By Emily Foster Williams
Wellbeing Collective friend and author of books such as Just Like the Ocean
A decade ago I was a new mother, trying desperately to make the most of my maternity leave before returning to my job in the creative field. I was living in San Francisco at the time, a city regarded as one of the best for maternal care and resources. I had my pick of plenty of mommy-and-me classes and I dove into them, dreaming of bonding and entertaining my daughter while I recovered some semblance of my pre-baby body.
Time after time, my experiences fell into two categories — a class focused almost entirely on my baby (fun for her, but not much use for me), or focused entirely on me (useful for me, but missing the opportunity to bond.) Let me be clear — mothers NEED classes expressly for mothers. It’s a wonderful service to moms allowing infants to come to fitness classes. Through my journey of motherhood I have relied on the community I have found in mother-centered fitness. But — as my return to the workplace loomed, I found myself longing to pick up my daughter, to interact with her and engage her while I was exercising. And as a new mom with an aching back, diastasis recti, incontinence issues and emotional overwhelm, yoga seemed the best way to attend to my mind and body. My prenatal practice became my postnatal savior.
As a result, I started looking for ways to bring my daughter into my postures. Over time, we developed a little routine together and in an inspired moment, I jotted down a few rhyming verses about our playtime. Lightbulbs flashed above my head and I realized I could share this sweet interaction with other mothers and fathers; the idea for Just Like the Ocean was born.
What happened next can only be described as life … my return to work, a cross country move, several launched businesses, a failed marriage, and continually adjusting to my daughters’ (I have two now) evolving stages. I developed illustrations, had the poses evaluated and approved by a prenatal yoga expert, and submitted my book to publishers. And … nothing. As a first time author, it’s very hard to get a foot in the door with well-known publishers. But I kept pushing, believing that someone, somewhere would see the value in a partnered yoga flow benefiting both mom and baby. And so, I waited. And waited. And finally, finally, I found Whisper Sea Press – a boutique publisher who loved my book – and they were ready to help me share it with the world. A full decade had passed since I’d started this journey, and when I held it at last in my hands, I cried. I am thrilled beyond words to see my book available to share with other parents!
The book itself is 19 interactive yoga poses, paired with a rhyming story about exploring a jungle island. There are poses to help ease back pain related to bending over a nursing baby, poses to strengthen the pelvic floor, exercises to mend diastasis and poses to bring mindfulness and relaxation. Each pose is accompanied by simple illustrations and instruction for those new to yoga. Perfect as a gift for a new mom or dad, Just Like the Ocean allows parent and baby to bond while building physical strength and balance, engaging with baby to share the emotional and physical benefits of yoga.
Emily Foster Williams' Just Like the Ocean is available on Amazon.