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Why Trauma-Informed Fitness is so Important - and How to Get Started (Episode #9)

No one is immune to trauma.


There are different kinds: acute (resulting from a single incident); chronic (repeated and prolonged); and complex (layers of trauma over a long period of time).


We won’t go deeper than that in this episode, but let’s just agree that it’s pretty likely many of us will experience trauma as it relates to a mother’s experience.


What’s important to note: trauma isn’t defined by WHAT happened, but how we EXPERIENCE what happened.


This topic is so important, and it’s one of the reasons we started this podcast. Even if you’re like, “nope, there was nothing traumatic about my birth or postpartum!”, we still encourage you to listen.


It’s our belief that everyone can benefit from these approaches and techniques, especially when it comes to movement, and so today, we’re diving into trauma-informed fitness; why it’s necessary; and what you can gain by taking this approach.





Passionate about trauma-informed fitness


Postpartum fitness has gained a lot of popularity recently, with lots of discussion around what exercises can help heal your pelvic floor and core. Which is great. But there’s a missing piece to it: birth and postpartum trauma.


Kendra's second birth was incredibly fast, less than three hours. Most people say, wow, that sounds great! But in reality it was a complete shock to her body and mental state. She simply did not have time to process the fact she was in labor, and then suddenly, her baby was there.


This shock affected her for a long time. Years later, she’s thankful for the trauma-informed tools she had access to. It’s how she was able to move back into balance, find more peace and less anxiety in motherhood.


We prepare like mad for birth, and then we get to postpartum, and we’re like, this motherhood business is no joke. It’s a shocker, right? One mother told us she felt like she was free falling through space during those first few months.


We also find there’s an entire subset of women left out of postpartum fitness: moms who experienced infant loss or stillbirth. In many classes, everything is geared toward a mom with a baby in her arms.


For a mom who lost an infant, those references are devastating, which is why we recently began creating parallel programs specifically for moms of infant loss or stillbirth without these triggers.


Six cornerstones of trauma-informed fitness


To be trauma-informed means a facilitator is informed about how trauma impacts a person’s nervous system and ability to self-regulate:


  1. Trauma-informed work is rooted in polyvagal theory (the science of the nervous system) and somatic movement.


  1. The language is invitational. For example: Consider doing this; see which way feels better; I wonder what happens if you do this? This kind of language invites the individual to explore.


  1. It’s not “teaching” – it’s facilitating. Instead of the person leading saying, “now do 20 more,” they’ll instead say something like, “notice how many you can do.”


  1. Educational component. It is an exploratory opportunity to figure out what tools work for you.


  1. Net experience. Nicole finds trauma-informed yoga and corrective exercise allows individuals to process and explore so that they can remain the leading agents and the masters of their own bodies.


  1. It holds the understanding that the person is whole. So often when we think about ourselves as being traumatized, we feel broken. But instead, this is supposed to help us connect with that wholeness and sense of truth.


How do moms benefit from trauma-informed fitness?


Moms can experience a feeling of safety. As a facilitator, we come to listen. This is how we create a sense of safety. It can actually be a very tangible thing.


It helps moms feel connected. Often trauma-informed movement is a community experience. Something we hear often in trauma-informed mental health is this idea of expanding the circle of support, which absolutely applies to postpartum exercise.


Post-traumatic growth. What this means: we are no longer defined or held back by our trauma. Many people emerge from trauma-informed experiences feeling more content in themselves and the world.


Notable Quotes from Kendra & Nicole


“So often, when we think about ourselves as being traumatized, or having had traumatic experiences, we feel broken, we feel less than whole. And what I experienced, through my own practice of these tools, and of this way of being in my body, that they are here to help me connect with that wholeness, that sense of truth – the truth that we are whole.”


“This topic is so important and it has taken us since the beginning of the launch of our episodes until now to be able to attempt this introduction into this world of trauma-informed postpartum movement. It is huge. If you've listened this far, I want to thank you for listening and for contemplating these ideas, and joining us from now forward on this journey, bringing moms to feeling whole.”


Resources & Links


Looking for support to stay active during your pregnancy or start your postpartum recovery? Here are some options to get you started on a great path forward:


1) Take the Pelvic Floor & Core Strength Quiz. After taking the quiz, you'll get a score and based on your results, guidance on what steps to take to move you forward in your recovery.

2) Check out our podcast listening guides: Download the Pregnancy Listening Guide or Postpartum Listening Guide.

3) If you're pregnant, want to be way more active than you have been, AND want connection with other mothers, but don't know where to start…join the Expecting to Flourish™ Membership - a mom-driven and expert-guided virtual space empowering moms with a new approach to prenatal fitness and birth prep that actually prepares you for the physical and emotional hurdles of motherhood.


If you’re postpartum and ready to get moving, need to heal your body but you don’t know where to start…join us for Postpartum Repair & Restore LIVE, a science-backed and fun-stacked, Diastasis and Pelvic Floor Strength program. Start healing your diastasis and eliminating leaking in 8 weeks or less with our guidance.

4) Do you prefer working one-on-one, or have a high risk pregnancy, a severe diastasis or leaking that won’t quit? You might be a candidate to work with us privately. To find out, take this quick self assessment! If you qualify, you'll be invited to schedule a complementary Postpartum Strategy Session with us where we'll take a good look at what's not working in your repair process, and come up with a great plan just for you.

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Since Devoted Mamas' founding in 2017, our mission is to help you through all the stages of motherhood - stay super strong (and calm!) during pregnancy, be the BOSS of your birth, and help you bring life back to your core + pelvic floor in postpartum.

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