(in her own words)
I found Pilates twelve years ago after a large weight loss and a stress fracture from running, and knew within months that I wanted to learn it from the inside out. I had done many kinds of exercise before, but none made me feel the way Pilates did. It was as if I were suddenly introduced to dozens of cool relatives I had never met before, and now we were all learning to communicate and get to know each other. My body was a family, there to support me, and I them.
In the 5 years we’ve been working together, Marcia has supported me through two pregnancies. During recovery, she helped me reconnect not only with my body, but also with my identity beyond that of a mother. – Ashley (pictured with Marcia below)
After a year long training program, I began teaching, and soon after took on a Prenatal class. It was scary at first. The American Medical Association guidelines for teaching pregnant women was a list of “DON’Ts”. But where were the DOs? After all, pregnancy isn’t a pathological condition; why would we treat it as such? After taking further training with a woman named Carolyne Anthony, I realized pregnant bodies were strong, not things to be afraid of, that they had changing needs throughout the trimesters and, equally important, in the first year postnatal. I also realized that the exercise and healthcare communities were failing women on many levels, and that I could help bridge those gaps in information and healing.
Too many of us are tuned in to the external noises that tell us how to look, what to do with our bodies, instead of our internal voice—the collective voice of our body, our family of parts. Too many women live with pain and discomfort. Too many new moms don’t know what to expect of childbirth, recovery. Too many of us don’t know enough about how menopause affects us. Too many of us store the mental and physical scars of sexual assault, or abuse. Too many women settle for buying adult diapers instead of getting pelvic floor therapy.
As a Pilates instructor who specializes in Pre and Postnatal, I want to change all that.
A few months ago the ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) put out a statement revising their recommendations for postnatal care. In the statement they equated past treatment of pregnancies “as if the baby were the candy and the mother was the wrapper,” thrown away after the birth. We can do better, they said, and I agree.
After ten years of teaching all kinds of bodies, and well over five hundred pregnancies under my belt, I can say that I teach Pilates because I believe my job is to educate all people on their bodies and empower them to improve their mind/body relationships. When we learn to listen to our bodies, when we understand those voices, we can advocate for their rights and needs. I’m not just teaching Pilates, I’m building an army of educated, healthy women, and they are ready to fight for what they deserve.
Marcia teaches at Frog Temple Pilates in Chicago
Her blog: GreatBalancingAct
*** Please follow along on instagram as well and learn more about Marcia. This year for my birthday 🎂, I am embarking on a weekly photo essay project highlighting 52 Phenomenal Women. This is week 5 of 52. Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!