You can do hard things

Hi friends. Hope you’ve having a wonderful day. I hope you don’t mind me hopping in here today with some thoughts and everything that’s been going on lately. With the great move, I’ve been thinking a lot about challenges and how so many things can change over time.

A year ago today, I was recovering from my repair surgery after P’s birth. Not too long after that, I had nerve graft surgery on my hand. 

Leading up to that point, I was in a pretty bad place. 

I had suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, spent 5 months trying to figure out how to take care of P’s severe reflux (and worried sick about her choking, which she did often, and stopped breathing a few times. It was absolutely awful), and dealing with the repercussions of birthing an almost 11-lb baby and not being stitched correctly. (It still makes me shudder to type that.)

I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to ride a spin bike again, run, or sit comfortably. I felt broken, and while I thanked my body for what it did, I also felt so down that I wasn’t able to heal properly.

I was so thankful that I found an incredible doctor that could help me -instead of telling me it was a fact of life, she was determined to make things better- and had surgery when P was 5 months old, and another one a few weeks later to repair the nerve in my hand I had completely severed with a steak knife. OOF. Up until that surgery, my thumb was completely numb and tingling 24/7, I couldn’t open jars or doors easily, and was always dropping things.

We had a scary diagnosis in the family (which, thank God, this person has healed completely and is doing amazingly), but it was just a hard time.

We talk about the fact that we loved San Diego so much, but we didn’t have the best luck there. We were lucky to live in one of the greatest places in the US -seriously a dream location- because I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to go through all of that in a place that we didn’t love. At least I could cry into a Tiki Port acai bowl, right? 

Tiki port

Despite the fact that it was such a rough time for our family, I’m thankful for the experience.

This forced me to learn so much more about postpartum fitness and healing, so I can share everything I know with fellow mamas.

I learned how to adapt workouts for a hand injury and recovery.

While I always appreciate and love those who are close to me, it really taught me the value of TIME with these treasured people. 

I learned a lot about reflux, meds, and strategies to help. It breaks my heart when I have to share this information, because I know how it feels to be in the reflux nightmare. I’ve had phone calls and long email sessions with so many friends, and mamas who read this blog. My experience means I can be a virtual helper in the confusing and stressful world of reflux. (More of my tips for coping with reflux are here.)

These experiences made me stronger. They made me more present. And they made me less resistant to change and the things I can’t control.

You can do hard things

While I know these won’t be the only major hurdles that we go through, and life has a funny way of throwing curve balls, I just wanted to send a little note and hug along to those who are experiencing challenging times right now.

You can do hard things.

When my nurse at the ER gave me this pep talk, and told me everything really would be ok, I found myself aching for the days where I could put these obstacles behind us. I knew it was coming eventually, and a year after my surgeries, things are so different. This time last year, I was walking in tiny shuffle steps, and now, I can take spin classes. I’m able to run, stand, and sit without pain. I can hold things with my left hand (even 20 lb. dumbbells!) without dropping them. 

And the best part: our little reflux baby is thriving. You’d never know that she had been through such a painful time when she’s dancing to Megan Trainor in her MyGym baby class, hugging her sister and kissing her on the cheek, and happily eating full plates of food.  

P and Me

If you’re going through a hard time right now, I’m sending so much love to you. You can do hard things. You’re going to be ok. I hope when the clouds clear, you do something wonderful to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be a tattoo. 😉



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  1. tanya on April 17, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    what a fantastic pep talk…may be my mantra.
    thank you for sharing.

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      <3 <3 <3

      • Carla on April 19, 2017 at 3:51 am

        Good Lord I adore you.
        This is a conversation I started having with my 11-year-old. It started off with: it’s hard to be a kid.
        And then it moved to: it’s hard to be a third grader.
        And then it moved to 🙂 it’s hard to be a human some days!
        And now we are up to the fact it’s tough to do hard things – – but she can do it. And I’m grateful for all of the past successes she has I can look back and .2 and remind her.

        • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:00 am

          <3 <3

  2. Laura @FitMamaLove on April 17, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Love these encouraging words! As someone who struggled with PPD, I would have loved to read hopeful words from people who also went through it. I hope your words reach the people who need them. <3

  3. Katie on April 18, 2017 at 3:54 am

    What beautiful words! 🙂 I haven’t had a baby, but I’ve suffered severe panic attacks, anxiety, and depression in the recent past. You are so right – we can do hard things. It’s difficult to see in the moment, but you are so much stronger on the other end. xoxo

  4. Jeannie on April 18, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I really loved this. I always say everyone deals with hard things some worse things then others. Some talk about it and some don’t. I always like to hear the difficulties bc it’s reality and makes you not feel alone in your own life struggles. Thanks for keeping it real and for the reminder that we can do hard things.

