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.
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.
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 world a better place. Throughout the year, bellies inc. hosts pregnancy and postpartum groups and classes through our Bellies Community Space. Money raised through our different programs are donated to:
The Nesting Doula collective provides care and support to Black, Indigenous and communities of colour
-- including immigrants and refugees, at all stages of their reproductive journey from conception to postpartum. Their approach upholds the principles of informed consent, culturally appropriate care, and community connection. They are a growing collective of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour who are trained in providing professional, empowering, and anti-oppressive Doula support to their diverse clients and families.
We also support other charities and organizations through out the year as the opportunities and needs arise.