I have recently gone back to work full-time after my second child, which means I had to give up going to my beloved Mums and Bubs exercise classes at Canberra Fitness Centre. It breaks my heart a little, as this was my sacred mum space, were my tried, frazzled mum brained self could go and be with other tired frazzled like-minded mothers.
The gym itself is a no frills space when compared to the likes of Fitness First or Anytime Fitness, but that is part of the charm. There is a dedicated kids space in the gym that is gated off that has numerous toys and movies for the bigger kiddos to get into in full view of the group classes. But, every weekday at 10am the mothers role in with new and older bubas in tow.
This is a stress free environment for mums trying to get back into their fitness, run by skilled trainers in post natal fitness. Women are assessed prior to starting to ensure their bodies are ready to come back and are encouraged to take it slow. There was always variations to every exercise to meet any number of needs or fitness levels. Our pelvic floor was always the main concern and focus especial in the first months of returning to exercise.
During any of the class be it Pilates, circuit, barre or boxing everyone is encouraged to attend to their bub when need be, whether it be a nappy change or a feed. There were classes where my little one would scream the whole time, I never felt pressure to leave or try to quiet him, as inevitably there was someone else dealing with the same thing. My instructor Ianthea, had a baby around the same time as me and would be teaching a class while cradling her little bub breastfeeding right along with us.
Being my second child I didn’t go well at any of the mothers groups I was attending. In general they all were first time mums and I found myself constantly feeling like I was the “advice mum ” with answer to everything ,whether anyone want to hear me or not. Going to mums and bubs exercise classes became my mothers group, with a wide variety of mothers with different amounts of children and ages with diversity of backgrounds and experience. Everyone was supportive, open and happy to have laugh.
There was an ease in each class to only go at your own pace and Ianthea was right there to make sure you didn’t push yourself too much. We would chat and tell stories all the while slowly are bodies were getting stronger. This amazing group of women saw me at my worst (coming in with 2 hours of sleep wearing my shirt inside out with a screaming baby) and they saw me at my best (when I finally was able to complete a whole circuit round in the allowed time).
While I am still a member of the gym and attend night classes regularly (sometimes with kids in tow), I miss the comradely and comfort with the ladies and of course lots of glorious babies!
Full disclosure I am a member of Canberra Fitness Centre and a close friend with a trainer there, but I am writing this out of my own love and experience for the gym and I have not been given any compensation for this blog post.