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(June 2019) “My Garden Is My Sanctuary”

By Kate Matthews, Family Wellness Coach

As I look out to my garden
I feel a sense of pride
It really is a lovely room
Except it is outside.

These words, by Marie Church in her poem, “My Garden Is My Sanctuary,” capture my feelings exactly after the Community Garden Picnic & Planting Event with some very HIP moms & program volunteers. We had a blast planting and watering the baby tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, and herbs which will soon grow in to very tasty salads.  

Amanda, our garden guru & study support staff, mused on the similarities between gardening and pregnancy. “You’ve got to be patient with the plants and the baby to grow, and gardening shows that good things take time,” she said while sinking the tomato stakes in to the ground.

We had a few good moms show up with their little guys, who enjoyed exploring the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the garden. We learned about compost and watering, sunlight and spiders. We will plan more picnics in the future – maybe with some garden yoga!

Visit our community garden plot, located behind the Fletcher Allen UVM medical campus, at 790 College Parkway, just off Rt. 15. Ours is the plot at the very back of the garden with a bunch of red stakes. Stop by to enjoy some green space alone or with the kids, take some tasty veggies home for the family, and enjoy the bounties of summer!

Amanda teaches this little guy to be gentle while watering… great practice for a new big brother!  



(March 2019) Prenatal Yoga – Not Just for Yogis

By Kate Matthews, Family Wellness Coach

“It’s fake, I swear!” Family Wellness Coach, Kate Matthews, spent a week with 12 other Yoga teachers learning Prenatal Yoga techniques to bring to moms in the program.

During the first warm week of the year I attended a training to practice teaching Prenatal Yoga. For a week I wore a fake baby bump to practice wide-legged downdogs and deep squats to “prepare” the pregnant body for labor. A mom in our Healthy-In-Pregnancy (HIP) study recently said she has noticed how wide she needs to take her knees in child’s pose to make room for baby, and that’s what Prenatal Yoga is all about – creating time and space to notice and honor your changing body and growing baby.  

Prenatal Yoga can also decrease muscle tension and increase strength and flexibility, assist with breathing and sounding during birth, and improve mom’s sleep and comfortability. We practiced offering slow and controlled movements that can even help you stand up from your chair with greater awareness as your baby takes up more space.

If Yoga is new or foreign to you, that’s OK! What better time than now to drink in the benefits of Yoga? We’ll explore mind and body awareness, breathing techniques, relaxation, and stretches or massage to do with a partner or friend.

During this wellness program I will provide safe, fun, and meaningful experiences in your Prenatal Yoga classes. You are the guide; we will go at your pace. You can practice individually or in a group. We provide the Yoga mat, blocks, and bolsters. And, no matter what your level of Yoga, you will leave feeling longer, stronger, and better prepared to be the best mom you can be!