After the breakdown of her relationship, Feyi Jegede found herself as a single mother who became homeless. She turned her life around though, and the mum of four’s resilience saw her become a fitness expert on TV as she learned never to give up in the face of adversity
I will never forget the day when I returned from work, tired and exhausted, and turned my key into the lock, only to find that I couldn’t get in. I could hear someone moving inside, but I didn’t know who it was. I was frightened and scared and thought about running away, when the door suddenly opened…
Let me start from the beginning. I grew up in a home where my mum was a very hard-working and determined woman. She was a single parent and did all that she could to provide for us. I was the eldest of four children and so growing up, there was a lot of responsibility on my shoulders – I guess on all of us. Money was usually tight, but my experiences as a child laid down the foundations of me never giving up and refusing to stay down.
After leaving university (and not enjoying my time there), in 2005 I settled down in Essex, where I met my husband a year later. It was a whirlwind romance where we quickly got married, and within three short years we’d had three children – a boy in 2007, a girl in 2008 and our third child in 2010. Everything seemed wonderful, or so I thought, until six months after giving birth to my third child, my husband walked out of the marriage without so much as a goodbye. I was left to pick up all the pieces with my three children – then aged three, two and six months.
My home had been repossessed by the bank. I was devastated, shocked, frightened and utterly broken. I had no idea what to do next
I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to for help, but I tried to carry on on my own. Then in early 2011, I came up with the unique idea to teach dance classes to both preschoolers and their guardians. The idea was for parents and carers to dance together with their children and have fun, make friends and learn social skills – which, at the time, no other groups or organisations were doing. The idea was born out of spending time with my children, dancing to music and trying to lift up our spirits and myself out of the situation I found myself in. The dance business was called BOPALONG.
The classes kept me going and gave me a lifeline from sinking into despair at the breakdown of my marriage, and I tried my best to stay strong, positive and courageous. It finally seemed like I was making headway in getting my life back on track when I started teaching my classes in 10 children’s centres across Essex.
Then one cold day in January 2013, I returned home from teaching a class to find that I could not get into my home. The door was locked and I could not open it despite how many times I tried. I realised that on the other side of the door was a locksmith who was rattling around in my home. He proceeded to tell me that my home had been repossessed by the bank, and that therefore I had to leave. I was devastated, shocked, frightened and utterly broken. I had no idea what to do next.
However, I knew that I had to keep calm and not show the fear because I had three small children to break the terrible news to that we no longer had a place to call home. I grabbed a small bag containing some nappies, baby wipes, a change of clothes for the baby, and my Bible (as my faith is really important to me) since I really needed something to hold on to – some light at the end of the tunnel. I was then put into a temporary accommodation for a few days, before being placed permanently into a hostel with my young children.
That first night at the hostel, when the kids were tucked up in bed and fast asleep, I finally collapsed and broke down in tears. All the painful memories, worries and anxiousness that I had been carrying around with me since my husband had walked out of the marriage overtook me like a wave. I just could not stop crying that night.
My time at the hostel was both a difficult time and a period of awakening for me. On the one hand I was at the lowest I had ever been in my life, and on the other hand there seemed to be an opportunity to start my life again – albeit under a very slight glimmer of hope.
After living at the hostel for six months, the kids and I got the wonderful news that we were going to be re-housed in our own permanent home. I had been given a chance to make a go of my life again.
I saw our new home, at this time in my life, as a fresh start to do all the things that I’d always wanted to do, but had been too afraid to try – and I was not going to waste the opportunity. I decided to create my own bucket list of desires and started working through them – ticking off the things that I had always wanted or dreamed of doing since I was a child.
One of my wishes was to create my own professional fitness DVD. I started by uploading workout videos to YouTube, and then by an amazing stroke of luck, a company called New Shoot Media saw what I was doing, liked it and
agreed to produce my very own workout DVD in 2016 – The Bootylicious Workout.
The DVD was produced just eight months after giving birth to my fourth child, and it has signified a total change in my life in terms of my outlook on life, my belief system and my confidence in the fact that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
The DVD’s launch was a real success, which led to the amazing opportunity to be a guest on the Chrissy B Show, where I was able to share my story and demonstrate a fitness segment from my DVD. It was such a nerve-wracking but life-changing experience, because from that I was offered the chance to become a fitness expert on the show.
Today, I am a busy mum of four kids whom I homeschool, and I have a fitness business called Busy Mum Workouts, helping busy mums and women adopt a healthy lifestyle, and take action to live the life they want in the body they want.
I am also a mum to a kidpreneur called Amazing Angel, who is a motivational speaker, a YouTuber and likes inspire other kids to “dream big” – and all this at the age of nine. I know that my children are always watching and looking to me to be a good role model for them – a mum that doesn’t give up and stands strong in the face of challenges and circumstances.
I know I wouldn’t be here today if I did not have my faith as a foundation to lean on, to depend on and to help me feel strong enough to face the challenges that still come my way. My experiences to date have taught me a lot, and I use them as a springboard to share my story and encourage others, which is something that I am really passionate about.
I have learnt on this journey called life that it is important to never stop dreaming and believing that good things can happen to you.
Feyi’s DVD ‘The Bootylicious Workout’ is now available on Amazon. To find out more about Feyi, visit her website busymumworkouts.com
Feyi has had a lot to deal with in her life and, even at her lowest, never gave up hope. Along with that hope, came action. Maybe it was her faith, or having a good role model that gave her strength, but however difficult things got, she always looked for opportunities to make life better. Feyi is clearly a strong woman, and reminds us that wherever we find ourselves in life, we all have the power to change things for the better.