Why: Tara's Story
As a young girl growing up, it never crossed my mind to think about what I ate or what I put on my skin. I was an active child who was always outside or playing the sport that was in season. I never worried about my weight or health. Twenty years later, I found myself pregnant with my first child. My first pregnancy was a wonderful experience. But, soon after the birth of my first baby, my father suffered from a massive heart attack. I watched him in the hospital for the next two months as he struggled to breathe even with the help of multiple machines. Soon thereafter, he passed away. This was a wakeup call. My husband was gone and I was pregnant with a baby due in just six months.
My father was a diabetic, and I realize now this is something I have to take into consideration for my own health. But at the time, the stress of his death, plus the lifestyle of being a military spouse left me little to no time to take care of myself. This wasn’t at all what we had planned.
I decided it was best to stay home and live with my mom during the deployment. I was pregnant again and this time I gained 50 pounds. After the birth of my second girl, I started working out trying to lose the extra weight but I hadn’t changed my diet. As a result, I was feeling sick and tired all the time. I knew once my husband returned we would be moving to Fort Benning, GA. Soon after the move, I became pregnant with my third child. The warm temperature of Georgia was soon left behind as we quickly moved again, this time to Ft. Drum. Shortly after the move, my husband deployed to Afghanistan. So there I was, living along with three little ones, in the frozen tundra, with snow up to my eyeballs.
I had never felt so isolated, lonely, and depressed. I decided that I had to make some changes and they had to start with me. I started working out at a gym and I found a healthy way of eating thanks to a Paleo blog. I started to make healthier diet and lifestyle choices. I joined a soccer league and started to put myself first doing things that make me happy. I finally enjoyed a relative balance in my life.
During our move to Drum, my mother started to feel sick, and it wasn’t getting any better. In response, I started to research health and wellness topics -- not only what we eat, but what’s in our environment and what we put on our bodies. My research was superficial at first. Then I dug deeper into more environmental factors that were potentially harmful. I cut out plastics, I changed our toothpaste, I started switching my entire family to a healthier, non-toxic lifestyle. I was shocked at what I discovered.
My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was devastating to me and my entire family. She was the heart and soul of our family, my rock, and my best friend. It was a heart-wrenching experience losing my mother. I still can’t believe how much she suffered and I still can’t believe she is gone. I want to call her everyday and then I realize she’s not there. There are no answers to my questions. Why her? What caused it?
I wanted answers but realized that I needed to prevent the feeling I felt from happening to others. That’s when I was introduced to a company committed to non-toxic personal-care products. The company and its mission was simple -- get safe, non-toxic makeup and body-care products into everyone’s hands. I started working for them as a consultant and was able to re-focus my purpose and drive in an effort to educate others on prevention and removing toxins from their lives. I was able to shift my sadness to passion. As a result, I have adopted a healthier lifestyle for myself and my family. I have lost 55 pounds, and lessened my family’s toxin load. By creating awareness and spreading the knowledge I’ve gained over the years, I know I can make the world safer for my children. I know my parents would be proud of the work I am doing. I know I am.