When my first daughter was born, I wasn’t prepared.  While it’s fair to assume that most first-time parents are ill-prepared for the shock-and-awe experience of childbirth, my husband and I had adopted an “ignorance is bliss” philosophy early in my pregnancy and rigorously adhered to it right up until labor began.  Our birth plan was simple: 

  1. Avoid all “scary” childbirth books, classes, and videos, and run screaming from other parents’ over-shares.  
  2. When labor began, time contractions at home until things got Real, then check into the hospital.
  3. When things got REAL, call for an epidural.
  4. Have a baby.

We envisioned ourselves high-fiving over our new little bundle, then cracking a celebratory brew (hey, it helps with milk production, right?)

My physical preparedness was equally lackadaisical.  A lifelong fitness devotee, I opted to cease my daily visits to the weight room and focus instead on long walks, long hikes, and carbs.  I stayed (mostly) fit and healthy, but I lost much of my hard-earned muscle mass.

Remarkably, the day our daughter was born, everything went much according to our plan, right up until it was time for the epidural.  After three painful attempts, the anesthesiologist announced that, because my spine has a slight twist (what??) she was unable to administer the epidural (WHAAAAAT???)  Tearfully, I asked my doc, “So, what are my options?”  She shrugged and replied, “Your option is to have this baby.”  So, after six physically and mentally exhausting hours of excruciating natural labor, I did.  

Fast-forward three years, when my husband and I (along with an excited big-sister-to-be) found ourselves back at the beginning of the childbirth journey.  Since even 1100 days of healing distance couldn’t dull the memory of my first traumatic delivery, I contacted The Bloom Method.   

Workouts with Brooke were not what most people might picture as a “pregnancy exercise”; this was not Sit and Be Fit.  Whenever I came in tired and whiney, Brooke would remind me, “You’re pregnant, not disabled”, then she and her damn stopwatch would make me work.  The Bloom Method integration of physical strength with discipline of the mind is unparalleled.  Many trainers may have the credentials to work with pregnant women, but Brooke Cates has created an entire fitness philosophy that doesn’t just focus on fitness, it prepares and empowers pregnant women.  As my pregnancy progressed, my Bloom Method workouts helped me become physically, emotionally, and mentally more powerful than ever before.

When the big day arrived, I was armed with an arsenal of mental imagery exercises and breathing techniques, and a mental preparedness that gave me strength throughout the “marathon of labor”.  Also, I was armed with a remarkably strong core, and baby number two entered this world after two powerful pushes.  Post birth, the nurses examining my midsection marveled over my firm abdominal muscles while I smugly snuggled our perfect baby girl.  That evening, my husband and I finally had that celebratory brew over our brand new bundle.

Since my daughter’s birth, my recovery has been a testament to the effectiveness of the Bloom Method.  While I’m not one of those enviable women who can Instagram a six-days-post-birth bikini shot, I can proudly say that I was back in the gym (and back in my jeans) six weeks after my daughter’s arrival.  

As a two-time initiate into the Mom Club, I’m aware that every expectant mother is different; everyone has a unique plan (or lack thereof…) but The Bloom Method should be a consideration for anyone who’s expecting.  I’m a believer and an advocate.