Testimony for Jules by Dr. Heather MacDonnell
I first met Jules 7 years ago when I stumbled upon Strollercise at the Bank St. Boomerang location. Being a self-employed new Mom (without a year's maternity leave), I went to the group a few times but really didn’t take advantage of, or appreciate, the camaraderie generated to create a “community of Moms”. I had been a competitive tennis player (playing until 8 months pregnant) and over-confidently felt that I was very fit and in good shape. Even as a physician, I underestimated the influence of the pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones in contributing to ligamentous laxity.
Thankfully I recovered well and continued to play tennis into my second pregnancy in 2009. With this pregnancy I developed mild diastasis recti (abdominal rectus muscle separation). I regretted not doing more “Mommy and Baby” activities during my first maternity leave and returned enthusiastically to Strollercise. I also realized that Jules ran “Mom and Baby” Fit classes at the Glebe Community Center. One class description caught my attention as she emphasized “Reh(ab)” with specific attention to rebuilding the rectus abdominal muscles. I was amazed by her insight and expertise with respect to post-natal fitness rehabilitation, especially from a non-clinician. She examined the degree of residual diastasis recti and tailored your workout accordingly, even in the context of a large class of women. I immediately signed up for her classes throughout that maternity leave and spread the word among my friends and the medical community what a valuable resource she was women who had just given birth. I felt much more included in the community of Moms she creates and am still friends with some of those women today.