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Inspiration for Bella Bellies

It was a sunny May day and gathering around my Mother’s family table sat myself, my Mom, Nana / Grandmother, Great Aunts, Aunts, Cousins & Siblings, all of them lovingly taking a turn holding my newborn baby. All of the adults at the table were mothers and this was the first time I sat in their presence as a “Mother.” I was humbled and stunned. I had always loved, revered and respected my family but that day I looked at all of them with a new found respect. They were mothers who had sacrificed their bodies, time and mental energies…AND they had survived. But how? How the heck did they do it? Sleep deprived, hormonally questionable and constantly reminded by my engorged breasts that I was exclusively nursing a 12 pound baby, I could not find the words to ask these questions out loud, so I simply listened and watched as my family laughed and reminisced about motherhood. Alas, it was night-time and time to leave. As everyone stood up to go and helped me swaddle the baby, they joked about how sore their arms would be the next day. On that note, my Grandmother and Great Aunt joked about how they used to lift soup cans to strengthen their arms in preparation for motherhood, my Mom and Aunt joked about Jane Fonda Videos…and I realized, exercising and moving was inherently instilled in me as a small child. Of course I exercised and of course I exercised during my pregnancy, so much so I took it for granted. And there it was, that a-ha moment. During my pregnancy, I had been so focused on the birth and exercise for birth, that I overlooked the physicality of motherhood. Unbeknownst to me, I was ready. The exercises I had practiced during pregnancy strengthened my arms, back and tummy for motherhood. This memory is profoundly moving to me, and help motivate me to devote my career to maternal fitness.