Pregnancy, birth, and being a new parent are all intense experiences. They produce huge growing pains (literally and figuratively). They can carry immense joy, immense grief, complete wonder and total overwhelm, all at the same time. It's transformative and beautiful, but it's HARD. You can hold all of these emotions and sensations at the same time, but it's so much easier with community and mentorship. We weren't meant to do this alone and we don't have to.
I'm Daniele Strawmyre, creator and owner of Ready Set Grow, a perinatal movement and education studio in Portland, Oregon. I’m a mother of three, a dancer and movement artist, a perinatal yoga and movement specialist, and the founder of Ready Set Grow. Originally from Philly, I'm an east coast transplant to the PNW trying to soften my sarcasm, a fierce advocate for neurodiversity and gender-affirming, unbiased, full spectrum, pregnancy and family support. I believe in the power of community. I genuinely love what I do. Everyone I work with does too.
Ready Set Grow is an inclusive space for pregnant and postpartum people and their families. We use gender affirming and inclusive language and provide a trauma informed, nurturing, healing environment. We help people find strength and mobility during big physical, mental, and emotional life transitions.
To address my feelings of helplessness, and with a desire to be creative and connect with others in a time of isolation and collective trauma, I documented my pregnancy with weekly dance videos and related written blog posts, called Pregnant Pandemic Dances. Part journaling, part commentary on the scary and awful health and cultural events as they were happening…and a whole lot of humility and learning, I shared it on a website called Matrescence Monologues and on the RSG Instagram page.
Throughout Covid lockdown (also my pregnancy and early postpartum period), I moved our classes online. Teachers from all over the country that I respected, and had learned from and alongside, offered prenatal and postpartum classes from their homes (their own children/babies/families sometimes interrupting). I taught and took many classes throughout my pregnancy and am so thankful for this lovely community, created out of necessity and adaptability. *We still offer a robust on-demand library from this time for anyone who can't make it to an in-person or live-streamed class.
I birthed my third baby with the help of my amazing midwife Catherine from Unfurling Birth, my doula Megan of TenderEvolution, and the wonderfully kind and respectful team at Wildwood Birth supporting me and my family during the (hands down) hardest birth I've experienced. Even when things went off plan and we needed to transfer to the hospital, I felt respected and cared for. My last birth experience was a perfect example of how the right support can make all the difference. An unscheduled, emergency C-section during a pandemic is a recipe for trauma, yet my birth team held me so graciously, that I feel very good about my birth experience.
In 2022, feeling the need for a physical community space for pregnant people and new parents, I reopened the RSG studio for in-person classes with fluctuating health & safety protocols in place. We've been building our class offerings ever since. When we started having wait-lists for classes, we added more to the schedule instead of increasing our class capacity to pre-covid numbers. We always want our classes to feel safe and community-building and that often means keeping classes smaller, leaving room for all that pregnant people, caregivers, and kids carry with them (physical, emotional, mental, and sippy cups). Some residual wisdom from pandemic times…
I created RSG to fill a hole in support that I myself, felt as a pregnant person and new parent. Outside of the medicalized paradigm that is more generally available, there are vast and varied support options that are so often inaccessible or unknown to those navigating the transition to parenthood. Things like new parent support groups, movement for pregnancy relief, hands-on birth preparation, physical healing practices for the postpartum time, research based information, and a supportive community, are all important avenues of support that can be difficult to find, and are not usually “prescribed by a doctor”.
As a new parent I struggled in all of the common ways. I also navigated serious health issues with my infant son while my mother was very ill. There were long stays in the hospital with my baby, traveling to Florida to care for my dying mother, years of therapy and health challenges for my son, and navigating the grief and then the inevitable loss as my mother succumbed to cancer.
Although neither my partner nor I had any family nearby, all of these experiences were made more bearable due to a very active and supportive group of friends - our village. Community makes such a profound difference.
In addition to all of these life challenges, I found myself unfamiliar with my postpartum body. As a professional dancer, movement teacher, and lifelong athlete, I was gobsmacked by the healing my body needed after birthing a baby. Even with all of my experience and knowledge, I struggled.
Through a second pregnancy, grieving my mother, and a cross-country move to the PNW, I thought about what I wished existed as far as support and healing modalities for pregnant people, parents, their children, and their families. I looked for it in every state we stopped in, and couldn’t find it anywhere. So I created it.
Our teachers have extensive training in the physiology of birthing bodies in their varying stages. In addition to the education and knowledge they share through movement, our teachers are collectively doulas, nurses, midwives, occupational and massage therapists, lactation consultants, and bodyworkers.
We're the only yoga and movement studio in Portland, Oregon that focuses solely on pregnant and postpartum people, parents, kids and families.
We are committed to being a judgment-free, safe space for ALL families regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, ability, or gender identity. We embrace neurodiversity, gender fluidity, bodies of all sizes and abilities. We support all birth choices and outcomes. We focus on the specific needs of pregnant and postpartum bodies in all of our adult classes.
You can view our schedule and sign up for classes at www.andreadysetgrow.com/class-schedule
Currently, we have movement classes every day for pregnancy and for postpartum, plus classes for parents of mobile babies and toddlers, (because why doesn't this exist already)?!
Plus, baby-wearing dance classes, core and pelvic floor retraining and support, classes for young children, so many things.