My life has been touched by some uber amazing women whose passion for life and the way they choose to live it have really inspired me. Some are bloggers, some are not, their lives are all different and they are all special. I feel honoured and privileged that they are sharing their stories and sprinkling a little bit of their awesome right here. May you be wom-inspired!
Meet Emma Fahy Davis.
Emma has been not just my choice for this series but other people’s too, so many people have said that Emma would be the perfect person because yes, you guessed it, she’s so inspiring. There’s been a spot in this series with Emma’s name on it for quite some time, it’s just that my email went for a long stay vacation in Emma’s spam folder for a very long while but
stalking, I mean persistence always pays off.
Emma’s story has it all, the fairytale of five gorgeous girls, a life threatening illness, a complete life transformation and more inspiration than you can shake a stick at. Oh and there is of course, words of wisdom, tales of awesome and a happily ever after. Meet Emma, she’s so inspiring!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a Kiwi now living in Sydney, and mum to five beautiful girls aged between 4-13. In January last year, I caught a virus called Cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV doesn’t usually make healthy people sick, but unfortunately for me, a hole in my immune system allowed the virus to get into my gut, liver and spleen and I got very sick. My illness was complicated by the fact that I’d been obese my entire adult life, and by that stage my weight had ballooned to 173kg. I was lucky enough to get a second chance at life and after 7 weeks in hospital and 4 weeks of a nasty chemo-type drug to kill the virus, I made a commitment to changing my life. I started slowly, tracking everything I ate in My Fitness Pal and setting myself a goal of 10K steps a day. 18 months later, I’ve lost 82kg, run 4 half marathons, and on July 3, I ran the Gold Coast Marathon. Yes, it’s been hard, I still live with ongoing health issues as a result of the CMV and I’ve had to fit it all in with parenting five children, one of whom is chronically ill and spends a lot of time in hospital herself, but I am living proof that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. I nearly died, now I want to live. That’s pretty powerful motivation!
Tell us 3 things you are and 3 things you’re not.
I am… impulsive, sensitive and driven
I am not… organised, sensible or a morning person
Complete this sentence, ____________________ changed my life. How and why?
Getting sick changed my life. How could it not? It was the scariest experience of my life. Lying there in a hospital bed separated from my children for 7 weeks gave me plenty of time to think about my life and where it was headed and where I *wanted* it to be headed. I knew my girls needed me, and at 173kg, I was slowly killing myself. I made a promise to myself – and them – that if I survived, I was going to take charge of my life. And I did.
What has been life’s greatest lesson?
I don’t know that I have one greatest lesson, I think life is made up of a series of lessons and every day and every interaction we have with other people gives us a chance to learn. In one of her books, Dr Maya Angelou says ‘You do what you know how to do, and when you know better, you do better.’ Wise woman, that one. I named my firstborn after her and I try to live by those words, always trying to do better.
What is your biggest achievement?
I want to say my children, I should say my children, but honestly, they’re not MY achievement, they are wonderful and incredible all by themselves and I’m just lucky enough to get to share their lives. So I’d say my biggest achievement would be finishing the Gold Coast Marathon this year. Crossing that finish line was the culmination of 18 months of bloody hard work, and there were lots and lots of tears! CMV almost killed me, but I fought and I won. Finishing the marathon was like giving the CMV one final big fat ‘f**k you’! Graduating from uni would have to be up there on my achievements list too. It was a tough gig for me – I had my first baby half way through my degree and through blood, sweat, tears and sheer stubbornness, managed to keep studying all the way through and graduate on time with my class. I still don’t know how I did it.
What has been your toughest obstacle and how have you overcome it?
Postnatal depression. I had a very difficult pregnancy with my twins and PND hit me hard. They were refluxy babies who screamed up to 23 hours a day between them and I was completely overwhelmed. It all came to a head after their little sister was born 20 months later, and I was finally able to ask for – and get – the help I needed.
Viktor Frankl says “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.” Everyone needs a purpose, what’s yours?
Ultimately, my purpose is to be the best me I can be every single day. I have five amazing girls hanging on every word I say and watching everything I do so I have to be true to myself. It’s taken me 35 years to realise that happiness doesn’t come from external validation and what other people think, it comes from loving yourself for who you are. I am happier now not because I’m thinner, but because I’m healthier and I feel good about myself. I hope my girls are faster learners than their mum!
What are your words to live by?
I kind of already answered that! But I do have a few others… #feelthefearanddoitanyway #getupshowupnevergiveup #maketimeormakeexcuses
If you could have any mentor, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
Dr Maya Angelou. I first read one of her books when I was 13, and 20 years later, I sat up until 4am watching the live stream of her funeral. She faced so many obstacles in her lifetime – born poor, black and female in Arkansas in the 1930s – yet she always looked at the world as a place of boundless potential and in doing so, she created opportunities for herself to rise far beyond the shackles of circumstance.
If you could play hookie for a day what would be on your list to do?
Sleep in! Then run, brunch, maybe a movie, then probably more sleep! I don’t think I’ve had an unbroken night’s sleep since 2006!
You give so much to others, what do you do to take care of yourself?
Before I got sick, I used to make excuses for not taking care of myself – too busy, too tired… Now I realise that in order to take care of everyone else, I have to look after ME first. So I schedule in regular down time – a movie with friends, a soak in the spa, even just a lazy day watching bad daytime TV while the kids are at school. And I run. A lot. It’s so good for my mental health.
Thank you for sharing, Emma.
Let Emma inspire you a little bit more…
on the blog
and on twitter