The brand new Roll Model Mama online program is being released just in time for Mother’s Day. This series of full-body restorative self-massage videos just might be the answer to many mama-to-be’s aches, pains and pressing concerns about pre and post-natal self-care.
I recently got on the phone with creator Jill Miller to learn more about exactly how these videos can help make pregnancy, birth and new motherhood a whole lot better.
“The fact of the matter is, going through the 40 weeks of pregnancy — you need a lot of support,” noted Jill. “But prenatal massage can be really expensive and isn’t always available in every city or town when you need it most. Pre-natal massage in the right hands is exquisite, but it’s also pricey since it’s considered a ‘Specialty Service.’ I want to empower women to become their own self-care massage specialists so that they can provide the same type of relief for their own aches and pains. So this is a self-directed solution for women who want immediate access to pill-free pain relief.”
Learning Your Anatomy to Better Trust Your Body
As with all of Jill’s programs, knowing key points about your anatomy is central to the Roll Model Mama videos and an in-depth Anatomy Locator sets the tone for the practices to come. But knowing your anatomy isn’t just about getting the therapy balls in the right place to generate the best possible self-massage, it’s also about building confidence in your body.
“Anytime I’m teaching anatomy it’s to help build body-trust,” said Jill. “Re-familiarizing people with a map of their body, or introducing them for the first time if they’ve never thought about their anatomy… it boils down to having more information so they can build body trust. I wanted to highlight certain muscles that are frequently sources of discomfort for pregnant women. What we do with the therapy balls in Roll Model Mama is we place them on these specific muscles that tend to become restricted during the course of that 40 weeks. We also explore how body tensions impact emotional well-being.”
Self-Care During Pregnancy to Make You Stronger and Fitter
After having been through four pregnancies and having two children (two of her pregnancies were lost), I was very curious to ask Jill what misconceptions she sees around movement and pregnancy.
“A big misconception is that you are fragile and breakable and that you have to change everything about how you move,” offered Jill. “What I hope I communicate in Roll Model Mama is that because of this changing load — this growing soft-tissue iceberg in your body — it is prudent that you move better than you ever have before.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a baby in utero being called a growing soft-tissue iceberg… that does sound like quite an athletic feat to take on!
“Really there’s not that much that changes in terms of what you can and can’t do,” said Jill. “There are certain things that are a really bad idea, and we go over those in Roll Model Mama, but you are surprisingly strong, powerful, robust and capable. By massaging your tissues, by connecting to those tissues, by improving the way you hold yourself, you’ll be able to strengthen your body equanimously and efficiently.”
Preparing the Pregnant Body for Healing After Birth
The techniques you’ll learn in Roll Model Mama aren’t just for before baby is born, they will also help prepare the new mom for healing after her birth.
“You’ve just been through an athletic event,” says Jill. “It’s the most utterly human thing to procreate and have a kid. We need some time to heal, for our wounds to close up. Even if you have the most ideal vaginal birth you also shed your placenta, there is considerable bleeding for six weeks, and your uterus needs to change its size. If you’ve had stitches in your vagina, anus or abdomen, you need recovery time.”
This is why it’s so important to practice self-massage and self-care. By doing so you give yourself the support that will help you care for your little one even better.
“These tactile tools are avenues to human touch that you give yourself. It’s a way to re-parent yourself in preparing for parenting.”