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THE MOTHERFUNK: Thursdays 11 AM (March 20 – April 24)

Drop-in $15 / 6-week session $75 at Swansea Town Hall, Toronto

I was pretty active during my last pregnancy, even though I didn’t work out, as I’d intended to. I had fallen out of the habit, and my doctor convinced me this wasn’t the time to take up running. I didn’t get the crazy energy burst during pregnancy like the first time, but I was in my (very) late thirties, not my early twenties.

But I did ride my bike for the first six months and even did a 12 km hike (slowly). Being physical while pregnant buoyed me, and more importantly kept me connected to what I was feeling, physically and emotionally.

Then the baby happened.

The birth wasn’t difficult, but recovery was. No complications plagued me, but I didn’t feel even a glimmer of my former self for 8 months. I couldn’t figure out where exercise fit in. Money was tight, and when would I go to the gym, anyway? I took an intensive early-morning ‘boot camp’ (the kind for regular people) at 6 months postpartum and barely kept up — which crushed me. I did mommy-baby yoga classes which rarely involved a satisfying downward dog and always involved shushing my crying infant. I cried about how garbage I felt.

In retrospect, I see that what I so desperately needed was not inner calm, or core strength. What I needed was the endorphin rush of jumping around and feeling at home in my body.

What I could have used was The Motherfunk.

THE MOTHERFUNK. Oonagh Duncan will shake you out of yours


Full disclosure: Oonagh Duncan is a friend of mine. I knew she was a personal trainer and fitness leader, and I always marvelled at her energy after one, and then two babies.

It wasn’t just her fitness I found inspiring, it was her energy — tempered by totally realistic expectations. Every time I see her, I’m reminded that I love to jump around and dance and work up a sweat. The feeling of being in one’s body — not just wearing it. So I asked Oonagh about her dance-based classes:

What inspired ‘The Motherfunk’?

I love to dance but when you have young kids, you tend not to get out to the clubs much! When I was home with my babies, they lived in the carrier. We would have dance parties in the privacy of my living room. The boys loved it (they would usually fall asleep) and I loved re-living my pre-baby dance diva glory days. Bonus that I was burning a few calories.

How did this become a class?

I figured that if I like to bust a move wearing a baby, surely there have to be other mamas who want to rock out as well. My friend Michelle Hillier felt the same way; she’s a dance educator and designed a mum-and-baby dance class, with easy choreography that anyone can do.

And so the mamas came?

It was a big hit! And then when I came back from my second maternity leave, having a postnatal fitness background I inherited the class — and called it ‘The Motherfunk!’

* * *

So, there’s a session that starts this week. It’s not too late to write off this winter completely and make your Spring Resolution to just feel good again. I’m so inspired by Oonagh and her badass fun attitude, I almost wish I had a baby again — almost.

The details, once more:

Thursday mornings: 11-11:45 a.m.

Session: March 20- April 24 (6 weeks total)

Where: Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavinia Ave. in Toronto

Cost: 6-week session: $75 +HST. You are also totally invited to drop in anytime during the session for $15


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