Fitness classes catering to parents and their babies are gaining popularity as a way to combat the feelings of isolation that often accompany early motherhood. These classes offer a safe space for women to exercise while attending to the needs of their infants, whether that be breastfeeding, nappy changing, or keeping them entertained.
One such class, attended by West End star Sophie Evans and her 13-month-old son, Jack, in Cardiff, emphasizes the importance of prioritizing physical health for the benefit of mental well-being. Sophie appreciates the flexibility of the class, allowing her to take breaks when needed to attend to her son. She admires other mothers who breastfeed while on the exercise bike, viewing them as incredible.
Rachael Sowden-Taylor, the owner of the gym where the class takes place, focuses on helping mothers regain their strength and prepare for the physical demands of motherhood. She understands the mental challenges that come with pregnancy and aims to create an environment where mothers can feel strong and supported.
The class was designed by Rachael herself, drawing from her own experiences as a first-time mother. She wanted to provide a space where mothers could exercise without the added stress of finding childcare. The babies also enjoy the classes, with the music and the sight of their mothers exercising creating a positive atmosphere.
Harley Edwards, another fitness instructor and mother, offers reduced-price classes to alleviate the financial burden that many new parents face. She acknowledges the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the postpartum period and believes that exercise can be immensely beneficial in managing those emotions.
Both gyms have seen a steady attendance of around a dozen mothers and their babies. Regular participant Emma Clayton appreciates the safe space that the classes provide for her and her daughter. Eimear, a nurse, values the opportunity to leave the house without worrying about childcare. Robyn Honey-Tuttiett highlights the supportive and pleasant atmosphere of the classes.
Overall, these fitness classes offer a unique and valuable experience for mothers, allowing them to prioritize their physical health while tending to the needs of their babies. The sense of community and support that these classes provide is invaluable to new mothers as they navigate the challenges of early motherhood.