jackie had founded Body Beyond Birth, an exercise program specifically designed to cater for the needs of women and mothers. This is her story.
I have loved everything health and fitness ever since I can remember. Growing up and throughout my adult life I have played all sorts of sports competitively. Gymnastics, soccer, volleyball, softball, touch football, tennis, squash, netball, horse-riding, golf- you name it, I’ve probably played it! I love everything sport in no small part due to growing up in a family of boys.
Fast forward a few (well, quite a few) years. Those early years spent playing sport and surrounded by testosterone were the training I needed for my life now. My Kiwi husband is also from an all boy family and we have 3 beautiful sons. So I’m still sounded by guy moments and sports with an added twist. Anyone that knows anything about Kiwis and Aussies will know the natural sporting rivalry. Let’s just say things get very interesting at Rugby World Cup time!
In addition to all the sports I’ve played, I’ve also trained in gyms with professional athletes. And I have a passionate love for Pilates, which I’ve been practising now for over 15 years. I fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams to become a Certified Pilates Instructor. And I continue my love for Pilates with Body Beyond Birth.
Jackie Steele before Body Beyond Birth
My love for health and fitness has spilled into my professional career as a Human Resources professional. I have created many health and well-being programs in the corporate world. Motivating everyday people with competing priorities to remember physical movement is important.
As an accredited trainer, I’ve also been fortunate enough to coach and motivate people from all over the world. I know what it takes to inspire someone to achieve what they want in life. This experience taught me something very special. And that is one of the most inspiring things in the world is seeing others create a better version of themselves each day. Helping someone craft out their version of success and watching their journey bit by bit is amazing.
The pregnancy journey that lead me to Becky Dyer
Following the birth of my eldest son, I was fortunate enough to snap back into shape pretty quickly. I was healthy and strong. Life as a new mum didn’t present any major hurdles to overcome. Well, apart from the obvious sleep deprivation!
Fast forward two years and everything was a completely different story! I was getting ready to give birth to my twins. I had a fall when I was 6 months pregnant that caused a few issues for me. Beyond the changes required with carrying twins, my pelvis was out of alignment from the fall. Fortunately, that’s when I met Becky who was able to help me in just a couple of short visits.
Thank goodness I met Becky when I did. I ended up carrying the twins to full-term (37 weeks for identical twins is considered to be full-term). And they were a healthy 3kg each when they were born.
My biggest shock came when they were first placed in my arms. Here were two brand new babes, each the size of a singleton baby. So much for the much smaller bubs everyone else had mentally prepared me for!
The twins were born naturally. One was born posterior and the other breech. Now I was the (not so) proud owner of an 8cm abdominal separation (rectus diastis). While abdominal separations can be caused by things we do during pregnancy, mine was caused by the sheer size of the bubs. The road to recovery was not going to be an easy fix.
Emotionally, physically and mentally, the recovery was tough. I found it difficult to be someone who was used to being fit and strong to now having this post birth body. I missed my fitness.
My self image took a battering. Well meaning people asked “when are you due?” after I’d already given birth to my babies. Mentally, I couldn’t picture my body in fitted clothing. Let alone being able to fit into my normal, pre-pregnancy wardrobe again. I honestly thought I could be wearing over-sized shirts and dresses for the rest of my life!
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with Becky to heal my abdominal separation. My experience at home and at Becky’s clinic got me back to fitness and full strength. It didn’t take hours each day. I saw results from doing a small amount of specific prescribed exercises on a regular basis. With family support at home to help look after my 3 boys and Becky’s incremental plans, I had small manageable steps I could take. I was on the journey to regain my health.
About 18 months later, my separation was almost non-existent. I’m happy to say that I’m wearing my wardrobe clothes. And I certainly don’t have people asking me when I’m due anymore!
Most importantly, I’m feeling great, healthy and strong. My natural body function has been restored and I can do everything I did before. To celebrate my return to fitness, I completed a 50km Coastrek when the twins were 12 months old.
Why is it important to me to share this with you?
I knew from my own experience that there were varying degrees of fitness and health post-birth. And that through these challenging times, it could be hard to know where to turn.
My journey gave me a gift. I discovered a genuine desire to help other mums achieve the same sorts of positive results. I wanted to offer a safe way for women to recover empowered from birth experiences. To regain the sense of our self sometimes bruised and battered physically, emotionally and mentally. So I decided to further my Pilates study to focus on pre and postnatal exercise.
Having a chat after class one day, Becky and I decided to join forces and develop a program to help other mums in the same way. This is where Body Beyond Birth was born. (Read more about Our Story here).
Having three young boys myself, I understand how precious every minute is in the day of a busy mum. That’s why we’ve design the program to slot into those all-important small moments in a day.
If you want to get healthy, strong and back into shape or in better shape than before you had children, try our Body Beyond Birth program. In as little as 20 minutes a day, whenever and wherever you want, we’ll help you to look and feel great!
So what are you waiting for? No matter your situation, no matter how hard you think it might be. I promise you, it can be done.