  5. KC on April 18, 2017 at 5:20 am

    This is beautiful and well timed, as I sit 4 days postpartum, recovering from an emergency c section at 30 weeks. I can’t pick up my 2 year old and my baby will be in the NICU for a few weeks at least. I know we will get through this and I know we are lucky for so many things. But thank you for reminding me that I can do this and that someday this will be just a small blip in our family’s history.

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:16 am

      you can do it. and you’ll feel amazing when this hard part is behind you. hang in there, mama <3

  6. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on April 18, 2017 at 5:36 am

    What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… right? What a year! Thanks for sharing, glad you made it through <3

  7. Carrie on April 18, 2017 at 5:50 am

    I love posts like this! Thanks for keeping it real and not being afraid to share your struggles. Everyone is going through something so no matter how big or small, its encouraging to hear your words!

  8. Rebecca on April 18, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Its so true. One of the best things parenthood has taught me is that we can do hard things, but rarely do they stay hard forever. It changes, you change and adapt, or the situation changes and you get to the over side. (100% it could have been worse) but I had a hard birth with my 2nd and a longer hospital stay due to some after birth complications. I remember sitting in my hospital bed just crying from sheer exhaustion, sadness, fright, worry ect, and my new daughter was just screaming naked under jaundice lights. My husband and I kept repeating to ourselves…soon this will just be part of the story that we tell.

  9. Juliette From Namastay Traveling on April 18, 2017 at 6:06 am

    I’m so grateful for your willingness to share the parts that so many tend to leave out on the internet world. You are an inspiration. And so glad to hear how well P is doing! Wow, she looks like quite the little lady, too!

  10. Laine Cidlowski on April 18, 2017 at 6:21 am

    This was just what I needed today, thanks for always being an inspiration, even when things are hard or not going well.

  11. Gina on April 18, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Thank you for this post!!! Giant hug to my FAV blogger. You inspire me… Gina (from Mass)

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:16 am

      that means the world to me, name twin 🙂 thank you!

  12. B on April 18, 2017 at 7:03 am

    I am curious about the lady parts surgery. After a year of having my third baby, something doesn’t seem quite right but my OB says everything is fine. (Not that you want to talk about it here but I’d love to know a bit more) I have an appointment with my family dr to see what her opinion is on the matter. (I still am wanting to add another member to our family) but I would also like to feel like me again.

    Love the pep talk and little P is your mini me – so cute!

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:16 am

      my thoughts: if you’re planning on having another kid, i would wait until the baby is born. then have an AWESOME OB or experienced midwife at the birth to do the stitching. one of the midwives i talked to said that she helped a woman who had 7 kids, and didn’t feel like *herself* until her 8th baby was born, and a midwife with 40 years experience took care of her.

  13. Laura @ Laura Likes Design on April 18, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share! This post was so encouraging to hear!

  14. Shelby on April 18, 2017 at 8:17 am

    These words make my heart sing. While I haven’t experienced any of the things you have (Gina – you are a tough cookie) – we all have our “hard things”.

  15. Mollie K on April 18, 2017 at 8:52 am

    needed to hear this today! So thank you.

    I grew up in a family where we didnt talk about problems and “hard things” and the focus was on perfectionism and external things. As a 29 year old woman I still wrestle with these thoughts that have been instilled in me for a very long time and challenging these old beliefs I had. I am working on embracing the discomfort, leaning into the vulnerability, and acknowledging that it is totally normal, and that life ebbs and flows. I can get through these trying periods, and be grateful for the experience become I am learning and growing. Without the rain, there is no sunshine 🙂

    This made me tear up reading your post and quickly writing out my thoughts. Tears of validation and gratitude-so thank you, again 🙂

  16. Amanda on April 18, 2017 at 10:18 am

    <3 Thanks for sharing your inner-most thoughts and struggles. I think we've all had challenging times of our own, and your honesty is a heart-warming reminder of that.

  17. Kelly on April 18, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Love this and it is much needed! Yes, we can do hard things! Sending love to you and thanks for the reminder! <3

  18. Christina @ on April 18, 2017 at 11:15 am

    What a beautiful perspective. Thank you for sharing and I’m glad your family is doing so well now!

  19. Emily @ Pizza and Pull-Ups on April 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Such a great post, “You can do hard things” is the perfect mantra when working through a tough time in life. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Abbey on April 18, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    This is what I needed today! As a new mama (8 weeks yesterday) I find myself having a difficult time adjusting to how different life is now. We’ve had our struggles too so I’m thankful for your reminder!

