Tammi Harrison | April 18, 2019
Mandy Roberson is a certified childbirth educator and self-proclaimed motherhood cheerleader based in Greenville, South Carolina. She runs Momma Society, a platform that strives to "help modern mommas from pregnancy through toddlerhood by cultivating community, providing education and offering encouragement because: motherhood is better together."
Mandy recently started practicing yoga with Livekick - she has been working with our teacher Stephanie Frankel, who is based in Weston, Connecticut. Our co-founder and master trainer Shayna was lucky enough to snag a few moments of this busy momma's time to chat a little bit about how she fits in her workouts, how she started her business, and about what it's like to be a childbirth educator.
SS: Mandy, what inspired you to start Momma Society?
MR: I started Momma Society in January of 2015. I was just about due with my first baby and I had zero friends who had kids, so I felt really nervous about the whole "becoming a mom" thing. Since I knew my friends who didn't have babies weren't interested in seeing pregnancy-related things on my personal feed, I started my [Momma Society] Instagram page to post anything related to my own pregnancy and what I was going through. From there, my Instagram community grew into a ton of moms who were also expecting, and who shared my "modern mom" mindset and outlook. It then evolved into a blog... and really, it has just continually sparked my passion for motherhood and birth and ultimately supporting moms through their first years of mom life!
SS: What does being a certified childbirth educator entail?
MR: Being a certified childbirth educator means that I'm certified to teach moms and dads-to-be about birth, coping techniques to get them through birth, prep for postpartum, and supporting them through their pregnancy. That's been a really fun aspect of deepening my knowledge of motherhood and being able to help moms on a deeper level. Nice to be able to support dads as well!
SS: Can you speak to how you were able to get back to your own workout regimen after you gave birth?
MR: During both of my pregnancies, I tried to stay in decent shape. We lived in Arizona for both of my pregnancies, and my husband and I did a group bootcamp class outside every evening, 5 days a week. That was an amazing way to stay active during my pregnancy and I feel like it really helped me heal postpartum as well. The tough part came when we moved to South Carolina and no longer had the bootcamp family we had spent the past 5 years with! They inspired us to workout. We both were just kind of like, "What do we do now?! We've never worked out on our own before, we've never really gone to a gym really ... what do we do?!" So that's been an interesting dynamic and that's kind of when I discovered yoga, here, in South Carolina. I had a bunch of postpartum anxiety last year and yoga was such a great therapy for me.
SS: I think it's great for expecting moms to have role models who work out during their pregnancies. My instructor during my postnatal course said she literally did a workout the morning she went into labor. It was a very gentle workout, of course, but at least it was something.
MR: It really helps with the birth process, too! For my certification I had to observe a quite a few births, and you could tell the moms who were fit - because it's really like running a marathon when you give birth.
SS: I love that! That's exactly what I was taught in all of my pre/postnatal certification courses. You would never as a trainer tell a client who is running a marathon to "wing it." You're preparing somebody for an endurance event. Plus, teaching someone how to breathe is crucial, because giving birth is basically nature's interval training! If you teach someone in their leadup to birth how to spike their heart rate and then lower their heart rate and do this efficiently and effectively, their birth is ultimately easier.
MR: It's so true.
SS: What’s your favorite time of day to work out?
MR: I would have to say the morning, but unfortunately it typically ends up happening during the evening! And the whole shower after working out thing, too... gotta say that sometimes I don't have time to do that during daytime hours with my little ones.
SS: Where’s your favorite place to work out?
MR: Outside. We have a really pretty deck out back, so if I can do a little bit of yoga on our deck, I love that... if the weather's nice. If not, even just walking around outside... I just love the fresh air.
SS: Do you bring anything outside with you as far as fitness equipment?
MR: I'll bring a mat, nothing else.
SS: Pick one: Cardio or strength training?
MR: 100% strength training! I'm the girl who quit track in high school after a week. Too much running. Not my thing.
SS: If you ever do cardio, out of curiosity, what do you do?
MR: Our bootcamp that we would do had a lot of cardio elements, but they would be much shorter duration. If I have to run 3 miles... no thanks!
SS: Pick one: Burpees or planks?
MR: Definitely planks.
