The Class Moms: Five Instructors Open Up about Motherhood, Egg Freezing and their New Program!

Photo by Ana Gambuto

The Class Moms: Five Instructors Open Up about Motherhood, Egg Freezing and their New Program!

This month I will be celebrating my fifth Mother’s Day. It’s pretty wild for me to type those words because there was a time when I thought it would never happen. It took my husband and I four rounds of IVF over the course of almost four years to finally have our daughter, and during that time I often felt alone. 

At first I kept the experience under wraps like a dirty little secret, but once I started talking everything changed. As I connected to more women, hearing about their unique journeys to becoming moms, the shame lifted. 

That’s the thing about motherhood—we’re all on the same team, though we bring different things to the game. We may not parent the same way, and we might not hold the same values, but we’re all in it. Wiping butts, cleaning messes, loosing our cool, loving so big. All of it. 

During my journey I learned that talking, venting, and asking questions of one another is all part of strengthening the team and becoming better players ourselves. That includes women who are still trying, ones who have suffered loss and ones who are undergoing treatments now to plan ahead for their future spot on the team. We’re all different versions of the same person. All moms, but different.

This month, The Class—a unique workout that focuses on movement and mindfulness—is expanding their program to offer support to people on their conception journey. 

We chatted with five of their instructors about everything from motherhood to freezing eggs to the one piece of advice they would give to moms to be. 

@itshannah_shelly

Hannah Shelly
Mom of 1: Edith, 16 months old
Jersey City, NJ

Tell me about your journey to motherhood.

My journey to motherhood happened within the metaphorical walls of the pandemic. I became pregnant in March 2020 and spent my pregnancy confined to quarantine. The whole experience felt largely private and more intimate than I thought it would. 

What do you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one yourself? 

I’m not sure there is one thing that could possibly encapsulate it. Maybe that is the thing I wish I knew! That you have to feel it and experience it, and there isn’t any one thing you could know that would set you up. 

What is your one piece of advice for new moms or moms to be?

My advice to new moms would be to let their own experience unfold on their terms. I’m sometimes hesitant to share my birth story or my initial postpartum experience with other mothers to be because I went through a lot of trauma and mental health struggles. I think there is a balance of normalizing that, but at the same time what was hard for me might not be for you. If there is ease and grace and power for you where there wasn’t for me, that’s a beautiful thing. 

What is the most important thing a new mom can do for herself? 

There is not a one size answer to this question but I will offer a few things that supported me as a new mom. Build yourself a village of people you trust that can help—for me that was a postpartum doula, a therapist, a lactation consultant and my husband. You should not and do not have to go it alone. There are resources out there and the more you can lean into receiving support the better. 

@sophiamanassei

​​Sophia Manassei
Mom of 3: Iebe, 16; Minty, 14; Viggo, 11
Brooklyn by way of London, England

What does the concept of motherhood mean to you?

Motherhood is offering small humans lots of space, tools and safety as they navigate all the levels of independence.

What do you wish you knew about being a mother before you became one? 

I feel so blessed for my kids and don’t take a single day for granted as their mother. But the one thing that I don’t ever have enough of is my time. I miss the days when I would spend hours getting ready for brunch and focusing purely on myself. It was a real shock to my system and still is. Motherhood doesn’t have an off button, no matter the time of day.

​​What is the most important thing a new mom can do for herself? 

Be compassionate with yourself. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure to have it all figured out. Go with the flow. Rest as much as you can. Snuggle with your newborn and enjoy the journey through this precious first chapter. Find moments to rest, meditate and do things outside of being a mom. 

@karlamisjan

Karla Misjan
Mom of 1: Miles, 1.5 years old
Park Slope, Brooklyn

What does the concept of motherhood mean to you?

Read the poem The Lanyard by Billy Collins and you’ll understand what motherhood means to me. Just try to read it without crying! Motherhood is all encompassing love. It is selflessness. It is frustration. It is grit. It demands that you grow. It is unbridled joy. It is everything.

What is your one piece of advice for new moms or moms to be?

Don’t get so hung up on how you bring your child into this world. Trust that your body can do it. Ditch all the birth books and instead read all the sleep books. Understand naps and wake windows. Follow it. A good sleeper makes a rested, happy mama.

What is your favorite thing about being an instructor at The Class? 

