IN HONOR OF MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH THIS MAY, WE WILL BE FEATURING GUEST BLOGGERS AND INTERVIEWS, EACH OF WHOM BRING THEIR OWN UNIQUE EXPERTISE AND PERSPECTIVE TO THE DISCUSSION. IT IS MY HOPE TO HELP EDUCATE AND NORMALIZE THE EXPERIENCES OF ALL MOMS.
I'm thrilled to bring to you a special interview I did with Julie Hurst, Founder & Owner of "Herself Moms", which is an incredible resource for both physical and emotional support for prenatal and postpartum moms in the Sacramento & Roseville areas. She offers prenatal yoga and postpartum sculpting classes, as well as infant massage. It also happens to be where I host my Mine, Yours & Ours parenting & relationship classes. Watch our conversation - just click play below.
CATHERINE: Hi, I'm so excited today to have Julie Hurst of Herself Moms here in Sacramento and Roseville, CA to share a little bit about what you do to help moms and work with moms in the community, so why don't you share a little bit about yourself and tell us a little bit about your passion for helping moms.
JULIE: So, um, I have a business, we call it, Herself Moms, and it's a group of professionals that have come together and we just tried to create a place where prenatal moms and postpartum families can come and either get support or have some educational needs met or some lactation services and overall I'd say, within all of that, the biggest part is the development of community. Um, as the moms come together and the families come together, their friendships are made and yeah, it just becomes a huge community thing, so that's I guess the biggest part of it.
CATHERINE: Yeah, I think that's, I mean, that's how I met you almost 8 years ago is I started doing the prenatal yoga with my, when I was pregnant with my son, so and still have friends that I met way back then, so it is really a wonderful community. Um, so how long have you been doing this altogether?
JULIE: Um, oh my gosh, we let's see, it's probably been, well I started doing the prenatal yoga, um, close to probably 12 years ago maybe...
JULIE: ...and then from teaching prenatal yoga, added in the postpartum exercise class with the moms and babies for the moms and babies and then in 2009 we opened up out first full center up in Roseville and that's where we started offering the added services of child birth classes, lactation services, um and grew from there into all the classes including the ones you teach!
CATHERINE: Yes, so what would you, what do you think is one of the most important things for moms to have would you say it's community?
JULIE: I feel like it is. I feel like we're in a very transit era for families, a lot of families aren't um, living next to um, their moms and dads themselves, so when they're begining to start their own families, um a lot of times they're kind of out there on their own so I think that we provide that place where they can come in and if they start the prenatal, the thing they all have in common is they're pregnant!
JULIE: And it's that commonality that um, the friendships are built just through that.
CATHERINE: Yeah, no I think that's really important. So, one of the reasons I'm talking to you today is that it is, May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, um and I think, well I don't just think, research shows that community is important for moms during this time and for parents in general, but also I know exercise can be really helpful and I know you teach a couple exercise classes um, but something I hear from moms a lot is that it's hard, especially when you're struggling, you know, with depression or anxiety, it's hard to get out and exercise, how do you encourage moms to get going or what would you say to a mom that was struggling to um...
JULIE: ...to make that step out the door?
CATHERINE: Yeah, to make that step out the door?
JULIE: That is difficult and sometimes it takes a moms partner to maybe encourage that um, the thing I always try to tell my moms is our classes are a very safe place so that um, you can come and you don't have to worry if baby is going to cry, they all cry.
CATHERINE: They do, yes.
JULIE: You don't have to worry if you are going to spend a lot of the class sitting there doing a feeding because a lot of moms do. In fact, especially in those early weeks, you kind of do. I mean sometimes, the biggest thing for a mom who's maybe 4-6 postpartum is just getting out the door and then coming to a place where you can just be and you can practice having your baby cry in public and you're with a whole bunch of moms who don't care 'cause all of theirs are crying.
CATHERINE: Right, exactly!
JULIE: Um, you can practice your nursing right? Because everybody else is figuring it out there too. Um, and then you just gradually find that space where you'll add in a few exercises a little bit more, a little bit more and then before you know it, you're kind of off and running, um, but it is I think, it is difficult that if everything inside of you is yelling to stay inside the cave you know and the stay at home um, sometimes it's just like ok, getting out, get a little vitamin D on your way here and then just know that you're coming to a really safe place where you're going to be loved on.
CATHERINE: Right. Yeah, 'cause I think, I mean I think that's one of the hardest parts. It's like you feel isolated, and it's hard to get out and so it's nice, it's like you know, where can you find a place that is welcoming and safe like that. So, I know you're a mom of one.
