Becky Kerrins wanted a way to both honor her daughter's 69 days in the NICU and try to work through her grief over her HIE injury.
She decided to take that energy and use it in a new workout: kickboxing. So for each of the 69 days her daughter Drew was in the NICU, she did a kickboxing workout.
Her goal: "To stay motivated for self care, to really make my workouts mean something so I would want to go kickbox. I wanted to feel all the feelings and simultaneously let them out productively. I wanted to "fight" for the 69 days Drew was in NICU," she said.
Becky's idea immediately took off among the HIE community in a movement called Healing in Motion, which inspired her even more.
"My little self challenge has motivated other moms and dads to work on healing their own hurts and hearts," she said.
Becky has since finished her challenge and is working toward other goals, including running a marathon. Her challenge helped her heal more than she imagined.
"It became more about the daily struggles of being a mom, a special needs mom some days than about the past grief. Which is interesting to me how that shifted," Becky said.
"Some days the emotions got the best of me and I would just break down in the car after the workout, pure exhaustion. Feeling the feelings was the hardest, it took the most discipline. The workouts are the easy part."
Now, she uses that exercise as a therapy and a chance to continue processing her feelings over her daughter's injury.
"I am more in touch with my grief every day. I accept it as part of me, but am working to not have it define me. I am an HIE mom, but I am also a lot more than that. I am stronger, healthier, less edgy most days," Becky said.
But she also knows that grieving is a process, and she needs to keep up with her part to process those emotions. And she encourages other parents and people dealing with grief to embark on their own journey.
Find an activity you love, allow yourself to feel the emotions you need to process and encourage others in their journey, she said.
"It's a process, a never ending process. I just hope to help others see the benefits of self care and trying to let things go. I know my heart has a long way to go to feel content, so I am planning on keeping up with my healing in motion," Becky said.