Moms are superheroes. And if you entered into motherhood during these unprecedented pandemic times, you are truly one tough mother.

Becoming a mother can be a momentous, transformative period in a woman’s life. From conception, your body begins to morph into a baby-fueling factory, working to create a cozy cocoon to protect and support the little life inside of you.

And the emotional experience that coincides with welcoming your newborn is impossible to prepare for. It’s a journey marked by immeasurable love, sleepless nights, and gut-wrenching worry like you’ve never known before. It requires unwavering patience and persistence as you teach your child such fundamentals as walking, talking, and invaluable life skills.

Not to mention, this is all in addition to healing from labor, adjusting to your new postpartum body, and juggling your career and family responsibilities. It takes a tribe to raise a baby, but many new moms managed to do it all in the midst of pandemic-related complications that kept them distanced from loved ones.

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Then there are the growing pains new mothers quietly deal with, such as lower back aches, saggy skin, extreme sleep deprivation, pelvic floor problems, and the postpartum hormonal roller coaster of crying at a Pampers commercial one minute, followed by wanting to get medieval on your spouse for breathing too loudly while the baby sleeps.

Even with all this, motherhood is a wonderful job. But so often, it also is a thankless one. That’s why the month of May will be dedicated to engaging in a wellness program that celebrates the awesomeness that is the female body. Your body enables you to provide so much for your child. It’s time to thank it.

To kick off this Mom Series, you will engage in exercises that soothe, stretch, and squash any built-up tension that has accumulated throughout the process of becoming a mother. For best results, repeat this entire circuit twice, three times a week.

A total body timeout

  • Stand tall with arms resting at your sides. Take a deep breath in from your belly and allow the air to inflate your upper body as you bring your arms up in a circular motion until they reach an overhead position.

  • Exhale fully as you lower your arms back down and circle them up so your hands end in front of your chest. Repeat 10 times.

Hugs for mom

  • Take a deep breath and extend your arms wide enough to feel a stretch in your chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.

  • On the exhale, fold your arms around your torso as if you are giving yourself a hug. Tuck your chin into your chest. Alternate which arm is on top as you go for 10 repetitions. Hold for as long as you’d like.

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Hamstring helper

  • Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight from your hip. Tuck your left leg in so the bottom of your foot is against your inner right thigh.

  • Move your left arm up in a semicircle motion, bringing it overhead, tilting at your torso toward your extended leg. Hold for 20 seconds, then release and repeat on the left side.

Happy hips

  • Begin in a lunge position with your right foot in front, knee bent over your ankle, and back leg extended behind you with the ball of your foot on the floor. Position your hands on the inside of your right leg, shoulder-length apart.

  • Keep your chest up, gaze forward, and shoulders back. Hold for 20 counts, feeling a deep stretch in your hips, then practice on the opposite side.

Wishing all the soon-to-be moms, new moms, stepmoms, grandmoms, and great-grandmoms a very Happy Mother’s Day.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.