  21. Kristina Edson on April 18, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I’m 11 weeks postpartum and dealing with a prolapse. THANK YOU for your info on pelvic floor health in PBB!! I was in a dark place when I read that page. I literally sobbed while reading it. I’m not where I thought I’d be after my son’s birth, but you have given me hope.

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:12 am

      i’m so sorry to hear you’re having a hard time and going through this. the good news is that you are still so early postpartum and have AMAZING potential for healing in the first year. keep up the PT and taking care of yourself. you will be so much stronger when this is all over. sending you so much love.

  22. Katie on April 18, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:10 am

      thank you for reading!

  23. Megan on April 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    The last section of this post was without a doubt exactly what I needed to hear today. I am currently in one of those bad, dark places, and while I know that I’ll come out stronger on the other side, it is so, so hard to stay positive while I’m going through this. I keep reading your words over and over, just to hang on to that tiny shred of hope in my heart right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have NO idea what this meant to me today.

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:08 am

      you can do it. and you’ll feel SO GREAT when it’s over. hang in there, friend

  24. Kelly on April 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    I needed this today. I am 28 weeks pregnant and just got done spending 3 days in the hospital with complications. I feel like I am stuck under one of those dark clouds both physically and emotionally. I will keep trying to remind myself that I can do hard things!

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:07 am

      so sorry to hear you went through that. you can do hard things! sending you lots of love for an awesome remainder of your pregnancy and smooth delivery <3

  25. Dee on April 18, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Thank you for this Gina, I really appreciate your words as I know so many others will and I’m going to keep reminding myself I can do hard things ?? my son was born June 2016 and the first six months were ok but 2016 was a rough year on many levels. I have just been diagnosed with PPD (that I’ve probably had for at least a year, but kept thinking once the external problems were fixed I’d feel better – which didn’t happen) and am starting on the road to feeling more myself again. Thanks again and I’m so glad you and your family are doing better.

    • Dee on April 18, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      Sorry I meant June 2015 ??

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:05 am

      so happy to hear you’re taking steps to feel better. <3 you so deserve it. xoxo

  26. Lauren on April 18, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I needed this today. Thank you ?

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:05 am


  27. Amber Conger on April 18, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Perfect timing to hear this uplifting message! I’m sorry you had a rough time. Thanks for the perspective and little pep talk!

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:04 am

      <3 thank you for reading, friend

  28. Erika S. on April 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Loved this post…and such a nice reminder to us all. I’m feeling a bit of a life crisis meltdown at the moment & these words were exactly what I needed to hear…

    So glad you’re doing better…oh how time heals all things!

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:01 am

      amen to that <3

  29. Alicia on April 18, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    I so needed this! I’ve had a series of injuries over the past 2 years that culminated in me having 3 orthopedic surgeries last year. I’m six months out from my last of the 3 surgeries and just starting to feel normal again. It’s a rough time and I miss running with all my heart, but I’m getting back into the swing of things fitness-wise and eating wise. It’s refreshing to see you’re overcoming it all too. We can do hard things.

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:01 am

      so happy to hear it’s behind you and you’re getting back in the swing of things. i hope you continue to feel better and better

  30. Grace Lee on April 18, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks for being so honest and real, your difficult journey makes you that much more resilient. So glad things are much better now 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:01 am

      thank you<3

  31. Natalie on April 18, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am at the point where I can see the sun breaking through my dark clouds. People opening up about what they’ve experienced is so helpful in coping with what you are experiencing and also allows you to remember everyone has their own battles. Glad you and your family are doing well.

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 8:00 am

      sending love to you and hope you continue to feel better and better

  32. Katie on April 19, 2017 at 4:49 am

    I couldn’t love this post more <3 I enjoy your blog so much! Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  33. Lynn on April 19, 2017 at 4:58 am

    I’m so sorry you went through this. Glad everyone is doing better now and you’re on the other side of it!

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 7:59 am

      <3 thank you, friend

  34. Brooke Murphy on April 19, 2017 at 6:11 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I do not have a child of my own, but I have struggled with depression and anxiety for a long time. I appreciate the honesty and the encouragement.

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 7:59 am

      thank you so much for reading <3 sending love to you

  35. kelli @ hungry hobby on April 19, 2017 at 6:40 am

    My grandma used to say: this too will pass. I hated it when she said it because things were so hard and it seemed liked forever until it would pass! I love the “you can do hard things.” Most of all I love your grateful attitude. Being grateful for all of life’s experiences the good and the bad is one of the best things you can do!

