Healthy Wife Crush of the Month: Anna Gannon
We're back with another #healthywifecrush, and if you don't know Anna already, you're going to love her! Anna and I originally met through my first yoga teacher training with Strala Yoga back in 2013, and we've kept in touch ever since.
I loved the Strala style, which is why I ended up doing their teacher training, and Anna was one of my favorite instructors at the studio. She made each class fun, and her go-with-the-flow personality helped me to never felt intimidated by the other yogi's who were far more advanced than I was.
Anna showed us how simple getting in and out of difficult poses can be (think handstands and any other arm balance!), and challenged us as her students to look at any pose with ease. It was this mindset that ultimately led to my ability to master poses such as side crow pose and tripod headstand. Yoga is about creating inner peace within the body and the mind, and this lesson transpired in my life both on and off the mat.
Time for you to get to know her as well as I do! We'd both love to hear from you in the comments if you have something to share or if Anna's story resonates with you in any way.
Anna Gannon: Yoga Instructor, Community Guide & Editorial Lead Expectful, Wife, and Mama. You really do it all, love! One of my favorite questions I like to ask my HWC’s who are mommas is to address the concept of balance, because it looks different for us all. What’s it been like for you learning to balance motherhood with building a career?
It’s been wobbly, haha. You know, I don’t think it’s been about balance for me. If anything it’s been a lesson in letting go of control.
During the first few months of postpartum I struggled to divide my time between work, my baby, my sanity and my husband. I learned quickly that I couldn’t rely on scheduling because things changed at the drop of a hat when you have a newborn. When I started working full-time from home while taking care of my baby a month after giving birth, I upped my meditation practice and began meditating for 20 minutes twice a day. This helped me to stay calm as things unraveled and it made me really efficient at working in tiny burst of time. I think for me, balance is an inside job. So when I felt centered on the inside I was able to handle the chaos on the outside.
Speaking of your sweet daughter Annabell (her facial expressions make me laugh out loud!), what are the biggest lessons in your motherhood journey thus far? Maybe things you weren’t expecting.
I didn’t expect to breakdown so much, and I say this with a big smile on face. Motherhood opened this emotional gateway in me. It made me feel connected to everyone and everything more than I even knew was possible. Many mothers describe this as love - when you give birth to a child you feel this love towards them that’s indescribable, but for me I feel it in everything I do. I’m more emotional and although I used to look at this as weakness, I now see it as my greatest asset. I think we need more connection in this world, more empathy so that we can understand the person next to us rather than fear them.
Let’s talk about your pregnancy, since it’s something I’m in the middle of right now! I find that every day there’s a new surprise: a new spot the baby likes to kick, a new stretch mark that wasn’t there yesterday. Practicing patience and enjoying every moment without judgement has been so important to me. I know you talked quite a bit about body image and acceptance throughout your pregnancy. Can you share what that experience was like for you, from the beginning all the way up until birth?
Yeah, of course. I struggled with body image issues in my late teens and early twenties. After a lot of personal work, I got to a place with my body that felt great. I fully accepted it as it was and felt so thankful to have a body that supported me. But, pregnancy brought up a lot of old thought patterns for me in the beginning. When my body started to change I found myself worried about if it would ever go back. I honestly remember looking in the mirror around 2 months pregnant and saying goodbye to my body. As if I was mourning something I would never see again.
As my pregnancy progressed I started to embrace my bump and got back to a place of feeling in awe of how amazing my body was to know how to grow a human. After I gave birth, I was again taken aback when my body quickly started to lose weight. Which I attribute (1) to my genes, and (2) to breastfeeding. I wouldn’t say my body is the same as it was prebirth, in fact I would say it’s better. It’s wise in a way - it’s been on a journey - it’s learned some lessons and it’s came out the otherside with more strength than ever before.
Most women go into birth having a plan--a plan that often falls by the wayside since, after all, the baby decides when and how he or she want to come into the world! I listened to your birth story on The Birth Hour Podcast (which you so bravely and openly discussed!), and I know your birth fell into the category of “not according to plan.” What advice would you give to moms-to-be who are attached to having a specific type of birth?
This is going to sound funny because I’m not religious at all, but I recently heard someone say “When we plan, god laughs” and I couldn’t think of a better slogan for birth. Birth, just like anything in life is just a series of uncertain moments. I think planning is great, I think you should know what you want, educate yourself on your options and be vocal about your plan - but then - let go. Don’t miss out on your birth by worrying about how it’s not going as planned. Instead, remember this - your birth does not define you. You are not weak if you do one thing and strong if you do another. You are you, and how you give birth doesn’t change who you are unless you let it or want it to.
I know moms who have given vaginal birth, some at home others in the hospital. I know women who have had cesareans and women who have had surrogates or adopted. No matter how your baby comes into this world, you will become a mother and at the end of the day that’s what birth is all about. The birth of your baby and the birth of you as a mother.
We’re both major foodies. What’s your favorite snack, for you and for Annabell?
Oh man, so many! We’ve really been getting down with green juice lately. Spinach, apple, kale and carrot - that’s our go-to these days. But we also just love fruit. We snack on blueberries and strawberries a lot.
What about favorite NYC restaurants?
Well, I’m married to a Greek boy and I live in Astoria which has a lot of Greek people so I have to say Bahari, which is a little authentic greek restaurant a block from my house. They have the best food and are so fast with take-out which is a must when you have a little one.
And, lastly, one question I ask everyone: what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Two months after I gave birth to my daughter I was on the phone with a woman who had been trying to have a second child for quite sometime. Her son was around seven years old and I was helping to answer some questions she had about Expectful’s meditations and how they could help her conceive.
I remember that she was busy at work and as we went to end our conversation she asked how old my daughter was. When I told her she said “Soak up your baby, because everyday she’s moving further and further away from you.” That advice really switched my perspective and has made me so much more mindful about being present with my daughter as she’s grown up. It’s true - they grow up faster than the blink of an eye - but if we stay present - we can stretch time and create memories that will be vivid in our minds forever.
Credit for Anna's photos goes to: Elyza Bleau