Becoming a mum was something Sarah Lambley had always wanted so when she struggled to cope, she felt like a failure.
The 38-year-old became lonely and isolated after the birth of her son Finnian six years ago.
But exercise helped her to overcome her feelings and now has led her, and personal trainer friend Jenny Garside, to develop a device to help other mums keep fit.
“Together, we set about researching the product and when we asked women why they liked to exercise, they said the same thing – it helped them feel good about themselves mentally,” said Sarah.
“After everything I’d been through, I could relate to it.”
Sarah, from Knaresborough, went through a long and difficult labour with her son Finnian and couldn’t hold him for hours afterwards: “I remember seeing him in my husband’s arms and feeling devastated because I couldn’t enjoy those precious first moments myself.”
Back home, she found it hard to cope and when she struggled to breastfeed, she felt guilty.
“I piled pressure on myself to follow everything by the book when in fact I was the only one who was judging,” she added.
“I spent everyday at home except for an occasional walk around the village so I became very isolated and lonely. I didn’t want to admit to anyone I wasn’t coping so I kept my feelings bottled up.”
As Finnian grew older, she decided to try to lose some of the 4 stones she’d gained in pregnancy and started sessions with Jenny, a personal trainer in Morley.
“I opened up to Jenny about how I was feeling and being a mum herself she just got it.
“Exercise cleared my mind and for the first time in months, I slowly began to feel like my old self again.”
When Finnian was two, Sarah fell pregnant with her son Roman, now three.
She says: “My mindset was completely different the second time around and when Roman was a couple of months old, I started back training with Jenny.
“It got us thinking about all the mums who don’t have the time or confidence to go the gym and that’s how we came up with an idea. We’d create a compact piece of gym equipment to use at home which looked like a piece of furniture.
Earlier this year the Tuffit – inspired by the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme – was born.
Six months on, the business is growing.
Sarah says: “I gave up my full time job and I now devote all my time between the boys and making the Tuffit a success.
“I love being able to work on something I feel passionate about.”
* The Tuffit combines cardio and resistance training to tone arms and legs. It features two platform heights and comes with resistance bands from 223kg to work every muscle group. There’s a storage drawer to keep accessories hidden and it features a removable cushion for an abdominal workout.
When it’s not being used, the Tuffit looks like a piece of furniture and there are 150 free workouts available online, designed by Jenny. It’s available to buy at www.fitforkeeps.com