Do you remember sleepovers from middle school? Maybe you played MASH, watched scary movies, or choreographed dance routines. I distinctly remember the conversation always turning from boys and bras to periods. Who had theirs already and who, like me, were the late bloomers. We would listen attentively to each other and ask questions about what was normal. There is still something special about a group of girls or women coming together to share these uniquely female experiences. We can talk to our spouses about it, but only other women can understand how it really feels.
This communion of camaraderie is what I felt when I went to my first prenatal yoga class at Renew Mama Studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prenatal yoga is a yoga practice specially modified for pregnant women and sometimes called maternity yoga. The benefits of prenatal yoga include relieving the extra tension pregnancy imposes on your body, especially your back and hips, and increasing balance, stamina and strength to prepare your body for labor and (hopefully) make childbirth easier. I’d tried a few other classes around Grand Rapids, but none were so tailored to the support surrounding a mama on her path to motherhood or expanding motherhood, as Renew Mama.
At my first class, I watched other women walk in, all of us at varying stages of belly bump. Free mats, blankets, and bolsters were available and we each sat down.
Class began with the instructor asking everyone to introduce ourselves, our due date, our guess date, and where we were planning to have the baby. Honestly I wasn’t used to talking much in a yoga class, but I enjoyed hearing how many kids each of the other mamas had and was surprised by the diversity of answers; third kid hoping to give birth at home, first baby planned at Butterworth hospital and me, second, with a scheduled C-section praying for full-term this time. The simple introduction broke down a barrier for me and set the expectation for what a prenatal yoga studio should be.
Expect a Welcoming Atmosphere
From the calming ambiance to the friendly instructors, Renew Mama is an open, welcoming place for even yoga beginners. Plus, it’s easy to start a conversation with fellow class goers when you know you already have something in common.
Expect Prenatal Specialty Trained Instructors
Certified prenatal yoga instructors are different than regular yoga instructors. Renew Mama’s prenatal yoga instructors are trained in positions that are safe and comfortable for both you and your baby and specifically help strengthen muscles used in birthing.
Expect a Safe Place
For questions, for sharing stories, for crying, or for breastfeeding or whatever else you need to do. Renew Mama even offers a free mothers support group to delve deeper into new motherhood, working motherhood, and other uniquely female experiences. Learn more about Renew’s Mama Circle here.
Expect Ongoing Support
After your baby is born, new moms can find it hard to muster the energy or mindset to leave the house. The comfort of knowing breastfeeding is welcomed in the open or changing a diaper on the floor is commonplace, made Renew Mama the easiest place to visit after childbirth. Plus they offer childcare, so whether you want to bring your baby in with you or enjoy some much-needed solo self-care, both options are available.
By Kathy Sisson
Renew Mama mama since 2015
Find her @KathMomdo on Instagram