My name is Emma Golebiowski, I’m a twenty something year old lover of CrossFit, yoga, real food, baking, fashion and photography. More importantly, I'm a mum, wife and endowarrior.
I was born and grew up in Napier, Hawke’s Bay where I lived with my family of five. Both my parents are high school teachers. My dad coached the school kayaking team and has an extensive background teaching outdoor education. Sports and the outdoors has been a major part of my upbringing - I could kayak before I could walk (that’s possibly where my need for that adrenaline rush that high intensity sport gives you comes from). From a young age I tagged along on all dad’s kayaking trips and took up the sport at primary school as did both of my younger brothers Thomas and Simon. Who have both been selected for The New Zealand Development Squad and like myself, live and breathe sport (we have a pretty competitive annual Christmas Day backyard cricket game and had a family social hockey team).
Although there were many times when I questioned why I was kayaking (usually when I was upside down and over camping on the side of the river in the middle of winter) kayaking is special to me because it’s what got me into sport and fitness, and I got to travel around New Zealand competing with my family. I managed to win a few medals in white water slalom, but was more successful with canoe polo, playing for the Central regions under 21's and the Hawke’s Bay women’s teams at the age of 16. I took a break from kayaking and canoe polo when I went to university in Palmerston North.
In 2012 I completed a Bachelor of Communication in Public Relations and Media Studies at Massey University. After this I worked in customer service roles at various fashion brand headquarters in Auckland before deciding to move to Wellington for further study. As I thrive off planning things, in July 2014 I completed a Graduate Diploma in Event Management at WELTEC and now work as a Marketing and Communications Specialist for Life Education Trust. As a nerd at heart in 2015 I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Business.
I am extremely motivated and aim high in all areas of life. I don’t let anything stop me reaching my goals, including health. After five years of no answers, endless hospital admissions and what felt like hundreds of specialist appointments, at the age of 18 I was diagnosed with endometriosis. My goal since this point has been improving my health and mental well-being and to be as fit as possible. I’ve come a long way, but it hasn’t been easy. It was harder when I was younger, I found myself in a spiral of self-destruction. Questioning, why me? What did I do to deserve this? Why am I spending my teenage years in and out of hospital, seeing specialist after specialist? But as I’ve grown older, I’ve accepted that there is no simple answer that will make life easier. You are the one in control and you have to be willing to try new things and explain your situation to people and generally, people tend to admire the determination and willingness you have to pursuit with life as normally as possible. I’ve accepted it and embraced it. Living with endometriosis has made me the person I am today, made me more determined to achieve things and overcome the unpredictable obstacles along the way. As I put it, I have “embraced” it, which has turned into this blog, where I share my story and recipes. Embracing It is based on the concept that sometimes the things we can’t change end up changing us.
In March 2015 I found myself in hospital again and was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). But with an attitude to conquer I've been able to “embrace” this new stage of my journey too. And the conquering has been a lot easier with an incredible man by my side. I'd always thought that guys deserved to be with someone who was "normal" and thought my health conditions scared guys off. I met my husband Ben in 2014 (#swipedright) and unbeknown to me - he'd read my blog before we met in person and told me I was the most inspirational person he's ever met. Ben keeps me going, catches me when I fall and always reminds me of how far I’ve come. Ben has a background in nutrition and personal training, so is able to help me get my head around things and come up with new and creative ways to eat, move and manage my pain.
I always knew having children was going to be a struggle, maybe even impossible, and that thought terrified me. In 2016 we started fertility treatment and had no luck, it was an emotional rollercoaster that really hit me for six. After many rounds of ovulation induction and no luck, we were put on the waiting list for IVF. Although this was hard to come to terms with, I remained hopeful and decided to spend the next year and a half (approximate public IVF wait time) focussing on my health. I worked with various naturopaths and alternative health professionals and managed to, after 5 years of nothing, naturally restore my period. I felt the best I had in years, and much to my surprise - fell pregnant without even trying! On 29th December 2017 I gave birth to my beautiful son Riley Blake Golebiowski.
My passion for fitness has been impacted by my health conditions. There were times when I couldn’t exercise without pain and was self-conscious about my body from the weight I had gained. But, after two years of hard work and a new found love for health and nutrition my weight dropped and when the weight dropped I started to feel better about myself. I accepted that there was no simple answer, no cure, and no magic pill that would make life easier. I considered taking up kayaking again but at the end of 2012 I found the new love of my life…CrossFit. I'm currently taking a break from CrossFit as I work on post-natal recovery.
When I’m not working or exercising you’ll find me looking after my son Riley, and running my blog Embracing It. I also enjoy dancing (I have my NZ Solo Diploma in Hip Hop), playing tennis and wake boarding.
In the future I would love to grow my blog to be an online platform offering advice for those with health conditions. I love spending time with people and sharing stories, one day I hope to write a book on my experiences and work with others who have been with similar circumstances in a mentoring position.
Join me on my journey to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, inspire others to overcome barriers created by their health conditions and raise awareness on endometriosis and PCOS.
Photograph taken by Elene Panton.