The community at The Class is everything. We keep each other going. We celebrate each other. When your heart is aching and you feel like the world is caving in on you, there is endless support. The method of The Class itself keeps me sane, too. The movement. The music. The breath. Especially now being a mom, it helps remind me to breathe before there is a knee jerk reaction. That is super important because I want to be a mindful parent and raise a mindful child.

@thebentandthestraight

Marina Trejo
Mom of 2: Robinson Miel Stewart, 15, and Ruben Yves Stewart, 7
Greenpoint, Brooklyn 

Tell me about your journey to motherhood and how you got there.

I have been with my husband since I was 21, but hadn’t really wanted to have kids until one day it hit me like a ton of bricks. It felt quite biological, the craving for one. Everything about getting pregnant and birth was healthy, straightforward and easy. I chalk much of that up to good luck, as I have seen so many women I know face challenges. And while my pregnancy was great, motherhood was bumpy—stress, depression, isolation—and is indeed part of the reason my boys are so far apart in age. I didn’t really have any friends with babies but then my son went to an artist-run pre-school that literally changed my life. I made some of my greatest friendships and support system there. My boys are almost 8 yrs apart in age which has a lot of perks (free, in-house babysitting is amazing), but is also kind of like having two only children sometimes.

What does the concept of motherhood mean to you?

I still wish I had been mothered differently myself in some ways,  but then I look at my boys and I know I have been so harsh towards my own mom all these years. It is so challenging to be thoughtful, patient, kind and available to them as much as I want to be. It just isn’t possible to do everything and be that ideal version of a mom. I hold these ideals of motherhood and yet they just really aren’t that realistic for one person to encompass. So back to the question…motherhood is a state of being able to hold space, listen, look and simply allow them to be who they are while you love them. Motherhood is caretaking. It is holding and giving without expecting anything in return. 

What are your hopes and goals for the fertility series being offered at The Class?

All the forgiveness towards one’s body when it isn’t doing what you want it or expect it to do. I have witnessed so many friends, family and clients undergo fertility journeys that have been draining—emotionally, physically and mentally—and I can personally attest to the power of breathwork and movement. Being a part of someone’s fertility journey as a movement teacher is the part of my job that is truly remarkable. 

@cjfrogozo

CJ Frogozo
Recently froze eggs
DUMBO, Brooklyn

Tell me about the journey you’ve begun to motherhood.

Motherhood has not been a straight line for me. I was pretty thrilled at the prospect of it, but then I was married at 32 and divorced by 33. I knew I wanted to have a family, but I also knew that I needed to set myself up for that possibility as my age wasn’t doing me any favors. It took me five years after my divorce to make the choice to freeze my eggs. I had friends and coworkers who froze their eggs so there was a lot of chatter about it. Then I had breakfast with a friend who was pregnant with her second from IVF and she asked me point blank, “Why haven’t you frozen your eggs?” Of course the litany of excuses poured forth—money, age, time—until she emailed the doctors at CCRM Fertility right then. That would begin my hopeful journey toward motherhood.

What would you say to a woman who is thinking about freezing her eggs?

Silence is the loneliest number. Ask a lot of questions to friends, family, your doctor. You don’t have to do this by yourself. I would also say make the first appointment to understand your baseline. Know your AMH level, the health of your follicles, ask your family about their history with fertility. Dr. Jamie Knopman at CCRM Fertility said the only way I’ll know if I can get pregnant is if I try to get pregnant, so even my frozen eggs aren’t a sure thing. But I have them and I have a lot of knowledge, and that’s an empowering feeling.

What is the most important thing someone going through fertility treatments can do for herself?   

Rest! Take care of your body. Be good to yourself. Sleep. Eat nourishing meals. Try not to get caught up in the thought spiral of but I can’t work out like I used to, my body is bloated, or whatever comes up for you.  

What’s the toughest thing about going through the egg freezing process? 

Making the choice to do it. It was a five year conversation with myself before I actually went through with it.

What are your hopes and goals for The Fertility Series being offered at The Class?

I hope we can provide a community for folks who might feel alone or judged during this time. I have so many friends in their late 30s and 40s who are either feeling like they’ve waited too long to conceive or freeze, and are experiencing feelings of shame or blame. I hope we can hold space for them to make empowered choices about their bodies and, ultimately, their choices around motherhood.

Psst… Check out Next Steps: What To Do After Your Child Gets Diagnosed With a Developmental Disability

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