If you’re a new mom, you know that it takes a lot of energy to take care of your baby—let alone make time for yourself to exercise, eat right or even read a few pages of a book.
“Being a mom is like an endurance event,” says Susie Griffin, a certified personal trainer at MCMC’s Health and Wellness Center at Water’s Edge. “If you don’t care for yourself, your energy is going to get zapped. You need to nourish yourself to nourish your baby and family.”
Griffin says women should not feel guilty about taking personal time to “refuel, refresh and revitalize” so they are at their best -- an idea that underpins MCMC’s unique wellness program for new moms at Water’s Edge called Mommy Wellness.
Slated to begin Monday, Feb. 13, Mommy Wellness is a four-week program that aims to help new moms get back in shape while planning for the healthiest future for themselves and their families.
Griffin will join other team members including a physician, dietitian, counselor, nurse, midwife and physical therapist to provide comprehensive wellness education and training.
Moms with babies ranging in age from 6 months to 2 years will meet twice each week for one hour. Each class will consist of a presentation and hands-on exercise instruction.
The class is free to moms who delivered their babies at MCMC and is offered at a minimal cost to those who gave birth elsewhere. Griffin says the program illustrates MCMC’s commitment to Gorge women during their post-partum recovery period and beyond, helping them to feel like themselves again.
“We want to create healthy communities and healthy communities start with the family,” says Griffin.
During the program, childcare will be available at the Kids Club located within the Water’s Edge facility. The cost is just $2 per hour for members of the Fitness Center at Water’s Edge and $4 per hour for non-members. During some of the classes, babies will exercise with their moms.
Getting back in shape -- body, mind and spirit
Christina Castellano, P.T., D.P.T., a physical therapist with MCMC’s Outpatient Therapy program at Water’s Edge, spearheads the program.
“The idea for Mommy Wellness stemmed from my passion to improve wellness for women in the community,” she explains.
She hopes the program will serve as a springboard for a personalized and effective self-care plan for each participant. Her goal is to give women the education, support and resources they need to create their own path to wellness.
“Once a woman become a mom, her whole life is dedicated to her child,” she says. “Then she becomes 50 or 60 and her body often starts falling apart.”
One of the program goals is to help moms learn to exercise effectively so they get the results they desire.
“A lot of moms feel unfit or they are unhappy with their bodies right after delivery, so they exercise too hard, too fast, and then don’t achieve their goals,” she says. “We teach them to set realistic goals, pace themselves and exercise effectively so they are successful.”
Castellano and Griffin will work together to teach participants the right ways to exercise for the best results -- from how to lift weights to how to do a proper kegel to prevent incontinence, a common post-partum problem. Women will also learn about postural awareness and biomechanics, including how to preserve their backs while properly lifting the baby or carrying a car seat.
Other components of the class include stress-reduction, relaxation through yoga, time management, post-partum depression and healthy eating.
Castellano points out that MCMC, the health and wellness center at Water’s Edge and the community at large offer numerous resources for moms, yet, many women are unaware of them.
“From getting car seats fitted to struggling with finances, in Mommy Wellness we’ll provide information about how to access these resources,” she says.
Castellano hopes to have about 20 moms sign up for the first class, and offer it four times per year. Another goal, she says, is to start a similar program for pregnant women.