Charlotte Blake Kaplan brought new mothers together for a decade before becoming one herself. While helping postpartum women recover, she caught a glimpse of the healing power of the sisterhood of mothers.
“Motherhood has taught me how to be with women, how to not judge the kind of person I think that I would be friends with, ” she says. “It’s just opened my heart.”
“So many of us have grown up—or we were brought up—to gossip and not really know how to be in the circle of women, even though that’s our ancient lineage,” and it results in what’s described as the “sisterhood wound,” says Charlotte.
No matter what came before our children, or how adequate we feel going into it, motherhood is the great equalizer. It bonds us together as warriors who’ve been through similar physical and emotional battles.
“So I feel like that’s been a big, beautiful gift that I wasn’t expecting,” she says.
While it’s impossible to know what motherhood will be like, Charlotte’s instincts were spot on: spending time with moms is guaranteed to ease the transition.
“Women need to be together,” she believes. “In my twenties, when I was working with women who had just had babies, it was somehow imprinted in my brain that I was definitely going to surround myself with women who are going through the same thing as me.”
She started Charlotte Blake Pilates as a way to heal from years of dance that wreaked havoc on her body. Learning how to help others move without pain bonded her to mothers early on.
“I feel like I always held myself back because I loved working with moms, but I wasn’t a mom myself,” she says. “But I see, looking back how my work was really helpful and it didn’t matter that I wasn’t a mom.”
“I also have the perspective of being a single woman in my twenties to now being married with a baby, and having gone through that experience definitely changes how I work with women and how I relate to them,” she says. “I am giving myself a little bit more credit retroactively.”
Charlotte also created a Facebook group of women in her Brooklyn neighborhood who were due around the same time.
“It grew to 150 people, so I had a community of women when I was pregnant, and then postpartum and we continue to post and lean on one another,” she says. “We post on the Facebook group, we call each other, we text. Some of these women have never even met and I’ve had multiple conversations with them.”
“I love talking to women about her birth story and my birth story,” she says. “It’s just a different way of working with a woman.”
When we spoke, Charlotte was beginning the journey of reclaiming some of her identity as her 9-month-old son approached his first birthday.
“I really took a look at what brings me joy and where my heart really lies and was just feeling like it’s time to really do the work that I’ve been called to do,” she says.
“Something about motherhood just makes you fully commit because you kind of have to with your babies, so I feel this new responsibility for myself and for my family and for my dreams,” and “the message I want to put out in the world.”
“Really commit and just go for it,” says Charlotte, emboldened by the women she supports and no doubt are rooting for her too.