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2017 at 7:58 am

      <3 i used to hate hearing "this too shall pass" ... but it is true haha

  36. Lauren on April 19, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I’ve read and re-read this post several times and each time it makes me smile that little bit more! As a first time Mamma I birthed an 11lb 4 baby (yip, 11.4) and have been dealing with the aftermath ever since! (Why do more people not talk about the aftermath?) Sometimes I think back to a time when I didn’t know what diastasis recti is, or when I wasn’t the paranoid post-maternity girl in work, but then little Maisie smiles and I read posts like this that make me realise I wouldn’t change the new normal for anything! Thank you 🙂

  37. Patty on April 19, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    When you announced your first pregnancy, I was like *eye roll* another fitness-blogger-turned-mommy-blogger. I figured I’d keep reading til the birth, but (obviously) still here. And posts like these are why. Although I’ve softened up to children now that I have 3 nieces, and can appreciate “mommy” posts more, I love when I open up my feedly and see something from you with an uplifting title and and even more encouraging post. Okay, I know you’re not perfect, and you can’t market a blog full of sad, miserable, depressing things; but you present everything in such a positive light–even those things that your blog readers probably know were/are stabbing a knife in your heart. I get some pretty horrible bouts of depression, and your honesty in dealing with the hard things is just what I needed today.

  38. Melissa C on April 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Hey Gina! I haven’t commented in awhile! Can I just say your timing couldn’t be more perfect! The Lord knows how desperate I needed to hear this today! My youngest son is going in for a colonoscopy and endoscopy Friday. He has to fast tomorrow- all day. He was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at 7- he’s 14 now. I’m weary, and feel like I’m barely holding on to the last bit of hope I have. He has been thru soooooo much , soomany medications ( some caused more harm than good) – We have a great Dr, but so tired of all the tests, probing, etc over the years. Thanks for this. I cried as I read it. I will hold on to hope and pray better days are ahead for my sweet boy.

  39. Meaghen on April 20, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Thank you, Gina <3

  40. Nic G on April 20, 2017 at 7:51 am

    This is so needed, it really speaks to your strength of character when you come out of such a tough time and can look back and feel not like giving up, but strong. My 3-year-old twin girls have each been hospitalized numerous times. Avery has a rare kidney disease (nephrotic syndrome) and Teagan has bad asthma. We are in the THICK of things with trying different meds for both and every time a cold comes through our house I panic. But, who knew I could be this strong every day? Not me.

    (Have kids, they say. It’ll be fun, they say.)

  41. Katie on April 24, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I loved this post. I loved it so much that I read it more than once, actually. Hard things are well, hard, and it’s a great reminder not to give up and keep going. Thanks for being real – it’s nice to relate to someone and their hardships, even if I’ve never actually met you. Hugs!

    • Fitnessista on April 24, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      thank you, friend. xo

  42. Jodie on April 25, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Wow Gina this brought tears to my eyes. Going through some tough times now and so needed this. Thanks

  43. Katie O on April 28, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Thank you so much for this pep talk today. Since the birth of our third, it’s felt like hard thing after hard thing and in those six months I’ve lost 4 people who were huge in my life. And that’s only about half of the stressors in the last 6 months. I’ve been spending a lot of time thank you for the reminder that I can. <3

  44. Eudecio Gabriel on April 28, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    I’m glad it’s all over, I wish Jesus will take complete care of you, without needing you to make any effort!

  45. Amy on May 17, 2017 at 3:37 am

    Yes! I love everything about this. You spoke with excellent insight about “going through a rough patch.” I recently went through a rough patch this year and I really wasn’t sure when things would get better. I felt perpetually stressed and experienced anxiety and depression. Through it all I just took one day at a time. I knew someday things would even out, I couldn’t live in crisis forever. And things are finally there! I love how you said you lived your life like things would be better soon, because that’s exactly what I did too. I know this post is going to help others who aren’t quite through their battle yet.

  46. milo on May 18, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing the encouragement and love!
    So excited for you and your family to be past that rough patch.

  47. DNN on June 9, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    One thing I noticed was life gets harder when you gracefully season. The weight comes on. Money problems arise. Relationships go sour. People walk away. But it’s all a trying of your faith to see what you’re made of as a person. The hardest times in your life are the moments it brings out the best and an honorable leader in your beyond losing weight and getting back in shape. 🙂

  48. Zoe on July 11, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I am dealing with an extremely hard time in my life that makes me feel completely helpless and heartbroken. It’s just nice to hear kind words even if they’re from someone you’ve never met. Thank you for the strength and kindness of your words.

    • Fitnessista on July 12, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      sending so much love and healing to you. you will be ok <3 please let me know if i can support you in any way

      • Zoe on July 13, 2017 at 9:31 am

        Thank you so much 🙂

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