Interview with Rachel Welch of Revolution Motherhood
I'm so excited to be interviewing Rachel Welch today on the Baby Caravan blog. Rachel is a Certified Yoga Instructor, Health and Wellness Coach, and Shiatsu Therapist. Rachel runs group classes in Park Slope, DUMBO and Manhattan, where Pre-Crawling Babies are welcome. Both myself, and Baby Caravan's manager Sasha enrolled in her spring session. It really helped my core stability, and balance!
Baby Caravan (BC): Rachel, what inspired you to work with mothers and babies, in this line of work?
Rachel (R): My drive to serve mothers and families was born out of my own journey of becoming a mother. As strung out and exhausted as I was, I noticed that when I made sure I worked out regularly, I had more energy. I also found that I had more patience, was singing and playing and was really enjoying myself every day…as opposed to getting short and snapping with my loved ones, reaching for chocolate to cope with that 4pm slump or complaining about how hard everything was. I was simply able to be more of the mother I most wanted my daughter to have when I was regularly practicing yoga and taking care of my body.
Becoming a mother takes all of you. Everything about your identity is blown apart and there is little to no map guiding you through a very personal journey of recovery and integration.
That said, we are raising the next generation of thinkers, voters and world citizens. Ours is arguably the most important job on the planet. And yet, mothers are being sent out with a newborn baby, a body and mind that have been totally blown apart and are left to their own devices to figure it all out.
So, I designed a program to address all of it - to re-write the story of motherhood and in so doing, give women the tools to get out of pain, work-out hard and safely while rebuilding their physical and mental strength.
I’m tackling this from every angle - community where you get to bond with other moms because you’re sweating and moving together, making real friends and enjoying access to a group of women who totally get you and what you’re going through without having to explain it all.
I am placing the power to heal in women’s hands. I am teaching them the information they need to live an embodied life for the rest of their days. This is fitness that is setting women up for success to integrate themselves, their multi purpose lives and to process and understand themselves as they were and how they are now.
It’s practical - I’m getting women out of pain and working them out so that they are strong, confident and alive in their motherhood. There is no natural force that compares to what I’ve experienced and seen in motherhood. It’s a raw power of love, survival and sacrifice that is enigmatic and really inexplicable to all those who have not lived through it. There is a binding quality to becoming a mother that if harnessed, I truly believe will heal this planet and the people who live on it.
BC: How can pregnant persons prepare for their postpartum recovery before their baby's born? Is there anything that can be done prior to the birth or is it a wait and see scenario?
R: Movement is medicine and there is always some movement that you can be doing.
As a rule, as long as your physician has cleared you for exercise while pregnant, then I suggest integrated core work - meaning that you use your breath to feel how much room you have to move - as you know, this changes daily while pregnant! Then do exercise that you love - your favorite boutique classes, yoga, walking/light jogging. Enjoy living in your changing body and on the days that you have the energy to work out, throw your sneakers on and get to it!
What matters most in all of these classes, is where your power to move is originating in your body. The more a woman can stay strong in her gluteal, hip and thigh muscles the better she’ll feel while pregnant, delivering and post-natal.
Active, parallel squats that engage your butt muscles, while making room for baby are some of my favorites. They challenge you to pull up the pelvic floor, ‘hug’ yourself with your waist muscles (not squeeze, just a light engagement of your waist muscles) and keep your thighs, butt and core muscles talking to each other in a dynamic exercise.
Post-partum, we spend the most time just getting the neurons in your brain to talk to these vital muscle groups again. Once they are responding, then we can begin strengthening them again! The re-habiliation process is the most challenging. So, the more you can keep them talking pre-natally, the quicker they’ll come back post.
BC: At what point following the baby's birth can a mother join your class? Is there timing that is optimal?
R: As long as a mom has been cleared for exercise by her physician, she can join my classes. The sooner the better because of how much your body is changing in those first 3-5 months postpartum. If we can get in their right away, we can try and jump on your body’s natural healing process and re-direct it into healing lost mind/muscle relationships.
That said, my classes are quite literally for ANY WOMAN WHO HAS EVER GIVEN BIRTH. If you never really healed your body after being pregnant, then I promise, your life will be completely changed by doing it now. It’s NEVER TOO LATE to rebuild your core and body!
BC: what's the best part about teaching?
R: Serving. I have the privilege of watching these women transform -in one hour- from exhausted, strung-out, frightened and often in pain, into relaxed, energized, inspired and happy moms. I get to bring women back to loving themselves every day.
BC: Do you have an inspirational story to share about postpartum transitions into motherhood? What are some challenges your students have overcome (if you're permitted to share).
R: There are so many…I would say that the most inspiring transformation I see - and I see it again and again - is women who come to me completely lost and scared, rediscovering hope. They are often suffering, struggling with a body that they think has failed them - they have sagging bellies, diastasis, pelvic pain, incontinence, painful intercourse, wrists that don’t work, backs that seize, are afraid to pick up their babies because they don’t know if they can hold the weight - I see it all and I see the grief and fear in these women’s eyes. Then, after one session, I see a woman feel at home again in her body. I see a mother realize that she CAN heal herself and won’t need surgery. I see a woman engage happily with her baby after working out hard and connecting to herself. I see a mom who is struggling with her ergo and diaper bag, meet another mom and receive help and advice - and the light in her eyes changes. I am witnessing mothers awakening and showing up as the women and mothers they most want to be in the world every day. They are walking out of class empowered, alive and full of passion. It blows my mind and heart wide open.
BC: Anything else you'd like to add?
R: My summer Foundations Intensive program begins June 13 in DUMBO. 12 classes over 6-weeks, 6 at-home work out videos and lots of sweat and fun. I would love to welcome your moms in!