SS: Pick one: Handstands or squats?
MR: I like squats. Especially when you're going to have a baby! That's one of the best moves to get you ready.
SS: Pick one: Yoga or martial arts?
MR: Yoga, for sure.
SS: What’s your favorite exercise at the moment - maybe a yoga pose, or any kind of move like that?
MR: My favorite yoga pose right now is pigeon. I've really started to like it! I feel like it really stretches you in areas that don't get stretched often. And it's rewarding because you notice that you can go deeper in it each time you come back to the pose.
SS: What’s an exercise that you have to psych yourself up to do?
MR: Anything related to running! Running again haha. I don't even know if I can say that I've ever successfully psyched myself up to go running. I'd rather do burpees, to be honest. Gets done quicker!
SS: What does an average week of exercise look like for you?
MR: Typically on a good week, I try to get in 3 yoga sessions. Usually that falls on the weekend because my husband is home and I don't have to scramble to try to get someone to watch the kids. But with Livekick, it's been great because on Monday mornings, I can now get a yoga class in while my daughter's taking her morning nap. That's a day that I never used to be able to do anything movement-related, but I noticed that it's really nice to start my week off with a yoga session! And then typically on Friday evenings and Sunday evenings I'll go to a hot yoga class with neighbors or friends, which is kind of my social outing for the week, so that element is nice.
SS: Love that you're able to find something that fulfills the social element of working out, and still get your private classes in as well.
MR: Yeah, and they're so different! In my Monday one-on-one with Livekick, Stephanie helps me understand the positions, if I'm doing them right, etc. When I go to these other classes, there are eighty-seven other people in there who are just winging it. I like being able to get the personal attention.
SS: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of health?
MR: Oh, gosh. I tried the cabbage soup diet once. My dad had done it, probably when I was in middle school or something. I totally gained the "freshman 15" in college, and when I came home one summer I decided to try it. It was awful. It tasted horrible... the first time you're like, "Okay, this isn't so bad," and then the third time you're like, "I cannot eat any more cabbage." It lasted... not even a whole week. Probably didn't lose a single pound, either!
SS: What are your favorite pre- and post workout meals?
MR: I love smoothies. I love something really cold and refreshing after a workout. I typically make a green smoothie with spinach, mango, banana, and orange juice, so nothing crazy healthy, but it's very refreshing.
SS: As a trainer, I have to recommend throwing in a scoop of protein powder, but other than that I think it sounds super yummy!
MR: Ooh, okay! That's a good idea.
SS: Do you eat before a yoga session or workout?
MR: No, I don't like to. Even in the evening, I hardly eat before a workout. I usually avoid food for quite a few hours before a yoga session.
SS: Do you have a mentor in your field, someone whom you admire?
MR: There are a few different people from different aspects of my journey of becoming a childbirth educator that I’ve really looked up to. The first is the person who trained me to be childbirth educator at Southwest Perinatal. I went to Tucson, Arizona for a weekend and learned so much about supporting mothers from her training. She gave me a glimpse at the difference you can make in this role. I'd also love to mention Denise Franklin, who was my doula when I gave birth to my daughter. She was amazing and really inspired me to further my training in the perinatal world.
SS: What are your personal goals right now?
MR: Right now my big focus is finishing my doula certification! So that's in the works... I have my first doula client due in June. I'm excited to go onto to this deeper level of connecting with new moms. The process will take about two years to finish, but I know it will be so worth it.
SS: What one piece of inspirational advice would you tell Livekick’s members to keep in mind as they train?
MR: I would say the best general advice that I've ever had was not to quit on a hard day. That can relate to motherhood, or working out, or really anything! A friend of mine, Shelly (@doctormommymd), first shared this piece of advice about breastfeeding and it was super helpful. In terms of working out, when I went back to starting hot yoga I would get so nauseous in those classes and really didn't want to go back again. But her words served as a great reminder. Keep pushing through, it all gets easier as time goes on.
We're so grateful to Mandy for spending some time with us! Here are all of her social links so you can check her out: Instagram | Facebook | Blog | Twitter | Pinterest | Email. And you can use Mandy's code, MOMMASOCIETY15, to get 15% off of your very own Livekick membership!