Thriving in Postpartum: Community and Fitness
Ever since I became a mom, and even before that, I have always loved birth stories! I find sharing them to be a great way to get to know fellow moms and I love learning from others and their experiences. The postpartum period, however, is not always discussed as openly. It can be a joyful time, getting to know your precious new baby, but it can at the same time, be an awkward and uncomfortable time after your body has been through A LOT and in some ways, you worry that you might never feel the same as before. It can be a lonely and isolating time!
My first baby was born via unplanned cesarean, after a failed induction due to high blood pressure and suspected preeclampsia. Nothing about my first son’s birth went how I expected it to, and I felt ill-equipped to deal with the emotions and physical recovery and I didn’t know where to turn. This is not to say that my family and friends didn’t support me, because they absolutely did! I eventually realized that what I had been searching for was connection with other moms in a similar stage of life as me and that shared my goals of returning to fitness.
Prior to the birth of my first baby, I had been a runner, and enjoyed gym workouts and group fitness classes. I had completed five half marathons but after my c-section, I did not know where to begin to try and get back to running any distance at all or feel confident lifting like I used to.
About three months after my cesarean birth, I saw an ad on Facebook for iStroll, and it mentioned that it was an outdoor group fitness class that you could bring your kids to, and that it was appropriate for all fitness levels. I had been to my doctor for my six week postpartum visit and I was told that my incision looked “good” and that I could return to exercising, but I felt like I needed more guidance. I decided to give iStroll a try, and see if these moms might be able to give a first-time, very new mom like me, a few pointers.
After my first couple of classes, I was hooked. Fitness was and is important to me, but iStroll is more than just a group fitness class, it’s also a network of supportive moms coming together and looking out for each other. iStroll incorporates weekly workouts, but also includes Moms Night Out, activities for kids, and whole family activities sometimes on the weekends, promoting a wonderful sense of community and building lifetime friendships. People need connection, and I think moms especially seek that support from other moms. Joining iStroll gave me that sense of belonging and also helped connect me to other helpful resources, some of which I did not even know were available.
My c-section recovery was difficult, and several moms in the group recommended I see a pelvic floor PT, which I had never even heard of before! The PT I saw was excellent and made a tremendous difference for me and now I encourage every mom I know to make an appointment, especially in the postpartum phase.
About a year after the birth of my first baby, I got pregnant again. This time, I knew I wanted a VBAC. Several iStroll moms through sharing their birth stories and postpartum experiences, told me about working with doulas. This was another concept I had never heard of, amazingly! This led me to seek out a doula for my second birth and I am so thankful for Jessica and Natural Baby Doulas, who supported me during and after my VBAC experience, providing some essential stability in the unpredictability of COVID.
In the midst of COVID, I had my successful VBAC, but now I had two little boys at home, and very few social interactions in an area where we hadn’t made many friends yet. (We had moved a few months before COVID). I still had social media and friends in other places, but it was not the same. As months went by, I longed for the same type of community I had been a part of when we lived in Kentucky and to be able to share my passion for prenatal and postpartum health! Ultimately, after a lot of research and soul-searching, I decided to start my own iStroll here!
iStroll Winston Salem will be opening on October 20th, 2020 at 9:30AM with our first class outside of the Bermuda Run Town Hall. I am so excited for the opportunity to build a group of like-minded moms seeking a challenging workout and a caring community! If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, click the link here to sign up for a coupon, which will allow you to try out the first two weeks of workouts for free!