In 2010, Kim Vopni, Samantha Montpetit-Huynh (both pelvic floor fitness specialists) and Julia Di Paolo (a pelvic floor physiotherapist) joined forces to change the way people were preparing for and recovering from pregnancy and birth.
Initially offering courses for other fitness professionals, they went on to develop the postpartum recovery product that we now know as The Ab System. On Mother’s Day 2015, The Ab System was launched!
In early 2020, sole owner Kim began planning a change. She envisioned passing the torch to someone as impassioned to help birthing families during the postpartum period.
As serendipity would have it, the exact person she envisioned was also looking for a new opportunity - and that person was me!
Hi! I'm Samantha Garcia Gagnon
... and in June 2020 (yes in the middle of a global pandemic), I took a leap and became the new mama of bellies inc.
Prior to this adventure, I had spent 6 years building up a very busy doula practice. By 2020, I had supported about 100 families, was the President of the Doula Services Association of British Columbia and even training other doulas.
I am originally from the Philippines, and the way postpartum is approached back home was very different to how I have witnessed my friends and my clients postpartum recovery.
In the Philippines, the birthing person’s early weeks postpartum is focused on rest and nourishment. Their community comes together to support them physically and emotionally.
This is my same approach when I prepare my clients for their postpartum healing and now, with bellies inc. I can continue that message!You want to know what I love most about bellies inc and The Ab System? I love that it gives new parents an opportunity to spend a bit of time to focus on themselves.
In those early weeks postpartum, it is all about the baby. I have seen far too many birthing folks stop taking care of themselves because they were just so engrossed in caring for their baby.
But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. With the bellies inc. Ab System and Core Confidence exercises, you can spend a little bit of time every day focusing on yourself. You deserve to be cared for. Starting this in the beginning of your parenting journey will make it so that self care becomes an expectation of parenthood, not an exception.
At bellies inc. we are on a mission to get birthing folks to prioritize healing and loving their bodies after it just did the most amazing things - growing, birthing and nurturing a baby.
I want to make this clear - the Ab Wrap is NOT about "getting your body back" - because it never left.
In many different cultures all over the world, including my own in the Philippines, the birth of the baby begins the time of rest. The Ab Wrap was inspired by the tradition of "Mother Roasting/Warming" which is a collection of different healing practices that signify the rite of passage of the birther becoming a parent.
In North America, postpartum healing is not fully considered. Instead new parents are racing to get back into their skinny jeans, striving to not look pregnant anymore and they start working on personal bests at the gym around 2 weeks postpartum.
Honour your need to recover, rest, replenish and restore.
Meet our Team
The best things come in small packages and you can definitely say that about the bellies inc. team! Our bellies inc. team is made up of a core group of kick ass women who work hard and love harder.
Kelly - Your friend behind the email@example.com email
Chrissy - Production assistant making sure our products get out to you asap
Dawn - Our numbers gal
Lauren + Jessica - Our Social Media Mavens
The Causes Close to Our Hearts
As a business owner, it is my responsibility to give back to causes that we believe help make the word a better place. Throughout the year, I donate to many charities and organizations, however I have two mainstays that I donate to every single month and I want you to know more about them
At their clinics, they offer a comprehensive range of allopathic and holistic medicine, as well as pre and post-natal care, breastfeeding support, infant, child and family health services, nutritional education, prenatal yoga and gentle, loving natural birth services. They believe that access to quality healthcare and to loving, culturally appropriate childbirth is a human right - a belief shared by bellies inc.
Indian Residential School Survivors Society
The Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS) is a provincial organization with a twenty-year history of providing services to Indian Residential School Survivors. Their work is to assist the descendants of Survivors and implement Community education measures (Indigenous & Non-Indigenous).
We are a small team made up of new immigrants, multigenerational immigrants and descendants of colonizers and therefore directly benefit from colonialism. Because of this, we know we need to do our part in reconciliation. We are still learning.