Last Mother’s Day, Steph Claire Smith was snuggled up in a newborn bubble with baby son Harvey.
A year on, the youngster is about to celebrate his first birthday — and his fitness entrepreneur mum can’t quite believe it.
“I know any parent could say that about their kid getting through their first year — it just flies by,” Smith says.
“At the same time, I couldn’t imagine life without him now, it’s as if he has always been here. In the next couple of weeks he will be walking, he is so active now. It’s a real rollercoaster. I have never felt love like this and it is just growing more and more.”
As Harvey has grown, so has Smith and business partner Laura Henshaw’s multi-million dollar wellness empire, Keep It Cleaner.
To light the way for other new mums, they have expanded their record-breaking app, KIC, to include a pre and postnatal Pilates program and their podcast now includes a fortnightly sub-series dedicated to motherhood, KICBUMP.
Episodes have so far covered the fourth trimester, when birth plans don’t go to plan, miscarriage, returning to work and body acceptance — and a candid guest appearance from Smith’s husband Josh Miller.
“I have felt really comfortable sharing my own experiences, but I was pretty proud to have Josh on and have him speak about his stay at home dad life,” she says.
“So much of our life is lived quite publicly and he is used to that but when it comes to his personal stuff, he is quite a private person. Getting him on the podcast was a huge step for him. It was nice to hear him be so open.”
It was through her own pregnancy that Smith understood the importance of community for expectant mothers and the uncertainty that can surround this season of life.
Her hope is to offer women a safe space and educational tool so they can feel empowered in choosing what is best for their physical and mental health.
“I noticed there was so much confusion and negativity around what not to do when you’re pregnant,” she says.
“It was only through working with Ash Mason, who is my physio and the KICBUMP physio, that I felt confident in what was right for me. If you are someone who is quite in tune with your body and worked out regularly before pregnancy, there is no reason why you can’t continue what your body is used to.
“The thing most health professionals agree on is that you shouldn’t take up anything new and strenuous in pregnancy — don’t just become a runner if you weren’t one before.
“With postnatal, we emphasise the importance of working on strengthening your pelvic floor and those deep core muscles before getting into your general exercise. A lot of damage can be done if you get straight back into it and you haven’t rebuilt from the ground up.”
Reflecting on her first year of motherhood, Smith says her biggest learning curve has been trusting her gut when it comes to parenting.
And while she has always been driven to succeed, that fire is only burning brighter now she knows Harvey is watching on.
“He is making me want to be a better person in every aspect,” Smith says.
“I have always wanted to better myself as a person, but I think when you have a little human looking up to you, they are such sponges and that is exciting and scary. He will see me do something and be copying it himself the next day. It’s a good pressure to have on myself to make sure I am living by example.”