Kirtana Kalavapudi Shares Her Motherhood Journey
Bloom mama Kirtana Kalavapudi brought her baby boy into the world in 2018. After months of recovery and some pelvic floor PT, she was still experiencing incontinence.
Kirtana’s desire for information, dedication to Bloom’s core foundations, and ability to overcome her struggle with incontinence inspires us. She did not accept it as a new norm. Instead, she looked for a solution. When she discovered Bloom, she committed herself to learning Bloom’s foundations, doing the work, and solving the problem.
We need to normalize these conversations about pregnancy-related injuries, but not normalize the problem. These problems are common, but they aren’t normal.
Read more about Kirtana’s incredible story in her interview with Bloom, below.
When did you join Bloom?
I joined Bloom in January 2019 when I was 4.5 months postpartum. I had just finished pelvic floor physical therapy with a local therapist and completed a 6-week core rehab program, but was still experiencing incontinence during brief interval-running on the treadmill at what I considered an "easy" pace. This left me feeling very frustrated because I knew that my core and pelvic floor were strong, but not strong enough for the high-impact activity of running. During a 5 AM pumping session, I was researching on Google on what else I could be doing to improve my pelvic floor and core strength and came across an article on diastasis recti that mentioned Studio Bloom and how the Bloom method was revolutionary! I was immediately intrigued and signed up for a monthly membership so I could learn more about the method, figure out what was missing in my technique thus far, and hopefully resolve my incontinence issues.
What were your goals? What did you find the most helpful in achieving them?
Watching the Foundational videos with Brooke and her team was SO incredibly educational because I realized that my body and mind had not been making any connection with each other and just how important diaphragmatic breathing is in making that connection. It took me about two or three weeks of consistent practice of the Foundational methods before I had finally made that mind-body connection between my pelvic floor, core, diaphragm, and brain. Once that connection clicked and I was applying those methods to daily activities such as picking up our baby, his car seat, groceries, etc., I knew that I mentally and physically prepared for the Core Rehab programs. With every Bloom class, I found myself getting stronger. I also had to remind myself that my body has its own timeline for when it would be ready for the next step of interval-running on the treadmill. Around April 2019, I experimented with a 20-minute interval run on the treadmill (2 minutes jog, 2 min walk) and noticed that I didn't experience any incontinence because my pelvic floor was expanding and contracting with every inhale and exhale, but did not lose any strength! I continued on a slow progression with interval-running on the treadmill where I kept increasing the time on jogging and by early May 2019, I was able to run my first 5K race without any incontinence issues! I was so proud of myself for this achievement because it showed me that patience and progression are some of the wisest teachers in life.
What is something surprising/unexpected/above and beyond that Bloom has given you?
Brooke and her coaches showed me the importance of honoring my body for growing and birthing a human being, establishing my own timeline for postpartum recovery, and not relying on external sources of validation (e.g., Wow, you lost all of your baby weight!) to feel beautiful and complete as a woman. Brooke has created such an inclusive and supportive community for women who are in all stages of life. In celebrating and sharing our stories, I feel like Studio Bloom has created the ultimate Mom's support group and I am so honored to be a part of the Studio Bloom community!
What's the greatest gift that motherhood has given you?
The greatest gift that motherhood has given me is an improved ability to understand and accept new and different perspectives, and finding presence in what is. Our toddler has shown me the importance of going with the flow, being open to new adventures, embracing my mistakes with humility, and speaking and acting with genuine kindness and empathy. I truly believe that I have found my authentic self.
What's your tip for finding balance when it comes to fitness and self-care?
My tip for finding balance when it comes to fitness and self-care is to do what works for you given the time you have and be proud of yourself for showing up for your own physical and mental health. Taking time to work out or practice self-care is not selfish because as a Mama, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
For the past 9 years, Kirtana has been working in the area of disability law and policy, based in Maryland. She enjoys teaching and taking yoga classes, loves running and racing at local 5K(s), and exploring local parks and beaches with her toddler and husband.