JULIE: One. [laughter]
CATHERINE: And so I do, so I've been doing this weekly series called The Momma Interviews, and so it's been kind of fun just to get you know, advice and um, support from other moms, you know 'cause I think a lot of times we're in this by ourselves or we're the only ones that feel a certain way, so what would you say um, so one of the questions I ask is, what do you feel is your greatest personal struggle with the experience of motherhood. What would you...?
JULIE: Greatest personal struggle. Um, maybe, maybe it's that as you're going through it, because each stage is so different for your child as they're growing it's always, can be that you're, you kind of doubt yourself.
JULIE: Instead of trusting your instincts.
JULIE: And I think oftentimes when we trust out instincts, we're right on so that sometimes all of the advice we can get coming into us isn't always...
CATHERINE: Yeah, yeah.
JULIE: If you're gut is telling you, I don't feel like this is what I should be doing, listen to your gut, um...
CATHERINE: I love that.
JULIE: And I think that then that's where the second time moms or the third time moms we see them cruising a little bit easier because they've already realized that going through it the first time.
CATHERINE: Yeah. But i think it's with that first child that it's a little bit more difficult. It is, because you're like what? I don't know what I'm doing?
JULIE: Questioning yourself.
CATHERINE: Right, so I mean I think that's another reason that finding a community is for, so you can rely on these other people to encourage you and reinforce that yeah, you got this. You're doing a good job too and just another good reason for that. Um, what is one piece of advice you'd like to give other moms, besides trust your gut? [laughter] which is really good!
JULIE: Um, I always tell the moms in prenatal [yoga] that when we're doing warrior pose, and oftentimes in prenatal they don't like warrior pose.
CATHERINE: No, I remember!
JULIE: Um, and I tell them they are going to be a warrior for the rest of their lives. Once you're a mom, you're that child's advocate and um, especially of course early on and in those early years when they can't verbalize or always verbalize what they need that listen to your child, get in tune with them so you can be their advocate and also realize that um, your child may have a different temperament than you do and it doesn't make them wrong and it doesn't make you wrong but get to know them and enjoy that child and the blessing of who they were created to be.
CATHERINE: Yeah, that's great. So, one more question. If there was one thing that you wish a mom who thinks she has a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder what is it that you would tell them?
JULIE: To reach out and get help! Don't do it alone. Um, and just be aware that it's not abnormal, be aware that you're not alone, we have a lot of moms that struggle. I think almost every mom struggles initially, we all struggle with baby blues, um we all struggle with tears, um our hormones are fluctuating, so that's all normal. Um, but don't feel like you're in it alone and then you tend to isolate, but reach out and you know if it's not asking a family member or someone, then you can ask me! [laughter]
JULIE: Find what's safe! Find what feels safe and keep reaching out until you find what feels good to you.
JULIE: Um, but and treat yourself well. Those postpartum weeks are there to get to know your baby, treat yourself well, recover, take your time to do that um, and just be good to yourself.
CATHERINE: Yeah, thank you so much for your time today. I know you have some much wisdom that you share with the moms that are coming into you and you really do. So, if you want more information, if you're a local mom and you know, check out Julie's website, it's below at: www.HerselfMoms.com and um, thanks again!
JULIE: You're welcome!
Julie Hurst is an ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator and has taught Childbirth and New Parenting classes for Sutter's Sacramento Regional Program before opening Herself Moms.
She is a E-RYT 200 Certified Yoga Instructor and a certified ACE Group Fitness Instructor. She previously taught Prenatal Yoga at the Sutter PregnaGym and at UC Davis RN Self Care Program. After launching Herself Moms, she continues to teach Prenatal Yoga and Hatha inspired Yoga classes at Herself Moms Sacramento and Roseville locations, teaching classes she has designed herself specifically for the prenatal and postpartum mom, including a Prenatal Yoga program to help prepare the expectant mom for labor and delivery, and a Postpartum Sculpt class that is designed specifically for the postpartum body and honors the postpartum healing process as well as the desire to "get back in shape".
Herself Moms also offers services to the expectant and postpartum family's. Our team of professionals includes IBCLC Lactation Consultants. Certified 200-RYT "Sweet Pea" instructor, MFT led "Mine, Yours and Ours" Couple classes and groups, Certified Bra Specialists, and so many more!
Visit www.herselfmoms.com for more information.